Automation, Courses, Coworking, Progress Report, Projects

Update: Coworking Courses, Email Segmentation, Meditation Goals

Bee fliying from flower in slow motion

Coworking Courses

This week I launched a poll to the members of The Coworking Handbook Newsletter asking them for their priorities for a coworking course: sales or community. The answer was a clear both, so I’ve started both of them.

To learn the ropes and get my hand dirtied I’ve chosen to go first with the coworking community course. It is much shorter than the sales course so it will be easier to finish and launch it. The knowledge I get from this one will be used for the sales course.

The outline of the coworking course is ready. I’m sure it will be modified as soon as I get down to recording and writing the lessons, but I think it is well structured to deliver a lot of practical value. It looks like I will be launching this course in Udemy.

For the sales course, I’ve sent the marketing chapter of The Coworking Handbook to Panos, founder of LearnWorlds and early backer of the book who kindly offered to give me a hand in reply to a newsletter email. His team is working with the chapter to help me out and kick start the course content and structure.

To get the launch deals for this courses, signup to the The Coworking Handbook Newsletter.

Email Segmentation

giphy-downsized

To improve the quality of the list, I cleaned it again through an online service and reduced it by another couple thousand contacts to over nine thousand. There are still a lot of bounces from emails that do not exist any more. My mailbox has emails at least for the last 15 years, so that was to be expected. That the validation services are not good at weeding these out is not.

I’m now sending 1500 emails a day. Contrary to what it says in the mail merge add-on I’m using, the counter does not reset at a specific time. Google is using rolling 24 hours, so I have to be more mindful of the time I stop sending emails.

The add-on has let down my original understanding and expectations. I have to launch it manually every day and leave the sheet open. There’s no support and my email got blocked for a while because I had sent two thousand emails in 24h due to faulty information. But it is working, which is good.

With over five thousand emails sent the response in my mailbox has been very positive and I’m caching up with the few that respond and I’m really enjoying it. Only one person has complained. To make sure people understand that the list will not be used again I’ve added that the list will self destruct after sending, so they should not fear getting more emails to that address.

The domain I’m using (ramonsuarez.com) is not tagged as spam by the servers I’m tracking. Some people are signing up to be updated and the automations are working great to send them to the different accounts and lists based on their choices.

Meditation Goals

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I’m meditating every day and have managed to do so for 69 days on a row, but I think I got the intermediary goals wrong. The ultimate goal of meditating for a year is good, but the only goal that really matters is to meditate today. This is a daily challenge, every day matters. The intermediary goals I’d thought of are more rewards than goals in themselves.

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Learn how to open and run a successful coworking space
Coworking, marketing, News, Projects

New Project: Coworking Course

After two short projects in the challenge, it is time for another monthly undertaking. This time I will be preparing a coworking course that builds on and expands The Coworking Handbook. The book’s content is still 100% valid and applicable, but I can add extra knowledge from running Betacowork the years after I published the book (and from selling it!).

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I’ve already spent some time looking into platforms like Udemy, Teachable and Skillshare among others. There’s also LearnWorlds, proposed by one of the readers of the book. I’ve not made up my mind about the best one to use but I know that it will not be Skillshare: they pay way too little and teachers deserve a good compensation!

Of course, being a promoter and member of coworking spaces I’ve reached out to David, who is an specialist in online education and also a member of Betacowork. I’m really looking forward to having a conversation with him.

The first think I will do is draft the core structure of the course. Then I will share it with the people that are already in the mail list of The Coworking Handbook (signup if you want to get in too). There’s a couple thousand people that are interested and interesting.

I may create first a small email course to use as a teaser and lead magnet, but I need to work on the main course content first to make sure that I add enough value and that I don’t give it all away.

One thing is clear about the content: it will have to focus on sales and on community, which seem to be the weak points of way to many coworking businesses.

What would you like to learn from my coworking course ? I’m really looking forward to your input.

PS: If you are interested in running a coworking space, check this helpful coworking resources

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Automation, marketing, Progress Report, Projects

Update: Email Marketing, Repurposing, Outsourcing, Automation

Another busy and motivating week has just gone by and things are looking good. Here is this week’s progress report.

As  Ash Maurya says:

Practice Trumps Theory

One of the main reasons for the entrepreneurship challenge is to get my hands dirty and it is working wonders.

Revamping Network and Mailing Lists

So far 1479 emails of the segmentation project have gone out. The few responses I’m getting are extremely positive and I’ve had my first meeting thanks to it today. I know more about what some people are doing and is super interesting. Computer assisted networking FTW!

giphy

Only 10 people have signed up via the interest form to hear back from me, but this blog is getting some more views (nothing crazy though)

On the down side, there are a lot of bad emails (maybe I validated the list too long ago, or the service was not that good), but so far no problems with deliverability. I’ve not dared to let go 1500 emails per day yet, but will probably do next week.

