Who The Heck is {FirstName}?!?


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hello-my-name-is-150Yesterday I made a blunder with an email I sent out to my list announcing my latest blog post.

Actually I made 2 mistakes…

My first mistake was trying to send the broadcast myself. I should have let one of my assistants or outsourcers send it.

The second mistake was I didn’t follow my own checklist and procedure.

The result of these 2 mistakes was an email with the following subject line:

Is this keeping you broke {firstname}?

Yep… The dreaded {firstname} in the subject line, without actually merging the personalization into the email broadcast.

Doh!

Way to make my subscribers feel special… NOT!

And the funny thing is I should know better.

As a pilot, I know the critical importance of following a checklist every single time. No matter how many times you’ve done a certain task, if you don’t follow the checklist you are open to making mistakes.

Fortunately, for me all this mistake cost me was probably a few unsubscribers.

But, in flying a “small” mistake like that could be fatal.

This was one of those “do as I say not as I do” moments that make a person look like a hypocritical bonehead.

You see… I’m always “preaching” to my assistants and outsourcing teams to “follow the checklists and procedures even if you’ve done the task 1,000 times!”

So needless to say they are probably laughing behind my back right now for not following my own advice.

Sidenote From The Guy Uploading This Blog Post (Who actually is following the procedure): Yes Eric we are laughing! 🙂

But I’ve decided to make my mistake a great “teaching moment” that can hopefully help you grow your business.

I’m about to give you a super-valuable peek behind the curtain of how a successful online company is run.

And I’m going to do something I almost NEVER do (outside of my high-end coaching clients), I’m about to give you one of the actual procedures my team runs in my business.

What most of my blog readers don’t know is that unlike most of “Internet Marketing Guru’s”, the vast majority of my income is generated in markets and niches FAR removed from teaching “Internet Marketing”.

Actually the whole “Conversion Doctor” brand and business is just the tip of the iceberg for me.

Teaching and speaking about conversion helps me stay sharp and allows me to write copy and run tests in markets and niches I otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to “play” in.

For me it’s fun. Otherwise I wouldn’t do it…

That’s a rule I have in my all my businesses, if it’s not fun I don’t do it. (I hire somebody ELSE to do it!)

As anyone who has been a client of mine or in one of my coaching programs for any length of time will tell you, I am fanatical about creating systems and procedures for absolutely EVERYTHING I do in all of my different companies.

So to help you get an idea of the way I construct and create my procedures, I’ve decided to give you a copy (with only a few details removed like specific URLs and Passwords removed) of the exact checklist I SHOULD have been using when I sent that email yesterday.

Checklist
ARP Email Broadcast Procedure
(Right Click Then Click ‘Save As’)

Of course unless you are using AutoResponse Plus (yes that’s an affiliate link) to manage your email lists and autoresponders, this checklist itself won’t be very useful to you.

However, you should still download it and look it over, because it’s NOT the procedure itself I want to give you, it’s the overview of HOW the procedure is put together that I want you to pay attention to.

Personally I wish somebody had shown me a checklist like this when I was first getting started creating systems and procedures in my business.

I’d have gladly paid $1,000.00 just to see a working outline of an actual system like this, so I could “reverse-engineer” it and apply it to everything I did in my business.

And that is EXACTLY what I want you to do. Use this procedure as a template for creating your own systems inside your business.

What you are probably going to be surprised by is the length of the procedure and level of depth and detail I go into for such a seemingly simple task. You may think the procedure is excessive or down right anal.

(I mean, how hard can it be to cut and paste an email then hit send? Right?)

Well as you’ll see, I’ve created this system to be as close to foolproof as humanly possible.

And that is the way YOU need to design your own systems and procedures. You need to assume the person running the procedure has absolutely no idea what they are doing, has never done the task before, and barely knows which end of their mouse in up…

Another Sidenote From the Guy Uploading This Post: Gee, THANKS A LOT! Way to make me feel like a big monkey. Can I have another banana master? 😉

I’m not trying to be harsh or insulting here. You should always try and hire the sharpest most talented people you can, however to keep your business rapidly scalable, your systems and procedures should be designed for the lowest possible level of expertise.

