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Episode 31: Employing ActiveCampaign to Educate & Inform with Lori Taylor

Lori Taylor shares how she uses ActiveCampaign as an education tool in her mission to improve students' access to fresh produce in USDA school meals.

Listen to Episode (43:35)

Synopsis

Lori Taylor of The Produce Mom talks to Chris Davis about her work with the State Department of Education and the USDA to increase the quantity of fresh produce provided in USDA school meals. In the episode, Lori shares the simple email marketing tactics she carries out through ActiveCampaign to advocate for and provide educational content about the fresh produce industry, and to build a community around eating more fruits and vegetables.

Find Lori online and learn more at TheProduceMom.com.

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Transcript

Chris Davis: Welcome to another episode of the ActiveCampaign podcast. Today’s [00:00:30] episode is going to be something that is probably one of the more interesting and less-thought-of features, because of how they are using the application to enhance their reach, and build awareness and momentum around their cause, a cause that is very near and dear to all of us, especially those with children. That [00:01:00] is, helping them take in the right food.

I know, as a parent, I am always thinking about and concerned about the level of integrity of the food my children are taking in. That’s why I’m glad to have Lori Taylor on today, of The Produce Mom, to talk about just that. Lori, how are you doing?

Lori Taylor: Hi Chris, I’m doing great. [00:01:30] Thank you so much for having me on the podcast today.

Chris Davis: Yes, I’m glad to have you, and I won’t lie … when Jessie [00:01:38], our social media manager, sent over your information saying, “Chris I think I found somebody that would be a good podcast interview,” and I looked, it didn’t take me more than five seconds to get excited.

Lori Taylor: Oh good, well thank you. We’re certainly passionate about all the work we’re doing at The Produce Mom, and being at the helm of [00:02:00] it is … I carry a great amount of responsibility, but also an immense amount of pride in the work that we’re doing.

Chris Davis: Great, and it is appreciated, and we’ll talk more about that in this podcast. Everybody, just get ready to be blown away, not only by the cause, but the actual execution of some of the marketing as well.

Before we get into that, Lori, tell us a little bit about you and your background.

Lori Taylor: [00:02:30] Okay, thank you. I got my start in the fresh produce industry, it was about 11 years ago, I started a sales representative at a Midwest distributor for fruits and vegetables. The name of that company is Indianapolis Fruit Company. I loved my job, I loved working directly with produce department managers, and helping them identify what fruits and vegetables they should be offering to their patrons. It’s [00:03:00] worth noting, agriculture as a whole is a very male-dominated industry. At the time, I was the only female in the sales office at Indianapolis Fruit Company, and I was the youngest person in the sales office. I think that alone inspired me to always raise my game, and get as involved and passionate as I could about my career.

[00:03:30] At the end of the day, on paper, my job was basically a data entry type position. I was just at $30,000 a year, and it was … I didn’t have to be as innovative and involved as I was. I certainly wasn’t financially compensated to do so.

Once I had my two children, I was losing money coming to work, because 30 grand goes quick.

Chris Davis: Absolutely.

Lori Taylor: [00:04:00] But at that point, I had worked in the produce industry in the supply chain now for almost eight years, and that point, it’s a part of your heart and soul. I just couldn’t imagine myself taking on another job, nor could I imagine myself walking away from my career. I had a lot of pride in having a job.

That was when I pitched myself to become Marketing Manager of the company. When you’re [00:04:30] at the B2B stage in the supply chain for fresh produce, where the average margin on our products, it floats around 22%. There’s not a whole lot of margin there for marketing expense.

At the end of the day, I ended up getting the job, and under my former employer’s … as part of the structure within my former employer, Indianapolis Fruit Company, that’s actually where The Produce [00:05:00] Mom began. It was my proposal and pitch to the executive board as a way to better market fruits and vegetables to not only the produce industry, people like myself who were sitting at sales desks, trying to make suggestions on what’s in season, and what are the neat brands, what are the hot trends … but also for moms, like myself. And our target consumer is not just moms, but primarily … using the “mom” umbrella as our way to [00:05:30] communicate.

