Welcome to the e-commerce marketing podcast, everyone, I am your host, Arlen Robinson, and today we have a very special guest, Kaitlyn Study who is the founder of the Southstreet and Company Digital marketing agency that helps businesses grow their businesses and reach their digital marketing goals. Welcome to the podcast, Caitlin.

I thank you so much for having me.

Yes, no problem. It is a pleasure. And it’s not too often that I have somebody on the podcast that’s from my own backyard. We’re both in the Orlando area, as we just talked about. So it’s great to have you. And definitely once things ease up or become a little bit different, we can get to going back to marketing or networking events. I’m sure we’re going to cross paths. Definitely.

Yeah, I hope so. That would be great.

All right. Definitely. The focus of the podcast is something that is really kind of your bread and butter, and it’s something that we hadn’t really discussed too much before about. A lot of times we’re talking about, of course, marketing strategies that are geared for product based companies. But today we’re going to switch it up a little bit and we’re going to talk about marketing automation specifically for service based businesses, because these days, I think more than ever, service based businesses are pivoting to the e-commerce world and pivoting to digital marketing because of this whole pandemic that we’re in and therefore forced to drive customers online rather than to their storefronts or to their brick and mortar establishments.

So but before we get into all of that, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background and specifically how you got into what you’re doing today?

Sure. So I went to the University of Central Florida and that’s how I ended up in Orlando. I just loved the area. And my first job out of college was working for a dermatologist. Believe it or not, I found it off of Craigslist. They advertised on Craigslist, got the job, helped them with their marketing. They didn’t have anyone there before. And in the first six months, I helped them rebrand the company, added a new logo slogan, Colors, help them redesign their website, and then implemented social media marketing, email marketing, blogging and SEO.

And in the two and a half years I was there, I helped them double in size. So when I started with them, they had 10 offices and when I left they had twenty seventeen in Central Florida and then three out of state. And I kind of just felt like I hit a plateau and really loved working with small and medium sized businesses like theirs and felt like I could help other businesses grow and reach their ideal clientele and started working mornings, nights and weekends.

It took me a little bit over a year to start the agency and build up enough clientele. And when I did, I put in my notice and hit the ground running. So that was in March. It will be March twenty one. It’ll be six years, which is pretty crazy. Time is flying. Right? And like you mentioned in the intro, we primarily help service based companies. And it’s very interesting because a lot of them are doing more e-commerce and online options and we help people that want to reach a local clientele.

So not necessarily local to Orlando where we are, but local to wherever they are.

Yeah, that’s really great, because I’ve seen this myself with service based businesses, just dealing with companies that provide services to me, whether it’s a plumber, whether it’s a small local AC company, they really need a lot of help because I think we’re kind of in the crux of a lot of businesses. And I see this with a lot of businesses that have been around for a while, let’s say family owned businesses that have been know generational. And they’ve, you know, they’ve done things traditionally differently.

They’ve done the newspaper advertising. Yeah. Those little local things with the coupon they send out, you know, although those things do still have a place, they definitely can get you some calls and some leads and some brand awareness. You got to look to the digital world these days because that’s where everything is headed. And so what I see is a lot of businesses that are, you know, been around for a while, they kind of struggle with transitioning from those days of old to the digital market.

And it’s great to know what companies like yours around that can help help them with the process. What I want to kind of start off with is just kind of laying the ground, the framework for our discussion with regards to marketing automation for service based businesses before we kind of dove deep. Why don’t you give us, I guess, a full overview, ten thousand foot view of really what is marketing automation anyway? How would you define marketing automation?

Yeah, so before we started talking about all of this and just before we started recording, I mentioned to you that I was a self-proclaimed automation nerd because I just love I’m a solutions based person. So I try to find like, OK, I’m doing this over and over again. What can I do in order to limit my time and work smarter? So marketing automation is enabling and using programs to help you do the things that you would normally do manually.

So there’s. A couple of different ways to do this, you can use, like I mentioned, programs, but also there’s some really great things that anyone using Gmail can use as well to streamline your processes, too.

OK, that’s awesome. And these days, it really is all about time saving and things that may have required a manual process that eat up time. There’s so many ways to automate now more than ever, for sure. Thank you for that great definition. And now so if we kind of pull this into the whole service based business arena, what are some specific marketing automations that you would say are kind of go to for a service based company?

Yeah, I think that it doesn’t have to be limited to a service based company, a freelancer, a huge corporation, an agency, a small business service or product can definitely all utilize automations. But some of the simplest ones that you can start with just to get kind of integrated is through Gmail so you can set up filters through your emails. If you have a lot of emails coming through, you can add an automated filter using Gmail to have emails go to a particular folder, or they can even skip the inbox, be archived into a folder for you.

