Episode 26: Repeatable Crowdfunding Success with Chris Prendergast

Chris Prendergast, educator and creator and CEO of JamStack, talks with Director of Education and podcast host Chris Davis about the strategy behind his hugely successful crowdfunding campaign.


Chris Prendergast provides immediately actionable tips for building and nurturing an audience ready to contribute to your cause. Listen in to learn how an educator created a product and raised more than $215,000 in funding for its creation.
Learn more about Chris’ campaign here, visit JamStack online, and follow @jamstackamp on Twitter.
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Chris Davis: Welcome to the ActiveCampaign podcast. This episode, you are in [00:00:30] for a treat. I have entrepreneur and ActiveCampaign user, Chris Prendergast, of JamStack. He was featured in entrepreneur.com of how he successfully exceeded his crowdfunding twice – not once everybody; twice. He’s going to give us the blueprint of how he did it and spoiler alert – it evolves around the usage of ActiveCampaign. [00:01:00] So let’s jump right into today’s episode, and enjoy learning from Chris.

Chris, welcome. So glad to get you on and talk about your business and some of the successes you’ve had. Tell us a bit about your business.

Chris Prendergast: Yeah, okay. So we started on crowdfunding; we did two crowdfunding campaigns. Essentially what we are is a portable guitar amplifier and that’s pretty fun and different than everything else that’s [00:01:30] out there. It attaches onto any standard electric guitar body. It’s very similar to a lightweight Bluetooth speaker, and then it uses your smart phone for effects and recording and all of that stuff. So yeah, I invented it, and we went to crowdfunding, and we’ve been pretty successful so far.

Chris Davis: Yeah, so there’s two elements to this thing. There’s the invention element, and then there’s the successful crowdfunding. Lets break both down. Where did you even have [00:02:00] the presence of mind and confidence to say, “Hey, I’m seeing a problem. I think I can invent the solution.”

Chris Prendergast: Sure. Yeah. Well it took actually several – there were several little steps. I mean, maybe some people have this one epiphany, but it was iterative. Actually, four years before I ever invented the JamStack, I actually built just like a custom guitar itself. I drilled a big hole and put a speaker in there [00:02:30] and had a 3D printed phone mount and realized that, I was playing guitar, I was frustrated I couldn’t bring it everywhere and there was so much equipment. I literally had the thought, “I wish I could put everything in my guitar.” And then I was like, “Hm. Wait a minute. Maybe I could.” And I was always a tinkerer and it was really – it wasn’t about business at the time. It was about, can I make something really cool that, if I show my friends, they’re gonna be like, “Whoa, that’s sick.” And enjoy it for myself. So it started there.

[00:03:00] I didn’t know anything about business. I was teaching. I honestly just kinda let it die. Some people were like, “You know, you should maybe pursue this.” I was like, I didn’t know what the first step to do was. So then fast-forward a little bit. I actually built a better one a couple years later, again, for fun. Kinda had an epiphany that, “Wait a minute.” Before it was all custom parts, but I was like, “Wait a minute. These little Bluetooth speakers are amazing. What if I used that instead? It would be cheaper and lighter and sound better.” So I did. [00:03:30] I built that. I started showing people, and people started getting really excited like, “This is freaking cool. You have to kinda do something with this.” At that time I knew a little bit more about business. I was a little bit more confident. And then I saw this crowdfunding campaign.

I was just starting to get going, and then I was doing my research like, “This has to exist somewhere.” And then I saw, it was like the month before, someone had done something similar. It was very version of kind [00:04:00] of what I had where it was a phone and a custom guitar. And they did really well, so it was a really mixed emotion time because I was starting to really get excited about it, but then I was like, “These people beat me to it, kind of.” But, it also proves that I was right, that people did want something like this. It could be successful and viable, and if I did decide to do something similar, I’ve got my validation right here. Like, “Look, these guys made money.” [00:04:30] You know what I mean? Which was really lucky if you think about it, ’cause they can be like, “Look, people want this.” I don’t have to try and sit and here and go, “Look, guitar players are gonna like this ’cause of a, b, c, d,” and then whoever I’m working with is like, “I’m not a guitar player.” Maybe. Maybe not. So that was lucky.

