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Hey friends! Kasia here. For our next issue, we hopped over to Nashville’s Stringjoy, a custom guitar string company. See, not that long ago, guitarists didn’t have too many gear options. As more companies popped up and the equipment became better, artists were able to get closer to the sound in their heads, says Scott Marquart of Stringjoy. As a player, he went “bananas” fiddling with every aspect of his setup, swapping guitar strings from different packages until he found the perfect sound—his sound.

That’s when inspiration struck: If other gear can be custom-made, why not guitar strings? And so Scott started Stringjoy, sweating in his attic, answering every email, fulfilling every order, and coding every page of his site. (Scout, his adorable pup, helped, too.)

Scott and Puppy

When we visited his sleek, everything-in-its-place home office, Scott told us the biggest difference between now and when he first started 3 years ago was organization. The Stringjoy team may be just 5 people, but they’ve since divided and conquered a monumental number of tasks. Scott still mostly manages his MailChimp account himself, and he relies heavily on automation for an extra pair of hands. Here’s how he keeps his tone personal, both with his guitar strings and his online brand:

Connect directly

Scott lists his email on Stringjoy’s site, and for good reason: He wants customer interactions to feel genuine, thoughtful, and “not too sales-y.” “Automation has been so important to me since the very beginning,” he says. “When you’re running a small but fast-growing company, anything you can do to do more work in less time is huge, and automation is the best for that.”

Meet Scott

In fact, Scott’s writing is so earnest, customers often reply to the emails as though they were personally written. “I feel guilty sometimes because it’s just an email that went out,” he says with a laugh. But he’s always sure to respond. “When it was just me handling every email or customer service issue, there was almost nothing I wouldn’t do to make a customer happy, because I felt like the success of my company depended on it.”

Inspire Loyalty

Stringjoy relies on several different email sequences, each emphasizing a different aspect of the customer journey to ensure customers are happy—and stay happy.

“The first is an indoctrination sequence to educate prospects about our company, our strings, and what they can expect from us,” he says. “The goal there is to ultimately convince them to give our strings a try.”

After the customer purchases a set, Scott uses a follow-up automation sequence that engages them periodically to make sure they’re loving the strings and asks to leave Stringjoy a review. Third-party validation is huge for the company, especially for their impressive Instagram following. That’s because musicians tend to be zealous about their gear, particularly their strings, so getting someone to try the product can lead to a lifetime convert.

Scott Playing Guitar

When several weeks have passed, Stringjoy offers discounts and other incentives to come back and place another order.

“Being able to regularly engage with our customers to stay top of mind and ensure that they’re thinking of us when it’s time to get some more strings has been huge for us,” he says. “Sure, the ultimate goal is for them to purchase from us again, but we also want to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to make their experience as good as it can be.”

Scott advises that automation can offer a huge benefit to any size company, but small businesses in particular are excellent candidates.

“For the quickest win, I would recommend creating an order follow-up sequence that engages a customer at specific intervals after they’ve made a purchase,” he says.

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He recommends listing out what the goals are for the customer (satisfaction with the order, a product review, posting about the product on social media, referrals, etc.) and coming up with a series that encourages customers to perform those actions.

“Over time you can see what is working and what isn’t, and make improvements as needed,” he says.