Episode 21: Membership Site Segmentation with Kirk DuPlessis

Episode 21: Membership Site Segmentation with Kirk DuPlessis

Kirk DuPlessis of OptionAlpha.com talks with Chris Davis about how he uses ActiveCampaign, along with his membership site, to achieve measurable results.


Chris Davis interviews Kirk DuPlessis of OptionAlpha.com, to learn more about how he uses ActiveCampaign and his membership site to increase engagement, upsale, manage advanced segmentation, as well as manage cart abandonment.
Kirk DuPlessis can be found online at OptionAlpha.com.
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Chris Davis: Welcome and thanks for joining me for another episode of the ActiveCampaign Podcast. [00:00:30] In this episode I have the pleasure of sitting down and talking with Kirk DuPlessis of OptionAlpha.com. We’re going to go inside of his business and do a breakdown of exactly how he’s using ActiveCampaign along with his membership site to increase engagement, upsale, do advanced segmentation, as well as cart abandonment. This is a very special episode [00:01:00] in what I hope to be a series of special episodes where we get to pull back the curtain of other business owners so you can see for yourself some of the tactics, strategies and approaches that they’re using in their business to achieve success with ActiveCampaign. I really hope you enjoy today’s episode.
Welcome to the ActiveCampaign Podcast, Kirk. I am so glad to have you on today. For all of you who are listening, I know you heard the intro but I [00:01:30] just want to say it one more time. Today we have none other than the Kirk DuPlessis on the podcast today.
Kirk DuPlessis: There’s only one of me so if there’s just one, [crosstalk 00:01:41] only one.
Chris Davis: There’s only one. Kirk, how are you doing?
Kirk DuPlessis: Good, man. It’s so good to be here, Chris.
Chris Davis: Great. Great. Tirk … Tirk. Kirk.
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah, that’s my other name. Yeah, it’s Tirk.
Chris Davis: Right. Right. Right after the big intro.
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah. No, it’s cool. It’s whatever. Yeah.
Chris Davis: Tell us a little bit about your company.
Kirk DuPlessis: My company’s OptionAlpha. We run a online education and software company. Really we’re focused on the individual investor, specifically in the options trading niche. Once you realize that you can’t do stock trading and that it’s really hard to day trading and everyone fails at doing that, eventually people start transitioning over to options. That’s where we come in. We help people learn how to do it and then we provide tools to help them make smarter trades. That’s our whole shtick.
Chris Davis: Interesting. Now, is that [00:02:30] your professional background? Did you come from kind of like the trading industry professionally, or is this something you stumbled upon?
Kirk DuPlessis: A little bit, yeah. I went to a very high end school and I graduated with finance degree. Eventually worked on Wall Street. I was in M&A as an investment banker, literally on 60 Wall Street for Deutsche Bank for a while. Then eventually decided I did not want to work those hours and basically hated the job structure and everything that was there. I basically moved up to New York because [00:03:00] everyone else in the industry, at least in my school, was doing that. That’s what you did. You just graduated and you went to Wall Street. I eventually left that and was a REIT analyst covering real estate investment trusts. I was one of those guys who would publish a report and say, “Buy this stock,” or, “Sell this stock,” or whatever. Eventually decided I didn’t want to do that either. But in my time in New York I got a rotation on a trading desk, so I was able to see how a trading desk worked and worked there for a little bit with a team. That’s [00:03:30] really where I got my introduction I guess and kind of my feet wet with options trading. After I left the REIT industry I’ve just been trading by myself and on my own and generating a full-time income from doing that. That’s really where my background is. A little bit of the institutional side, but a lot has been trial and error and research and kind of persistence I guess.
Chris Davis: Nice. What I really love about hearing about your transcending to the online space is that [00:04:00] it’s not until recently, and by recently I mean like the last five or six years, and we’re just starting to see hints of it, with people willing to not only teach but learn options trading online.
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah. Yeah, the options industry, it’s a dinosaur. They’re probably just getting into the things like Myspace and then will realize eventually that it’s gone. It’s so backwards, the technology, and most people, they don’t think about doing [00:04:30] trading online or even trading from their mobile device, right?
Chris Davis: Yeah.
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah, the options industry, it’s growing fast but it’s still well behind the curve of what people are traditionally doing. We’re hoping to bridge that gap a little bit and kind of make the community aspect of it a little bit similar.