The other thing you’ll notice is the “Version #” at the bottom of most of my procedures.

I recommend you adopt the same way of tracking the changes to the procedures you create.

No system or procedure is perfect, but following the principle of Kaizen you should always be refining and updating your systems to make them more effective and reduce errors.

Anytime a member of my team runs a procedure and doesn’t produce the quality of work/output I expect, I don’t blame the team member, I blame the procedure. And I then go back and refine the procedure to eliminate that mistake in the future.

Also, if your outsourcers or team members EVER ask any questions about how or what to do in a procedure, you need to update the procedure with the answer to the question.

Of course if a particular team member continually makes mistakes, asks questions that are covered or is obviously not following the procedure, then it’s not the procedure it’s the person and they need to go.

(Fortunately for me I’m the boss, so I’m not getting fired after yesterday’s mistake!)

Another couple things I include in most of my systems, procedures and checklists are the estimated time the procedure should take, and a link to a video walkthrough of the procedure.

The “Total Time” estimate is in the procedure for several reasons. The most important reason is to let outsourcers you are paying on an hourly basis know that you understand how long the task should take them.

This will save you a ton of money, because they know they can’t get away with “padding” their hours worked claims.

The second reason I have time estimates for all of my procedures is for staffing and planning purposes. Knowing the time resources each procedure should take helps me and my project managers estimate our “available capacity” for a particular project.

For example if I need 2,500 articles written by my content and editing teams, and I know that each writer should be able to turn out a 300 to 500 word article every 20 minutes and each editor should take 10 minutes to proof and polish each article, then I know I need to budget 834 man hours for the writers, and 417 hours for the editors.

If I need that project done in 5 days, then I need 21 writers and 11 editors on the project (at 40 hours per week each.)

The video link is there as a supplement to the written procedure. While a lot of “outsourcing experts” will tell you to just have training videos of your procedures, I’ve found that the written documents are much more effective long term.

Particularly when doing business in the online environment where software, websites and user interfaces are continually changing.

It’s fairly fast and easy to update a written document, but it is much more of a pain to have to re-record or edit a video every time something is improved or changed.

So while I do have training videos for most of my procedures, everyone who works for or with me knows that our rule is “The Procedure/Checklist is the highest authority.” The videos are just supplemental.

Another thing you’ll notice in the procedure, I make reference to an “Email Broadcast Request Order”.

This is a form that gets sent to the team member sending the broadcast than contains everything he/she needs to send the broadcast following the procedure.

Every system has inputs and outputs. The “Email Broadcast Request Order”, is the INPUT into this system that sets everything in motion for the OUTPUT of a successful email broadcast.

While my “Email Broadcast Request Order” contains some proprietary information that I cannot share (and don’t want to take the time to strip out right now), the basic fields that get filled out and sent to the team member who runs the Email Broadcast Procedure are:

Email List/Lists this message is to be sent to:
Track Links? YES / NO
Link Tracking Tool:
-AdTrakz
– ARP Link Tracking
– Google Analytics (Via CRDoc.me URL Shortening)

From Name:
From Email:
Reply To Email:

Subject Line:

Email Body:

Scheduled Send Time:

While that looks like a lot, in most of my email broadcasts the only sections that change are the Subject Line and Email Body, so it only takes me (or one of my niche market writers or copywriting apprentices) about 1 minute to fill this out and send it once the email has been written.

So I encourage you to download the PDF, spend some time looking at how it’s constructed and organized, and then begin creating systems and procedures for everything you do in your business.

This is one of the highest leverage activities you can possibly engage in to build your business and free up your time to focus on the high ROI activities that you actually enjoy doing!

Even if you are a one man (or woman) operation, you should create systems and procedures EXACTLY like you were writing them for another person to run for you.

Because, if you take this approach with your business, you’ll have the time and money to begin building your outsourcing teams before you know it.

About the Author

Eric Graham is a serial entrepreneur, author, speaker, copywriter and consultant. Enter your name and email address below to get notified when new response boosting tips, tested conversion strategies, updates, articles and videos are posted.

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