Facebook Live Recap: Kelly O’Connell on Goal-Oriented Automations

Facebook Live AMA on goals and automations
Kelly O’Connell is a Solutions Architect at ActiveCampaign, and works with partners and customers to help them make automations that connect with other systems. She also builds a lot of the automations for the ActiveCampaign team to use internally.
In this Facebook Live AMA (which you can watch here) she talked about how to create goal-centered automations.

What’s the difference between goal actions and an automation with a goal?

I like to think that every automation should have an objective or desired outcome. You’re trying to get whoever is in that automation to do something. You can call that a goal, an objective, a conversion—whatever you want that to be.
A goal action is a specific feature we add to an automation in ActiveCampaign. It’s an action you can add to automations that tracks whether people are reaching the goal you set for your automations.

How do you determine the best goals for an automation?

Ultimately, you want to think about your customer life cycle. I’ve worked with a lot of people who say “my goal is to get someone to purchase something.” That’s great, but there are probably a lot of steps for people to take before they actually buy.
So think about all the different steps you might need someone to achieve before they buy—you can set a goal action to track any of those things. That might mean leaving an online review, or some other smaller “conversion” before someone reaches the larger goal of a purchase.
Even after people purchase, you can set other goals related to repeat purchase and other sources of revenue.

What are some of the things
you can tweak or test in your automations?

Too often, I think people set up automations that work reasonably well and just leave them. But I think there’s a lot of opportunity to go back and optimize old automations to get better results.
Don’t go in and change everything about your automations at once, because then you don’t know what works.
But you can tweak:

  • Wait times between messages
  • Email content
  • Email subject lines
  • Form of the message (email, site message, text message)

Think about one or two things, test that, and then use those results to inform your next test. I like to schedule in times to test automations.

What have you seen go wrong
when setting goal-oriented automations?

I sometimes see people set goals or objectives that are too lofty or really vague. Things like
“I want to make more money,” or “I want more engagement.”
So when you build out automations, it’s hard to see how you’re going to have an impact on that goal.
A more specific goal makes it easier to map out exactly what you want your people to do, and what steps they need to take in the customer lifecycle.
Be very clear, measurable, and direct with the objective you want to set.

Are there any cool automations you’ve seen people use?

Some of the coolest automations are the simple ones. I’ve worked with customers to use lead scoring as a counter (e.g. how many times does an event happen within a specific date range).
Another cool way to do things is to use webhooks to send data out of ActiveCampaign and into other data tools, to get cool reporting insights.
Once you come up with the thought process behind the automation, the automation itself looks pretty simple. But those simple automations are still really cool.

What’s the theory behind
building small automations, rather than huge ones?

I call it “chunkifying” automations. Chris Davis calls them modular automations.
What happens sometimes is you look at an account and see absolutely massive automations. When you look at those automations, you get lost. They’re huge and hard to figure out what’s going on—it’s hard to tie specific goals back to the automations.
It takes hours and hours to build these automations. And once it’s built, it’s really hard to edit without affecting the whole automation.
When you use modular chunks, it makes it easier to edit your automations and test to see what exactly is working.
When you break out your automations, you can get reports on more specific segments. And you can test parts of your customer lifecycle individually.
That helps you find where people drop out of your lifecycle, and helps you ultimately turn more people into customers.

How have you seen this approach to automation
help ActiveCampaign users?

The first thing is that it makes it much easier to get up and running. You can set up one step at a time instead of needing to build this automation behemoth all at once.
This modular approach to automation has also gotten a lot easier with the release of Automations Map.
You can learn more about Automations Map here.
As an overview—the Automations Map makes it easier to see how all of your automations are connected to each other. That means you can see your whole lifecycle at the same time, and it makes it much easier to edit your lifecycle down the line.

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