If you think about it, Chris, there’s no place online for anyone to go to get a comprehensive amount of information about the entire produce department. You can certainly opt-in to messaging about Chiquita, and there you will learn a lot about bananas. Or, you can opt-in to Sunkist messaging, and learn a whole lot about citrus fruits, or Ocean Mist Farms, and learn a lot about artichokes. At any given time in the produce department, there’s over [00:06:00] 220 different varieties of fruits and vegetables. I don’t know anyone who has time to follow 220 different social media pages or blogs to learn about the produce department. Us busy lives, we need one single destination.

So that was how the brand was proposed, that’s how it was built. We utilized sponsorships and investment from our growers, because honestly, in the food supply chain, and really I think in almost anything you do, [00:06:30] when it comes to buying a product and selling a product … but especially in food, where the market price is truly dictated by … those are set by market values. It’s a lot like the stock market, your fruit and vegetable is.

You make your money on how well you buy the products. That’s how I pitched it to my executive board. I’m like, “Look, we can work with specific brands and get them to offer our company discounted pricing or ads, in exchange for exposure [00:07:00] on our blog that is consumer-facing, and also a destination for B2B. And then we have a better inbound price, and can make more money on the outbound.”

That’s how I sold the business, and we built it together for three years. They supported me to the highest level. It was just about two years ago, August 2015, when my former employer ultimately said, “Hey, we’re done with this, but we don’t think you should be done with this, you should buy it.”

[00:07:30] The first viral blog that we did on TheProduceMom.com was one that I coined after I closed on the business, or one that I penned after we had closed in the business, and it’s titled, “I Paid More for My Idea Than My Home.”

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative), wow.

Lori Taylor: Yeah, that got picked up in like, Huffington Post and Huffington Post Women. It was an instrumental piece of content, and our ability to capture [00:08:00] an audience outside of the audience we already had. It just goes to show that, at each stage of The Produce Mom, I think there’s a great story behind it, and how the brand came under my ownership, that in itself is a great story. And I wasn’t able to get involved with school food service at the level my heart desired, until the brand was under my ownership.

[00:08:30] Schools and school food service, it’s an extremely important part of not just the fresh produce sector, but everyone in the food supply chain. Schools are a big customer, but there’s a lot of regulations, you don’t make a lot of money off of them, so it’s very rare for anyone to invest a lot of marketing power behind school meal initiatives.

Chris Davis: Yeah, and as you’re talking … there’s so much there that I’d love to dive into, [00:09:00] but we’d probably be here for like three hours. But what is glaring to me is, honestly Lori, a lot of times amongst … I’ll put air quotes here, “entrepreneurs,” there is this theme of, “looking down” on people who work a job.

When I look at your story, which so much resembles a lot of entrepreneurs that I run across more frequently now, is that the job [00:09:30] serves as training grounds and preparation for you to learn and build and grow yourself to the point to where you can take on your own business, instead of just saying, “Oh no, I can’t work a job, I’m not built for a job. I’m not working for anybody.” And then you try to start a business, and you struggle.

So, to hear you utilize that time, like you said, you couldn’t do it to your heart’s content. There were probably many days that you walked into work and [00:10:00] wanted to do more, but just could not. There’s a ceiling you just couldn’t burst through yourself. So when the opportunity presented itself, another thing that stands out in your story is just your willingness to go beyond just the norm. You could have just stayed as a data entry employee. But you said, “You know what, let me get into marketing.” And then you could have stayed in marketing. And then you said, “You know what, I will buy that.”

Lori Taylor: [00:10:30] Yes, I definitely feel like a kindred spirit with any entrepreneur I meet, even though my story and my pathway to owning the business is a little bit different than some of the other startup owners that I meet, certainly the grit and the pathway, it really isn’t that different.

Chris Davis: Absolutely, I would agree. And hats off to you, because hopefully your story is enabling for anybody [00:11:00] listening right now that is right in that position, where they may be working and working towards something … you just have to hang in there a little bit longer at times, and keep your mind open for opportunities that present themselves for you to …

I would imagine even when you bought it, even when it was presented, when they said, “Hey, look, we can’t take this any further,” there were probably still some thoughts in your mind, doubting. [00:11:30] Right? “Can I really do this?”

Lori Taylor: Yeah, and those doubts haven’t gone away. On any given week, I’m at the peaks and the valleys of the entrepreneurial journey, and I think that’s just part of it. You just have to make sure that you have a really well-defined mission and vision, and that’s what gets you through.