Chris Davis: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. You’re like the one that broke away, broke the mold. I think we’ll understand why after this question, but describe [00:05:00] to me what your marketing was in the early stages before you were using ActiveCampaign just kind of when you had this idea that, “Hey, I want to try this online thing with this trading options.” What kind of tools, what kind of strategies were you using at that point?
Kirk DuPlessis: If you want to really rewind it was almost 10 years ago that I started a Google Blog for those of you who were around enough to hear of a Google Blog. I was literally just posting my ideas and comments, because I just had to have some medium besides talking to [00:05:30] myself in my head. I just posting and people eventually started asking like, “Well, why’d you do this?” I got sick and tired of writing emails and that eventually led to videos and then courses. I was like, “Well heck, there’s a lot of people that need help so maybe I can, you know, really, really help out.” I started putting all these things, courses, online and I think what made us different initially and I guess still does today is that we don’t charge for any of our training and education. We’ve had institutional traders go through it. We send [00:06:00] hedge fund managers through our training. It’s high-end training and we don’t charge anything for it because I don’t need to make money that way, right? I make money trading.
Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kirk DuPlessis: I was originally using things like MailChimp and just trying to piece and hack things together as you know. It just wasn’t working. People would go through and I’d have to move them from list to list to list based on what course they were in. There was really no way to effectively segment people coming in. It was just people come in and the system assumes that everyone’s at the same level. Obviously [00:06:30] as you know that that doesn’t work extremely well. Sorry, my wife called in. That’s just I guess a live podcast.
Chris Davis: There it is.
Kirk DuPlessis: This is how it works, right?
Chris Davis: Yep.
Kirk DuPlessis: I assumed that people are on the same level systems-wise, and I know people aren’t, right?
Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kirk DuPlessis: People come in at different education levels and you have to be able to track that if you really, really want to make a difference. You can’t throw somebody into the deep end that has no idea what options trading is. Likewise, somebody who’s coming in who has tons of experience, you can’t start them with the basics. [00:07:00] They’re good. They need to fast forward much quicker. Eventually we made the switch over to ActiveCampaign and it’s literally been night and day difference for our business.
Chris Davis: Great. Great. Yeah. There was a lot. There was a lot right there and I want to kind of dissect a little bit.
Kirk DuPlessis: Sorry. Yeah, dig in.
Chris Davis: Yeah, right? Kirk, you were not afraid, intimidated, overwhelmed by putting your ideas in the form of written pieces online using a Google Blog at [00:07:30] the time. Were you always kind of technical, or was there a certain point where you just got comfortable with the internet, or what was that?
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah. Oh my God, no. Well, if you see my original Google Blog, which I think is still up there but I won’t even say what it is because it was just terrible and poor design and everything, but no. I wasn’t technical at all. I think that’s how most people start is that they just want to share whatever they’re doing, right?
Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kirk DuPlessis: Either share their journey or their successes or failures or whatever, [00:08:00] and that’s literally what I wanted to do. I had literally no intentions of ever doing what I’m doing now, but I love it obviously and kind of fell into it.
Chris Davis: Yeah, it’s a pure pursuit to serve and help others with valuable insight.
Kirk DuPlessis: Yep. You got it.
Chris Davis: It’s no more complex than that, and if we break down the DNA of every business, I believe you’ll find that at the core of the successful ones who have a model like yours where, “Listen, I don’t have to nickel and dime you for everything.” [00:08:30] Right?
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah. You know, to the that point on the business end of it, I tell people it’s a 10 year overnight success. People look at us now and they’re like, “Oh my God, I get it. Now I need to do this,” but it takes time, right?
Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kirk DuPlessis: You have to build up a reputation and you’re obviously not charging for that. But the beauty of it is now is that we get hundreds of people who sign up every day and we pay nothing in advertising. Okay, maybe we spend $50 and promote a post here and there on Facebook, but no ad spend on Facebook, no ad spend [crosstalk 00:09:00] Google, [00:09:00] no nothing.
Chris Davis: Beautiful.
Kirk DuPlessis: It’s like referrals, social shares, SEO content, all the things we know we should be doing. It’s just that people don’t have a long-term perspective in mind when they get started, and they need to.
