Email Marketing with Podio and ConvertKit: The Basic Process

Scott Costello All, Blog, Podio, Tutorial 4 Comments

This is going to be a different type of tutorial then I normally put out. It will be a series of posts that will show you how to build an email sequence for new leads using Podio, ConvertKit and Zapier.

If you have gone through some of my tutorials in the past (Sending SMS with Twilio or Sending Voicemail with Slybroadcast) you’ll be familiar with how Zapier connects Podio and 3rd party services. You will get a little more of that in this series of tutorials, but I’m going to mainly focus on ConvertKit.

The first tutorial will start out with a simple and basic structure. Each subsequent tutorial will build off the previous ones by adding features until we have a kick ass process!

NOTE: Unfortunately this tutorial uses services that have a monthly cost. Most everyone will already have a Podio account so that cost won’t matter. Hopefully most of you already use Zapier and have a paid account there. The biggest cost will be ConvertKit, but it really is worth it. Below is the monthly cost break down of the 3 services.

Podio: $9.00/mo
Zapier: $20/mo
*ConvertKit: $29/mo


* I have an affiliate account with ConvertKit and will make a few bucks if you sign up through one of the links in this tutorial.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the process of sending out emails to your potential leads trying to get their business. Not only is it sending out emails, it is sending out a series of emails over a period of time. This is a great technique because it keeps your name in front of the prospects over and over again. That is a powerful thing.

While the concept of email marketing is simple, to do it correctly you really do need a tool to help you manage the leads, email sequences and sending of the emails. While Podio is a great tool for managing leads, it IS NOT the right tool for managing your email marketing.

However, Podio connected to an email marketing service is!

Because of my blog, I’ve used quite a few email marketing services over the last 12 years. I started out with Aweber and then tried out MailChimp. Over the past 6 years I have been using Drip for my blog which has worked out fairly well. Each of them has their problems ranging from complexity issues to lack of features or lack of 3rd party integrations.

For me the best email marketing service for what I’m trying to accomplish with my real estate investing is a service called ConvertKit.

What is ConvertKit?

ConvertKit is a subscriber based email marketing service to help you send out automated emails to your potential leads. Here is a quick rundown of what features it has.

Capture Forms: Create input forms that can be embedded onto websites or in landing pages. When filled out and submitted a subscriber will automatically be created.

Email Sequences: Setup unique email sequences to send out to different types of prospects. Have a sequence of emails for someone is just looking for information about your company. Another sequence for people who need to sell their house fast but not sure how to go about doing it. Or just have a 1 email follow up for someone looking to get a price quote on their house.

Tags: This is a powerful feature because it will help you organize your leads into different categories based off their actions. And based off these categories you can send them the best email that suits their needs.

Automations: These are powerful and awesome! Automations are used for doing things like assigning subscriber tags, adding subscribers to sequences or other things based off of an event. For example, if a subscriber fills out your “what is my property worth” form, you have an automation that Tags them with the Home Value Tag and then assign them to your follow up sequence that explains how you do your home valuations and asks them a few more questions.

Broadcasting: Use this feature if you need to send a one time email to a specific group of your leads. Let’s say you have a list of buyer subscribers, you can send out a broadcast of homes you have under contract to them.

3rd Party Integrations: ConvertKit has over a dozen direct integrations with shopping cart services (Sam Cart, Gumroad, etc..) and form builders (gravity forms, optin monster, etc..) it also has an integration with Zapier that opens it up to 100s of more services! That is the important one 🙂

I am not going to compare features with some of the other email marketing services in this tutorial, I’m just giving you my opinion as I’ve used many email marketing tools. Heck I’m still using Drip for my blog because it’s very time consuming to switch services once all the opt-ins and sequences were incorporated throughout my blog. When I have the time, I am going to move it all over to ConvertKit.

Go to ConvertKit.com to learn more

My Reasons for this Process

I have a few automated emails that get sent out to leads when they fill out my contact forms on my Investor Carrot websites. These emails are setup from the tools used by Investor Carrot. It’s nice but no where near what it can be. I want to be able to continually engage these prospects by sending them multiple emails over a period of time. Carrot couldn’t do that, but ConvertKit can.

