Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

#539: 5 Strategic Launch Pivots That Boosted My Course Enrollments

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:#539: 5 Strategic Launch Pivots That Boosted My Course Enrollments

NATASHA WILLIS: “There are eight ways to start a conversation with people on Instagram that are engaging with your content. And everything that I've shared, by the way, I don't think I mentioned it, but in those case studies and then, also, what I'm going to share now, this can all be done with zero ad spend. So it's pretty risk free because you cannot only tack this onto any of the content you already have planned in the pipeline—for some of you who are planning weeks ahead and you already know what’s kind of becoming—and then on the other hand, if you want to create content that is specifically designed for these call to actions, then that'll work amazing, too. So either way can kind of work here.  

“Now, the first one is going to be commenting on a live. So we did this two weeks ago, as one example, for Jenna Kutcher and Marie Forleo, when they went live. And the benefit of going live with other people is that you can also tap into their audience. And so Marie was having a launch, right? and Jenna was promoting the launch as an affiliate, and the goal was for us to generate webinar leads from this. And we actually captured 85 percent of the people who showed up to the live as webinar registrants, which is significantly more than you could as, like, a link in bio, right? because all they had to do was comment a certain word. So the name of Marie's program is Time Genius, and so we had people comment, ‘Hey, Time Genius,’ if you want to get registered for this free webinar.” 

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started. 

AMY PORTERFIELD: Welcome back to another episode of Online Marketing Made Easy. 

Today we are in full online-marketing mode, and I'm so here for it. My guest is Natasha Willis. She's the co-founder of a company called School of Bots, which is the leading resource center for companies and entrepreneurs who want to boost their revenue through chat-marketing systems. Whoa, chat-marketing systems? What the heck is that? Well, Natasha will share more about it, but it's essentially the use of artificial intelligence, A.I., chat funnels to drive growth, revenue, and interaction with audience members.  

Now, before you start saying, “But Amy, it's automation. It's a chat bot. No one likes a chat bot,” well, no one likes a chat bot when they're responding crazy things on your Facebook post. However, Natasha does it very different. And I am actually a new customer for the School of Bots. I am so excited to get started. And you know me: I like that personal connection. I like getting in the DMs and having real conversations. But I can't possibly do it for all the DMs I get. And I feel as though there's some conversations that can be kickstarted through automation that could lead to really solid relationships with my customers. And I just see the magic of this, and I want to be a part of it. And so once my team members met with Natasha about a few projects where we wanted to test this, I thought, “I've got to have her on my show because this is a really important conversation.” 

So, Natasha and her husband, who's her business partner, they've been featured as experts in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc., and tons of other publications and podcasts. They've helped over—get ready—fourteen thousand marketers and companies have huge success using A.I. chat funnels. Like, they've helped Mindvalley increase their Instagram leads by 828 percent. Don't worry, she's going to share more about how she did that.  

All in all, this is a feature that, although may seem intimidating and may be a bit foreign to you, it's actually an effective and simple marketing tool. So it's definitely something that we as entrepreneurs should at least have a pulse on. 

Natasha’s going to share more about what exactly A.I. chat funnels are and what they can do for an online-marketing business. In fact, she's taking us through a step-by-step formula that you can start using right away. Even if you don't work with Natasha, even if you don't use a software that allows you to automate, you can actually get started with her formula, and I think you're going to find it brilliant. We're also going to talk about the future of A.I. chat funnels, and I think it's interesting to look at, where is this all going? So we're going to get into that.  

But before we dive in and talk to Natasha, I've got to tell you that she's already actually helped me set up a chat funnel. So I want you to see it in action. If you are interested in growing your email list and you haven't been on a free list-building training with me, well, you're in luck, because all you need to do is go to Instagram and send me a message. Just type in the word “list.” So you're going to DM me on Instagram, and you're going to DM me the word “list.” So go do that right now, and you can actually see what we're going to be talking about in action, which is very, very exciting.  

So I want you to go check that out. But also, I won't make you wait any longer. Let's jump into the chat with Natasha. 

Well, hey, there, Natasha. I'm so excited for our conversation today. Thanks for coming on. 

NATASHA: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Amy, for having me. I’m so excited for us to dive in. I think it’s timely that we just recently connected. We're going to be working together, but, also, that we get to kind of break this down because it's brand new. So I'm really looking forward to the conversation. 

AMY: I am, too, because you've had a bunch of conversations with my team members, but I'm not really gotten to sit down and really understand the strategy at this level, so I've been looking forward to it all week.  

So, here's the thing: can you share a little bit about what you do at your company, School of Bots? 

NATASHA: Absolutely. So long story short, we're a conversational-marketing agency, and we work with leading information-product businesses to help them scale with campaigns on Instagram DM, Messenger, WhatsApp, and SMS. And we'll break down kind of what that means, but it's all based on these automated-messaging experiences. And so over the years, we've had the chance to work with some of the best of the best marketers and businesses in the space, and that's allowed us to serve over a hundred fifty clients, generate thirty million dollars in revenue for them, but also be able to share our methodologies with smaller-business owners and marketers who just want to understand what this is, because it really does feel like the beginning of websites, the beginning of email. Like, this is a whole new communication channel, which, at its core, is how we've always communicated as humans. It's always been about having those conversations.  