Chris Davis: Yeah. I love how you state that. It’s your reality. It’s not how you’re stating it. It’s just you’re speaking the truth. Everything that you just named off are the effects of having a dialed in message packed with value in front of the right [00:09:30] audience. You can’t substitute that and I think a lot of people are going to ads for the quick victory, the quick win, the quick traffic, and it’s just like, listen if you focus, it may take some time. Like you’re saying, Kirk, it may take some time, but if you build-
Kirk DuPlessis: Oh, it will take some time. Yeah.
Chris Davis: Yeah, it will, absolutely.
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah. No, I’m like yeah it’s going to take some time. You just have to have enough persistence to get through it. Yeah.
Chris Davis: I love it, man. I love it. I am a fan. I am a fan before the podcast.
Kirk DuPlessis: Hey, you can sign up for a free membership.
Chris Davis: And [00:10:00] I will. And I will. Kirk, so there was a point in time as well where as you mentioned earlier you were using multiple lists and you were moving people. I get that. That can be a bit frustrating, like moving people from list to list, but at what point was it that you started to understand the power of having a more dynamic segmentation capabilities within your email marketing system? Was it like a webinar, was it a blog [00:10:30] post you read? What was that defining moment?
Kirk DuPlessis: You know, I knew that I always needed to do it to be honest with you. My wife is a teacher, so I always would lean on her for ideas and putting the … I never put together a course. What the heck do I know about course and training and education. I really leaned on her for that end, and I guess her teaching me was that people learn at different levels and at different paces and different types of content, which is eventually where all of this evolved out [00:11:00] of. But I always knew that I needed to do it. I think just at some point it just became overwhelming like we were talking about earlier with our website theme and stuff like that. It becomes overwhelming and the moving back and forth and kind of hacking things together that I realized, “Look, I got to just like bite the bullet, really dig in for like a week or to and, you know, put something together that’s much more segmented, because I want to give people the right content. You know, once you do this then the nest step is this.” People want to be led down a path, right?
Chris Davis: Yeah.
Kirk DuPlessis: Like I don’t know who the author but of that great book, it’s [00:11:30] like, “Don’t make me think.” People want to be led down a path, and so that’s really kind of where the whole system evolved is through tracks on our website and education journeys I guess.
Chris Davis: Great. Great. I love it. I am an advocate of listening to my wife as well.
Kirk DuPlessis: That’s right.
Chris Davis: Whether they’re a silent advisor or they’re actively in the business, it’s amazing how much insight they share, and that make so much sense for you to be able to utilize that teaching background [00:12:00] and reinforce what you already know. Like you said, it was in the back of your mind. You knew at some point, “I need to be doing something a little more dynamic,” but with everything going on as we have as business owners, our website, and producing videos, podcasts, XYZ, a lot of times that’s easy to get pushed to the back burner. I’m glad that you were able to not only give ear to what your wife was saying but actually take it and run with it. Essentially that is really what led you to ActiveCampaign, right?
Kirk DuPlessis: Right. [00:12:30] Yeah, well because what I wanted to know is I wanted to know where people are when they come in, and then based on the type of content that they consume, that will either move them faster or slower through the journey. One thing that she always would say with students of hers that were bright and smart is like, “You’ve got to move them faster.” They have a desire, a strong desire for content.” I think the downfall of using something like at the time like a MailChimp, and I don’t know if they do that now. I don’t even check, but [00:13:00] at the time a MailChimp was like I could not speed up their learning process, right?
Chris Davis: Gotcha.
Kirk DuPlessis: It was at my pace that I set up, which was basically like every day or every other day based on whatever the autoresponders went out at, but if they wanted to progress faster they couldn’t. That stifles growth and it stifles their ability to learn at a faster pace if they needed. Now, the people who are learning at the slower pace then they’re going to just move along at their own pace. That was really key for us because then we were able to get people in front of the right eventual [00:13:30] research or tools that they needed at the right time. We didn’t pitch it too early, we didn’t pitch it too late. It was literally at the best time for them where they were in their journey.
Chris Davis: Wonderful. Wonderful. In the vein of segmentation, because I know you have many levels, many levels of segmentation. I was just browsing your site and I could just see like oh my gosh, there’s multiple levels. But at a basic level we can start with, and maybe we’ll go deeper, but that we’ve [00:14:00] already identified the slow and the fast path, right?
Kirk DuPlessis: Yep.
