Ecommerce and digital marketing manager Anthony Idle had been a follower of James Schramko since FastWebFormula days.
When James needed an effective hourly rate calculator, Anthony eagerly volunteered to make a chatbot version for him.
In the process, Anthony saw an opportunity to boost the net present value of James's audience through a Messenger chatbot competition.
How that took shape, and what the results were, are discussed in this SuperFastBusiness case study.
In the case study:
01:21 – “Let me be the guy…”
02:17 – A follower of 10 years’ standing
04:18 – Bringing in the sideliners
04:49 – What net present value is and why it beats lifetime value
06:51 – You know a prize is good when…
08:38 – The step-by-step of the competition
12:30 – A super savvy, switched-on set of customers
13:42 – What the business owner got out of it
16:14 – So what were the results?
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to superfastbusiness.com. And today we’re going to be talking about our little experiment with ManyChat chatbot, how that came about, what we did, what results we got. And I’ve brought along my friend, Anthony Idle, to share this case study with us. Welcome, Anthony.
Anthony: Thanks, James. Nice speaking.
James: It’s lovely to meet you. You know, you’ve been there the whole time. I just didn’t realize it until one day on LinkedIn you reached out to me. And you suggested something to me. I’d love it if you could just tell me what happened there, because that would give great context to what this conversation is about.
“Let me be the guy…”
Anthony: Yeah, it’s pretty interesting for that. I guess I’ve been following you for 10 years or so. I saw that on LinkedIn you were talking about creating an effective hourly rate calculator. And you know, using that as a tool so that the freelancers can work out, you know, how much they’re getting paid per hour, how much money they make. And ManyChat, I know ManyChat is a great tool for doing calculator bots. So I just reached out and said, Hey, let me be the guy that makes that for you.
James: Yeah. And you know, I’ll put that down to another great LinkedIn outcome. I’ve had some amazing journeys from contacts made on LinkedIn. I do think it’s a strong platform right now. I’ve had the most video views there. I get offers like yours from time to time. And I’m always interested in learning from the people around me and getting help where it’s offered on something that I’m just not specialized in or don’t have any knowledge of. I was completely underutilizing our ManyChat subscription. So it was nice.
A follower of 10 years’ standing
I think you actually had an old FastWebFormula map and DVD set from way back. Like, you’re an original customer, as it turns out. So you’ve got so much understanding of what I do that definitely would have to help when you’re plotting out a campaign, is to have some intimate knowledge of the customer that you’re doing the work with.
Anthony: Yeah, hundred percent. I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing today unless I bought – this is so funny – it was a 12-DVD set of training. You know, that FastWebFormula product, that giant mind map.
James: Yeah, it was huge. You went through it. It was such a big mind map. It would print out on an entire poster size, and it was still quite small. And I used to send the map out with the DVD. It’s like, old school. It was, like, 2010 or something. You’d send a physical product with the map.
I was looking back at that old stuff, like 10 years ago. I think I was doing good stuff 10 years ago and I want to get back to doing really good stuff like that as well. But definitely it’s harder for people to play a DVD. So we have to look at the online stuff. That’s why we hear so much about 10XPRO and online streaming courses now. I heard a stat about Udemy the other day about how many new users they’re signing up per month, like, in the millions. And just phenomenal how, in the last 10 years, it’s been such a shift.
But one of the big changes is the use of bots. And I’ve really not been participating in the bot revolution to a large extent. We’ve had interviews about it on the show, we know that it’s coming. I’ve still focused on more organic stuff. But you were able to bring expertise to the table and make it very easy for us. So you gave us a model of a good Facebook Messenger competition. You really brought forward our net present value of, you know, realizing what’s sitting in our database there. And you made it easy in terms of having the whole campaign run for us. So I was really curious to know what would happen. Why don’t you talk us through the timeline of, you know, how this went about and what went down from your side of it?