And that way everything’s in one place. And then the other thing that I’m I know not a lot of people know about is that you can create email templates in Gmail, too. So all you have to do is go to your email, click, compose, and then there are three little dots on the lower right hand side next to a little garbage can. And if you click on that, you can click on templates and then you can create a template and then save it in there.

And this is just so essential, especially for us as an agency, because we have to follow up with clients on items that we need or, you know, emails for email marketing. And if we can just click one of those templates, customize it a little bit and hit send, it’s just a total even though you’re saving like maybe five minutes here and there, if you’re saving 10 times over five minutes, that adds up really quickly. So I think that’s the best way to get started.

But if you want to take it to the next level, there’s a program that I highly, highly, highly recommend. They don’t pay me to say this, by the way. I just love this program so much. It’s called Zappia. It’s zappy, i.e.. Ah, and they have the way I would describe it is they are a connector app, so think of them as the glue. And if you have like I’ll give you an example, if you have a form on your website that someone fills out as a lead, once that lead comes in, what happens?

Does it go to your inbox? Who follows up with it? Is it automatically added to MailChimp? The answer is no or whatever email platform you have. But with Zappia, what you can do is when a lead comes in, you can automate it so that it’s automatically added to the email platform of your choice. You can add a tag to it as well. And then also you can send a follow up email saying, Hey, thanks so much for reaching out about our product or service.

Click this link to schedule a meeting on my calendar and then it’s automatically taken care of for you. So there are so, so, so many things. And the the other thing that I hear a lot from people is, well, how do I even know where to start with automation? And the answer to that is you really have to think differently because think about all of the things that you do over and over and over again, and I’ll give you another example.

So every month at the first of the month, we email all of our clients to see if they have any website updates. And I was like, you know what? This takes a lot of time because I have to email every single client. And what I did was in Zambia, I created a zap to go out on the first of every month and email all of our clients automatically. And that saved probably an hour’s worth of time each month.

So those are little things that you can kind of think of to see what do I do over and over that maybe a program could help me customize and help me do through that instead of manually.

OK, great. Yeah, that’s an awesome example, because like you said, that the first thought, you’re like, OK, you have to email the customers every month, beginning of the month. And ah, you know, it’s not that time consuming of an activity. But the thing that I think a lot of business owners don’t really realize is that all of these little things add up. You know, if you take the five, ten minutes saved with that particular activity and then you add another automation to save you another five, ten minutes, that slowly adds up or actually quickly adds up before you know it, you save yourself hours of time, which is very key.

You know, you mentioned, of course, different things that you can do with the Gmail filters, the Gmail templates. We definitely can save time bringing this around to e-commerce businesses. One of the things that I see and I know we use this in-house is the ability to have your salespeople save time when they’re communicating with your customers. And that can be done not only with. Template. So if you have responses to common sales questions, you can store those.

But another thing is also if you’re using the live chat, which is very common on most or many e-commerce sites these days, to have canned responses available to your whole staff, there’s so that, you know, nine times out of ten you’re going to get they’re going to get the same questions over and over again. And if they’re able to quickly pull up a canned response, that saves them time, allows them to to deal with multiple channels at once rather than having to type in the same responses over and over again.

And so I think when you think of automation, you’re not only want to think about your tasks that you’re doing day to day, if you’re the if you’re the founder, the owner of the company. But what are those tasks that your whole team is doing? And so I think open lines of communication is also key. We’re trying to come up with these as well.

I agree.

And, you know, as far as the overall leveraging these automations, you know, for, let’s say, the e-commerce business, what are some ways that automations can be used to for e-commerce business to leverage sales or increase in leads?

Well, there are so many different things that you can do. And my challenge to everyone listening is to really think about those items that you do over and over. So for us, I’ll give you some examples on how you could potentially use this for any type of business is number one for leads. When they come in, you can automatically add them to a spreadsheet or a CRM or we add them to Azana as a project management software. And then we assign that person the task to follow up with the lead that just came in.

But not only that is you can also integrate it with Calingiri, which let’s say you have like a course coming up. And if people have questions they or you want them to sign up automatically, you can automate that process as well. So sending out automated emails when someone fills out a form, having them directed to your Calingiri link, if they fill out a form on your website, but also you can onboard your whole entire employee process as well.

And that’s what I did. I automated fifty one tasks on onboarding my employees. And those are things that I would do, like as an example, add them to all of our programs, make sure that they have these tasks to do on a recurring basis. Add a folder and Google Drive and add our monthly meeting template to all of these things. I completely automated, so don’t I would challenge you in the listener to think about it internally for your company as well, but also externally for your clients.

And then something else that people that people ask and are a little concerned about is, well, is it just going to or is it going to be like a robot and is it going to be just not personalized? And the answer is no. It’s actually crazy how much you can get in there and personalize different items for the automation’s that you do. So you can pull first names and say like, hi, Arlen, thank you so much for filling out our form on our website.