Chris Davis: Which listeners, you all should have a slow and fast path. You should always assume that somebody’s coming in and they’re ready to go, they’re ready to go. Then you should also assume that there are going to be many people who are not ready to go. I think that’s like your first means of segmentation is like, “Okay, do I have a fast and slow path set up?” Now, what other segments have you found to be most valuable in your process?
Kirk DuPlessis: [00:14:30] You know, I think for me it’s about consumption. We do a lot of the website tracking, like have they visited this page or that page, and that adds certain tags in the ActiveCampaign system. Once people are consuming different types of content, that’s when we’ll start dripping out new offers basically. Our business model is the freemium model for sure. Like everything we have training-wise and content-wise is free, and then what we do sell is we do sell software and research [00:15:00] that we do. We should sell that stuff because it’s higher end stuff. Based on the type of content that they’re viewing and the tracks that they’re watching and where they are progressing through, that’s when we’ll move them to a different segmentation track to okay, now they need to go through the official launch of this product because it’s good for them right now, or they need to go through this before they go through that, right?
Chris Davis: Nice.
Kirk DuPlessis: I think it’s really asking a lot of those question. I mean, come on. That’s what I always tell [00:15:30] people, put yourself in the shoes of somebody who’s going through this. Pretend you’re slow and need hand holding. Okay, what does that look like? And pretend that you’re just somebody who’s like, “Don’t talk to me, like let me go through my own crap and like buy it.” Because there’s people who just fly through it and they’ll buy everything you have. You just got to give them the opportunity to do that. I think if people just lay that stuff out it makes so much more logical sense than probably how people are doing it now, which is one email every other day, right?
Chris Davis: Yeah. I love what you mentioned. [00:16:00] It’s segmentation by consumption, right?
Kirk DuPlessis: Right. [crosstalk 00:16:05]
Chris Davis: It’s beautiful. It’s automation art. You’re giving them this environment to play around freely in. Like, “Here’s your ticket,” right?
Kirk DuPlessis: Yep. Or time. Or time. So like if you watch a webinar, that to me is a higher level of consumption than if you were to just click on a blog post. If I know that you visit and watched the whole webinar, man you’re [00:16:30] speeding up. If you watched the whole webinar, you got a lot of stuff and so now you’re skipping stuff, right, and you’re moving fast.
Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep.
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah. It’s consumption and time I think.
Chris Davis: Yeah, and I love how you’re using multiple means. A lot of people rely so heavily on just email opens and clicks as their means of segmentation. I get it because a lot of platforms are limited to that, but when you do have a platform that can tie into more of your marketing assets, more of the technology [00:17:00] that you’re using, it increases your ability to segment easier. You mentioned it and I want to kind of shed some light on this. When you’re able to do segmentation at the level that you are, based on their rate of consumption, it now positions you to be able to put the right offer in front of them.
Kirk DuPlessis: Yep. Well, exactly. And to frankly just know how to respond to them. Sorry, I got like a tickle [00:17:30] in my throat. That’s what it is I guess. Again, live podcast. But yeah, I think for webinars in particular, I always used to hate getting emails from people like, “Thanks so much for watching the webinar.” I’m like, “I never attended the webinar. Like come on.” You know what I mean? People appreciate that now. I always send a lot of emails that’s like, “Hey, this is automated but I know that you did this,” right?
Chris Davis: Yeah.
Kirk DuPlessis: They’ll reply back an they’re like, “Hey, it’s cool. I know it’s automated but it’s really cool that you also know exactly where I’m at.” They feel like they’re really personal [00:18:00] care and personal attention. Yeah, I subscribe to it a million percent.
Chris Davis: Yeah, it’s amazing because I know even the space of marketing automation is fairly new. I would say that the adaption has really increased in the last five to six years. In the earlier years when I was doing consulting, a lot of peoples’ fear was that, “Oh, I can’t automate. I can’t have robots. It needs to be personalized from me. Everything that I need to do, I have to do [00:18:30] it,” right?
Kirk DuPlessis: Right. Just don’t fake it, right?
Chris Davis: Right?
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah like, “Hey, this is an automated response but …” I always say like, “This is an automated response, but I am here if you hit reply.” Then so I’ll have people reply and they’re like, “Kirk, are you really there?” I’ll probably have like 15 of those a week. They’re like, “Is this really you?” I’ll reply like, “Yes. It is [crosstalk 00:18:48]” They’re like, “Oh my God, no way.” That’s all it is. Just don’t fake it. If it’s automated, just kind of play with it almost and tell them it’s automated.