Bringing in the sideliners
Anthony: Yeah, sure. Once I made that calculator, I had to understand what your business flow was, like how you handle people that come to you and personalize their journey to give them a recommendation, something that’s right for them. And it was pretty clear to me that, you know, I know you’ve got, what, we’re recording what Episode 736. And you’ve done so many podcasts, you give away so much content. It’s incredible the amount of information you give, and I thought there’s all this, this pool of people that are standing on the sidelines, and a great way to bring them into the light, as it were, would be to run the Messenger competition.
What net present value is and why it beats lifetime value
So I made that recommendation, and I guess the reason why I wanted to do that is because I wanted to accelerate, I guess, your lifetime value streams from all these different customers. And I think, you know, that’s where I like to make the point that net present value is bigger than lifetime value. I wonder if I should just explain that a little bit, because I’m not sure many people are across that term.
“Net present value is bigger than lifetime value.”
James: Let’s do that.
Anthony: Okay, so just to explain what net present value is, it’s the current value of future returns adjusted for time and risk. And the easiest way to explain this is, if I was to loan you a thousand bucks, and you pay me back 100 bucks a year for 10 years, it’s probably not really a good deal. If you pay me 100 bucks a month, for 12 months, I might consider it. You might say, Look, that’s 1200 bucks in total. Or if you pay me 300 bucks a month over six months, then I reckon that’s a much better deal and people will be thinking that’s roughly 1800 bucks. So, it’s really trying to understand what the return will bring out and in the future. And that’s really about, for you and Messenger in particular, it’s trying to spread that out.
There’s a couple of ways that Messenger really helps net present value, you know? Like, you can get much higher returns by segmenting up your target market and getting to the high-net-worth clients. You can reduce your costs. The cost per leads are incredibly low for Messenger. And you get a lot faster purchasing. You know, when you do have a more personal engagement, it’s so much easier to get that conversion. And people feel comfortable, they trust you, and they’ll come forward, because you’ve had a little chat experience with someone. And so that risk of them then leaving you after the experience is much less. And that’s really the four ways that Messenger helps with net present value.
“When you have a more personal engagement, it’s easier to get that conversion.”
James: I liked what you did, too. You just piggybacked our existing segmentation funnel. You recognized that we do that on our website, we’re using an ASK quiz type segmentation. And you replicated that in the bot. So it’s like, you just took what we had and made it work. So we’re able to then sift and sort people to the right solution as quickly as possible.
You know a prize is good when…
And let’s talk about what we offered as our prize for the competition, and what sort of options are there and how we stacked ours up.
Anthony: Yeah, look, I loved your prize. Like, I guess that’s the litmus test, you know, like if you’d like to win that prize yourself, then you know you’ve got a good prize. And yours was one-on-one coaching, worth $3000. I’d really like the Silver Circle hoodie myself, but yeah, that’s, you know…
James: Send me your size and address after this recording. It’s the least I could do.
Anthony: Lovely, I’ll do that. And then your Work Less Make More book and an entire month of intensive SuperFastBusiness coaching. I think that’s a fantastic prize. And for people that don’t know what to do, that’s just, you know, a beautiful attractive prize.
James: Nice. Okay, so that’s what we offered up. From my perspective as the business founder, you know, I’ve already got some books and I’ve got some hoodies. So they’re all paid for, they’re sitting there ready to go and autograph and send out. So it’s just a little bit of postage and some physical costs. So relatively low cost. Coaching is the thing that costs me my time. However, there’s a really interesting outcome to the prize and the winner and what happened there. So we’ll save that. But it is something that it’s hard for other people to compete with me on. Nobody else can offer an hour of my time other than me, so it’s a very rare and normally a difficult thing to get unless you’re going to pay. And generally it’s at the SilverCircle level, which you’ll pay $5,000 to join, where you’ll get that personal time with me. So it was, I think something that is interesting to people who are already in my sphere, because, you know, that’s the next level of access after a podcast or a video that they’ve been watching on the social media channels where we’ve been putting this message, right?
