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A long time ago, Brett Farmiloe visited a farm where he became acquainted with fainting goats. If you’ve never seen a fainting goat, prepare to be astonished. When startled, its muscles stiffen up, and it falls right over. But then, moments later, it gets up and carries on its merry way.
Many newborn goats, on the other hand, haven’t experienced fear yet, so they don’t freeze up.
“Not to compare myself to a baby fainting goat, but that’s kind of how I feel as a first-time CEO,” says Brett, Founder and CEO of Markitors, a digital marketing company. “I’m fearless in that way that we’re able to adapt from philosophies and implement change. That’s probably the most enjoyable thing—just not knowing any better.”
Fulfilling a need
Brett leaned on his past as a financial auditor in forming Markitors, which gets its name from combining the words “marketing” and “auditors.” For 4 years, Brett led the company on his own as a full-time freelancer. That allowed him the freedom to go on jaunts to places like Spain where he’d run with the bulls during the day and do email marketing at night.
Once he got his site to rank on the first page of Google searches for digital marketing companies, though, he started to get a ton of calls asking him for more information. “I’d say, ‘Well, it’s just me in my living room,’” he says, which turned off callers who were looking for a bigger company. “Inevitably, I just couldn’t help people because I was at capacity as a freelancer, so I got tired of telling people the same story of ‘Sorry, I can’t help,’ or ‘Sorry, I’m just one dude.’”
Around the same time, Brett got asked to be a part of MailChimp’s Experts Directory. And when that happened, he started getting even more calls, from everyone from the Saudi Arabian government to small furniture manufacturers, asking for help.
So a couple of years ago, Brett hired his first employee, and now Markitors is a robust 15 people. Because of Brett’s auditing background, it’s in his company’s DNA to go in and analyze every piece of information and formulate a story using that data. “That’s how our company got its start, just giving objective audits related to marketing,” he says.
And since there are millions of MailChimp users, there’s a huge need for email audits. Brett walked us through his tips for a good one.
Simplifying your lists
When it comes to email, 2 of the most common questions the team hears are “What can I do to get better?” and “How do I organize my MailChimp account?” So that’s what the audits aim to address.
The first step of having a strong foundation is list organization, Brett says. “Most MailChimp accounts we work with usually have anywhere from 2 to 30 different lists in their account, and MailChimp best practice is to put it all in to 1—or maybe 2—lists. That’s typically where we start, centralizing all the data, because once you have a centralized data set, you’re able to make better segmentation decisions.”
Separating customers into groups
The second step is segmenting that data, or creating groups of customers so that you can send relevant information to the right people at the right time. “I know that a majority of MailChimp users are e-commerce companies, and so what we’ll do is formulate 7 different customer segments,” Brett says.
That includes prospects, people who haven’t purchased, new customers, promising customers, and loyal customers, all with their individual parameters. For example, drifters are people who purchase 1 to 2 times and haven’t purchased in the last couple months, and sleepers are people who have purchased more than 3 times that haven’t purchased in more than 3 months.
“Once you develop segments, then you can get really smart about the types of email campaigns you send,” Brett says. That includes prioritized automations for the different customer segments. “Abandoned cart would be the first really low-hanging fruit. A welcome series for prospects, things like that.”
The other part to that is just understanding who a MailChimp customer is,” he adds. Many small companies have very small teams, “meaning that those people do not have time to do things, so the more that you can leverage automations, the more time they ultimately have.
Speeding up the process
From an agency perspective, it’s also worth noting that the times immediately after you’ve taken on a new client are usually the most difficult. “The client kickoff is the toughest few months. Usually there’s more time and energy effort expensed in those months because you’re formulating a strategy and you’re getting an account set up,” Brett says.
That’s where audits come in to save the day.
“A necessary part to any client kickoff is an audit and formulating a strategy, and this tool can basically help agency owners as well expedite client kickoffs.”
Checking items off your list
“Reporting is another big pain point with agencies,” Brett says. When you’re an agency, you’re reporting your results, activities, and next steps, and so this tool could be used from an agency perspective to communicate activities and next steps—much like a checklist. “That way, clients are in the know of what’s being done on their account, and you don’t really have to figure out what those next steps are.”
While a one-time audit can be beneficial, conducting audits from time to time can ensure that you are making the most of your data.
“Here’s the thing about email: Every customer situation is unique, and every customer needs a unique strategy to be able to reach their unique subscribers. That’s one of the advantages of doing a periodic audit—that you get customized action items for each client.”