(Transcript continued from the Episode 136 show notes and audio podcast)

If you’re wondering whether or not you even know what product you would create, it’s also my understanding that the first part of the class is going to be dedicated to helping you decide that, deciding what to create and what your audience might want. If you’ve always thought about doing this and maybe you’ve been procrastinating, which is something that we’re going to talk about later in this episode, this could be the chance that you have to actually get over that hump and get your first product created.

To help people along with this I’ll also be posting a daily thought about the training that day in the Late Night Internet Marketing Facebook group. We’ll be talking all about how we’re progressing through the class. I encourage you that if you do sign up for the Product Creation Masterclass, or even if you don’t and you just want to hear about how it’s going, go over to the Facebook group and join the conversation. It’s going to be cool and we’re going to have a lot of fun doing that. I’m looking forward to the start of that. The class begins April 24th and I hope to see you there.

Late Night Tech Tip: HelpScout for Customer Service and Support

As you know, I’ve been working on this ecommerce site and it has been very exciting. I have made a tremendous amount of progress and I’m really starting to get to the point where we’re going to find out whether or not this is viable for Mark Mason or not.

Just to catch you up, I selected a niche and in that niche I identified several relatively inexpensive products that I could advertise on Facebook and try to sell. The idea is to sell these on Facebook at a price that is more than the price it cost me to buy the product in China and ship it directly to the customer, so this is a drop-shipping model.

It’s been very interesting. The training has been very good from the guys at 100K Factory. I was able to sell my first couple of products by running just a few dollars of Facebook ads to test out some products and see their viability. Now it’s time to scale that testing, so right now at this very moment I have 12 total ads running in Facebook that are specific to 12 different products, and in general they target 12 different Facebook audiences.

What that means is you get to identify who sees your ad, that’s the target audience for your ads, and I’ve selected those based on a research technique that is offered in the training for this class, but also based on my gut feeling. So if I’m selling coffee mugs, for example, I’m targeting those at groups of people who might be coffee drinkers, maybe fans of the Starbucks fan page.

If you’re wanting to sell coffee mugs with a picture of Elvis on them, then you might look at the overlap between the audience that is a fan of Starbucks and the audience that is a fan of Elvis Presley to try and identify people that are more likely to be interested in your product of an Elvis coffee mug. That’s kind of the idea.

This can change from product to product. There is art involved in this, kind of a gut feeling about who is going to be responsive to your ad, as well as science. You can also target based on demographics (currently I’m targeting mostly the U.S.) and you can also target based on age and things like that. There are lots of different ways that you can identify your niche audience on Facebook, which has over a billion people on it, so that the efficiency of your ad delivery is high enough so that the cost you pay for the ads is low enough to make all of this stuff work out.

So, I’ve been working on that. In the process of working on that, of course, one of the things that you have to do is be prepared for the customer service that comes with ecommerce. As a matter of fact, in that one order I already had my first very simple customer service related call. Well, it wasn’t actually a call, it was an email from a form on the website. The person wanted to know what the status of their order was.

Normally in this process Shopify is going to be all set up and automated to automatically ship customers sort of drip content that says, “Your package has shipped. Here’s where it is,” and all of that to hold down these kind of customer service calls. But, in this case I hadn’t set all of that up. Basically what I did was I took the customer’s money and then went quiet for awhile, so they emailed me and said, “Hey, where’s my product?”

In this model with these impulse buys off of Facebook, shipping is coming from China so it takes a little bit longer than something like Amazon Prime. That’s usually absolutely fine, because this is not a product that the customer was looking for to begin with, this was an Elvis coffee mug that they didn’t even know that they needed before the ad showed up on Facebook. So the fact that it takes up to two weeks, or maybe longer in some cases, to get there is usually not a problem, especially if you can tell the customer when it’s going to arrive.

All of this to say there is an advantage, I think, to having a pretty robust technical support solution. The solution that I’m using for this is the same solution that I use for Late Night Internet Marketing, which is HelpScout.

That’s the tech tip for today. If you’re doing any kind of email customer service, I’ve tried several of these help desk type programs and I really like HelpScout over and above some of the more common expensive solutions that are out there, like ZenDesk, and I prefer it over the free solutions that are out there, like OSticket. It’s beautiful and it just works great.