But, you know, as the web has kind of evolved, people have hidden behind, you know, especially online businesses, behind the ability that they don't have to be there 24/7 for their customers in-person. And so I feel that a lot of that authenticity, real-time communication, just being able to serve people at the highest level has kind of faded away or not been as integrated into online businesses. So this feels like it really brings that back into your business and allows you to serve everybody at scale, which, as of right now, there's no way to do something like this manually. It would just be insane. So we’ll kind of break down what all that means, but that's kind of the long story short of it. 

AMY: Okay, so let's break it down. First of all, my first question is, what is an A.I. chat funnel, and why should entrepreneurs be aware of these? 

NATASHA: Yes. So if I can share a quick back story. My now husband and I started, actually, our marketing agency. I left college after my first semester. He had already left college but decided to quit his job. And we started this together, and it was right at the beginning. So this was in 2016, 2017, where this idea of even though chat bots aren't necessarily new and messaging apps weren't, like, this new thing—a lot of people remember AIM or Yahoo! Messenger or, you know, these channels that were around a while back—but the idea of using this for discoverability, for new customers, being able to have conversations with them, actually generating leads for things like your webinars and your lead magnets and your freebies, helping people book appointments, like, all these things that you have landing pages for, but being able to do it in the place that people want to communicate with you in. And then, of course, also, helping people just get to a sale faster, because if you let people control the pace of the conversation, often we find that we speed up sales cycles by two to five X, simply because people don't want to wait five days to go through your challenge or five days until they get that one email follow up from your webinar that resonates with them, and that's when they buy. Instead, we can help them move through that process a lot faster.  

So that, at its core, is what we have aimed to develop over the years. But at the beginning, what we had was no better than those, like, crappy live-chat things that you'll go to on websites, and it's like,
How can we help you?” And then after you submit all your information, you've done all this work as a user, they're like, “You know what? We're actually offline right now, so you're not going to hear back from us for a couple more days.”  

AMY: Yes. 

NATASHA: Yeah. So those are the experiences we aim to kind of flip on their head. And that's why over time we created this system we call an A.I. chat funnel system, which involves now Instagram DM, Messenger, WhatsApp, and SMS.  

And not every business use all the channels. For example, there are some American companies that will never touch WhatsApp, at least not for a while. But there are other companies that serve audiences in fifty countries, and they want to be able to serve people across all the platforms.  

So what we do and what we're going to talk about covers all of them. But I think the one that's probably most timely is Instagram, just because that's where so many people are focused on growing their brand right now. And in addition to that, we’ve seen, quite frankly, the best results organically that I've ever seen in my marketing career on the channel doing this. So that's why I really recommend everybody starts, and there's so much to kind of unpack just in that one channel, so we can kind of start there. 

AMY: Okay, good. There is so much to unpack. And before we do that, tell me this: what kind of companies does this online-marketing strategy work for? 

NATASHA: Yeah. So this, quite frankly, works for anybody. Just like any company should have a website, should have an email, should have social-media profiles, this works for any brands. Now, the only kind of caveat to that is you want to have a strong base for your business and your marketing system, meaning that you have a converting offer, that you've tested stuff, and email landing pages. That's going to be the easiest to get something like this kind of up and going. You could start it if you're brand new or you want to set it up for your side hustle or affiliate business or anything like that. But of course, just like a website, where if you're not driving traffic to it, a beautiful, gorgeous, potentially high-converting website isn't going to do anything for you if no one's visiting it. So in the same way, you need to be able to drive traffic to your DMs, whether that's focusing on and prioritizing organic content. Whether you have a thousand followers or a million followers, doesn't really matter as long as you're focused on growing that channel, and you're putting in the work to do that. And then the other is if you're doing paid traffic on Facebook or Instagram, then this can work there as well if you're not doing anything organically as a company. 

AMY: Okay, great, great. So tell me this: do you have any case studies of how A.I. chat funnels have increased leads for entrepreneurs and businesses that you've worked with? 

NATASHA: Yes. So one of my favorite case studies—I'll share two, and then I can even dive into more, depending on where you kind of want to take things—but the first one that I think is easy for people to wrap their heads around is foundr, who has about three million followers on Instagram. One of their core marketing methodologies is webinars, evergreen webinars, which I know are huge for you— 

AMY: Yes. 

NATASHA: —as well as many of the companies that we work with, like Mindvalley, Jenna Kutcher, ClickFunnels. Webinars have been such a core pillar for a lot of brands, and they're a great way to get people to understand, obviously, what it is that you do and how you can help them.  

