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In this episode of the Rebel Boss Ladies Podcast, we’re talking about everyone’s favorite topic… tech!
But don’t worry! Our guest today is going to help us navigate the world of digital product launch tech and launch automation without the headache.
Angela Tan is the founder of the SystemsRX. She’s a tech and automation specialist and has supported online coaches and course creators with the tech and automation they need to build out for multiple six and seven figure launches.
While working as a general virtual assistant for a few years and supporting her clients in setting up evergreen webinar funnels, Angela realized that her true passion was developing ticket automation systems. She can now set up an Evergreen funnel in just six hours and offers that as a VIP day service for her clients.
Today she’s going to go through her 4S framework that you can use to set up your own stress-free tech and automation!
What does stress-free tech and automation mean?
Tech can be messy if you don’t map things out. Angela’s advice is to be intentional and strategic with your launch technology– and the way to do this is by making sure you have a streamlined process that you can always go back to if you’re ever feeling lost or overwhelmed.
Angela does this herself with her “4S framework”. If she’s ever building out a funnel and starts to feel overwhelmed, she refers back to her process (and can do it over and over again if she has to!).
Don’t forget that the goal of your tech is to make your life easier when it’s set up – so don’t let the process hold you back from setting up your automation.
The 4S Framework to Build Your Launch Tech and Automation Stress-Free
The first step of the framework is strategy. There are two parts to this – your funnel strategy and your tech stack.
First, you want to be 100% rock solid on your funnel strategy and your customer journey.
Angela recommends that before you begin, take the time to go over the outcome of each step of your funnel and what should happen after each step.
There are a lot of questions you should be asking yourself – let's say you have a webinar as your lead magnet. What needs to happen after someone signs up? What happens if they attend the webinar? If they don't attend? If they download your opt in?
After thinking through your customer journey, you should also plan out everything from the back end, like all the email tagging that needs to happen or deadline timer triggers.
The second piece of strategy is determining your tech stack.
You want to make sure that the software that you choose will support your funnel strategy and optimization. Take time to be strategic with your tech options so you fully understand what you're working with.
Thinking through your strategy before you start to shop for your tech or build anything out is important. You don’t want to go shopping for tech before you know what you want your tech to do or how you need it to integrate with your other tools.
In this stage, it’s important to be strategic in all of your planning because you don’t want to start building out your tech and have to completely change everything halfway through your launch when you realize it isn’t exactly what you wanted.
Some tips to make this phase stress free:
- Don’t just choose tech based on the recommendations of other people – even if someone says something works well for them it may not work well for you! Make sure you try it out for yourself before jumping in to building your funnel.
- Look and see if there’s a free trial for any of the platforms you want to use. Often you can use a free trial as an opportunity to test out your tech and see how it works before you really commit.
The setup phase is pretty much what it sounds like – this is where you set up all of the individual components of your funnel.
You want to build out each different piece or step of your funnel – like your freebie, opt-in, sales pages, check out page and more.
Don’t worry about integrating these different components quite yet. At this point, you should just be focusing your energy on setting everything up.
Think about your funnel as a train ride – the train travels along a track and makes different stops at stations along the way. Right now you’re building the different stations – you’re not building the railroad tracks quite yet.
Some tips to make this phase stress free:
- Do this in chronological order, so it has a logical flow and you can think through the different steps and process
- Gather all of the links you’re using in a spreadsheet to keep them handy and in one place – you’ll definitely need these again later on especially if you’re using a tool like Deadline Funnel!
In the third step, the symphonize phase, you integrate your entire funnel and bring it to life. Doing this in chronological order is key so you are able to follow the flow and keep track of everything as you go along.
During this phase, you’re going to start with your opt in, link the thank you pages to the opt in, then link the thank you pages to the checkout pages. You’ll also add any triggers, any email automations or any zaps in Zapier. If there's any third party codes that you need to put in to integrate different software, you’ll do that in this phase.
This is also when you should be setting up your deadline timers. If you’re using software like Deadline Funnel, it’s a lot easier to set that up in this page once the setup phase is completed.
Some tips to make this phase stress free:
- Wait until all of your “stations” are ready to go before you start setting up your integrations! It will be so much easier to set up your deadline timers, as an example, once every page is done and you can think about the journey of your customer.
- This phase may seem the most complicated or stressful to you, but don’t worry! Think about it as putting a virtual puzzle together – even though you have all of these smaller pieces, don’t forget to think about the big picture while you’re working on this.
In the showcase phase, it is critical to test run everything before launching your funnel.
Start by going back to the first phase where you mapped out your customer journey – strategy – and test out all of the different outcomes that are possible. You want to test every single possible scenario, which may include:
- Someone opts in and signs up but doesn’t engage further (for example, they opt in to your webinar but don’t actually attend)
- Someone opts in, engages, but doesn’t purchase (for example, they opt in to your webinar, attend, but don’t buy)
- Someone opts in, engages, and does purchase
- Plus any other unique outcomes that your funnel may have.
While you’re testing out all the different scenarios, you should also check off the specific outcomes from the consumer side and also from the tech side of things. This would include things like:
- Making sure they get the right email after taking certain actions – whether this is confirmation emails, reminder emails, thank you emails, etc.
- Checking that they’re tagged with the correct tags after engaging
- Checking that they’re in the right automation
Certain things may be challenging to test – for example your Deadline Funnel email timing may take a few tries to get right. If you’re having trouble getting the timing of these emails correct, try switching over to hour format instead of day format, which may work better for you.
Remember that you can continue to test in this phase to work out the kinks and make sure it’s right. Don’t skimp on your testing here! The last thing you want is to lose out on leads or sales because of a simple tech error.
At the end of this phase, turn on all of your zaps, activate all your automations and sequences and switch any of your pages from test mode to live mode.