The next step from here is to blah, blah, blah. And then you add your calendar link and then you set that meeting up. But there are so many different ways that you can automate things you can. There’s just like a million different things that you can do internally and externally as well. And as an example, I have an automation. When someone pays an invoice, it automatically lets me know in slack. So I know that we’re good to go for that particular campaign.

If you’re running Facebook lead ads or Facebook ads in general, you can automate that, too. If someone fills out the form on Facebook or if someone contacts you through Facebook, you can add that to a spreadsheet or your project management software and assign that for someone to reach out to them and make sure they didn’t have any questions or things like that. So Zappia has so many amazing integrations with a lot of different companies, and I guarantee there’s probably one that you could set up from there to.

Right. OK, great. Like you said, there’s a million things that you can do as far as automation’s for driving leads, sales, managing that whole process. So that’s the good thing to know. And like you said, the whole calendar thing using calendar lead to, you know, to set up appointments automatically with people that have inquiries. That’s a huge thing. I’m seeing that so much more these days. And we use that here internally and alongside with our partners, people that are trying to connect with us to to do partnerships.

And the meetings get automatically assigned to my calendar. And then, you know, the Xoom gets set up. That’s all tied in. So a great time saving effort. Now, you mentioned a couple of things. As far as you know, one of the main tools that you’ve seen that has definitely benefited you in a lot of businesses is Appia, which I like your definition, which is kind of the glue between app. That’s a great definition, is exactly what it is, and that’s a great tool.

What are some other tools or resources and methods that you’ve been having a lot of success with that can help with these automation’s?

So there aren’t a lot of email campaigns that I signed up for, but one of them is that there’s emails. They send out such great articles about what to do, what not to do, how to do things. And then they also have webinars, which is really great, too. But with that program, I would highly recommend it’s going to take a little bit of time. And for me it was I had to teach myself how to think differently because I had to think of like the process and the workflow and how everything would work in my mind, because just because it works in my mind doesn’t mean it works in Zambia.

And I learned that the hard way a couple of times. But you can use so many different programs. And I’ll give you another example that would be really, really great for anyone utilizing user generated content on Instagram. So you can set up a zap if you have an Instagram business account that if anyone tags you in an image, you can automatically add that to a social media scheduling queue. So as an example, we use buffer and if someone tags us on Instagram, then it’ll automatically go into our buffer queue.

And then all we have to do is edit the content, give the person credit, and then it’s already scheduled and ready to go. But I cannot tell you how many hours that has saved us because it’s so hard to look for really great content or user generated content. So what we’ve done is we’ve made an effort to say in our stories on Instagram, tag us in any of your posts and we’ll repost you giving credit. And then that helps with our content calendar because we can sort through them and delete the ones we like or delete the ones we don’t like.

But as far as ours and like in time, it just searching for those amazing images that’s cut down so much, but maybe not something that anyone would have thought of because user generated content is great. And that’s kind of a trust verifier for your business, that other people are using it and hopefully having a great time with it, too.

That’s awesome. And I think that automation that you mentioned that you do with or of course, it picks up if people have tagged you was a huge thing, especially if you’re really active on social media, because as most people know, it’s managing an active social media account is really a full time job where, you know, if you have a lot of followers, you have a lot of activity, a lot of content that you’re putting out there. Naturally, you’re going to drum up people that are going to tag you, tag your posts, tag images, read, tweet you, all of that.

You know, it takes a lot of time to be able to to be able to automate that and automate, you know, correspondence with that is awesome. So a great, great example there. Now, as we get ready to wrap things up, I’m a huge advocate of. Looking at businesses that have been really successful with automation, you know, they could either be well known businesses or businesses that you’re familiar with, that you’ve worked with, that we can all learn from.

So what are some businesses that you could talk about that have really been successful with specific automations? And what have they done and how have they achieved success?

Yeah, so I think the best example that I can give is my marketing agency. And then we also have a second company called Becoming a Local, and we’ve built up some local Instagram accounts to over one has around forty five thousand followers. So a lot of followers too. But I with everything that I’ve automated. So just to give you like a high level overview, I’ve automated my whole employee onboarding process. I’ve automated our whole client onboarding process. I’ve automated my leads process.

So when anyone fills out a form on our website, they automatically get an email to Calingiri. And whenever they schedule a link on account or they book a call and calendar, it creates a folder and it duplicates three templates and it adds them to that particular folder so that when I have my calls with them to talk to them and learn more about my about their company, it automates that whole process. And then we’ve also automated our client meetings. So whenever we put a client meeting on the books, it reminds us to send a follow up email to create the template and then to do any research beforehand.