Now, the challenge with landing pages is that, to me, knowing what I know now about what you can do inside of messaging apps and the fact that people are spending so much more of their time there, it just makes sense to help people register right in the DMs. But I'll get to that in a moment, because on landing pages, there's always these slews of issues. It almost feels to me like this sinking ship with a million tiny holes in it, because what happens is tracking issues, iOS 14, pages break, and ultimately, you're optimizing for the minority of your traffic to opt in. So typically, we see anywhere from 2 to 20 percent conversion rates on a landing page. And you can try to optimize as much as you can, but oftentimes, people either stop because it's gated content or maybe they want something else from you, or there's so many other things that we just can't handle with a website page versus with a real-time conversation. 

And so with foundr, we found that their top-performing landing page had a 23 percent conversion rate on it pretty consistently. And when we turned that process of signing up for the webinar, getting reminders, and actually getting to know people as well before the webinar happened, and then being able to send sales messages, too, after that in the messaging channel, that whole funnel was able to, on the front end, convert at 70 percent registering people in, so significantly more than 23 percent.  

AMY: Yes. 

NATASHA: And I don't even know how you would try to get there, you know, with all the optimizations you could potentially do with the landing page. 

And then on the back end, in the first thirty days of that being live, it made sixty thousand dollars in new revenue.  

AMY: Wow. 

NATASHA: And I think the thing that maybe people aren't thinking about as well—and this might be new to you, too—is, like, “Okay, I get a certain amount of people engaging with my posts and my stories and clicking on the link in my bio. How can I expect to drive more traffic when I implement something like this?” And the thing is, people, when given the opportunity, will engage with you in this new medium because they've kind of capped out or gotten used to the old “Click the link in my bio,” or do this. Like, they've kind of been burnt out of that, right? There's always…  

So when there's a new way for them to interact with you that feels like they actually get to talk to you, Amy Porterfield, in the DMs—they're getting selfie videos from you, they're getting audios, they're actually getting a chance to interact with even though they know it's automation, like, the likeness of you, your personality, your persona—and that just converts at such a higher level because that's what we all are really craving, especially with COVID and, you know, the kind of take away of being in person, just being able to have that intimacy more than ever, I think is really important. 

Does all that make sense— 

AMY: It does. 

NATASHA: —just kind of from a high level for that? 

AMY: That’s a great case study. Give me one more. But that one was a good one. 

NATASHA: Yes. Awesome. 

So, I'll give you another webinar example. I wanted to share a few of Jenna's stuff, but I don't know if I can share the numbers. I can at least share what we've done so far, because I think that stuff has been just phenomenal so far with everything we've done. But with Mindvalley, we actually ran their Instagram DM campaigns first in the beta of this tool. So this came into beta in December of 2020 and then publicly became available in June 2021. Now anybody can use DM automation. But when we first started, we were like, “Okay, let's just test something kind of basic, new.” We had no idea how this was going to do. And in the first fourteen days of implementing this on a launch, we increased their leads generated by 800 percent for their webinar capture that they typically get on Instagram.  

AMY: That is crazy.  

NATASHA: Yeah. So it was really wild, and we're like, “Okay, DM. Like, this really works.” That was the first official test we had to kind of run. And then from there, they as a company are very intensive with their marketing calendar. So they do launches pretty much every week, and that's kind of historically been their thing. And so we were able to do a lot of testing and consistently saw, like, 500 to 800 percent increase on leads generated for the launches compared to what they would usually do, which are link clicks in stories or link clicks in bios.  

AMY: Wow. That is so incredible.  

NATASHA: Yeah. So it's been a fun journey, you know, because this is something, it's new, but it's also kind of taking us back to our roots of how we communicate, you know, as people. And 90 percent of global consumers, in fact, want to talk to businesses through messaging. And yet most businesses don't have a way to do this, or worse, they ignore most of the DMs they get simply because they don't have a way to actually handle those and reply to people. So this not only allows you to be reactive in the sense of replying to everybody who actually messages you and then be able to turn them into a lead and serve them with your products, but also proactive now because you can turn every single piece of content into a lead-generation opportunity for you. And if you want, I can even speak a little bit to how you start those conversations with people, too, to dive a little more tactical. I'm sure we'll get into some of that stuff. 

AMY: So, I wanted to ask you about—my audience loves a good formula, and you have a practical formula. Can you break down this formula that you have that will help grow leads and sales and organic content on Instagram? And I know you've got this step-by-step formula, which, again, my audience and I love. So those of you who are listening, if you can right now, grab a piece of paper and a pen because you're going to want to take notes because this formula is going to allow you to really understand how this works. And Natasha does a great job of making it simplified, so go for it, because I'm excited for everyone to hear this.  

NATASHA: Awesome. Okay. And I've got a couple of notes as well. So I'm going to kind of run through just a simple formula you guys can start with. Now, first and foremost, before we dive into how you drive traffic and, ultimately, what you do in the DMs once you get them there, there's a software that you can plug in called ManyChat, and that's going to be the easiest way for you to actually automate everything.  

Now, if you’re like, “I just want to see if this works. Like, what happens when I tell people to DM me? And can I capture more leads?” which you will find that twice as many people will interact with you if you tell them, “Hey, comment to get this freebie from me,” or “Reply to this Story.” So I'll take you through those examples in a moment.  