Repurposing: Lead Magnets

I’ve made a list of 44 pieces of content to use as lead magnets and get more relevant emails. You can check the list here. Hurry before I put it behind a form and you have to give me your email 🙂

teaser-lead-magnets-challenge

They are separated by property and can be ordered by priority. Some of the Olympic Pistol documents are set to low priority because they already exist, ugly but available. I will probably improve them with outsourced help.

Outsourcing via Fiverr

I’ve ordered two times the same infographic about the Advantages of Coworking on Fiverr. This is part of the first one I’ve received (still under revision), for which I paid $32.50: teaser-advantages-coworking-handbook

I’ve also ordered close to a hundred Pinterest quotes from my coworking book. I’m curious about using Instagram to drive traffic to my posts and if including Instagram optimized images in my posts will result in more social shares.

Total expense so far is $62.50 including all of Fiverr’s commissions.

I’ve taken advantage of this first test to bookmark a bunch of profiles for the next orders.

Automation

I’ve not managed to find the tool to manage all lead magnets and subscriptions in one place. Right now I’m working with a mix of Google Sheets,  automate.ioand Mailchimp.

This week I have created a few new bots with automate.io to send the new signups from people that want to hear from me to the relevant Mailchimp list, but I have not turned them on yet. I’m missing running a test with Google Sheets queries.

The lead magnets I started adding to my olympic pistol blog four weeks ago have brought in 256 signups in a site that has only gotten 519 unique visitors in the last 30 days. This is great.

Gotta go train now. Make sure you tune in on Monday to learn about the next challenge. Enjoy the weekend!

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Automation, marketing, Projects

This Week’s Focus: Repurposing, Outsourcing, Automation

After the launch of my email campaign to refresh my network, I ‘ve decided to continue building on my skills and focus on three of the things I want to improve:

  • Repurposing content.
  • Outsourcing some of my work.
  • Automate as much as possible.

Repurposing

I have produced a lot of content, be it in the form of blog posts, books, conferences, social media shares… A lot of it is evergreen content (content that is good forever, that does not go bad after a certain date). I want to repurpose some of this content to produce other formats like infographics and presentations.

This is not the first time I’ve done this. If you follow some of my social media accounts (TwitterFacebookLinkedinPinterest, YouTube…) you have seen articles reposted with different text in the post and quotes from my coworking book.

Some of this content will be given away in exchange of an email to help build my mail lists.

Outsourcing

A lot of this content can be made more visual to appeal to different audiences, be shared more and bring in new traffic. I’m a words person, not an images person, so I’m going to outsource as much as I can.

The first platform I’m going to test is Fiverr, and the first job is going to be to make an infographic out of my post about the advantages of coworking.

Automation

There are too many tasks where I don’t add any value and that can be automated:

  1. Posting the repurposed and recurring content.
  2. Adding people to mailing lists.
  3. Sending specific content based on the form submitted.
  4. Launching drip campaigns to provide and get value
  5. Browser macros to delete contacts from CRMs…

Luckily I already have some experience with the first three, but I want to improve it by using new tools instead of hacking away with Google Forms and automate.io.

Can you help with any of these? Got questions? Use the comment section below this post 🙂

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Automation, marketing, Progress Report

The Email Segmentation Campaign Is Rolling!

The email segmentation & reactivation campaign to freshen up my mailing lists is set up and rolling.

Choosing the Right Tool and Cleaning Up Contacts

I dropped Mautic for being too complicated and awful to clean up contacts (the main problem I have with all the CRM I’ve tried so far). At the end I went for a much easier set up with the help of a Google add-on by Amit Argawal. I had already used his Gmail Extractor to build the list with all the email addresses in my inbox.

I ended up with over 90.000 emails in the spreadsheet. Then I de-duplicated them and sent them to a list verification service for some cleanup (sorry but I cannot find the exact one I used, try this list to find one). I ended up with over 22.000 emails, but I still had to do a lot of cleanup manually.

First I tried with Mautic, but after many hours of hard work I decided to give up. I could not even do a reset of the contacts and delete them all at once to upload a cleaned list from Google Contacts or a cleaned spreadsheet, so I decided to delete the account and look for something simpler and to clean up the contacts in a spreadsheet using filters. Luckily I’ve made a list of words to use that I’ve been improving with each cleanup.

At the end I used Mail Merge by Amit, which is very easy to use (although he fails to reply to support questions).

mail-merge-for-gmail

Email Copy

Initially I had thought of an overly complicated email that had too many choices:

Email segmentation note keep

I kept the original idea but made it (hopefully) simpler. This is the current email template:

Hi {{First Name}}

Sorry if this message pops up out of the blue (don’t worry, there won’t be a second email). 

As part of my entrepreneurship challenge I’m refreshing my network and just went through my inbox to get the email addresses of everybody I’ve been in touch with in the last few years.