And, high moments, moments like this. My opportunity to meet people like you, Chris, and share my story with the Active [00:12:00] Campaign podcast. This is a great opportunity for me, and something that invigorates me and keeps me moving forward.

Chris Davis: Absolutely. I know, when I visited your blog … and this is to speak to, like you said, “Where are you going to get all this information, in an easy-to-follow, well-assimilated and very appealing manner?” When I went to your blog, the first thing I saw [00:12:30] were these graphics of monthly challenges, and you had … I think it was like, lunchroom examples, or e-books.

I think I clicked on the monthly challenge, and it was just like, “Eat a different vegetable every day.” And I was like, “Wow, right?”

Lori Taylor: Yeah, the Produce Challenge Calendar, it [00:13:00] serves as our content calendar, but it’s also the hub of our community. The hub of our online community is that Produce Challenge Calendar.

Right now in the United States, the Produce Challenge Calendar, it appears when you walk into … the Department of Defense is using the challenge calendar in their United States commissary. So, all commissaries east of the Mississippi, it’s what you see when you walk into the produce department at our commissaries.

We have [00:13:30] close to … I think the last time I checked the number, it was close to 30,000 educators across the United States printing off the Produce Challenge Calendar and hanging it in their classroom, some even going as far as printing out copies and sending them home with children. And that doesn’t even account for our online audience.

The Produce Mom ranks in the top 1% of all Pinterest pages right now. Pinterest has 150,000,000 pages, approximately, and we’re in the top 4,000 pages, [00:14:00] in terms of both followers and engagement. We get 65,000 hits a day to our website, just from Pinterest.

Chris Davis: Wow, that is … that is amazing. A lot of people listening to this may not even be aware that your business, your passion, your cause, is feeding their children. There’s a lot of schools, right?

Lori Taylor: A lot [00:14:30] of schools. Everything, I think, has to start in building blocks. Just like any entrepreneurial journey, you cannot just dive into doing a big national school food service campaign, you’ve got to start more grassroots, and that’s exactly how our journey began. I have served on the wellness committee at Indianapolis public schools here in my hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana, now for five years.

I immersed myself in learning more about how [00:15:00] wellness is promoted to children at schools. And then the next step, I get to meet some professionals that managed the child nutrition programming for the state Department of Education here in my hometown of Indiana. It was through those connections and through those relationships, where The Produce Mom landed a contract with USDA to create a digital curriculum to promote the 2020 dietary guidelines for Americans. That [00:15:30] digital curriculum is serving as a tool for school food service personnel.

So, it’s multi-faceted. One component of our digital curriculum includes basic culinary skills. If you look at the men and women who are staffing our K-12 cafeterias in the United States, the vast majority of the employees have never had culinary skills training whatsoever.

[00:16:00] So we start with culinary skills training, because as I spent time doing that grassroots interaction here in my hometown, I was learning that one reason schools are serving a frozen-form vegetable, or a canned-form vegetable, was simply because they didn’t really know how to prepare the fresh-form vegetable. Not because of cost, or because of access issues, it was a barrier in culinary skills.

So, when we received [00:16:30] that opportunity to create the digital curriculum, I thought, “Phase one has to be culinary skills, and we have to bring in a true professional.”

Working in the food industry, our network of chefs is abundant. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with many of them, and one chef who is just extremely charismatic is Chef Todd Fisher, he’s based out of Monterey, California. Ironically enough his [00:17:00] claim to fame was a TV show that aired on the Cooking Channel called, “50 States of Bacon.”

In a way, he is trying to demonstrate that he’s not just about bacon, you know? But you have to have the right personality to come in and teach school food service personnel. Primarily, and anytime you’re doing work on behalf of the USDA, you’re [00:17:30] limited in where you can take the programming, and it’s usually dictated by what schools have the highest percentage of free and reduced lunch, because that tells us, “These are communities, and these are schools that are integral in the child’s food security.”

Therefore, we’re taking this program to primarily rural and urban school districts. You can’t just [00:18:00] throw any celebrity chef in that environment. The first step was extreme vetting for the personality chef Todd Fisher, he’s amazing. So, he’s our chef for the culinary skills training. That curriculum will be available in full-form digital, probably within the next four months, it’ll be online. School food service personnel actually get continuing education credit hours for completing this course [00:18:30] in culinary skills. That’s wonderful.