And you're done!
Tool Talk: How to choose the right tech for your digital product business
This is a question we get all the time: how do I choose the right launch tech and tools for my business?
Angela recommends first thinking about what you want to track, metrics-wise.
She says if you’re looking for some good metrics, Lead Pages for opt-ins or landing pages can give you some really good metrics and data.
User-friendliness is another key thing to consider, especially if you or one of your team members is going to be using your tech every day, or maybe you have a team member who's going to be in there every day.
Should I use an all-in-one software?
There are a lot of different all-in-one software out there now that have the functionality to do everything in your tech automation. But Angela recommends being wary about these – while they can do the things you need them to do, they’re not necessarily great at doing any particular thing. Tech is no exception to the rule of no one can be everything to everyone.
While it may be more challenging to integrate a lot of different platforms, if you’re choosing platforms that are each good at one particular thing, you’ll have a stronger funnel overall. This will also be helpful as your business scales and grows – all-in-ones may be great in the beginning but they won’t scale as well.
What should I budget for my tech stack?
How much money you’re able to spend on tech is a huge consideration when building out your tech stack.
This may seem like an obvious point but it’s important to say – you want to make sure that if you’re going to build out a tech stack that you can actually afford all of the tools that you need to accomplish your goals.
Fortunately, there are a lot of free tools out there that you can use if you’re not at the point yet where you can be spending a lot of money on your tech.
Angela also recommends trying out new free tech when you’re playing around with a new offer that you’re not sure will convert – if you’re just trying to see how something does and it’s still growing, that’s a great time to test out some free tech.
There are also workarounds if you don’t have the finances for your dream tech stack quite yet. For example, if you’re testing an evergreen webinar for the first time but don’t know how it will convert and don’t want to invest in a platform like Ever Webinar, you could upload the video to YouTube or Vimeo and then just embed it on to a landing page your customer can access after they opt in.
Maintaining your automated sales funnel in the long run
So now you’ve gotten your funnel all set up, launched and it’s out there in the world. What do you need to think about moving forward to maintain it in the long run?
Check your funnel metrics for regular maintenance
The first thing you should always be doing is checking your metrics to make sure that everything is going smoothly and people aren’t getting bottlenecked or held up at a specific point in the funnel. If people are dropping off, where are they dropping off?
For example, you can look at email open rates, the number of attendees, and more to see if people are steadily moving through. Maybe you have a lot of registrants to your webinar but not a lot of people are actually showing up – perhaps that email is going to spam? You can implement some quick and easy fixes to these problems, like mentioning that the email may have ended up in spam on your thank you page, to make sure everything runs smoothly.
If you invest in a webinar platform, you’ll be able to use their analytics to see where people stop watching, how much of the webinar they watch, and more – use this to go back and optimize your webinar based on the data that you see there.
Finally, check out pages are another place to be checking your metrics – you can use this to see what the drop off rates are there, check for broken links, and more.
Keep testing your funnel on a regular basis
While you should have done some robust testing during the showcase phase, you want to make sure that you continue to go back and test on a recurring basis.
Angela recommends testing every month, once a month, all of the different scenarios. Add this as a task in your project management systems to make sure you’re not forgetting!
If you’re using Zapier, you should also be regularly checking the task histories because sometimes you can see when there are zap errors and this could be another possible gap in your funnel.
Finally, don’t forget to double check your paid software plans. Let's say you sign up for the basic plan of a certain software, there's probably limits to how many contacts you can have, how many like automations you can have, and things like that.
If you're noticing that you have to upgrade your contacts, maybe you need to add a task to purge your cold contacts every so often so that you're not paying for them all this time. Similarly, if you’re regularly reaching your task limits in Zapier you may want to upgrade your plan so you can handle all of the traffic that’s coming in.
Using tech to customize or enhance your customer experience
Another great thing to think about when it comes to your tech is how you can leverage it to customize or enhance your customer experience.
There are some really simple ways to do this, for example if you’re collecting email addresses, also collect their first name so you can personalize emails directly to your audience.
Some of this requires a bit more automation but will greatly improve your customer experience, for example you can add steps in your email automation to remove your contacts from the sale sequence after they’ve purchased. No one wants to keep getting sales emails after they’ve already purchased something.
You can also include an option to allow people to opt out of your sales and marketing emails and still stay on your list if it’s not a great time for them to buy.
Tagging is another important thing you should do – the more you tag the better you can segment your list. So you can tag when they’ve registered or signed up for your opt-in, if they’ve purchased your product, and more. This will definitely make your communications more effective and stress-free in the long run!
What are Angela’s Favorite Tools?
Angela shared a few of her favorite tools here – remember that even though she loves and uses these, that doesn’t mean they are perfect for everyone! Make sure you’re trying out each software and it works for you!
- Active Campaign
- Check out pages – ThriveCart
- Opt ins – Lead Pages
- Webinars – Ever Webinar
- Opt in quizzes – Interact
- Deadline Timers – Deadline Funnel
Bonus! Angela’s Least Favorite Tools:
All-in-one tools and tools that are already connected are not what Angela would recommend even if you’re just getting started. An example would be a tool like ClickFunnels, which feels clunky and will not scale as your business grows.
Platforms like ClickFunnels are also a recurring cost, which may get pricey, especially when you can purchase other platforms that are a one time payment (for example, ThriveCart).
If you’re really looking for an all-in-one platform, Angela says she’d recommend a platform like Kartra.
Learn More about Tech and Automation from Angela
Don’t forget to grab her free Evergreen Funnel Tech Strategy Guide (scroll down to the bottom of her website!), which will cover the first step of the 4S framework described above – it’ll help you get super clear on your funnel strategy and customer journey before you build out any pieces of your tech and automation!