Chris Davis: Yeah. No, that is spot-on thinking. I mean, where the average entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur would look at that and would be frozen by exactly what you said, like, “Oh, it already exists. Somebody beat me.” [00:05:00] And they can use that as an excuse to not go further, but you flipped it and you said, “Well hey, well look. This is validation. People are looking for solutions in this area.” I feel like it’s every product creator or entrepreneur’s dream, is to be able to put up an Indiegogo or a Kickstarter campaign and see it supported beyond the initial funding, and the reality [00:05:30] is, that’s not the case. It’s like the MBA, right? All the kids at the playground are playing basketball in school, but there is only a small percentage that are actually gonna make it to the MBA. And you were able to break through, and actually have two right?

Chris Prendergast: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Davis: You had two successful rounds of funding through crowdsourcing, and just for everybody listening, what was your strategy to making sure [00:06:00] you didn’t end up as a statistic on the wrong side?

Chris Prendergast: Yeah, yeah. No, it’s tough. It’s a lot tougher than people think it is. Even having a great product is not enough. I got an awesome crowdfunding manager, Kirsten Ross, and she explained a few things. There’s a lot of pillars of success. She’s like, “It’s very algorithmic. It’s not something that you just kinda throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and hope that it works.” Like, you need to gain this a little bit and there’s a lot of aspects to that. [00:06:30] The most important of which, is having a massive first day. If you have a massive first day, then what happens is the website itself, where there’s a Kickstarter, Indiegogo says, they’re constantly seeing what’s hot, what’s blowing up, because they want to maximize their own revenues, and they realize that, these big campaigns is where they get most of their money.

So if something’s doing really well, they’re gonna start featuring you. They’ve got email broadcast, they’ve got home pages, they’ve got things running off the top of their banner. [00:07:00] There’s a lot of ways in which they can support you if they feel like you have a chance of really hitting this out of the park. So then, okay, well how do you have a massive first day? You can’t just hope that things are gonna take up like this. You have to have a bit of an explosion. So what you do, is you set up the landing page, where you just have a very very simple explanation of what your product is. You run, usually, Facebook ads to drive it there, and you ask people to sign up. Usually, you [00:07:30] give them something; not always. Sometimes you say, “Look, if you sign up to my email list, before the pre-order, so you’re really early, we’re gonna give you like 40 percent off.” Or something crazy like that.

Chris Davis: Wow.

Chris Prendergast: ‘Cause those people are so important to you, you’re not making money off of these people. You’re just trying to really get a huge amount of numbers, so what you’re doing, you don’t just want to have those people’s names; you need to indoctrinate them, because it’s one [00:08:00] thing having an email, but actually getting that person to put their credit card details into that site, they have to be familiar with you, they have to trust you, you want them excited, and validated, and all these things.

So you come up with a strategy, and ActiveCampaign is where you set up a sequence; it’s called an indoctrination sequence, and people from crowdfunding know this … That you know, as soon as that person emails, they get, “Hey, thank you so much. We really appreciate this. We [00:08:30] really need your support, and thank you so much for being here. Have you seen this cool looping video that we did this one time, or whatever it is.” Or “You know, you should like – here we have a private Facebook community where we’re talking about this. Come over and join-” so everybody – and then a couple of days later, they get another one, “Hey, just wanted to let you know about this cool thing … And only a couple of days left.” You’re just constantly, constantly communicating with them. And of course you can broadcast any time anything exciting is happening with your campaign, and then [00:09:00] by doing that, you have a couple thousand people who are just super antsy, really to buy your product. That is one of the central pillars of all crowdfunding.

Chris Davis: Wow, that was a lot. You said a lot in terms of – I hope everybody understands this – you started before the campaign.

Chris Prendergast: Oh, you – oh.

Chris Davis: Right?