But the short of it is I would set up ManyChat, just kind of start to get going a little bit with it, because it'll be easy to then expand after that. But you can do what I'm about to share manually as well if you want to, just to kind of test things out. 

AMY: Okay.  

NATASHA: So there are eight ways to start a conversation with people on Instagram that are engaging with your content. And everything that I've shared, by the way, I don't think I mentioned it, but in those case studies and then, also, what I'm going to share now, this can all be done with zero ad spend. So it's pretty risk free because you cannot only tack this onto any of the content you already have planned in the pipeline—for some of you who are planning weeks ahead and you already know what’s kind of becoming—and then on the other hand, if you want to create content that is specifically designed for these call to actions, then that'll work amazing, too. So either way can kind of work here. 

Now, the first one is going to be commenting on a live. So we did this two weeks ago, as one example, for Jenna Kutcher and Marie Forleo, when they went live. And the benefit of going live with other people is that you can also tap into their audience. And so Marie was having a launch, right? and Jenna was promoting the launch as an affiliate, and the goal was for us to generate webinar leads from this. And we actually captured 85 percent of the people who showed up to the live as webinar registrants, which is significantly more than you could as, like, a link in bio, right? because all they had to do was comment a certain word. So the name of Marie's program is Time Genius, and so we had people comment, “Hey, Time Genius,” if you want to get registered for this free webinar. 

AMY: Got it. 

NATASHA: So that’s going to be the first way.  

Second way is going to be to comment on a post. And so you can tell people in the caption as well as actually in a Reel or in your carousel, wherever you want to put it in your copy, whether it's on the last page or maybe at the bottom of each one to kind of get people at each point, but telling them to comment a specific word as well in order to get access to something. So it can start out super simple. And the key is just make it feel natural, right? Even though it's a little more direct response, at the same time, you can tap this onto the end of a lifestyle post that you have planned. Let's say you're going to create a Reel about this awesome weekend you just took with your family. And then at the bottom you could say, “P.S. Comment ‘Time Genius,’ and I'll shoot you an invite to my webinar. This has allowed me, taking control of my time has allowed me to live this life,” etc. You kind of tie back whatever the call to action is to the piece of content, right? which is probably what you guys are already doing, a lot of you saying, “Comment or heart if this resonated,” or, you know, “Comment ‘Yes.’” So a lot of pages do that. In the same way, now you can actually interact with people and kind of reward them for having taken that action with you.  

Is that all making sense so far? 

AMY: It is. So just to be clear, you have a post on Instagram, and in the comments of the post, in the newsfeed? Or does it have to get into your DM? 

NATASHA: Yes. So that will just happen in the newsfeed. And then the way that it works, to go a level deeper, because realized I didn't dive into that as much, is that as soon as somebody comments that specific phrase or word that you're telling them to, then ManyChat will be able to note that somebody commented, and send them an automated message, and that first automated message is going to kind of start that whole conversation. 

AMY: Wow. Okay. Great. Keep going. 

NATASHA: Awesome. And one last thing that I'll mention as well—and you kind of let me know how we're doing on time, too. 

AMY: Oh, we’re good. 

NATASHA: Like, I can speed up or slow down—but one other thing you can do as well, which is one other touch point, is you can also automate comment replies to those people. So if somebody says “Time Genius,” let's say, on a post, and they want access to this webinar, then we can have as many variations as we want of comments that actually directly reply to them as soon as they comment, and say, “Awesome. I'm so excited for you to check this out. Check out your DMs, and I'll be in there, and I'll help you get registered.” And that allows you to not only have messaged them, which is primarily going to take up real estate on their Instagram page, but also, a lot of people have notifications turned on for Instagram messages. So you're going to get on the prime real estate of their phone as well, but then, they'll also see the comment you tagged them in, which is usually cool, too, especially if you have a little bit of a larger account, right? And they're like, “Oh, my gosh. Amy Porterfield replied to my comment.” 

Okay. So, so far we've talked about lives and posts. They work somewhat similarly. Essentially, people are commenting a specific word on them. 

Now, the next one is direct messages, so this one’s fairly straightforward. And I can even give a demo at the end when it comes to what you can do on a podcast or just simply talking with people in person or even having something on your profile that says, “Hey, DM me, Amy,” for example, “and I'll send you my favorite things for the holidays,” or something like that, right?  

So there's ways that you can have people direct message you in, and then also even show prompts when they get into the messages that could have FAQs, that could, you know, for example, with you, you kind of have those three main segments of your audience on your website. And so you could take those three things and kind of think about, what are the main pain points or the main goals of these three audience avatars that I have? And then have prompts that will show up as little bubbles in the DMs before you guys have even had a conversation. And it says, “I want to start my email list,” or “I want to scale my business,” and these things allow people to, then, get taken down in A.I. chat funnel, which just like you have landing pages for different avatars, for different offers, you will have multiple A.I. chat funnels over time that allow people to sign up for each of your offers or get paired with the one that makes the most sense for them. 

AMY: There’s so many opportunities here. 

NATASHA: Yeah. 