Let me give you a little bit of a flavor of what this thing looks like and how easy it is to install.

HelpScout is free for the normal kind of use that you and I might want to use. If you’re not needing multiple mailboxes and you don’t need some of the advanced features of a help desk tracking system that you would use if you were a large company, you can probably use HelpScout absolutely for free. That’s what I’ve been doing with LateNightIM.com for quite some time. If you want to see what HelpScout looks like from a customer point of view, you can send me an email to [email protected] and that will go into HelpScout.

Very simply your email gets forwarded into HelpScout and HelpScout handles the rest. What you’ll see when you do that is you get a nice auto-responder message that says, “I just want to let you know that I got your email and we’re working on it.” What happens for me is I get a notification in my inbox, or on my iPhone, or on my Apple Watch that there is a new ticket, depending on the configuration that you want. I can answer that ticket and I can close it, reply it, or assign it to a virtual assistant, or whatever it is that I want to do with the ticket.

It’s really nice. You can track those tickets and get a sense of what is going on and then they’re archived once you close them. It’s a really nice solution for you if you’re wanting to have some level of customer support and it’s very simple to use. You just forward [email protected] or whatever you choose to use. Some people use [email protected], for example. You just forward that in to the HelpScout system and it takes care of the rest.

Here are a couple of pro tips…

You can set up HelpScout with a little bit of advanced configuration. I only say advanced configuration because you have to edit your DNS a little bit. It’s simple to do, they give very specific instructions on how to do this. You can do this such that when you reply from HelpScout the email looks like it is coming from LateNightIM.com (or whatever your domain is) rather than from HelpScout domain. That’s really clean and professional looking, and it’s easy to do. By setting some simple records in your domain name servers you can sort all of this out and it works really great.

The instructions on the HelpScout website are very simple about how to set these special spam prevention records, like SPF records and DKIM records, and DMARC records, to make sure that your email is deliverable when HelpScout is masquerading as your domain. You have to essentially tell the internet that you’ve given HelpScout permission to do that. When you do that it looks really slick.

Again, if you want to check that out email me at [email protected] and I will respond and you can see what all of that looks like and kind of test HelpScout out for yourself.

It’s also nice on ecommerce stores to offer phone support. That can be kind of a bugger to have to deal with, so another pro tip that I’ll offer you is that on ecommerce stores it can be important to have a phone number out there so that people feel like they trust that you really exist.

Of course, as part time marketers with day jobs, we’re not going to put our cell phone numbers out there and have that ringing in the middle of the day, so you need some kind of service. There are two solutions that are incredibly popular. One is Grasshopper, which is a paid solution that costs around $12 a month for an 800 number. Then there is a very popular free solution, which is Google Voice.

A lot of you know that I have the Late Night Internet Marketing voicemail feedback hotline at 214-444-8655 that you can call at any time to leave me feedback about the show. You can also use that kind of Google Voice phone number for customer service.

That phone number is a Google Voice phone number and I’m using it to collect feedback for the show and handle other kinds of customer service related issues, but for an ecommerce you can simply get a phone number like that from Google Voice, which is absolutely free, and set a voicemail on that line to say something like, “Thank you for calling. Your call is very important to us. We are busy helping other people,” or whatever you want to say there, “Leave a message and we’ll get back to you. Or, for faster customer service, send us an email to [email protected],” which is what I prefer.

The cool thing is if you set all this up in Google Voice you can set it up so that Google Voice will forward that voicemail audio file, and in most cases the transcript of that file or at least their attempt to transcribe that file, directly into your help desk software over at HelpScout. That’s kind of a pro tip where you can extend HelpScout in order to make it work better with phone calls and that sort of support.

You can also extend HelpScout to work with Shopify, where the customer’s order history appears inside of HelpScout. They have a Shopify automation extension application inside of HelpScout that you can add to have HelpScout talk to Shopify.

For all of those reasons, I think HelpScout is absolutely a fantastic and probably the best solution, especially if you’re getting started with ecommerce or doing any other kind of support. I really like the HelpScout tool.

