Listen to Andrew Brockenbush’s appearance on the ActiveCampaign podcast.

His t-shirt design did $100,000 in sales, so he left his career at Apple.

In 2012, a friend asked Andrew Brockenbush to help design a t-shirt. After it did $100k in sales, Andrew, a corporate trainer at Apple, knew he had to re-examine his career.

When the same friend tried to hire him, Andrew said no: “I’m not going to work for you, but I will open my own business because that’s what I do.”

“I kind of just learned along the way, like I think a lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs do. We kind of go with the flow.”

Andrew left Apple and launched Beefy Marketing, an inbound marketing and web development company based in Houston. Beefy Marketing helps small business owners generate leads through “growth-driven design.”

Keep reading to learn how Andrew:

  • Invested in the right tools for his business
  • Created a welcome series that shows each person what they want to see
  • Provides a great customer experience (hint: it involves pizza)
  • Uses automation to make his business run more smoothly

What happens when you choose the wrong technology?

To build something, you need tools. The right tools. A business is no exception. (via GIPHY)

At first, Andrew built Beefy Marketing’s based on whichever tech was the cheapest (or… free-est). After all, his business was brand new. Why spend money on marketing tools when you can get them for free?

But building a website through free plug-ins and a free flash builder meant tools that didn’t talk to each other. In turn, that meant a disorganized experience — for both Andrew and his potential clients.

When you have a website, you need your tools to talk to each other. Otherwise…

  • People fill out a form and never get added to your email list
  • People on your email list get prompted to sign up for a list they’re already on
  • Leads, new business, and customers slip through the cracks — and you never even realize it

A team of one, Andrew knew he had to find a more efficient way to run his business.

“I finally made the decision to say, ‘Hey, you know what? You have to invest in yourself. You have to invest in what you’re doing.’”

And when he got new tools, things started to change:

Business was better, but his tech still had a major gap — he couldn’t use it to automatically onboard new clients.

“We were having poor customer experiences and lost money — just because things were not automated,” he explains. “If you didn’t have a full-time employee that could build these automations out for you, you were just out of luck.”

He needed a tool that would help him create a “killer personalized onboarding and customer journey.”

Enter ActiveCampaign.

“You guys had the best automation features that I had seen,” says Andrew. “And it was highly intuitive.” With the right tools under his belt, Andrew was ready to build a better customer experience.

Do you welcome your customers as well as you could?

“A lot of times people get a little nervous about automation because they feel like it can come off robotic. And it can feel not organic and not natural.

But the way it works in ActiveCampaign is, based on a user’s next step, or next action, we can actually stop those automations from going altogether so that we can take over.

The human can take over. A real perfect mix of human and technology.”

Andrew built his onboarding series with three goals:

  1. Focus on the first 90 days — when customers’ opinions of your business are “set in stone”
  2. Personalize the journey based on customers’ actions
  3. Only send content that’s relevant to each customer

Welcome emails have a higher open rate, making them a great tool to build relationships with your customers.

The average email open rate? 21%. At 82%, welcome emails fare way better. (Source: Oberlo)

But welcoming your customers isn’t enough — you have to get personal.

Personalization is key to building customer loyalty. In a study by Marketing Insider Group and One Spot, 78% of people said personally relevant content from brands makes them more likely to buy.

With that in mind, Andrew built a personalized welcome series for new customers. Using automation goals, he tailored the content to each customer based on their actions on his website.

How can you send personalized content based on a customer’s actions?

  • If a customer keeps visiting your web design page, you can send them an email showcasing your web design work
  • If a customer keeps visiting your free consultation form — but doesn’t sign up — you can send them an email asking if they have any questions
  • If a customer repeatedly visits your inbound marketing page, you can send them a case study on an inbound marketing client

“I think we’re on the verge of personalization being so, so important. We can’t just speak to the masses anymore, we have to speak to the individuals.”

Learn 6 ways to automate (and personalize!) welcome sequences with ActiveCampaign.

Turning customers to promoters (Who doesn’t love a pizza party?)

“How can I leverage technology to support my growth and to make sure that my customers are always served first?”

After the first 90 days, Andrew’s team uses ActiveCampaign to automate an absolutely critical business initiative: pizza parties.

Personalized experiences like pizza parties can transform the customer experience from “okay” to “amazing.” (via GIPHY)

Here’s what happens when a client launches a new project — a new website, logo, etc. — with Beefy Marketing:

  1. The project manager tags the client with “launched” in ActiveCampaign
  2. ActiveCampaign automatically notifies Beefy Marketing’s social media manager
  3. The social media manager reaches out to the client to schedule a pizza party
  4. Once scheduled, the social media manager tags the client with “scheduled”
  5. An automated email encourages the client to share photos of the party on social

You can get the pre-built version of this automation by clicking here.

The pizza party automation doesn’t just surprise and delight customers. It helps Beefy Marketing increase visitors to their site, too.

“We genuinely do want to celebrate with our clients, but at the same time, all those social shares really help for organic growth and SEO,” says Andrew. “Suddenly that customer goes from just a normal customer, to, say, a promoter.”

How automation makes business run more smoothly

“We are really utilizing these automation sequences and ActiveCampaign to help us move our internal processes. To keep our guys from getting bogged down with processes that don’t really need to be happening.“

What do you do when a client won’t give you the information you need to finish a project?

This is one of the key logistical challenges that Beefy Marketing solves with automation.

For web designers, getting content from clients can be a major challenge. Beefy Marketing project managers sent 2-3 emails every week chasing down content. That’s billable hours wasted every week – and it didn’t even work that well.

With ActiveCampaign, they can get the information they need from clients automatically:

  1. The project manager tags the contact with “waiting for content”
  2. The tag triggers an automation reminding the client to send content to the project manager
  3. Once the project manager has everything they need, they remove the tag
  4. If the client doesn’t respond, the automation sends another email with tips on providing content

You can get the pre-built version of this automation by clicking here.

Since setting up this automation, Andrew’s team has seen an increase in client responses — and a decrease in wasted time.

How did Andrew and the Beefy Marketing team master automation?

Automation can grow your business — but only if you know how to use it.

Andrew attends one-on-one meetings with our client success teams to learn how to make the most of his ActiveCampaign account.

“I can hop on with somebody and make sure that I’m setting my software up the way I really want it to be used, and I don’t have to pay extra for that.

I don’t have to pay another contractor on some contracting site to do that. That’s extremely valuable.”

Andrew transformed from a beginner solopreneur to running a successful marketing agency. Along the way, ActiveCampaign gave the Beefy Marketing team valuable time to grow their business and delight clients.

His advice to fellow small business owners?

“Start simple. Start on a whiteboard. Start on a piece of paper. And think through what your customer journey’s going to look like. Think about what your internal processes look like.

And then hop inside of ActiveCampaign and see how easy it is to take all the stuff that you put on paper and really digitize and automate. And I think you should take advantage of those one-on-ones with the ActiveCampaign support team.”