As I said before this tutorial series is going to bring you through my process for developing one of my Podio integrations. I’ve done testing and have built some mock-ups already, but those are just to make sure ConvertKit and Zapier can handle what I want to do. From here on out I will be documenting how I’m building this process out.

The Process Overview

Now the fun part! Building this Podio to ConvertKit process. This is going to be the spec list of what I want to accomplish in this tutorial and also in the future.

THE BASICS

This is what we are going to create in this tutorial. It’ll consist of setting up Podio, ConvertKit and then Zapier to connect them.

  • Gather Leads in a Podio App
  • Trigger a Zapier Zap to run when a new Podio App item is created
  • The Zap will create a new subscriber in ConvertKit
  • A ConvertKit automation will assign this new Subscriber to an email sequence.
  • The email sequence will start sending out emails to the lead

THE FUTURE

The upcoming tutorials will deal with adding these features to the process. Unlike in this first tutorial where we will have Podio updating ConvertKit, these tutorials will have ConvertKit updating Podio.

  • Select which email sequence to subscribe lead to from Podio category field
  • Adjust lead status if prospects Unsubscribes from email
  • Have a ConvertKit log field in Podio to keep track of what is going on with the email sequences
  • Have a direct link from Podio to the ConvertKit subscriber information
  • Merge lead information into the ConvertKit emails to make them more personal

With any process that I setup I like having 2 way communications. I want to be able to control most everything from Podio and manage it from there. This isn’t always possible, but I try 🙂

What You Need Before Starting

Before we get started on any setup, let us make sure we have all the accounts created before. So here is a quick run down on what accounts you’ll need.

Podio Account

You probably already have one of these accounts if you are on my website, but just in case you can signup for one at the link below.  Unfortunately

Podio has recently adjusted their free accounts to 500 records or less. You can start out there but I’m certain you will need to get a paid account down the road.

Cost: $9/mo

Get Podio Account

ConvertKit Account

This is the email marketing service that will be sending the email sequences to the leads.  The service will cost you about $29/mo which is well worth it.

Cost: $29/mo

Get ConvertKit Account

Zapier Account

This is what allows Podio to communicate and pass information onto ConvertKit and Podio. Zapier has different pay tiers for account types, and for this tutorial you’ll need to signup for the Starter Account.

Sign up is free and gets you into the free trial of their premium features.  Once signed up you’ll then have the option to upgrade to one of their Paid Accounts.  Again the Starter is fine here.

Cost: $20/mo

Get Zapier Account


Setting Up Convert Kit

First I want to get this out of the way, there is a cost to ConvertKit. It is pretty much in line with all the other email marketing services out there. These services typically charge per number of subscribers in a tiered way. Here is the levels for ConvertKit.

For our purposes and for what most of you all will need is the first tier of 0 to 1000 subscribers. This should work perfectly fine as you can delete unsubscribed subscribers once a month to keep your numbers down. I set up an automation to do that for me.

Step #1: Sign Up

Okay, so lets get on with the setup. Click the button below to go sign up for ConvertKit (this is an affiliate link)…

Step #2: Quick Walk through of ConvertKit

This is not a step you have to do anything, I just wanted to show you around the interface so you have an idea where things are. It’s going to be very basic but should be helpful.

Step #3: Create a Form

Forms are your starting point for all new subscribers. They are the bucket where you collect the subscribers into and then decided what to do with them. If you want certain subscribers to go into one bucket and another set of subscribers into another bucket, you’ll create multiple forms.

You’ll create forms by adding fields, much like you do when creating a Podio App. Except we will not be using the input forms, we will just be using these as storage areas for leads that come from Podio.

In the video below I will walk you through creating a form, what you need and go over a few other points as well.

One last step before moving on is to Uncheck the form setting that sends out a confirmation email when a new subscriber gets added to the form. This confirmation email will require the recipient to click a “confirm” link before the email sequence will send out the first email. Here is a video showing you how to uncheck this setting.

Step #4: Create a Sequence

Sequences are just groupings of emails that you’ll send out to a subscriber. Some sequences will have 1 email, while some may have 10. It all depends on the purpose and your goal.

For this tutorial, we are going to create a sequence for new leads that has 3 emails. Here are the emails and when they will be sent.