One more super cool tip for you. If you want more information about HelpScout and all of the thinking around that, Cliff Ravenscraft did an episode on this talking about support ticket systems, his experience and my experience, on Episode 489 of the Cliff Ravenscraft Show at PodcastAnswerMan.com. You can check that out and find lots more information about help ticket systems. I definitely recommend that.

Overcoming Fear and Procrastination in Your Internet Business

For the main segment today I wanted to talk a little bit about this idea of procrastination and why we procrastinate. I’ve talked about procrastination before in general on the show, but I wanted to talk about today was a specific case on this ecommerce site.

When I was working through the stuff on this ecommerce site, of course I had to build up a site. I raced through all of that, did research on AliExpress, which is a China-based version of Amazon, found products and identified a niche, and went through all of this stuff that I had to do in order to get that accomplished at blazing speed. I’m going through this course together with 10 other people that I knew from another course and those people went along through that with me.

I went through at least as everyone else in that group, because I was super confident about what to do. I’ve built hundreds of websites, I’ve done niche research over and over again throughout the years, I knew what was going on and I blazed ahead. Even to the point where I set my first Facebook ad for my first product, I did that with relative ease and got that all knocked out.

Then it came to start trying to scale this to 10 or 15 products, and I started to really slow down and procrastinate a little bit. I wondered what the deal was with that. Why was I running so slow?

I was still making good forward progress and I’ve made a lot of progress over the last six weeks, but I felt myself hesitating and deciding to work on other stuff first. I wondered, “Why am I doing this?” Obviously I’m very excited.

I think what it comes to is this idea of procrastination that is created by fear and uncertainty. I think this is something that we as entrepreneurs can do all of the time. We’re not sure exactly what to do or how to do it and we’re not as sure exactly what the outcome is going to be or maybe what the consequences are going to be, and so we have fear and procrastination at times as a result of that situation. When this is something new and we’re not sure exactly what to do about it, so we procrastinate.

I think a lot of this comes down to fear that things won’t work out. Even if you are outwardly saying that something is going to be awesome, in the back of your mind a lot of us oftentimes will have this little voice that knows that you may fall flat on your face, things might not work out, you may be worried that things are going to go badly.

Like with all things, it’s important to recognize these procrastination tendencies, these limiting beliefs, these little voices in your head that you need to turn down the volume on occasionally. Fear that you will fail is definitely one that is ongoing.

One of the things that Jason Van Orden taught me a long time ago was the simplest thing to do is to think about and actually really identify what is the worst thing that could happen if this thing does fail and things do go wrong.

For me, if I fail on these 10 Facebook ads the worst thing that could happen is I waste $100. That’s really the worst thing that can happen. That’s not great, I like $100 bills and I don’t want to waste them, but it’s not like I’m going to accidentally go to jail or something. This is just a business experiment and the worst thing that can happen is that I won’t sell anything and all of that ad money will be wasted.

The truth of the matter is, even in that case I will have learned something and probably even if I sell it at a loss I will have sold something. That probably means that I won’t even lose the $100, I’ll recoup some of that back in sales. So that’s not even really the worst thing that could happen. A more likely outcome is that I’ll lose $50, so that’s not that big of a deal.

The other thing is just this general fear of the unknown. Whenever people are doing something that they’re not used to doing or it’s just an uncomfortable space, this is the idea of getting outside of your comfort zone, sometimes you don’t know exactly what to do or where to start.

In the case of this training, this Facebook ad placement stuff has science to it. That’s procedure that they give you, they tell you in this training that I’m taking what to do. But, there is also art to it, there’s uncertainty. Like a lot of things in internet marketing, it depends on exactly what you’re doing and it’s hard to give a precise formula on exactly how to succeed. It comes down to a skill that you may or may not have, or that you may need to learn.

That uncertainty, that fear of the unknown, can stop you from moving forward. That’s certainly the case in this class, because of the targeting. The targeting is one of those things that is a little bit art in addition to the science, so I know that I was second-guessing myself about targeting and that was holding me back. I bet you’ve had experiences that are similar to that, too.