Chris Prendergast: Yeah, [00:09:30] yeah. Planning months before, actually paying for Facebook ads weeks before – three weeks before. Oh yeah. Oh yeah, like if you try and build an audience on crowdfunding, you will fail.

Chris Davis: Wow. Chris I love it. Oh my goodness, I love it. Because seriously, people get the wrong impression. Right? They’re seeing you or all of these other feature products that make it, and they’re thinking, “I just [00:10:00] need to get on Indiegogo with my amazing product, and that will be me.” It’s like, no. This man was very methodical; very strategic, with creating that momentum by leveraging marketing technology like a landing page, running ads, so you already have a group of people, ’cause like you said, they may agree with the idea, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they agree with paying you for it.

Chris Prendergast: Yeah.

Chris Davis: Right?

Chris Prendergast: Yeah.

Chris Davis: You have to build up to that, [00:10:30] and you have the presence of mind to do that, right? Using a platform like ActiveCampaign that allowed you to, like you said, stay on top of their mind, just kinda say, “Hey, this is what we’re doing now, and hey, tell some friends about it.” And really keep that excitement going into the campaign.

Chris Prendergast: Yep.

Chris Davis: Wow, that’s amazing man. Hats off to you. Now, your background is in engineering, right?

Chris Prendergast: That’s right.

Chris Davis: Engineering and teaching. [00:11:00] So tell me this; how did you feel about taking on the tasks of marketing and scheduling, and how did you balance that with the other day-to-day aspects?

Chris Prendergast: Right, so marketing was very new to me. At first, it was something that I didn’t know if I would be very good at, but essentially that becomes the whole job for a little while, right? So, I fought to take it on. For me, trying to be an engaging teacher, I kinda [00:11:30] realized that I was always trying to market to my kids anyway to make something exciting. You know, I was always trying to spin something or come up with a way to make it engaging. So it wasn’t a huge step away, I think. I was able to kinda empathize with what my audience was once I started to understand who they really were, like their age group and how they think. And test; obviously testing things was huge, and seeing what worked.

[00:12:00] But yeah, I don’t know. It wasn’t super different than teaching, really. On the market side. Like you said, there’s two different things here. There’s developing a good product, and getting it made, and then there’s marketing. I feel like the engineering piece was the product, and the teaching piece kinda was the marketing and communication, and managing a team. Making a good teacher makes people feel a part of something … Makes people feel like you care about them … Which is all the same [00:12:30] thing you gotta deal with your audience.

Chris Davis: Yeah, and what I like about this is, I feel like entrepreneurs and business owners like yourself exemplify the new age of marketers. That’s people who value communication and true relationship building. You said something; you said, “Once I understood my audience,” and you used the word ’empathy.’ That is huge, because often times people hear about stories like this and they want the success so bad, [00:13:00] they just skip over that.

Chris Prendergast: Yeah.

Chris Davis: They could care less who they are, they could care less what you’re going through, just give me money.

Chris Prendergast: Yeah, right.

Chris Davis: Just give me money. And I like how you started out. When we first started talking about your success, you said it wasn’t even about the money in the beginning. I was literally just trying to solve a problem and then kind of build – see if people were even interested in me solving this problem for them. You know?

Chris Prendergast: Yeah.

Chris Davis: So yeah, I think that people who operate with integrity and [00:13:30] with a level of empathy and sympathy for – in times where they can empathize, just naturally, tend to take to marketing, you know, a lot easier, because they realize, “Wait a minute. This is still relationship building. This is still communication. The method has changed, and the means have changed, but this is still very similar to what I’m used to doing.”

Chris Prendergast: Yep, absolutely, absolutely.

Chris Davis: Great. So I would imagine it’s the engineer in you that made technology [00:14:00] less overwhelming, if it’s safe to say.