Email #1: Thank you for requesting information (sent 30 minutes after subscriber created)

subject: re: {{ subscriber.address }}

Thank you for filing out the form on my website {{ subscriber.first_name }}. I am not in the office right now, but when I get in I will take a look at the property you are interested in selling. If I come up with a few more questions would it be ok to email them to you?

-Scott

Email #2: A few more questions (sent 1 day after subscriber created)

subject: A couple of questions about your property

Hey {{ subscriber.first_name }},

I actually do have a few more questions for you that’ll help me get an offer out to you more quickly.

Firstly, is there currently anyone living at the residence? This is important because it makes the process easier if the house is vacant. If not no big deal.

My next question is what do you need to get in order to help you out of your situation? I don’t want to waste your time if we can’t meet your needs. We have limits to what we can offer so if what we can offer aligns with what you need then we should be able to come to an agreement pretty quickly.

Lastly I’d like to ask about the condition of the property. Do you know of any needed repairs or maintenance items (like painting, landscaping, etc..) that might need to be done?

Again, I appreciate you contacting us and once we get the above information we will work on getting you an offer in the next 24 hours.

All my best,

-Scott

Email #3: Final email asking for least they would take (send 2 days after subscriber created)

subject: Offer on {{ subscriber.address }}

I was able to come up with what I believe is a fair offer that will work for both of us. Normally I like to give offers over the phone or in person. What is the best number to reach you and what time would work best for you?

-Scott

As you can see this is a short lived sequence designed to interact with the lead and get more information out of them. I like to keep these types of emails short and to the point.

There are times when the email exchange goes off script and I need to stop the automation for the lead and continue manually. Also if the lead clicks the “unsubscribe” link the sequence will also be stopped.

In the video below I’ll walk you through the process for creating these emails. It is straight forward and you can feel free to adjust the content, number of emails and even intervals as you think might work best.

Step #5: Create Automation

The final setup step is to create the automation that will assign a subscriber to a sequence based off a specific Tag added to that subscriber. This is just a 2 step automation so don’t worry it’s nothing like Globiflow.

The idea is that we set the automation to be triggered when the tag “Podio – New Lead” is added to a subscriber. If that happens, the subscriber will be assigned to the Podio – New Lead sequence. Here is a video walking you through how to set this up.

At this stage we can run a quick test to see if our ConvertKit portion of this process is working correctly. All we need to do to test is add the tag “Podio – New Lead” to the dummy subscriber we created in the first step.


Podio Setup

There really isn’t much to setup in Podio. We just need to add 7 fields to our properties (or leads) app. Nothing earth shattering here, just a couple text fields, location, email and 2 calculation fields.

What Fields Do We Need?

Like I said there are 6 fields (7 if you add in a header like me) that we need to make this all work. Below is video of me adding these fields if you want to watch, or you can jump down to read about which fields you should add.

Field #1: Header (calculation)

This field is used as a section break (more about section breaks) to help distinguish where the Email Sequence fields are going. I use a period (“.”) to fill the label value because I have to type in something, but I want it to be as small as possible. This helps emphasize the break more.

Calculation Code will be as follows.

var a = @Status; 
'| ![head](http://reiflow.com/podio/app_pack/images/header-convertkit.png) | [Back to Top](#description) | \n | ------- | -----------:| \n Assign and keep track of your email sequences here ';

NOTE: You can cut and paste the code above. However, field token @Status is a random field from my Property App. You’ll have to choose a field that exists on your app. It doesn’t matter as it is not used, so pick anything.

NOTE 2: The field to The web address you see is a link to an image file I created that looks like below. You can use a service like DummyImage.com to create headings.

Field #2: Address (field type: location)

If you are adding this process to an existing App you may already have an address field. If so just use that. If not, then you’ll have to add in a Location Field type.

Field #3: First Name (text – single line)

When sending emails, we usually like to reference a person’s first name. This is why it is a good idea to split up the leads name into separate first and last name fields.

Field #4: Last Name (text – single line)

Technically we don’t need this field, but I like to include it just in case I want to have a more official sounding email where I can use the recipients full name. It’s easy to combine the first and last name together.

Field #5: Email Sequence (Category)

I chose to use a category field here because I know in the future that I’m going to allow for choosing any number of sequences to assign a lead to. But for this example we will only have one option.