Chris Davis: Absolutely, and you stay genuine. Automation [00:19:00] is not about removing the personal touch or whatnot. It’s really improving it. You’re using it in such a way so genuine so that when people do say, “Hey, Kirk, is this you?” just a simple one word reply, “Yes,” goes a long way, right?
Kirk DuPlessis: Yep. Yeah, they just want to know. Yep. Yeah. They just want to know. I even play with it. I’ll even send out an email that says like, “Hey, my super fancy pants like automation system saw that you didn’t sign up for a webinar.” Then some people will be like, “Oh, well awesome. Like I didn’t know you had [00:19:30] a super fan …” and they’ll play around with me. I don’t necessarily care for that, but they just know that it’s automated and it’s fine because it’s tracking them and it’s trying to help them.
Chris Davis: Yeah. Yeah, so here we see a break from the term “fake it til you make it,” you know?
Kirk DuPlessis: Right.
Chris Davis: You don’t have to fake it. Just focus on making it and making it in a genuine way and you won’t have to fake it, and people will appreciate it. Your automation, even though they know, even myself, I mean I’m in this space, I get automated emails all the time-
Kirk DuPlessis: [00:20:00] Oh, all day.
Chris Davis: Yeah, and some of them are written well. You’re like, “You know what? I know this is automated but I’m clicking this link,” or, “I’m doing this.” It really-
Kirk DuPlessis: Well, because it speaks to you.
Chris Davis: Yeah, it speaks to you.
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah, it’s got to speak to you at the moment. Yeah, exactly.
Chris Davis: Absolutely. So tell me one of the major benefits, especially when you’re using segmentation the way that you’re doing with the membership site is the ability to upsale. Now, when you’re doing your upsales, is it the way [00:20:30] of are you dynamically showing content or are you strategically placing links where someone clicks and it takes, “Hey, you need to upgrade to access that”? How are you merging the two of the segmentation and the membership site to increase your upsales?
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah, so I think it’s both things, right?
Chris Davis: Okay.
Kirk DuPlessis: For me it’s the website, dynamic content, right?
Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kirk DuPlessis: We’re showing different content at different levels and different days of membership. That’s all done on the website, right?
Chris Davis: Nice.
Kirk DuPlessis: Like [00:21:00] if 30 days in they get shown different content. If they’re 10 days in they get shown different content. But then on the back end what we’re doing with that is we’re also tying that in to tags. If they are 30 days in and they viewed this page as a member in ActiveCampaign, great, then they get a different tag. That tag might say, “Hey, now they’re 30 days in. They viewed XYZ content, now push them through this like sales funnel basically.” You know like upsell funnel or whatever the case is. [00:21:30] We do a lot of that.
We use a lot of the website tracking stuff to track which pages people have or haven’t been to to send automated and replied emails like, “Hey, we noticed that you grabbed XYZ product but you didn’t grab X. Why?,” or, “Here’s the benefits of doing it, plus a link with a 10% off,” or whatever the case is. The website tracking thing in conjunction with the emails has been really, really good. One of [00:22:00] our signature and software pieces and research reports that we wrote, I mean we get a lot of sales after people view the page or even view the checkout page but don’t actually go through with it, and so our automated back end, that says like, “Hey, what as wrong? Was it our fault?” It’s usually just this stupid little question that they have or they didn’t see or some little minute issue, but if you’re able to actually send them a quick email that says like, “Hey, we noticed you tried to check out and didn’t. Did something happen? Did you have a question?” It’s a simple question we answer it, done, [00:22:30] and they’re through. I think it’s that combination of website plus email that really makes the difference.
Chris Davis: Great. I really love how you’re … A lot of times when people are talking about website tracking, they’re really thinking about their blog and their website. I don’t hear it spoken about enough of how you can leverage it with a membership site as well in the exact consumption model that you are, because now I’m not limited to just email opens. I can see hey you visited page [00:23:00] A, B, and C, and then you left at D. What happened? Hey, what’s going on?