So literally, the sky is the limit. There’s not anything that you can’t do with automation’s and we use slack. And I’ve actually automated some of the emails that I get in to be filtered into a folder like I mentioned originally. But when that email comes in, I get a notification in slack so it doesn’t clog up my inbox, but I just get that notification in stock and I can go and look at it. But I didn’t go to school for automation.

I didn’t go to school for anything technical. I got a degree in marketing, business, marketing. And so my point in telling you that is that anyone can do this. I don’t have like a degree. I just took a lot of time, dedicated it to learning more about Zappia and actually understanding my business and working through my processes and my workflow so that everything was extremely organized. And I probably save. And this is not an exaggeration. I probably say between 20 and 30 hours each week using these automation’s because I’ve been able to automate so many different flows of our process.

Wow, that’s awesome. And thank you for sharing that. One thing that I’m going to have to steal from you that I don’t think we do enough of here in our here, that our side is the slack integrations and the automation’s with slack, because we’re I mean, I live and die by slack. We have a you know, we have a virtual team. We have team members that are all over the world that work with us, the workforce.

And I’m maintaining conversations and different things with a ton of people all the time. And one of the things that you have mentioned that I think would be very useful is the automation, where you get the alert notification and select a particular message or an email from that has a certain subject line or is from a certain sender. And instead of it going in, like you said, clogging up your inbox, it’ll get filed into a folder. But so that you know, that it came in the slack notification is what alerts you so that you know, OK, that came in handy.

So I need to go check that. And then, you know, you can do what you need to do to either check that or make a note that you should check it at another time. I think that’s a great tool because clogged inboxes is is the killer of a lot of businesses time, I think.

Oh, my gosh. Yeah. And I don’t know if you do you personally use this news feature on Gmail? I don’t know if you use Gmail, but we do.

Yeah. And I use a it’s an app. I’m trying to think of the name of it. I think it’s called saying later. Actually it’s a way it’s a pretty cool app and it’s a plug in for Google Chrome and Gmail where basically it would allow you to you can snoots messages or you can file messages so that it will set up a seven day, I think fifteen day and a 30 day snooze where you just moved into that folder and it’s seven days later it pops back up into your inbox.

And so you can set up different levels of that. So it’s similar to what you’re saying the built in Gmail service feature.

Yeah, I use that so you can schedule emails to go in the future. So if I wake up super early and I don’t want clients to email me at six o’clock in the morning when I’m emailing them, I can schedule it to send out at like eight o’clock or eight thirty. And then not only that, but mentioning this news feature, you can snoots emails and I do that for all of my follow up. So if I haven’t heard back from someone else, use it for like a couple of days or a week or whatever.

And then that’s been so helpful because I’m right on time when I said I was going to follow up with them. Right.

That’s critical these days. Is is the follow up, and especially with marketing the things that you’re doing or if you’re trying to form a relationship with a business, the follow is important. But if you don’t put that in place, a reminder, you’re not going to get lost in the cracks.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely.

Well, Caitlin, it’s definitely been awesome talking to you. I can talk about automation’s all day because as you see, there’s so many things that can be done, so many ways to automate, to save a business time know, so they can focus on other things that that matter in the business. And so great conversation. But before we let you go, I always like to switch gears here with my final question to Saugerties. Get to know you a little bit better if you don’t mind sharing one closing fun fact that you think our audience would be interested to know about yourself.

Yeah, my fun fact is that I have four younger brothers and I’m the oldest and the only girl. So growing up there’s five of us. And it was always just so much fun. Getting together for holidays is incredible because we just have everyone. Some of us have gotten married and others of us are in school getting ready to graduate and all of that. So I definitely had a really fun and rambunctious childhood, I can imagine. So those were older brothers, four older brothers or younger brothers or younger brothers.

I can imagine that that household was a little loud.

Just a little bit. Yeah.

Yeah, well, that’s awesome. Thank you for sharing that. And, you know, lastly, of course, before we let you go, if any of our listeners want to reach out to you and pick your brain any more about digital marketing, automation or marketing automation in general, what is the best way for them to get in touch with you?

Yeah, so you can find us at South Street marketing dot com. You can also find me on LinkedIn at Kaitlyn’s duty. I have a bright pink shirt on, so I love to connect with you. And then if anyone does want any more help with this, I do have a coaching program where I can go in and teach you all of the automation’s and you can kind of take it over and learn on your own once you know the basics.

Awesome. Well, thank you for sharing that, Caitlyn. I definitely encourage all of our listeners to take advantage of that. Reach out to you and see how you can help their businesses. And thank you, of course, again, once again for joining us today in the e-commerce marketing podcast.

Yeah. Thank you for having me. This is great.

Thank you for listening to the E Commerce marketing podcast. 

Podcast Guest Info

Kaitlyn Study
Founder of the Southstreet and Company Digital marketing agency