The second pase of it includes educating school food service personnel, just like they haven’t necessarily been trained in culinary skills, they certainly haven’t been trained in marketing strategies. A big barrier in school meals right now is … there’s a few things.

First of all, some of these schools are serving a million meals in one hour. [00:19:00] Do they necessarily have time to really put a bunch of energy behind how they are merchandising the lunch? Probably not. They have to really just focus on, “Get the food done, get it on the line, and serve the next kid.”

Regardless, I do believe that children are like all of us. [inaudible 00:19:24] merchandising matters, anytime we’re walking in somewhere where food is being selected or served.

[00:19:30] That’s why, you mentioned, you saw on my website the Smarter Lunchroom Strategy e-book. That’s part of our curriculum. That’s an example of content that we have created for school food service personnel that we would not have been able to create and host on our website without ActiveCampaign.

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lori Taylor: And that e-book, it’s a quick A to Z guide for the smarter lunchroom strategies, which is a national program. [00:20:00] We really broke it down into, “Here’s a very simple way for you to execute this program that was developed by Cornell University that might not be something that the average person in the school cafeteria can examine and then execute.” So, we gave them directions on … almost making it turn-key, for these school food service directors. “Here’s some examples.”

Chris Davis: Yeah, that is … so much there. [00:20:30] What I like about all of this is that you didn’t go small, Lori. We’re not talking about, “I send out a newsletter and I publish blogs.” You do all those things, but your vision is much bigger. If anything, that’s what I want most people to get a hold of is, especially if you have business with a sound cause like yours … start to think, ” [00:21:00] How big can I go?” Because now, there are truly lives that are going to be positively impacted by your marketing.

A lot of times, Lori, the issue is this: you have good cause, no marketing. That’s the combo.

Lori Taylor: Oh I agree, which is one reason why … and kudos to the state Department of Education here in Indiana, because they recognize that. They saw … when you think about a state or government agency of any kind, for them to make a change on their website, it’s like a six- [00:21:30] month approval process. If the state wants me to blast some information out, depending on what the message is, usually we can do it within an hour.

We utilize text messaging alerts. We realize that a lot of the people who need this information, they do not have access to a computer when they’re at work. A lot of the people that are utilizing our community and our hub of information, [00:22:00] they don’t even have work-issued email addresses where they can be part of a distribution list if their employers opts in.

We’re trying to make sure that it’s as easy and omni-channel as possible for anyone involved in school food service to engage with the community we have created. We just launched a cohort on my website, where we’re just basically utilizing a [00:22:30] page within our WordPress site with comments and polling. We’re posting content and then we will send newsletters through ActiveCampaign to remind people to check the website and to engage, share in best practices. We have over 200 school food service directors opted into that. Just with that network alone, that represents over a billion annual school meals in the United States.

What we are focusing on right now … ’cause I think it’s really important, [00:23:00] if you want to gather a group, you’ve got to gather a group around something very specific, and you have to be a solution for that group, or else they’re not going to opt in. There’s way too many things demanding and asking for our attention online right now.

Chris Davis: I agree.

Lori Taylor: What we’ve assembled our group around is, “Join The Produce Mom’s cohort of school food service personnel. We are helping you create your marketing plans for National School Lunch Week 2017.”

Chris Davis: Wow.

Lori Taylor: And [00:23:30] we’re utilizing not only myself and my team, who have been professional marketers now in the fresh food sector for … myself, over five years now at this point … we also have access to marketers from all over the United States that represent some of America’s largest fruit and vegetable farms.

One good example of that is Duda Farm Fresh Foods. They’re the world’s largest grower of celery, one [00:24:00] of the world’s largest growers of radishes. They grow all sorts of different vegetables, and they’re headquartered down in Florida. They’ve been a huge catalyst in our ability to raise the game with this campaign, offering incentives for the people who do join our community, such as equipment needs in school cafeterias. Some people aren’t cutting fresh carrots because, as sad as it may sound, they don’t have [00:24:30] a knife sharp enough to cut through a carrot in a school cafeteria.

Right now, we’re working on a lot of different things that relate to Farm Bill and all of the new policy right now. People don’t realize how … I didn’t even realize it until I got out on the hill and was doing some political action that related to protecting fresh produce in school meals with the new Farm Bill. Right now with the infrastructure [00:25:00] bill, we’ve requested for a sum of money to help better-equip America’s school cafeterias, and it’s essential. There’s a huge shortage in school cafeterias of equipment necessary to prepare fresh food.