You may know me as the founder of Betacowork, author of The Coworking Handbook, and organizer of startups.be, Betagroup, Startup weekend Brussels and other initiatives. I’ve organized a lot of events about entrepreneurship, coworking and many other subjects in Brussels that you have probably attended.

To hear from me about entrepreneurship, coworking, Olympic pistol or other subject of your liking please click here to choose what you are interested in.

I’m also looking forward to hear from you. Just reply to this email with your update 🙂

Kind regards,

Ramon Suarez / Serendipity Accelerator

ramonsuarez.com

twitter.com/ramonsuarez

facebook.com/ramonsuarezdotcom

linkedin.com/in/ramonsuarez/

To me it looks too wordy still, but I thought that it was good enough to send. It includes information to help people understand why I’m contacting them, remember who I am, and understand how I got their email.

Sending Emails Out

This was a strange week to start sending emails out with the long weekends and vacations, but I think that it is better to be out than to be perfect.

The first two batches where of 50 emails each. 10% have bounced. No complains, no signups.

Today I sent 100 more and got 17% bounces. I saw the email of one of my friends passing by, so I contacted him to see how he got the email. It all looks good:

in-the-inbox

He did sign up, but I would not use this as a signal.

I can send up to 1500 emails a day, but I’m holding the horses because of fear of getting flagged as a spammer. I have not been able to see how to limit the daily send, so I’ve contacted Amit (he never got back to me). Hopefully he’ll help me figure it out. Right now I have to launch the script manually every day and I want to just launch it and forget about it.

Next Steps

Next thing to do is to set up the queries in the suscription spreadsheet to be able to use automate.io or Zapier to add everyone to the right mail-list automatically. This is part of my challenge and of the things I want to learn and improve through practice.

Do you have any suggestions?

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Automation, Entrepreneurship, marketing, Projects

Dipping My Toes into Email Marketing Automation

As part of my entrepreneurship challenge, I’m now dipping my toes into email marketing automation to take advantage of all the contacts I’ve collected through the years and try to deliver value to them based on their interests.

So far I’ve imported over 25.000 contacts to Mautic and a few of the imports are still on hold. There will have to be a major cleaning afterwards. I feel a bit like the star of Going Postal, overwhelmed by the amount of mail to deliver. (Yes, I’m a huge Terry Pratchett fan thanks to Leo Exter.) I’m not sure how many I should be delivering everyday, but it will have to be big to go through all.

What I’m trying to do with this learning experiment is to segment all the contacts that are interested in following up with certain subjects, to be able to deliver the appropriate content to each one of them from the multiple sources where I create among our shared interests. Ideally I will learn how to deliver this content at the best time, going beyond newsletters.

On top of this, I will be catching up with a lot of you and revitalizing my network. I like to have a computer assist me into launching meaningful interactions and taking over when I add value. I tried a while ago with a CRM that did not live up to its promisses, but the premise still fully resonates with me.

Some of you may be saying:

naughtyboygoingpostal

But I don’t think I’m a naughty boy. I’m offering a genuine opportunity to catch up and to send content based on the interests of the people that have gone through my inbox. I’ve organized so many events and initiatives that I have a lot of contacts. Most of those initiatives where volunteering and I have already proven the quality of my value delivery.

If you get an email from me asking for your interests it means that it is working!

goingpostaltachan

If not, you can always signup here to receive information from me about the interests that we have in common.

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Coworking, Entrepreneurship, News, Progress Report, Projects

Results Project #1: Flop

The launch of coworking.space has been a flop. The first KPI is far from being fulfilled. 18 spaces signed up but almost none of them edited their landing page. The first one that did, completely ignored the guidelines and did not even include a link to their site even after telling them about it. The only coworking space that followed the guidelines was Betacowork, my former coworking space (where I still work 1 to 3 days a week), and with a lot of help from me.

None of the help offers nor the requests for feedback where responded to.

This is a strong signal that there’s no interest in this iteration of coworking.space. The directory of landing pages is not relevant.

I still think there’s a lot to do to solve the main problem of coworking spaces: sales.

As my friend Ash says, love the problem not your solution.

I’m stopping work in this iteration of coworking.space but will keep on trying to find solutions that can be helpful to bring more business to coworking spaces around the world.

What I’ve Learned

  • How to whitelist a URL in Facebook.
  • How to use my main GSuite account to send and receive emails with multiple URLs (like the one of this blog)
  • How to setup emails with GSuite and WordPress to use my OVH domain.
  • How to setup a WordPress multisite.
  • How to auto update WordPress plugins with one line of code.
  • Bits and pieces of WordPress. customization and use of plugins.

Next Project

The next project in the challenge will be a short one to activate some of the thousands of emails in my mailbox and segment them based on their interests. More on this in the next post.

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