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah, and I think the key there is just to ask yourself what should happen after each page? Our website is huge as far as content, but it’s very systematic and structured so I know after 80% of a course they should be getting to course completion, ane if they don’t get to course completion then something’s wrong and I need to either do a better way [00:23:30] of pitching it or redo the video or just send them an email and say like, “Hey, you forgot to complete the course,” whatever. Yeah, I think just tracking people through their own journey I think is easy to do and just ask yourself where should they be and why are they not progressing? Sometimes again, it’s as simple as just sending them a quick email that says like, “Hey, we noticed you didn’t do this. What’s up? What’s going on? How can we help?”
Chris Davis: Yeah. Oh man, I love hearing people who know what they’re doing, [00:24:00] and by that it’s, Kirk, you’re really dialed into not only your product offering, you understand the value and you also understand the consumption rate, like the average consumption rate. When you’re that well-versed with your business, the model, the audience and whatnot, that’s what really positions you to have the amount of success that you’re having with marketing automation, because you know it’s all in your head. Like [00:24:30] you just mentioned, hey it’s been X amount of days and they haven’t consumed over 50%. Based on my knowledge, right, I know something’s wrong.
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah.
Chris Davis: Most of the times it’s this, so how can we use automation to really solve that issue right there dynamically, not only for this person now, but for the people who are going to have that same trend coming in in the future?
Kirk DuPlessis: Yep. Exactly. You got it, man. I mean, it’s all about just like again, walking through that whole funnel, pretending that you’re a client and [00:25:00] asking yourself questions at every page really. It’s like, “What should I be doing next?” The whole don’t make me think model. If they slip then you should be there to catch them, and that’s your whole goal as a business owner is to be able to move people down the track.
Chris Davis: Nice. Nice. Just for review everybody, we’ve got Kirk DuPlessis here, and he’s gone through the importance and the power of segmentation. The model he’s using is segmentation by consumption and how that [00:25:30] positions him to be able to more accurately put the right product in front of people. There’s not as much weight on the front end to have them buy everything, right?
Kirk DuPlessis: No way.
Chris Davis: Like, “Just give me $2000 right now please.”
Kirk DuPlessis: No way. No, yeah no. Honestly in its most I guess pure form is like I don’t want any weight to be on the front end. I tell people all the time, “I want you to self-select to be in our program.” We don’t have 30 day trials. We don’t even have money-back guarantees. I openly say that to people [00:26:00] not because I don’t think our stuff is great, but when people get to the level that they want to jump to the next level or buy a software or buy a serv … they know that they need it and they know exactly what they’re getting, and we get no complaints about that. None, like none. That’s totally different too. We’re not pitching everything like, “Oh, 30 day trial. Money-back guarantee.” We actually say like, “Hey, we promise that we will not give your money back,” unless you’re really ticked off. I think I’ve had two people who were like, “This is totally terrible.” I’m like, “Fine. Go.” Whatever. But people like that. They want [00:26:30] to know that they’re buying something that I believe in and they’ve worked their way up to that point at which they need that.
Chris Davis: Great. Great. There’s one more thing. We’re getting close here but I’m really enjoying it so I’m going to give myself permission to go over a little bit.
Kirk DuPlessis: You can do it.
Chris Davis: All right. Thank you, Kirk. Cart abandonment has been kind of one of these things that I’m seeing trend up. It didn’t have a lot of weight beforehand because it was really exclusive to like e-commerce [00:27:00] platforms, but as the space has really opened up, the technology has advanced, cart abandonment has now become one of the core things that people look for like, “Hey, didn’t even realize people weren’t checking out when they got to my page.” We have checkout page SAAS products built specifically for that, right?
Kirk DuPlessis: Right.
Chris Davis: What are some strategies or some tactics that you’re using to mitigate the cart abandonment?
Kirk DuPlessis: I think cart abandonment in and of itself I think is just about making sure it’s [00:27:30] clear what they’re getting when they get to the cart, right?
Chris Davis: Yeah.
Kirk DuPlessis: Like what are they getting, what are the terms, what’s the price, couple testimonials, right? That’s the first thing on the page.
Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kirk DuPlessis: For us on the abandonment, we just use again for our flagship research products and software that we have, we just use like a simple email that goes out. I think it goes out maybe like an hour or two hours after somebody abandons a cart and they don’t reach a certain page or have a tag added in the system, right?
Chris Davis: Yeah.