AMY: This is blowing my mind.  

NATASHA: Amazing. I'm glad it's resonating. And if there's anything at all that's not clear, please stop me so we can kind of clarify on that.  

AMY: Okay. 

NATASHA: But perfect.  

So we've covered three of those. So the fourth is going to be ads. This one’s fairly straightforward, but essentially, instead of sending people to a landing page, you can start a conversation with them right after they click on your ad. And so that allows you a guaranteed communication channel, because the biggest challenge with sending people to landing pages from ads is that most of your traffic doesn't opt in, and I’m having to chase people around the Internet, right? to hope that they'll come back to your landing page, opt in. And now you'll have a guaranteed communication channel with them, but on a channel that unless you continue to fight for deliverability and increasing your optimization on emails, open rates, click rates just continue to dive a little bit lower each year, and it becomes challenging. It's not that email is dying, by any means—that’s the biggest question I get is, like, “Should I just kill my email list if I'm going to do this?” Like, absolutely not. It is the number-one revenue driver for companies, and you absolutely want to have that in place. I don't think email will die for a very, very long time. But that being said, there's a better way to capture people's emails and also serve them and be able to follow up with them by sending them from an ad right into a message. And it just clicks in. So it keeps them on the platform, too, and Instagram and Facebook really like that as well. 

AMY: Great. Okay. 

NATASHA: Cool. So we’ve covered four of them. The fifth one’s a quick one. This is just Story mentions. So let's say that somebody really loved this podcast, and they take a picture of it, you know, if there's a short or they're even listening on their phone, they snap a picture on the podcast app. They say, “I love this one with Amy. This was my biggest takeaway,” and then they tag you on Instagram. As soon as they tag you, you can trigger an automation that says, “Thank you so much for tagging me and checking out the podcast,” or “checking out my content.” And then you could even have a call to action that can even check if they've already done this with you. But if they haven't, then you could say, “And by the way, have you checked out my list-building masterclass? I would love for you to go and check it out. If you're just starting your list, that's…” right? And that's an easy way to kind of capture leads as well. 

AMY: Great. Wow.  

NATASHA: And then from there—just our last three—Reels, which work just like posts, so I won't dive too deep into them, but essentially, telling people to comment in the actual Reel or in the caption. And I'll give a little bonus tip for those of you guys who are familiar with creating Reels, right? There's a little audio section that usually says “Original Audio” or the trending audio that you're using. There's a little hack that you can do, where you can rename your original audio, and you can say, “Comment,” whatever word you want them to. And that is yet another place that they can see that call to action as well, because that's usually real estate at the top of the Reel or at the bottom, and it always shows. 

AMY: Okay. That makes sense. 

NATASHA: Yeah. And then the last ones are in your bio. Any time someone comes to your bio, just, like, they see your link in bio, you could now have a call to action there that says, “Hey, DM me ‘Time Genius,’ “DM me ‘list,’ and I'll share how you can start to build your email list.” 

And the last one's going to be replying to Stories. So this one, just like commenting, you're going to want to tell people, “Hey, reply to this Story or DM me back the word ‘list,’ and I'll help you create your email list from scratch.” And the thing with Stories, too, is that that is the main call to action already on Stories. So 50 percent of conversations between users and businesses on Instagram actually begin from Stories because it literally says “Send Message” at the bottom. So it's just easy. People want to interact with you there, and Instagram has been training people for a long time to do that.  

So those are the eight ways, in a nutshell. Any questions on that? 

AMY: Who knew there were so many different ways? I think those that are listening, hopefully, you feel inspired. Like, “Wait. I could do a few of those. Those make sense to me.” They feel very easy to me in terms of getting the conversation going. 

NATASHA: Exactly. And if you're putting any effort at all into creating content, then, like you said, it's easy to at least tack this on, and then you can start to actually create content where you're saying in it, “Hey, DM me this word or comment back this word,” and kind of start those conversations.  

So that will be a first step is pick one of those. My recommendation to anybody who's getting started, because it's easy and it's pretty risk free, right? Let's say if you put out a post, you're like, “Oh, I didn't really like that post,” whereas, if you put out a Story, you’re like, “Okay, now I've got some data. Let me make a better Story.” 

And so what we usually start with is a two-step Story sequence. Instagram shared with us in 2021 that Story sequences with at least three Stories—so three Stories that essentially have something to do with each other, right? Maybe you're talking selfie style, or you're showing something that's related—and those get the most engagement when it's at least three of them.  

So the easiest way to start would be to have two Stories, and this does the best for us, where instead of just one where it's maybe, like, tacked onto all the other Stories you already have, and you're like, “By the way, DM me ‘list’ here if you want to get on my list for my masterclass,” instead, we have one Story that starts with a pain point or asks them if they knew something. So kind of shares new knowledge with them. 

For example, for foundr, what we do is, “Are you struggling to start an e-commerce store?” because a lot of people in their audience want to do that but have no idea where to begin. And so we have that question in the Story. And then there's a poll that says “Yes,” or “Maybe. I'm curious.” And the reason we don't have a “No” in the poll is that the people who aren't interested, they're just going to skip away from your Story anyways. So this just allows people to kind of get hooked in and be like, “Okay, well, what's next?” And so they'll engage with one of those.  

