In this post I’m going to share with you how we used a junior in high school with no marketing experience to grow our list by 66% in about 60 days.
I’ll also share with you the exact processes we used to train her so she could be up to speed and largely self-sufficient within a week of joining us as a summer intern.
This is something that every entrepreneur can and should take advantage of, and it’s a good reminder to outsource, or to at least leverage your time using inexpensive resources wherever possible to get more done.
You Can’t Do Everything
As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of trying to do too much – trying to do everything ourselves.
Sometimes this is just because we get into ‘action mode’ and don’t stop long enough to think that we can and should be giving some work to others.
Other times it’s because we think the work we’re doing is so complicated that nobody else will be able to do it; or do it right.
The reality is, if you want to grow your business, you have to learn to let go of some things. Otherwise, you quickly become the #1 bottleneck preventing you from realizing your goals.
Building Your List
If you are building any sort of online business – or any business for that matter – building your list is one of your most critical business activities.
List building should be happening constantly and in as high of volume as you can afford.
But for many of us, we don’t give it the time and attention it deserves.
We get too busy.
Or we overcomplicate it.
Or we don’t let others help us because we think that we have some special knowledge that nobody else will be able to match unless they cost a fortune (you know…because if they can do what we can do, they MUST be really expensive!).
Keep It Simple
That’s one of the reasons we created our ‘Simple List Building System’…it’s simple!
We had been caught in the trap of thinking that we had to create fancy ‘lead magnets’ to offer to get people to opt in to our list.
That was holding us back, and it simply wasn’t true.
Running giveaways and contests was our answer. It’s a simple, scalable way to grow your list quickly and affordably, and it works in any market.
And it’s so simple that a high school junior intern with no experience can be managing the whole process for you within a week!
Setting Expectations With Your Intern
Our intern is a friend of the family that was looking for an internship and wanted some experience with marketing specifically. Her parents suggested she come to us.
We have very strict rules about interns around here as we’ve found them to be a big waste of time and resources in the past.
Strict rule #1 is that the internship has to be primarily about serving us, and a fun learning experience for the intern secondarily.
That may sound harsh, but the reality as as much as we love the idea of helping a young student learn, we don’t have the resources around here to have anyone join our team unless they are productive.
A lot of people get internships with the expectation that the internship is about them getting to learn and them getting to have fun and getting experience and all that good stuff. It absolutely should be about that for them, but from our perspective interns have often been big waste of time and frustration because it just adds work to us without a return.
You’ve got another person to manage, and that person tends to be somebody that’s very inexperienced and now you’re stuck trying to provide something for them to do and trying to train them. They’re often times there for only a short period of time and so getting something out of that intern that you feel like is worth your time and worth your energy and maybe even money invested can be difficult.
The intern has to provide leverage for us. It has to be something that we can turn that person into a productive member of our team, essentially right away, so that we can ROI immediately on any time or money that we’re investing in that person.
That’s our approach.
When this family friend came to us, we explained that to her very clearly and we said, “You can decide if this is right for you or not, but from our perspective, we are going to give you very specific things that we want done. Those things may not be exciting to you. They may not be interesting to you. And you may not come out of this thinking that you learned really exciting meaningful things, and essentially, we don’t care.”
We just told her that very bluntly and said, “If that’s a problem for you, we totally understand. Then, you should go look for internship elsewhere.”
To go along with that very blunt statement, I did add a little bit of sugar, of course.
I sold her a little bit on here’s what we do, here’s what I am planning for you if you do come on as an intern, and why if I was an intern, those would be interesting things to learn.
A little bit of a sales pitch to go along with the blunt statement, to make sure that she did understand some of the benefits of what she would get from doing this kind of work for us.
Once she agreed to that and we agreed on a start time and things like that, we got very clear as a team on what exactly we would want her to do.
Create a Simple Process to Follow
For our local publishing business, we are always running give away contests (like the one you see below) to grow our list, but we knew that we should be doing more of those and we should be doing them more consistently.
But as is typical of a business doing too many things with too many resources, we weren’t putting enough time and energy into these, and we knew it was costing us growth.
So we laid out a very specific process around how we run these give away contests and how we run Facebook ads to promote them and all of the systems necessary to do this.
We use Upviral as our contest management system and put those leads into Mail Chimp for that particular business and so just how to set all that up.
We organized it in a very specific process, which I will detail in this post but this is essentially our simple list building system.
The simple list building system is a method that we’ve taught now for years and it’s just using give aways and contests to grow our lists. We found that that is the easiest most scalable, most affordable way to grow our lists consistently.
We knew that if we just documented the process, that even somebody with no experience would be able to run this process for us.
Here Was the Process We Gave Her to Build Our List
Step 1: Contact businesses in the area to ask for prize donations in exchange for marketing of their business using an outreach email template I wrote for her
Step 2: If they express interest, send a second email detail what is needed from them –a second email template I wrote for her
Step 3: Add all information about the giveaway and the contacts at the business to our calendar and our CRM
Step 4: Set up the contest funnel in Clickfunnels, the tool we use to set up and manage all of our funnels
Step 4: Set up the giveaway campaign in Upviral, the tool we use to manage the contests
Step 5: Create a Facebook ad campaign to promote the contest using our ‘Prime the Pump’ approach
Step 6: Pick winners of the prizes on the dates determine by you and the client
Step 7: Notify the winners and give them their prizes using the email scripts I wrote for her
That’s what we did.
We gave her scripts that outlined exacts steps and processes for her to follow in quick videos.
What’s interesting is that she had absolutely no experience with any of this.
She didn’t even have a Facebook account, which was pretty humorous to us. But younger kids don’t have Facebook accounts. They’ve gone to Instagram and Snapchat and Twitter but Facebook is kind of the place where old people hang out to them, so they’re not on Facebook.
We actually had to create a Facebook account for her and then show her how to do Facebook ads, but because we have a very scalable cookie cutter process driven approach to these campaigns, I was able to very quickly just show her how to duplicate and update the campaigns with the new information. S
he really had no problem with this whatsoever.
I’d say we probably had about three days of learning curve and then once those three days were up, she was just off to the races on her own.
The Results Speak for Themselves
She grew our list by 66% (from 6,000 people to 10,000 people) for just under 50 cents per lead in just under 60 days, which is a great win for us and a great reminder to us that we should be using interns more often and our team and low cost outsourcing to take away some of these very important functions that tend to get lost in the shuffle sometimes.
And the performance of the campaigns speak to the power of the process, not necessarily the talent of the person involved. Which means it’s scalable!
All of you should do the same.
I hope this was helpful for you and I hope that you take it and run with it and use it to build your list as well!
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions!
All the best,
PS – check with your local attorney for your local laws related to interns – they vary state by state. In some states you have to pay, in others you don’t, etc.