Chris Prendergast: Yeah, yeah. Because – yeah. When someone throws a new piece of software at my face, or a new concept, I don’t get intimidated by that anymore. I’m just like, “All right. Let’s figure out how this works.” And then I just learn it and do it, so I know a lot of people get intimidated. I think – and I honestly see it all the time; I see it in teachers too – that before they even give it a chance, they just get all kind of like … [00:14:30] It’s just the wrong technological self-confidence. They just self-identify as someone that’s gonna have trouble with something, and I think if you just … Even if it’s not your strength … Just not going into technology with that predisposition is important for a step, because it’s really not that bad when you get into it.

Chris Davis: Yeah, absolutely. And I know it’s not uncommon. In fact, we promote it so that most of our users – [00:15:00] all of our users really – they use the best of the breed of other tools, and we ensure that you can easily tie them in to ActiveCampaign. So can you tell us a little bit about the other marketing tools that helps you in your day-to-day?

Chris Prendergast: Totally. So there’s a whole bunch. For the first – for our landing pages, which plugs again, right into ActiveCampaign, where you can do testing, which can be really important. Like, you might notice – this isn’t true for everything – but you might notice that [00:15:30] on one version of your website where you have your email bar on the left side with your test, versus on the right side … One’s converting at like 40 percent and one’s at like 2 percent, so that can be, just based on the people’s experience or the clarity or where their eyes go, and blah blah blah. So it’s really important that a couple of core concepts of your site you test. So we use both ClickFunnels and Unbounce. They both work really well and plug in really easily to [00:16:00] ActiveCampaign to collect that data. So I would recommend trying those out.

For our task management we used Asana, which a lot of people are actually starting to use right now. Which really helps, ’cause what was happening, we were using Facebook chats and Skype and chats and there was Google Doc links and everything was kind of everywhere. I was constantly, “Hey, can you send me those passwords again, for this thing?” It was a huge pain in the butt, so what Asana does is all the resources are in the same place [00:16:30] as the task, and you can see other people as they’re getting work done. You can, “Oh, okay. Cool. That’s done. Now I can get this done.” Anyway …

Chris Davis: Nice.

Chris Prendergast: I think it, yeah … Really helped us. So I would recommend that. Slack, I think everyone is starting to use Slack for the communication channels. First we just used Facebook, but we found that if we used Facebook for other communication and just … Slack was very … Just campaign stuff. It weeded out a lot of [00:17:00] the junk and it made it easier to have all these little groups and it didn’t matter who they were; we could invite them in. So that was really huge. Obviously, if you don’t know Photoshop, I think you’re gonna have a hard time. You’re already gonna have to spend a lot of money on getting someone to – there’s just a lot of graphic design crap you gotta do. You don’t have to be amazing at it, but you should probably know a little bit about Photoshop.

Actually, just recently, now that my project’s getting a bit more complicated, the last thing I’ll say is Wrike – W- [00:17:30] r-i-k-e. It allows you to create flow charts, and things that are dependent on other things, and you can just take your whole project and just kinda visualize, “Okay this is gonna happen till then, and then I can do this.” Yeah, so it’s like a whole timeline.

Chris Davis: Wow, that’s actually a new one for me Chris. I’m gonna have to check that out. I’m a big visual person, and to be able to see a bird’s eye view of your project, all its dependencies … Just to kinda be aware of [00:18:00] how things are going to progress, as well as how they are progressing, could be huge. Wow. That’s a good stack. That’s a good stack.

Chris Prendergast: Yeah.

Chris Davis: So tell me this; I know that you starting this crowdsourcing endeavor was kind of like your entry, your gateway into ActiveCampaign, like the awareness. I know your manager brought the awareness to you. But as a busy [00:18:30] entrepreneur, how do you find it fits into your daily life?

Chris Prendergast: Sure. To do the things manually would straight out not have been possible. So I was working at the time, full time. So full time job, doing this nights and weekends, lunch time, that kind of thing.

Chris Davis: What was your job? What was your job Chris?