Anthony: Yeah, hundred percent. It’s super aspirational, isn’t it?
The step-by-step of the competition
James: It was. So then we talked about, in terms of the campaign, I think you talked about what actions people are going to do to get entry into the prize. So do you want to talk about how that works? Because this is the part I don’t know anything about how that stuff works.
Anthony: So this is the fun part. And if people know, you know, I’m an ecommerce manager, and if people use Gleam.io, they might know that software. On WordPress, people might use KingSumo. And the way that that software works, you have to take multiple actions to gain bonus entries into a competition. And what’s so good about the Messenger bot that we did to replicate that, we were pushing people to your different social channels.
So the first thing that we did, this competition was a promoted Facebook post. And if you commented on the post, you then entered into the Messenger chat stream. And so once you’re in there, the first step that we asked you to do for a bonus entry was to tag a friend, knowing that if you tagged a friend, then you create a viral loop where more people would organically find out about the competition. Culture Kings are fantastic at doing this sort of competition, and they are another really good people to watch.
The second step was following you on Instagram, and it was really important that you got people to where you place your content, where you distribute your content. And one of my personal favorites is YouTube. So subscribing to people on YouTube, every time you release a video, you get either an email or you get a Chrome notification about that new video you can watch. So that’s as good as I, you know, they send emails on your behalf. So, really important to get subscribers across there. And it’s such a powerful, powerful medium.
“More attention, if it’s at that right time and with the right message, leads to action.”
James: It’s like getting to your subscriber list. So you’ve got your email lists, you’ve got your different social media lists. You’re right, every time we publish, we are getting another attention. It’s just more attention. And hopefully, if it’s at that right time and the right message, it leads to the next action at some point. And maybe not today, and you got to be patient with content marketing, I’ve found. But you know, what we discovered through this campaign is that there are people there ready to buy something, they just need a little bit more attention and focus on what we have.
Anthony: Yeah, sometimes it can just be a little trigger to set the ball rolling. I guess the last one was about LinkedIn. And what I particularly like about LinkedIn is, you know, that’s where the messages get really personal, they get really one-on-one. So by inviting people to connect with you on LinkedIn, people know that there’s no wall between you and them, and they can have a conversation. Sometimes that goes really badly, like, you can be flooded with sales-type conversations, but sometimes people just have genuine questions and you can give them genuine help. You know, like I was reaching out to genuinely help you. So that’s a nice thing about LinkedIn, I think.
James: Yeah, I know I got some really amazing messages on LinkedIn. And one of the ladies who sent me a message ended up following my podcast, and she purchased a product of someone who I podcasted with. Because she found the competition – maybe she got tagged by someone – she joined me on LinkedIn, followed my podcast, purchased someone else’s product. And I found out about that by just staying in touch with her. So I’m actually generating sales for my guests and some of my partners as well beyond what we can track in my own cart.
Anthony: Oh, but that works for me as well. I mean, I listened to your latest podcast, or the podcast on SEO, and I was straightaway on LinkedIn and following that up. So I found that really interesting as well.
James: Exactly. So you know, this platform of the podcast, it’s a great sales platform, which is probably why we get about 25 requests every single day, people trying to get on it as a guest. And I remember something funny, actually. When I said I’d love it if you could help me, you know, when you offered it, I said we should podcast about it and you’re like, I don’t know if I want that. But I thought, well, it’s at least something I can do as a thank you. Because, you know, it’s just, it’s a good exchange at least.
A super savvy, switched-on set of customers
So what happens next? We turn the thing on. And with a few integrations, it starts working, sort of, except for my customers being interesting.