Kirk DuPlessis: It’s just a simple email just again, [00:28:00] like help clarify like, “Hey, you were looking at this. Clearly you’re interested. Here are the benefits. What happened? Send us an email. Let us know.” This is where we also then start filtering in a little bit of advertising. The little bit of advertising that we spend is all on retargeting for abandonment. That’s really where we make our money advertising, because I don’t care about the front end. The front end to me we’re getting naturally and at a good pace. For me it’s just about using specific advertising for [00:28:30] abandonment and kind of like integrating it with ActiveCampaign and the software that we use for Facebook ads.
Chris Davis: Yeah. I like how you break down abandonment. Essentially somebody got to the page and they didn’t continue, right?
Kirk DuPlessis: Well, they had question, right?
Chris Davis: Yeah. Absolutely.
Kirk DuPlessis: Whatever question they had, it caused them not to continue. Your job is just to either figure out what question it was. Usually it’s do I really need this, or have other people been [00:29:00] successful using this? Those types of questions. I think if you can answer that, it only takes I think one email. People don’t want to get bombarded. I won’t want to get bombarded by 15 cart abandonment emails. We only send out one and it’s very specific. Says like, “Hey, this is the only email you’ll get, but we just want to know what’s up.”
Chris Davis: Yep. I love it. I love it. Again, it’s staying true to using the features that’s available [00:29:30] to you, that you’re comfortable with. You’re really maximizing the website tracking and tagging functionality. By that I say that to you listeners to know that you don’t have to use, and I think nobody will ever use, all of any platform, but it’s really understanding your needs, how you need to run your business, and then using those features that best help you do that in a means that’s natural to you and the way that you market in your business.
Kirk DuPlessis: [00:30:00] Right. Well, and so for us the next step from here, just because we’re obviously constantly improving, is if they don’t open the email, that’s abandonment. Let’s say it takes like three hours and they don’t open that email then we’ll send them a message if they’re on the website. I like that new feature, and I want to integrate that even more to like, hey if they’re already on the website, why not send them a message that says like, “Hey, you forgot this in your cart”? That’s a stupid simple thing you can do, right?
Chris Davis: Absolutely.
Kirk DuPlessis: I’m sure adding that in could be, I don’t [00:30:30] know, whatever percent increase in sales just from that.
Chris Davis: Yeah, and now that you mention it, that was the exact reasoning for us creating site messages was for that. There are going to be some people that engage with your emails and that’s going to be the way to reach them. Then there’s going to be some people who are engaging with your with assets, and if you have a membership site, oh my goodness. I would dare to say you may see more engagement from a site message than an email just because, right?
Kirk DuPlessis: Oh, I plan that. Yeah, I plan. [00:31:00] Now that it’s rolled out and we’re starting to think … We have a big whiteboard here in the office and we’re now kind of rethinking our funnel and how we can integrate site messages in there because yeah, most of our people, they’re spending three and four hours at a time watching videos and going through courses. Why couldn’t we have a little popup that says like, “Hey, is email everything good?” or, “Hey, share this with a friend?” Like, “What can be improved?” For us it’s more of a feature of how can we improve what we’re doing, and just to let them know that we’re always there, [00:31:30] again as a means to help if they slip and fall.
Chris Davis: Absolutely. I love it, Kirk. I want to thank you so much for all of the insight that you shared. I am exercising discipline here because I can literally talk to your for hours, and I know our listeners would benefit from it. Perhaps this is the meaning of having a part two to this, but if you were to give Kirk of 10 years ago, if you were able to speak to him and tell [00:32:00] him, “Hey, this is what I would do,” what would you say to those users who are new to ActiveCampaign, maybe they’re in a familiar space of you where they have a email marketing system that’s limited, or they’re just new to the space in general? What’s the best advice you would give somebody to achieve success with ActiveCampaign?
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah, so I think the thing that I did wrong initially was I started building funnels [00:32:30] in ActiveCampaign on the website. I think that that’s the wrong way to go about it because I think what you have to do is you have to build the funnel on the website once you have the funnel in place. What I literally did, and this is so embarrassing, but it is what it is, but I literally took note cards and wrote like, “Okay, email number one about this,” or about whatever. Like, “Move to automation.” I literally took note cards and laid out all over my floor the entire funnel for somebody coming in. I used my little girl’s [00:33:00] princesses, like little dolls. I was like, “Okay. This is a advanced user. Okay, so they come in and then they do this, and then they do this.” I think that is a lot easier to move cards around and stuff like that. I know it sounds crazy, but that is literally the best thing that I did.