And then in the second Story is where we say, “Great. DM us the word ‘SAS,’” for them, and it’s specific because they have a program that has that acronym. But for you, for example, let’s say we say, “DM me back ‘list,’ and I’ll help you get registered for my masterclass to help you start your list from scratch.”  

And that's the easiest way to begin. Whether you tack on automation to the end of that or not, because this will work whether you have ManyChat plugged in or not, it's just starting conversations with people. And what you'll find is that (a) people are curious. They’re like, “What's going to happen?” So you've got that novelty aspect, right? They're like, “Ooh, I need to figure this out. See if I could do this for myself.” And then the other thing as well is that you're just going to start more conversations with people. We find at least twice as many people engage with that. Instead of just having a link in your Story, we're telling people, “Hey, go click the link in my bio.” So there’s a little bit of friction there, instead of them just being able to engage there, and then they get your automated message right after that.  

So that's going to be our first step. And then after that, inside of the DMs, if you are going to be manually replying to people, then the easiest thing would just be to be like, “Hey, it sounds like you're interested in my masterclass or my freebie or booking an appointment with me.” Truly, whatever it is that you're doing in your business, you can have that call to action there. Like, this works for literally anything that people want to do with it, right? So if you don't have a webinar, and you're thinking, “You're throwing out a bunch of webinar examples,” this works for discount codes, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you know, holidays, anything like that, even just growing your email list by being able to have people opt in and say they're interested and raise their hand. 

AMY: Did you all hear that? This is going to help you grow your email list— 

NATASHA: Yes. 

AMY: —which is probably one of the most exciting things why I had Natasha come on, because when I heard that it's not just getting people in your DMs and having a conversation but getting them onto your email list, I was sold. I was like, let's do this. So yeah, that's a big part. 

NATASHA: Yes. Yeah, there’s so much you can do there, and I can share a couple more examples. But just to kind of round out our formula here, after the Story, people come into the DM. If you're going to send something in ManyChat, here's what I recommend. You want to have a message that confirms what you just said in your Story, because one of two things will happen. Either someone's going to reply to your Story and immediately jump into their DMs. Everyone's going to get the notification, but some people will just go right in, be like, “Great. Yes, I want this right now.” Other people are going to get busy. Moms, you know, all of a sudden your kid’s crying. You got to go run over and help them. Or somebody just called you, or you got to jump on a work call, whatever it is. You get distracted.  

So it's good to have a confirmation in the messages to be like, “Hey, it sounds like you're interested in my masterclass. Just wanted to confirm that you want me to send it over. Click one of the buttons below.” And there are going to be buttons that show up, which you'll be able to see when I share this little demo at the end, too, that you guys can go check out, and soon on Amy's profile as well. So you guys will see how there are buttons that guide people through the conversation, because that's the best way to engage people right now.  

Artificial intelligence isn't quite there at the level yet, where if I sent Amy this, like, crazy-long thing, like, “Hey, I'm just starting my business. I've been thinking about doing my email list, but I also maybe want to do Pinterest, and I also maybe want to do this,” the A.I. is not being able to pick up all those things. And it's going to be like, “I heard you say email. Like, we should do email.” 

So in terms of being able to guide people through the conversation in the way that serves them, you do want to have some buttons that kind of guide the experience. So that's going to be the second step is actually confirming, “Hey, do you want this?” And moreover, that also increases our click rate on the final link that we want to send people to by up to 50 percent. So it just kind of gets people a little bit more invested and increases those touch points as well. 

AMY: Cool. 

NATASHA: And then the final step is going to be to actually deliver what it is that you promised them in your Story. So if it is a masterclass, then the easiest thing to start out with would be after they engage with that first message, you can be like, “Great, here's a link to go sign up. Enjoy. Let me know what you think afterwards.” This would be what I recommend as your MVP to kind of start with so you're not a little bit overwhelmed with the tech, and you can kind of build step by step. Because the second level of that would be to actually capture their email in the messages, and then from there, send that over to your CRM or your webinar software. And then from there, somebody didn’t even have to go to your landing page. They can now immediately go and watch your webinar or immediately do whatever it is that you're trying to help them do. So that's a little bit more complicated, tech wise. So I think it might be tough to explain, especially in audio form, if people can't see kind of what it looks like. But once you get into ManyChat, you'll see what I'm talking about, and you'll see how easy it is as well to kind of create those first few things. 

AMY: Okay. That was incredible. Will you walk us through, just simply, the steps one more time? 

NATASHA: Yes. So just to recap, we started with how people can actually begin a conversation with you that will lead to an automated-messaging experience. So those are going to be somebody commenting on a live that you're doing; commenting on a post or a Reel; replying to a Story; direct messaging you and seeing prompts there as well, or just messaging you a certain word like “Podcast” or “Amy” or whatever it might be. Ads; Story mentions; and then we've got the bio as well where will usually put in a word right there. So those are going to be the eight ways people can opt in.  