Anthony: Your customers are fantastic. I thought it was really exciting to watch because, you know, they’re testers and experimenters and they’re smart marketers. And you get responses from your audience that you know, you’d never seen before. If you ask them, “Are you human?” to confirm, to enter the bot, they’ll say, “What if I don’t feel human today?” Or if you ask them, “What’s your biggest priority?” you might present four options for them, but they’ll type “love” just to see what happens. They were hitting every option in the button to try and see what every bell and every whistle did, and there was always multiple things going on at once inside those first couple of hours. But it was really interesting to have to, you know, adjust your bot on the fly and just watch it live and just see how people were responding. Because I’ve never seen it before. Your audience is very smart, very tasty, and it was good. It was good financially.
James: I’m proud of my audience for being so switched on. They’re definitely, they’re savvy. I often explain to guests on this show, like, you can talk intermediate or advanced – they’re not going to have any issue with that. They want the good stuff, so get it out there.
What the business owner got out of it
What I got as the business owner, I got an instant snapshot of who’s in my social catchment, I got to see the segmentations. Like, I now know that the challenges people are having are predominantly traffic and sales, and then strategy and direction. Interestingly, a lot of them are pretty good with their team and their focus and productivity. So that was interesting for me.
And then then we have our second categorization. We got to see sort of income level of annual. I’ve got a massive slice of my audience making $10,000 to $500,000 per year. Like, they are not sort of getting started. They’re not start from scratch, they’re not business opportunity. They’re in motion. They’re already doing stuff. And I’ve got a pretty reasonable slice of people who are making over 500,000 a year. And I’ve got about a fifth of my audience haven’t quite cracked 10K, and they’re the people who I need to warm up to be ready for my programs, you know? If I can help them get a success to $10,000, they’re going to go really well in my program. So that’s why it’s really informed me to start a new business called SuperFastResults, which is where I put small trainings, and I’m going to recommend those people start there. And there’s also a micro assist-type program where they can ask questions and get an answer. Because they can go to free Facebook groups and stuff and maybe get answers, but they will very rarely get decent answers. So I’ve put a micro-question box where they can just ask questions and get an answer. And they’ll pay initially, a very low monthly rate for that, like, surprisingly low, and I’m just going to experiment with that. And that was driven by recognizing that I’m still attracting some people who aren’t ready yet for the next solution.
Anthony: That sounds fantastic, really good.
James: So it’s a great research tool, is what I’m saying here, aside from the fact that we did actually get financial results as well. So we’ve tuned the bot to deal with my cagey customers. And what were the results? I’m sure we’re really dying for the big reveal here. And for context, at around the same time we ran this, the world was starting to realize it was in a pandemic. I was trying to run my live event, and very concerned that it may not happen, right up to the wire. So we had all these things happening at once. My team was busy building out our new website, as well. So we did this sort of to the side. And what did it look like at the end of the day when the dust settled?
So what were the results?
Anthony: Yeah, look, it was an interesting outcome, but I thought, I’d seen Messenger competitions like these absolutely skyrocket, and it’s easy to get, you know, super big results quickly off low-value customers. Your audience is smart, and you have high-value customers. So there’s a real different dynamic to yours. And so you received 541 entries through your competition, and that bot completed at 94 percent. People, once they commented on your Facebook post, they went all the way through your Messenger funnel, which was really interesting to see. So you got 181 more subscribers on Messenger, you got 23 more followers on Facebook, 110 YouTube subscribers, and 78 connections on LinkedIn. I think the emails and the phone numbers are all there, they’re all categorized by size of client, and they’re also got the most pressing priorities. So if you want to follow up and have a really personal conversation with someone who’s making more than $500,000, you already know straight away what their challenge is. So it’s really, really good value of leads here. I think we worked it out to be about $55,000 worth of leads that we made in just a short few weeks. So that was a really good outcome.
James: Easily. In that period, I tracked at least $48,700 off my Facebook campaign. But in that same period, we made a lot of money with email and with our social campaigns. So depending on which bucket it tracked on my reporting on the back end, I don’t think it can all be tracked as easy. Like I was saying, they’re even buying my partner’s products. But my average customer value is so high, like two and a half thousand dollars. There’s easily $55,000.