Once I did that, I did that for like a day and a half, moved cards all over the place. My daughter’s princesses made the track all the way across the funnel. Once I did that it was so much easier to look at that and then start building it in ActiveCampaign. [00:33:30] Because I’m not a technical person by any stretch and so building out an automated system with yeses and nos and conditionals and everything, yeah well I think it can be really intimidating. For me it was better to visually see it on the floor with all these note cards before I went in and started building it. After I did that then it was much, much faster.
Chris Davis: Wow. I love it. I am a big advocate of analog before digital. The clearer you are in the analog, the much more effective you’ll be in digital. That’s amazing, man. When you’re saying [00:34:00] that I’m kind of envisioning all of these note cards with the little princess dolls.
Kirk DuPlessis: Oh, it was crazy. There were different colors. I had like 10 different colors, whether it was an email or a promotion. I get crazy with that kind of stuff, but yeah. Once you visually lay it out … That to me helped me too because then I filled in gaps on the website that I didn’t have, right?
Chris Davis: Yeah.
Kirk DuPlessis: Like pages for success. I needed to know that somebody completed a course, so I didn’t have a course completion page that said, “Congratulations. You completed the course.” [00:34:30] I’m thinking to myself like, “Well crap. That’s stupid. I should have something that tells people they completed the course.” That kind of helped also fill in the gaps of stuff that we needed.
Chris Davis: Wow. Wonderful. I think that, man, I can’t stress enough, you have done all the right things. Now, I’m not saying it’s easy and I’m not saying you knew it all, but if people really listen to this and understand the intangibles that you mentioned, you see a lot of ads and a lot of webinars, and people [00:35:00] are not talking about the note cards, right?
Kirk DuPlessis: No.
Chris Davis: They’re not talking about that process.
Kirk DuPlessis: Trust me. Trust me, and I’m not taking pictures of it and posting it. It was incredibly embarrassing to see all these princess dance around these cards, but yeah. I think that really, really thinking about your customer and their journey I think it a thou … I know because, I mean look, we do multiple seven figures in our business and so for us it’s way more valuable for us to really think about the customer journey than to focus on split testing ads. [00:35:30] Let’s get real. I didn’t make my money in this business split testing ads. I made it by delivering really, really good content.
Chris Davis: That’s it. That’s it. Beautiful. All right. Well, Kirk, how can people learn more about you and your business or stay connected with you?
Kirk DuPlessis: Yeah, the best way is just our website, optionalpha.com. I’m on all the social media profiles @optionalpha.
Chris Davis: Great. Great. Well, thank you so much. I will say to our listeners in my parting words in the spirit of what really catapulted [00:36:00] Kirk, listen to your wife, my friends.
Kirk DuPlessis: That’s right. That’s right. Happy wife, happy life.
Chris Davis: Listen to your wife. There it is. Thank you so much, Kirk. I really appreciate it.
Kirk DuPlessis: Awesome. Thanks, Chris.
Chris Davis: All right. Wow. What a podcast. What a treat. I am so thrilled and so appreciative to have Kirk on to really give us some insight on what he’s doing in his business, how he’s leveraging ActiveCampaign, [00:36:30] and to give you ideas of how you can do the same in your business. In fact, if you’re already doing that, if you’re already an ActiveCampaign user and you’re using our platform for great success and you would like to share that, I would like to extend an open invitation, an empty seat for you to sit in here at the ActiveCampaign Podcast as a guest. In order to do that, all you need to do is visit activecampaign.com/podcast/guest. [00:37:00] Fill out that form. You’ll get in contact with me individually and we’ll be able to schedule, get it recorded, and you could very much be the next podcast that we publish about your business.
I love doing these, just providing more insight, right? Real-life case studies of the power of the platform, as well as marketing automation. If you’re not subscribed to the ActiveCampaign Podcast, please do so. Please [00:37:30] go into your iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and make sure that you are subscribed so that you don’t miss an episode. For those of you who have been listening for a while, please do the same. Go to those same places and leave us a five star rating, leave us a comment. Let us know how we’re doing. It really helps spread the word and gain visibility on our end. If you could do that, I’m very appreciative. This is the ActiveCampaign Podcast, the small business podcast [00:38:00] to help you scale and propel your business with marketing automation. I’ll see you on the next episode.

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