Chris Davis: It sounds like you’re growing your base as you’re serving. You continue [00:25:30] to serve the schools, you provide additional tools and resources for them, and you continue that communication through the newsletter. What other marketing strategies are you using?

Lori Taylor: We want to make sure that we’re communicating wherever our constituents’ eyeballs are at. I already touched on what we’re doing with Pinterest, and don’t overlook that, especially if you work in anything [00:26:00] related to food or design. Think about what are the top categories on Pinterest. If you are employed in one of those sectors, Pinterest can be a huge catalyst for you. Even through Pinterest, we’ve been able to share some best practices that relate to school food service.

Certainly social media, I already mentioned the text messaging. We do have, obviously, newsletters, [00:26:30] and through our ActiveCampaign platform, we’ve been able to really identify what type of information our users want. If they’re opting in to our community through the e-book that is all about smarter lunchroom strategies, then chances are, that’s someone who is really interested in school food service. There’s not very many household cooks interested in smarter lunchroom strategies.

We have another really cool [00:27:00] e-book. This has actually been the one that is our most popular one now, and that’s Science Fair and STEM Projects Using Fruits and Vegetables. We appear on the top page of Google search, usually we float between number [inaudible 00:27:16], and that’s only been online for 13 months.

I fully believe in the fact that even though all of these amazing integrations [00:27:30] are out there, incredible platforms, like ActiveCampaign … I could not have done this without ActiveCampaign. But it always, in my opinion, comes back to your content and your messaging. We do certainly invest in making sure that we have great content available, and content that speaks to our multi-faceted audience.

We have a huge audience that is primarily your home cooks. We have another huge audience that is [00:28:00] school-related, whether it’s within the classroom, or within the school food service operation. We have a B2B audience that represents America’s growers, and other people like my former self, sitting in a cubicle at one of these offices who job is to move food from the farm to your household. We’ve got a huge following in that arena as well.

As the brand has grown, [00:28:30] I’ve been able to do more media, lifestyle media like morning shows in the Midwest market. We had a feature in Real Simple magazine not too long ago, where they were looking for a produce expert to answer some reader questions, and they reached out to us. So, it’s really exciting to see our media presence grow.

I think no matter what you’re doing, make [00:29:00] sure you’re creating content and pushing out content that people care about. I think it’s number one.

Chris Davis: Yeah, you can’t over-emphasize that. That’s how you take advantage of today’s Information Age. You have the ability, especially someone like yourself who’s well-seasoned and passionate about a particular subject matter, you have the ability now to put information out there and reach more people [00:29:30] than ever.

I love your multi-faceted marketing approach where it’s not just social media, it’s not just, “Sign up for my blog.” You also have PR, and you’re still doing some B2B, and you also have this education arm. There’s this education program that you’re launching soon that people will be able to enroll in, and kind of go through the course-ware, and it helps streamline the information and sequence all of the information [00:30:00] and content that you’re publishing in a manner in which they can achieve some form of learning. They can learn a particular thing instead of having to try to piece it all together themselves.

Lori Taylor: Yeah, we want to be a solution hub, that’s always my goal. We don’t want to be a recipe website, there’s plenty of those. We’re not trying to compete with those. We want to make sure that TheProduceMom.com is a solution hub for all these different people that come to our website.

If you are looking for recipes, great. [00:30:30] We’ve got you covered. But if you’re looking for information about how your food is grown, facts about farming … if you’re looking for unique ways to get children engaged in the classroom, say you’re a teacher … how do you take advantage of the grant dollars that are out there for the Ag in the Classroom program that’s funded by the Farm Bureau? A lot of teachers cannot take advantage of these programs that help them check [00:31:00] off the academic standards, and also get them some additional funding for their classroom … they can’t advantage of them because they don’t have the programming, and they’re too busy doing their full-time job to come up with some sort of new curriculum. Well, we’ve got that curriculum for you, and the Produce Challenge Calendar is the hub of that.

And again, we communicate with our educators through ActiveCampaign. We make sure that we’re sharing best practices and tips with them through [00:31:30] a dedicated newsletter and funnel that we’ve created through ActiveCampaign.