Chris Prendergast: Teaching, yeah. Teaching elementary science, yeah. Yeah, yeah. So yeah, the [glitterly 00:19:00] – [00:19:00] if I needed to be able to set things up in certain amount, in a certain way, and have that automated, and also be able to see, “Look. It’s working.” I had to trust these contractors running ads for me because a, they were really good at it, and b, I didn’t have the time. But I could see, everyday – even on my phone – I could see, oh great. We’ve got another 300 emails today. I can see that our ads are working. I know that those people are getting [00:19:30] communication automatically, ’cause I could spend a Saturday morning kinda writing the sequence and setting the timelines for how that all worked. Yeah, it would not – email marketing, I don’t think I could’ve ever done without something like ActiveCampaign.

Chris Davis: Yeah, and here’s what I like about this, ’cause it’s not often spoke, right? A lot of times, people are like, “Start your business. Quit that job! [00:20:00] Take control of your life.” But, for a lot of us, our business becomes a necessary obstacle, for the lack of a better term, because it was literally taking the majority of your day, so it wasn’t like you had just all day to kinda figure out. So off hours, and you have a family … Like, you had to be very … Your execution had to be tight.

Chris Prendergast: Yes, [00:20:30] actually. Everything that Kirsten brought to me, or anyone brought to me, was like, yes. I had to be very, very selective with what I engaged with, and I only – and actually, I hated it at the time, but I – someone brought this up – is that it did help me hyper-focus, and just be like, I didn’t waste any time on things that I knew were not really high-impact. So that’s the only things that I did. Yeah, that’s a really good point.

Chris Davis: Yeah, and [00:21:00] it’s often overlooked. You know, people are looking at their job. “Oh, the second I’m done with this job I’ll be able to go into my business 100 percent and really get things done.” And I subscribe to the idea that you need to earn that right, right?

Chris Prendergast: Sure.

Chris Davis: If you can’t manage the three to four hours that you get after work, or before work, however you want to do it, you’re not – you don’t deserve eight to nine to ten hours. You know?

Chris Prendergast: Sure, I can see that. And I think [00:21:30] most people should approach it that way and it should get to the point where you’ve got so much traction, and so much validation, whether it’s just straight up money or relationships, that jumping ship just becomes something that you just have to do, and it’s not even almost a worry at that point, because you’ve built up to this level where you’re just kinda stepping off one platform onto another and then you’re off to the races.

Chris Davis: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely man. So as [00:22:00] you’re more familiar with the platform as far as ActiveCampaign, you’re definitely more familiar with the crowdfunding process … What stage are you in right now?

Chris Prendergast: So our campaign just ended a couple of days ago, which is awesome. Still, always always communicating to your backers and trying to give them updates to the factory side of things. So that’s one thing. But there’s also a huge other – we’re working on a lot of branding and stuff right now, [00:22:30] so there’s a lot of meetings around that, trying to get our aesthetic. We want to have an awesome Shopify site coming up soon.

Chris Davis: Nice.

Chris Prendergast: I am working with the industrial design from [Telepedius 00:22:40], trying to get this made. They’re taking a lot off my plate, but it’s me just kinda giving them my input there. And also working on some investment as well. We’ve got an investor, and we’re just getting our – a lot of boring crap too, like agreements and contracts and things. [00:23:00] But, yeah. A lot of little random kinda bits and bobs kind of everywhere. But, my main focus will be obviously making sure that this is a quality product. But again, I’ve got a partner who’s helping me with that. But then, just creating a Shopify site that’s just world-class, where [inaudible 00:23:19] experiences fantastic. It’s very clear and easy to use. Initially I thought, you know, I’ll just kind of like hire [00:23:30] an agency to kinda do this for me, but, the more and more I talked about people who are really doing it, and really killing it in the spaces … No one’s going to understand it and put as much effort as you are.

Chris Davis: There you go.

Chris Prendergast: There’s somethings – actually, you know what; it’s a period of self-discovery for what is my job now? Because my job before was everything, but as you grow, I have to decide, and carve out, what am I – so there’s employees, there’s contractors, there’s you, and then there’s your [00:24:00] other partners. And you gotta decide, “What am I contracting? What am I learning and doing myself? And what am I hiring employees to do that I can’t spend my time on?” So I’m trying to figure that out. I’m trying to figure that out.