Now, I recommend that you start with a Story and not just one Story, but actually having a two-step Story sequence, which would just be two Stories you’re posting back to back. And the first one has a poll in it. The second one has the call to action for people to reply to that Story, which if you guys think about Instagram, that's the main call to action at the bottom of any Story that you're watching, so it’s easy, and it feels natural. 

Once somebody gets into the DMs, then you're going to confirm that they want that free offer from you, whatever it is. So like I said, this can work for webinars, quizzes, VSLs, appointment booking, just getting people on your email list, so literally anything that resonates with your business. And then finally, your second message in response to that will be sending them to that link to get access to whatever it is.  

So that would be the easiest thing that all of you can start today, even without automation if you want to. And just sending people that after they reply to your Story and seeing how many conversations you start with leads. 

AMY: You are so good at this, Natasha. I love your communication style, just by the way. I think people are probably really appreciating that because it's so succinct, and it's clear. Like, this is kind of—you know, there's some technology involved. A.I. is new to most of us. It could be complicated. But you really break it down in a way that's, like, “Okay, that makes sense.” So I really appreciate that. I don't think everyone has the ability to do it like you do. So, first of all, thank you for making that very clear. 

NATASHA: Thank you so much for that feedback. I'm glad it was, because I will say it's been tough to figure out how to explain this stuff to people for a long time. 

AMY: I bet. I bet. So I’ve struggled with it. I’m always saying— 

NATASHA: Yeah. 

AMY: —I’m not super techy, so it always just feels a little complicated to me. But I really get this, and I'm very excited about it.  

So with that, tell me this: where do you think the future of automation versus human creativity is going?  

NATASHA: Mm. 

AMY: And why do you think it's important for entrepreneurs to have a pulse on this? Because I know some people are like, but it's automation. It’s not real. And so are we, like, kind of faking it? Like, tell me what you think about all of that. 

NATASHA: Yes. Yes. So two points there. The first one that I'll start with, because I think it's important, first, for people to be willing and open to potentially shift their beliefs around automation and A.I. I know that A.I., being replaced by robots, you know, it's a very real fear, especially with Elon Musk talking about it all the time— 

AMY: Yes. 

NATASHA: —you know, and all these big-business people saying, “Eventually, guys, everything's going to be automated.” And there are a lot of fears that come up for people. Some it's, “Oh, my gosh, am I going to have a job in the future? What am I going to do?” Other people thinking, “Well, is my business going to thrive? I think that my customers like to speak with real humans. And how am I going to compete with these companies that are using A.I. and automation, etc.?” And then, thirdly, are the people who are curious and not so fearful, but like, “How do I do this right? How does this come up authentic?”  

So a conversation that I had with the ex-CMO of Amazon Prime Video I feel like summed this up really well. I had a conversation with her a couple of weeks ago, and that part of the business is a huge media asset. So even though some of you are like, you know, “How does my business compare to them?” at the end of the day, it's all about media. It's all about where people are giving their attention. And that's on our screens, on social media, etc. And so for them, they run campaigns in over twenty different countries and have to localize things. They have to think about global marketing, etc. And I asked her what one thing that they're betting on right now that she thinks is going to pay off in the future the most is. And she said it's that combination of human creativity and A.I./automation. And when my husband and I, who, you know, we both run our businesses together are always having these conversations, we talk about this a lot because at the end of the day, A.I. won't be able to replicate what the human brain, what human creativity can do for a very long time, if ever. Instead, the companies that thrive are going to be able to feed good A.I.s with good human creative and good human ideas. And I think the flip—not necessarily the flip side—but to add to that, you know, as we add more automation into our lives—and you can probably speak to this as well since you've automated many parts of your business, too—is it really gives you freedom and mind space to focus on what's important instead of having to deal with repetitive tasks or having to do the same thing over and over, or ultimately just feel like you can't ever be in your zone of genius because there's so much manual stuff that you have to do all the time. And so at a higher level, that's the bigger conversation to be having with yourself is, what would happen if you allowed yourself to be open to this idea of having A.I. and automation in your business that not only gives you more freedom, more mind space to be creative, but also serves your customers 24/7 in the best way possible for them? 

AMY: Oh, 100 percent. When I’m thinking about my students, my Digital Course Academy students, my Momentum students, I'm thinking about you in terms of, I want you to spend your time on creating the most beautiful webinar that will give immense value, where you show up with confidence and do such an incredible job. And if you’re worried about, “Oh, my gosh, I can't get enough people to sign up for the webinar,” you're taking your mind and your creativity out of the game where it really matters. So if this is going to allow you an opportunity to fill up that webinar while you focus on giving immense value on the webinar, I'm going to sing praises of A.I. all day long, and automation. So I love that you brought it back to that, because human creativity is so incredibly important, and having the freedom to focus there means the world to our businesses. 