Chris Davis: I love it. It’s one of those things where, you could easily listen to this podcast and feel like you’re catching it all, “Oh yeah, that’s cool, man, wow, that’s so encouraging.” But there are so many subtle things that are in here, Lori, the more you speak, that I’m hearing. One of them that is just glaring, I’ve just been listening to you talk for the last 10 minutes or so, and I’m like, “Oh my goodness, [00:32:00] this woman really knows her stuff.” Not just in the terms of food, you have that. But you know your audience. You know their problems, you know what hurdles they’re facing, you know what’s preventing them from providing the solution that you’re proposing, and you can’t overlook that, because that knowledge, that insight, is what makes everything effective.

It’s what makes [00:32:30] you choosing a picture on Pinterest. You segmenting your list in Active Campaign. You sending out a particular type of communication, or writing a particular piece of content, is because you’re so well-versed in the needs, pains and pleasures of your audience.

Lori Taylor: Thank you. No one knows this brand and this audience better than me right now, and I had to fight really hard to keep The Produce Mom in business, [00:33:00] when I took that leap. Part of that fight included diving into the culture, and identifying a) Who are we currently serving, and b) Who should we be serving and how can we be a solution to them? And that’s how my business grew.

I made sure that, as we were growing … because even though we’re rooted in the Ag industry, and by and large The Produce Mom is an agricultural advocacy brand, or media force, we’re a little atypical, because we’re not selling [00:33:30] anything. We are building a community and an audience around a common interest of learning more about fruits and vegetables. When you think about where fruits and vegetables are at in your everyday life, they’re pretty much everywhere, and they’re in all sorts of different fashions and formats where you are encountering them in different types of places. That’s why I knew we had to have different [00:34:00] messaging for all these different audiences.

Chris Davis: You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned … of course you did, you do it … for me you hit the nail on the head when you talked about how, it’s not like you get paid for this content, right? It’s a form of education marketing, which I hold dear to my heart. It’s what I do here.

By you raising awareness and providing value in the [00:34:30] form of educating, creating clarity, and just helping people make better decisions, it opens up the door for opportunities for other companies that value that.

Lori Taylor: Correct.

Chris Davis: So it’s not always just, “Hey, I send this email and I get 50 bucks every time.”

Lori Taylor: No, we have never done that, actually. We certainly are sponsored, you have to have funding to be able to do what we’re doing. And we’re totally transparent about that, because we are [00:35:00] so proud and thankful for our sponsors. If you look at partners on our homepage, you’ll see all the different brands that are supporting The Produce Mom. We have all different type of organizations and brands, all different types of farmers here from the United States … they’re farming in different methods, greenhouse organic, conventional … and through The Produce Mom, we’re creating a platform where people like me and you … we want people to understand [00:35:30] that the produce department is a guilt-free zone. When you’re choosing a fruit or a vegetable for your child, you’re making an excellent choice. Or for yourself, excellent choice. There’s no better place in the whole entire grocery store to spend your money.

We keep everything extremely positive. I’ve certainly studied my competition, and there’s absolutely no reason for negativity when it comes to fresh fruits [00:36:00] and vegetables. We uphold not only ourselves, our core team here at The Produce Mom, but also our followers. We recognize the fact that there are a lot of different opinions and choices when it comes to the food that you want to consume, and we respect them all. We help people understand through fact, not opinion, why all of those choices exist.

Chris Davis: Yeah, great. Well, I definitely love what you’re doing. [00:36:30] I am behind you 100%. A lot of times, what I’m finding is more useful than some of the content, at times, is people getting to know the person behind the brand.

Lori Taylor: Thank you, I agree with you.

Chris Davis: That alone could be the reason why someone goes to TheProduceMom.com instead of somewhere else. Understanding that, “Whoa, wait a minute. This woman is really passionate. Oh my goodness, she’s not playing, she’s [00:37:00] all in.”

Those are things that, if you’re going to invest in learning from someone, or invest in someone’s business, those are key indicators. I thank you for that, Lori. We need more people like that out here, just willing to work their business the right way with the right tools, and do it all responsibly.

As we close up, what would you … I’ll pass the mic here, the Genius [00:37:30] Hat here. What is the best advice you would give someone looking to get started in ActiveCampaign, or someone who’s just getting started?