Chris Davis: Nice.

Chris Prendergast: I think, communication I want to keep doing. Marketing, I think I need to keep doing.

Chris Davis: Yeah, absolutely. We often talk about all the hats that you wear as an entrepreneur starting out. And the goal is never to keep those hats on.

Chris Prendergast: [00:24:30] No, you can’t.

Chris Davis: It shouldn’t be the total.

Chris Prendergast: But you need – but you have to understand each one because you’re not gonna be a good manager; you’re not gonna choose the right person if you don’t even understand what that task was in the first person. 

Chris Davis: Absolutely, like you need to be able to tell the person. If you’re taking the hat off, you need to be able to tell the other person how to wear it.

Chris Prendergast: Sure.

Chris Davis: Right? Okay, this is what you need to do to keep this hat in shape, for the most part. Man, that’s great. So, in your experience with ActiveCampaign, [00:25:00] and oh, even before I go there, I was excited to hear you say Shopify, since we do tie in to Shopify. That’s like another boxed check that you don’t have to worry about, right?

Chris Prendergast: That’s right.

Chris Davis: With getting information from purchasing, because with Indiegogo, it was a manual process to get the contacts in ActiveCampaign, right?

Chris Prendergast: That’s right.

Chris Davis: That’s right. So now it would be good because when they purchase on your Shopify site, you no longer have to have that manual link. [00:25:30] But, is there any particular type of email or just any strategy or tips and tricks that you found to be the most effective or more effective than you initially imagined when you were indoctrinating your contacts?

Chris Prendergast: That’s a good question. I have some tips for sure. I don’t know if anything surprised me. So, one thing was, obviously, formatted in such a way that it’s not gonna get flagged for any kind of spam. [00:26:00] Like I wanted to include – and I think there’s ways to do this; I’m still getting better at it. But I wanted to include tons of images because it’s like a very visual thing. But like, so I was training myself and kinda did the image thing kinda like off email to make sure that it actually reaches their inbox. So that was something.

Needs to be – oh. I know this sounds so stupid but I would write these blocks of text and it makes it really hard to read. And I really – and I see this every once in a while, but a really good email … Every individual thought needs to have its own line. [00:26:30] So you have a thought, put a space, another thought. That’s very important.

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Chris Prendergast: You only want to tell them maybe two things, and ask of them one. And that’s it. ‘Cause otherwise it’s just overload. But don’t waste an opportunity in an email; if you’re telling them something, it should be always a call to action at the end of that. So it’s all – and it can be any call to act. It doesn’t have to be something big, like buy. It could just be like, watch. Or comment, or like or [00:27:00] visit or subscribe or whatever or tell a friend or whatever. But every time you got something interesting to say, that they’re gonna be like, “Oh, thanks for letting me know,” or “that’s interesting,” then you have an action that you want them to take. That was our email viable, was essentially, following that, always being appreciative, and opening up that box of communication. And be like, “Look, if I’m missing something … If I’m not … Send us an email here.” [00:27:30] That was what we did.

Chris Davis: That’s good, man. I mean, in that you’re displaying a lot of discipline. Like you said, it’s easy to get in there and say, “Oh, these pitches are so beautiful. If they could just see it, I know they’d want to see it. I’ll just put them in the email.” But you know, there are ramifications for such an approach. And for you to be able … You know, I love your two to one ratio. You know, tell them two things, ask one. These are time tested strategies [00:28:00] that anybody listening, anybody watching, could take these and implement them right now. There’s nothing, nothing, stopping them from doing it and seeing the level of success, so. As far as engagement, did you get any responses from your audience? Kind of like, more in disbelief? Like, “Wow, thank you for telling me.” Did you sense them enjoying their indoctrination as well?