A fear that goes along with this that can sometimes cause procrastination is fear of things that are relatively uncomfortable. Whenever you get into new spaces it’s easy to be uncomfortable. In this case I’m dealing with the Facebook Ads Manager, in the back of my mind I know that if you make a serious mistake with Facebook, just like with Adwords or anything of that nature, you can get your account suspended. I just have all of this stuff going on in my mind and it all makes me a little uncomfortable. I’m in a new space, I’m doing something new, the stakes for me are relatively high because I’m talking about it on the podcast, I want it to be successful so that you guys can learn from it and so that I don’t look silly, to be quite honest with you. That kind of fear of the uncomfortable is something that you have to deal with.

Then I think there is just the fear of doing it wrong. There’s this fear that maybe I don’t really understand how to do this and I’m just going to do it wrong. Whether it’s starting your first WordPress website or building an information product using the Product Creation Masterclass that we talked about at the beginning of the episode, you’ll encounter those fears where you’re just worried about doing the thing wrong.

As we’ve gone through those, I’ve talked a little bit about what the fears are. There are some obvious things that you can do, one of which I described where you call these fears out. I think that really is the key.

The first key to overcoming procrastination that is fear based is to shine a light on the fear. The bad guys always operate in the dark, the monsters are always coming out in the dark, the thing that hides under your bed and scares you when you’re a kid is always something that is scary in the dark. These fears that create procrastination, they only exist because you haven’t shined a light on them and really examined them for what they’re worth.

In the case that we talked about regarding the fear of failure, we shined a light on that and said failure is not that big of a deal. I think if you do that in each and every case, if you take the time to identify what your fear is and actually illuminate it, then that is the first and best step that you will have to own that fear and recognize that it’s not that big of a deal, in almost every case.

In almost every case we’re not talking about a life or death situation, we’re just talking about something that we need to get past. Owning it, calling it out, recognizing it, and shining a light on it is going to be one of your best defenses.

Of course, you can also do things like make sure you have the right information. For me, one of the things that I was able to do to move forward is do a little more research above and beyond what was given in the class and identify some more thinking about how to do this targeting that I was worried about for these Facebook ads. Once I shined some light on the fear, I was able to understand that one of my issues was lacking the needed information and I was able to go get that information.

A little more research can help you. I want to encourage you not to do that too aggressively, because that can turn into another form of procrastination. This endless study and research is not something that you want to do on a regular basis. You want to go ahead and push forward. In my case here and perhaps in your case, it made me feel better to read a couple of articles that told me more about what people were doing that was working successfully with regard to Facebook ad targeting.

Another thing that you can do is bite off small chunks. I felt a little overwhelmed by having to set up 12 ads in Facebook, but setting up the next one doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Operating in small chunks, eating the elephant one bite at a time, that can be a really helpful way to push forward through what is holding you back through these fears that you may have that are causing procrastination.

The last thing that I want to offer you is support and accountability, and again to give you a call to action to come join us in the Late Night Internet Marketing Facebook Group. If you are having some kind of fear or uncertainty in your internet business and you have people you can talk to about it and that can help encourage you, help allay your fears, maybe even hold you accountable a little bit for making progress in whatever it is that you’re procrastinating, that accountability and help that you can get from people can be really the biggest and most important thing.

In the case of this issue with me moving forward on these Facebook ads, that accountability came from the small mastermind group that I have, that is different than the Green Room Mastermind group that we usually talk about. I have another mastermind group that is specifically for 100K Factory that is made up of people that came from a previously awesome training class that I took and we realized that all of us were taking this 100K Factory course and we formed that group that way.

In any case, if you can identify accountability partners or people that you can share your fears with, or maybe people that have had experienced your fears and can help you to work through them, that can be a super huge advantage.

I hope that if you’re procrastinating on something, and maybe you’re procrastinating on creating your first information product, that you’ll break that down into what those fears are, where they are coming from, and go shine some light on them. Identify them and find some ways to work through them and make some progress in your business.

Wrapping Things Up…

That wraps up another exciting and fantastic episode of the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast. At least I think it’s fantastic. I know that you may have a different opinion, but I just love it. Even if it’s not absolutely perfect every episode, I am having a blast talking to you.

I consider it a serious privilege to be in your ears once a week for 20 or 30 minutes. Thank you so much for listening. I will see you next week when I hope to tell you about the success or failure of my 12 Facebook ads.

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