Lori Taylor: Don’t be overwhelmed. I would still consider our business beginner-level users of ActiveCampaign. And look at what all we’ve been able to do, even at the beginner stage, just scratching the surface on what ActiveCampaign has to offer. [00:38:00] Newsletters, creating funnels through e-books … those are pretty basic things, text message alerts … we’re not really getting into … yet, it’s on the list, and it’s a goal, top-level goal for 2018, but we really haven’t even dove into drip automations yet. And even just scratching the surface with Active Campaign, we’ve impacted over a billion annual school meals. Just with this one area of work that The Produce Mom does.

So my [00:38:30] top level of advice is, don’t be overwhelmed. And if you are overwhelmed, find out who on your team is not, and then allow them to have a little bit of ownership and leadership when it comes to your ActiveCampaign activation.

I have learned a lot, also, through the group on Facebook, ActiveCampaign Official. It’s just a super-uplifting group of other ActiveCampaign users. A lot of problem- [00:39:00] solving can occur there. Make sure that you take advantage of the responsiveness that ActiveCampaign has to offer.

I sat through I think four or five different presentations with companies that would be considered competitors of ActiveCampaign. I switched from Mail Chimp to ActiveCampaign when we made the choice, “Hey, we’re going to dive into e-books, we’re going to make sure that we’re a solution hub for all these different people [00:39:30] that we serve at The Produce Mom.

ActiveCampaign has not let us down, at all. Obviously, so responsive on social media. They posted something on Instagram, I replied, and here I am on the podcast. Highly-engaged, responsive team at ActiveCampaign. Being a Midwesterner, I do hope to come up and see the new office and meet more people on the team.

Chris Davis: Yes, absolutely. And we’d love to have you.

[00:40:00] Lori, how can people learn more about your business and get connected with you?

Lori Taylor: The easiest way is just to visit us, our online home, and that is TheProduceMom.com.

Chris Davis: Great, great. And that link will be in the show notes here. Lori, this has been a pleasure. I learned so much, and again, it’s always great to meet responsible entrepreneurs who are passionate, have a strong cause behind what they’re doing, and marketing their business [00:40:30] the right way to impact positively more lives. We can’t get enough of it in today’s age.

Lori Taylor: Thank you. We’re extremely proud of the work we do, and extremely grateful of the support we’ve had from ActiveCampaign. You guys are a big part of our success with USDA school meals.

Chris Davis: Great, great. Wow. I think I’ve said, “Wow,” like 20 times this podcast. But it’s fitting.

With that being said, Lori, [00:41:00] again, thank you. We will definitely be in touch, still engaging on all platforms in all ways. Thank you so much for taking the time out for our listeners on the podcast.

Lori Taylor: Thank you. Thank you Chris, that you ActiveCampaign.

Chris Davis: You have a good day, Lori.

Lori Taylor: You too.

Chris Davis: Thanks for listening to another episode of the ActiveCampaign podcast. This episode was a great example of successful marketing that didn’t totally revolve, [00:41:30] or evolve I should say, around technology. What I love about Lori’s business is that it highlights the fact that marketing technology needs an educated input in order to give you the maximum output. By her knowing her audience at the level that she dos, she’s able to leverage technology like ActiveCampaign without even getting, “ninja,” and still experience [00:42:00] rapid growth and a huge impact in her business.

I want to encourage you all to take a page from Lori’s book, and see how you can better educate yourself and better engage with your audience so that you can better instruct and have a stronger input to the technology that is powering your business.

If you want to learn more about ActiveCampaign, please visit our Education Center, activecampaign.com/learn. If you’re new [00:42:30] to the podcast, first off, all of the episodes are available at activecampaign.com/podcast. You can subscribe as well through iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play … we are there.

If this is not your first time listening, please make sure that you have given us a five-star rating and a comment. Please do so. We’ve got some coming in, and it’s great to hear and see how the podcast is helping you all in [00:43:00] your business, and I personally love every bit of constructive criticism I receive from you all, as well as accolades and encouragement to keep going. So I want to make sure that you all know all of these things at your disposal, and that you can help us get the word out.

So, this is the ActiveCampaign podcast, the small business podcast to help you scale and propel your business with marketing automation. I’ll see [00:43:30] you on the next episode.

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