And for context, I don’t have a huge list, and I’ve never run freebie promotions. And I’ve never even focused on gathering a big list, especially of people who don’t have buying intent. I’ve really focused on buyers and people who want content upgrades. So they’re, like, looking to educate themselves and further their progress. So, to add 138 subscribers to a database of 7000 is actually a reasonable haul for me, it’s more than I’ll get in any day. A hundred and eleven phone numbers is terrific, if I wanted to do an outreach campaign. I bet you a good salesperson could make sales to that database, knowing what their challenge is, and that they’re motivated enough to go through some of those steps. And most certainly, every time I publish content from now, I’m getting extra people watching that content in whichever platform it happens to be on, and they’re probably in the more motivated side of the equation than the average person,
Anthony: I certainly think that, you know, regular Messenger competitions are critical for that excite phase. You know, DigitalMarketer talk about their lifetime value canvas, the value journey worksheet. And in that stage five, where you excite the customer, it’s almost a gateway to say, you know, between a one-time customer and a many-time customer, the more that you excite your audience and you’re creating an experience, the more likely they’re going to repeat purchase and come forward. So I think that’s really an important point to make.
James: And in terms of the winner, it turns out the winner is a really great type of client that I can typically help. We already had a phone call, and that one phone call, we completely re-engineered some aspects of the business and started the coaching side of things. And I think that’s going to be a great journey for all involved there. So it was a nice outcome.
And I just want to say thank you to you, Anthony for making it so easy for us to try this. It was a great experiment showing the potential in tools like this when they’re driven correctly. And also, I think it was most definitely worth doing. And it’s something that we could have another go at, when the time is right, when the campaign’s ready. We could try this again, because it is useful. And I think if I theme it around a book or a course or something new, it would be even more impactful as a way to do a sort of surrogate awareness campaign that does a lot of the leverage and heavy lifting, you know, with technology rather than human effort.
Anthony: That’s a great idea.
James: So it was such a good learning experience for us, and hopefully, an opportunity for you to work with a small-fry rookie, you know, when it comes to these sort of campaigns, just to get some interesting results, you know?
Anthony: I really enjoyed it. I think, you know, it’s great to work with your team. And I know the feedback you got from some of your clients has been fantastic.
James: I actually had zero negative feedback. Not one, which I thought was interesting, because I always expect someone’s going to say something. You’re just, you’re ready for that. But I had so many positive comments. People were dying to know the results, like, how did it go? They’re so curious. So this episode, I’m sure, will be heavily subscribed, because we want to know what happened.
Bottom line is, me, the business owner, put an hour of my life up for grabs, some hardware, like giveaways. And then someone came in, did some stuff, and now we’ve probably generated at a minimum of $55,000 in extra sales. Most likely a lot more than that, because we tend to Have a snowball. Most of our members stick around for years. So it could quite inevitably turn out to be a six-figure haul, just from this campaign. Too early to tell, but we are tracking some of these things. And we can update that later. But I’d say it was most definitely useful for us. Even though our results are quite small in number, I think they’re high in potency. And it was great.
If you want help from Anthony, he’s on LinkedIn. That’s where you find him. Anthony Idle. And he’s also got a website, AnthonyIdle.com. He was really great to work with on this, and integrated with my team in Slack in a tremendous way.
And I love your raw approach, too. And I asked, you know, “How’s it going? Does this meet your expectations?” And you said, “Well, not really, it’s a bit disappointing,” and stuff. Like, when we weren’t having virality about it. But I think we learned a lot about the sophistication of my audience and that you also probably have to work these campaigns a bit harder than we gave it at the time. But there were reasons for that, of course, we had plenty on our mind. So thank you so much, Anthony, and I’m looking forward to sending out your hoodie.
Anthony: Yeah, awesome. I look forward to that too.
James: There you go. That is Episode 736. Go and check it out.
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