Chris Prendergast: Oh my god. Honestly, there were several, actually. [00:28:30] Oh man, I have some cool stories. So there were some several emotional elements to this. So, yeah. I had people write me, and you just think about how many times have you written a company and wrote a few paragraphs and just been like … I have a guy who’s like, “Look, I’m in the military. I’m always traveling. I go on boats and stuff. I’m like, I never get to play my guitar. Thank you thank you thank you so much for making this. I cannot wait.”

Like, I’ve got fifty to sixty of those types of things, and when [00:29:00] the times are really hard and you’re putting all this money and you’re getting into debt, you need a good amount of those emails to be like, “You know what, no. The people want this. It’s gonna sell.” You know what I mean? “It’s a worthwhile investment.” Because you have to be just so so sure, and I got lots and lots of those types of things. At first, when it was really new, dozens and dozens and dozens of people sang, “I’m so so excited for this. It’s gonna change x, y, and z.” Another cool thing that I think you’ll like to hear [00:29:30] about … So, during our first campaign – so the second campaign went really really well. The first one went well; we were hoping for it to be a bit bigger than even it was, even though we did comfortably get passed our goal, but – so what we were thinking was, “Okay, this is going kinda well, but we kinda flat lined a little bit.”

So we actually kinda – we had a list of people that had signed up saying they were interested. So what we did is we sent an email to them. We said, “Hey look, first of all, thanks for being [00:30:00] with us. Blah blah blah. We noticed that you haven’t made the decision to purchase yet. Literally, we’re not trying to get you to buy if you don’t want to. We just want to understand maybe what was it that you were thinking of that made it not worthwhile for you?” Was it price? Was it time? Blah blah blah. I honestly did not expect to hear anything, because … I don’t know. A lot of those times I get – people get a lot of emails – but I got sixty responses from people in the camp, [00:30:30] so I had all this data now, for in the campaign of like, what’s going through people’s heads? What’s not clear to them? They’re just not clear that it sounds great. So I need to go now and focus and really push that to the top of my page, and I’ll have audio samples much more at the forefront. ‘Cause maybe I thought that that was clear, but they’re telling me that it’s not. So yeah. That was really valuable too.

Chris Davis: That’s great, man. You’re using email as it should be. One dimension of [00:31:00] email, yes, is transactional; ask for this x, y, z. But another very strong dimension of email is that feedback loop. Right? Like, get them talking. Get them excited so they can give you information feedback that you can improve your marketing on. So now you’re using your existing database to more accurately reach your nonexisting potential and future database.

Chris Prendergast: Yep.

Chris Davis: Wow, man. Chris, I-

Chris Prendergast: And of course look-alike audiences are, oh man. Yeah, [00:31:30] sorry.

Chris Davis: There’s layers, right? There’s so many layers. But you summed it up when you said know who you’re talking to.

Chris Prendergast: Yeah.

Chris Davis: And understand their pain. And if you own that – we talked about certain things that you can have contractors and employees do – I believe that every business owner’s job, and so responsibility, is to know that. Who is my audience, and what are they dealing with? Just so you can ensure that you’re always [00:32:00] aligned, ’cause you’re the one giving the orders. At the end of the day, you’re setting the direction. You’re responsible for the vision. So understanding that, I know we kind of just kind of glossed over it because you get it, but there’s so many people that don’t. You know, you ask them, “Hey, do you serve?” And they’re like, “Oh, I serve entrepreneurs looking to make a difference.” Okay, what is that? What is a difference? And how do they make it? You know?

So just the fact that you’re able to get really [00:32:30] really targeted. And it comes from you. You experienced the same pain, right? Like, you knew how tough it was playing your guitar without the device that you created. You knew what it was like. Life without JamStack, you were very familiar with.

Chris Prendergast: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Davis: So you could more accurately promise and speak to what they’re going through.

Chris Prendergast: Giving your own customers a huge asset, if you can do it. Yeah.

Chris Davis: Absolutely, so, all right. Chris, I can’t thank you enough. Are there any other thoughts that you have [00:33:00] or bits of wisdom you’d like to share with us before we close out?