NATASHA: Yep, exactly. And I know that you know it best and better than most, and I imagine a lot of people looking at your business, too, are like, “How does Amy do all of these incredible things?” And it does come down, of course, to having an incredible team, but then, also, everybody kind of being on the same page and, again, business owners being open to the idea of using automation and A.I.  

And if we can actually, before we move on from this, I realize I didn't really answer your core question, which was, what about the business owners who are worried about this kind of feeling inauthentic or, like, you know, how do you get around that in your head? And then, also, how do you approach it? So if we can speak to that quickly.  

You know, ultimately, people want to be speaking to you all times of the day now, as an online business, especially, especially if you sell digital products, where people are going to be talking to you 24/7 in a thousand different countries, languages, etc., whatever. And right now, there is not any other way where you can serve people 24/7. And more importantly, what happens is people's patience has really dwindled over the years. I mean, I think people have always been impatient. And some of the characteristics, you know, the media is like, “This is a new thing.” It’s like, “Well, that's always been a part of human behavior.”  

But the thing to understand is that now we expect things immediately as consumers because our attention spans are so short, you know, since we're going through TikTok and Reels all the time. And when we reach out to a business, we want to have an answer as quickly as possible. And the challenge is now because it's easier than ever to start a business, that means there's more competition than ever as well. So if somebody was really interested in working with your business but you didn't get back to them in time, whether that was a couple of minutes, or for some people, a couple of hours, maybe even some businesses never even get back to you. I've had that happen, where I'm like, “I really want to buy a product from you,” and no response. You're like, “Take my money.” 

AMY: Yes. 

NATASHA: So from that standpoint, especially for those of you who are smaller-business owners, being able to create an automation, just first and foremost, is going to support with that. But secondly, people are willing to engage with you even if they know that it's not really Amy Porterfield messaging them back right now. But if they can interact with your likeness and with your personality and your persona, then that brings people just as much joy as if you were actually FaceTiming them or talking to them. Maybe not as much as, you know, real-time communication, FaceTime, but it's pretty close to it. And it also, then, allows them to build a stronger connection with you. And it's the only way you can really do that at scale.  

There is no way that you could ever manually message your two hundred-K-plus followers on Instagram, saying, “Hey, it's Amy. Want to sign up for my masterclass? Like, thank you so much for following me. Thanks for supporting the podcast.” There's just no way you can have all those conversations. And this is the way that you can do it, as well as for you smaller-business owners who maybe don't have necessarily a podcast or content you're putting out as much, but there are people who want to buy from you, and you can also be proactively driving those conversations with all those gateways that I share. 

AMY: Absolutely.  

Natasha, I am a huge fan of yours. I think you are incredible. 

NATASHA: Thank you so much. 

AMY: Thank you so much for this. And tell everybody, if they want to learn more about School of Bots, where do they go? What do they do? 

NATASHA: Yes. So we've got some good education to kind of dive deeper and actually see some visuals of everything I shared on our site, schoolofbots.co. But I also wanted to put together a little demo for everybody who's listening so they can see kind of how this works. So if you guys go to my Instagram, it's natashatwillis, and then you message me just the word “Amy,” nothing else in your message, then, I'll share a few things with you there, some visuals. You'll get to see what it actually looks like. And then, I'll also help you get your first one set up, kind of like the formula that we talked about, but show you some examples of what that can look like as well. So I hope you guys will find that helpful so you can kind of see it in action, and soon you guys will be able to check that out on Amy's Instagram as well. 

AMY: Absolutely. Natasha, thank you so very, very much. And I can't wait to dive in with you and make some magic. 

NATASHA: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. And I hope everybody at least learned something new and aims to start getting this going for their own business, you know, their clients, anybody that you can kind of test it for to just learn what this looks like. 

AMY: Oh, I know they will, for sure. Take care. 

Okay. I got to be honest. Before I knew about what this all looked like in terms of the A.I. chat funnels, I was like, “Really? I don't know. That just feels very kind of outside of what I would feel comfortable doing,” and I don't like losing the personal touch, so I just thought, “I don't think so.” Then, when I got to talk to Natasha and now have this interview with her, I am definitely on board.  

Now, remember, I'm in the early stages of this, but I really do believe that this is something that can start the conversation and lead to bigger, more-meaningful relationships with your audience, because in my opinion, the alternative is the conversations never get started. There's so many people in my DMs that I haven't even been able to connect with. So at least this is the conversation starter that leads to real conversations down the road, and I'm here for it.  

So as I mentioned, I'm working with Natasha, and I want to remind you that we have set up a really awesome chat funnel, and I want you to see how it works. So if you are interested in growing your email list and you haven't yet checked out my free list-building training, get into my DMs, DM me the word “list.” So send me a DM on Instagram and just type in the word “list.” And when you do, you'll see what we've prepared, what it looks like. And, one, you can get some free list-building support, but, two, you can see this actually in action. So you've got Natasha's opportunity to get into action, and now you've got mine, which is DM me the word “list.” I think you're going to love it.  

All right, my sweet friends. Thank you so very much for tuning in with me today. I hope you love this very detailed online-marketing strategy, and I hope that you're going to explore it.  

I can't wait to see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.