Field #6: ConvertKit Id (text – w/single line setting)

This field will store the Subscriber ID that gets assigned to the new Subscriber created in ConvertKit. This will come in handy when creating the link in the next field.

Field #7: Subscriber Link (calculation field)

Here we will create a link that brings you directly to the Subscriber’s dashboard on the ConvertKit site. We will use the ConvertKit Id and a base address to create it.

"[Subscriber Link](https://app.convertkit.com/subscribers/" + @ConvertKit Id + ")"

NOTE: You can cut and past the code above. However, field token @ConvertKit Id will need to be retyped.


Zapier Setup

Zapier is the connector.  It is what gets notified when a change occurs in Podio (by the webhook), pulls the Podio Item’s information and then sends all that to ConvertKit.  If you understand how globiflow works, it pretty much is the same thing.  You could technically do the same thing with Globiflow, but you would have to write your own ConvertKit interface in php or other web language.

We will be creating 1 Zap for adding the new subscriber in the Podio – New Lead form.

Zap to Create New Subscriber: This will be fairly basic 5 step zap. It will contain a Trigger, filter to make sure we should run zap, Create ConvertKit Subscriber action, update subscriber to add tag and finally an Update Podio Item action. Below are the videos for setting up each step.

Step #1: Trigger Step

The trigger step is were we tell zapier to run this zap when such and such happens. In our case, we want to run this zap when a new item is created in the Podio Properties App.

Step #2: Create Filter to make sure Podio – New Lead email sequence was selected.

If this field has been left unset in Podio because we don’t want to add a lead to an email sequence just yet, this filter will see that and not run the rest of the zap.

Step #3: Action to Create new ConvertKit Subscriber

In this step we will match up the Podio fields with the ConvertKit form fields so the subscriber gets setup properly.

Step #4: Add Tag to new Subscriber

The create subscriber action does not allow us to add a tag at the time of creation. So we need to use the Add Tag to Subscriber action.

Step #5: Update Podio Item with new Subscriber ID

Finally we will update the Podio item with the created Subscriber ID. We do this so we can create a Link to the Subscriber Dashboard.

Final Results

We are all done setting up the process. You should now have a Zapier Zap that creates a ConvertKit subscriber when you add a new lead to your Podio App. Here is the process working..

What’s Next?

In upcoming blog posts we will expand on this process by adding some more features. Here are a couple things that I will be convering…

Selecting one or more sequences: The idea here is that in Podio, when we are adding a new prospect, we can select from a list of email sequences to assign to the lead. Go to this tutorial now =>

Updating Podio if lead unsubscribes: If a subscriber/Lead decides to stop the emails from coming by clicking on “unsubscribe” then this will be reflected in the Podio App item for that lead.

Keep a Log of ConvertKit Activity In Podio: I’m not sure how far I can take this, but I want to include things like (1) when the subscriber was created, (2) what sequences they are apart of and (3) if they unsubscribe. Ideally I would LOVE to be able to see what emails were sent out, but I’m not sure if that is possible.

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Scott Costello

Scott is a part time wholesaler, but full time real estate investing addict! As his family grows and his free time shrinks,He has been slowing building his wholesaling business over the past 7 years in between life events.Drive, dedication and never giving up are his strengths.
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Comments 4

  1. Is there a way to have the “New Lead” email sequence activate only when a lead is submitted from a web form? I don’t know that I want the email sequence activated if I receive a call from a lead and I enter the info manually.

    1. Post
      Author

      Definitely! Best way would be to have a category field in your Podio App that is for “Source of Lead”. Have Webform as one of your options. Then within the filter section (step #2) of the ZAP check to make sure that the Source value equals ‘Webform’.

        1. Post
          Author

          I have to think about this for a bit. Normally my philosophy if I have different sources where leads are coming in is to create a separate “staging” apps for each source. This allows me to review new leads from each source, apply any unique criteria (such as marking them all as “from webform”), then have a trigger field that would fire off a Globiflow process that would add them to the main “leads” app.

          But assuming you don’t want to go down that path, it makes it a bit more difficult. My first thought is to add the “Source” field to the webform and then use this technique (https://help.podio.com/hc/en-us/articles/215541788-Prefilling-fields-in-webforms) to pre-populate that field with WebForm. I haven’t tested it, but it might work for you.

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