Chris Prendergast: No, nothing big. But yeah, I think you emphasized everything correctly. I’ll say one more thing. I think a lot of people, they’re really nervous to open up, and they – ’cause when you open up communication you expose yourself. You’re more vulnerable. People can be critical. It takes a lot of guts. [00:33:30] But, you gotta get over that, and you’re gonna have to – even some people – I don’t know a lot of opportunities that’s just showing people their product they don’t like. And they’re like – or they’re prototypes or whatever, but no. You need to – I know it’s not perfect yet, because you haven’t had a chance to make it perfect, but you need to be proud of your baby anyway, and hold on to the sunlight, and get people – ’cause if you just only show when it’s perfect, you’ll never ever get there. So, just, be brave. Open up communication. Be genuine, [00:34:00] and honestly, even if – there will always be unreasonable people. I get unreasonable emails, unreasonable Facebook comments … But most people are reasonable. The people that are; almost 99.9 percent of those people you can turn around if you give them some attention. And the rest don’t matter. So anyway, that’s will be the last thing I was gonna-

Chris Davis: That’s great. If – I’m gonna ask you one more question ’cause it just hit me. In all that you’ve done, going from teacher to entrepreneur, who [00:34:30] would you say is the one person that has inspired you the most?

Chris Prendergast: That is tricky. I’d probably have to say it’s my crowdfunding manager. And that’s because she was living and breathing internet marketing, she ran a group of internet markers in Toronto, and she invited me there. And I got to see how they think, and how they operate, and the tools that they use. ‘Cause it was like another world. [00:35:00] It’s like stepping into this other dimension of all these people that just work – just have a laptop and that’s their life. And they have these shared co=working spaces, and they sell things online, and I just – and she had a podcast so she is so familiar with all these people that has sass, and she really brought me into that world and I just absorbed – her learning was like a sponge and I kind of became one myself. So, I would say her.

Chris Davis: That is beautiful. And it makes sense, man. It makes sense. And it speaks to the fact, [00:35:30] we can’t do it alone. Everybody; we can’t do it alone. You need a team. And when it comes to automation, automation is just a part of your team. Right?

Chris Prendergast: Sure. Absolutely.

Chris Davis: Marketing automation is a piece of your team to work along with you and all of the other pieces to help them flow in sync, so … All right, with that being said Chris, I can’t thank you enough man. A lot of knowledge. A lot of gems. A lot of gems dropped. So I hope that [00:36:00] our listeners really really take heart and take hold of what you’ve given us. And I’m appreciative of you just being open, and sharing with us. So, thank you so much for that, man. And we wish you the best of luck. You won’t need it, so I’ll say the best of execution.

Chris Prendergast: Okay.

Chris Davis: Going forward and really look forward to seeing how you leverage the platform more and more.

Chris Prendergast: All right. Thanks a lot Chris. Appreciate it.

Chris Davis: All right, Chris.

I told you all. I [00:36:30] told you this was gonna be a treat. I hope you enjoyed listening to this one as much as I enjoyed recording and just getting to meet Chris and talk about his business. We can’t get enough. As entrepreneurs, you can’t see enough success stories; especially dynamic success stories that do things the right way, and Chris absolutely did it the right way by thinking beforehand, using the right platforms, leveraging the right technology … And [00:37:00] the results show it. The results – the proof is definitely in his pudding of results.

So, this is just one episode of ActiveCampaign podcast, and if you’re not subscribed, this should should serve as more than enough of a reason to go subscribe right now. We’re in iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher Radio … Just go out. Activecampaignpodcast.com … You will find the subscribe. If you’re already subscribed, please, if you haven’t, leave a five star rating. [00:37:30] It helps us get the word out, so more people can learn amazing tips, tricks, and strategies for real entrepreneurs like Chris. Additional resources, if you want to learn more about marketing automation and ActiveCampaign, can be found at activecampaign.com4/learn. And every single episode ever recorded for this podcast is available at activecampaign.com4/podcast. Remember, this is the [00:38:00] ActiveCampaign podcast, the small business podcast to help you scale and propel your business with marketing automation. I’ll see you on the next episode.