Vince de Benedetto
Dream big, start small.
Vince De Benedetto
Dream big, start small.
When Vince De Benedetto has a dream, he goes for it.
It’s how he earned his MBA and traveled to over 40 countries. It’s also what made him fall in love with Ontraport’s Automation Builder — the first time he tried it, he couldn’t believe how easy it was to automate any idea he could dream up.
From Modern Ontrapreneur
He liked it so much, he decided to start building automations that could make dreams come true for other entrepreneurs too. He attended Ontraport’s Certification course in Santa Barbara, became an Ontraport Expert and eventually founded a thriving marketing automation firm, Automated Dreams.
Today, he and his team of over 20 marketing experts are supporting nearly 50 businesses across the globe.
To get that kind of growth, Vince had to start with the small stuff. He built his business one simple step at a time — just like his detailed marketing campaigns.
We chatted with Vince about how he created his “Dream Team” around Ontraport’s functionality, how to connect with customers using “conversational marketing,” and his tips on managing appointments using Card View, Ontraport integrations and Facebook Messenger.
Modern Ontrapreneur: Please tell us about your background before you became an Ontraport Expert.
Vince De Benedetto: In college I had tons of internships — I was the business manager for the newspaper and the radio station, I did marketing research for an Eastern medicine clinic, I worked for a social media agency ... all over the spectrum.
Then, I worked for an author for about two years. I handled finances, her Ontraport account, customer service — every hat there was to wear, I was wearing it. I learned a lot about business, getting thrown into every aspect of it. I liked Ontraport because I could just map out what I wanted her business to look like and make it happen. It made my life easier.
MO Why did you decide to become an Ontraport Expert?
VD My previous job had some really great collaborations with other business leaders. The one that really sparked it all for me was a joint venture with a business coach named Suzanne Evans. It was about how everyone has their own entrepreneur inside them — you can be an entrepreneur, if you just do it. So I said, “Well, it’s time that I just do it.”
I did the freelance life for a few months, but if I wanted to take vacations and travel, I couldn’t. If I stopped working, nothing came in. So I needed to start a business. And that’s when I decided, “Let’s just go with Ontraport and see where it takes me.”
“I started Automated Dreams on October 17, 2017 — the day I flew down to Santa Barbara, California, to get my Ontraport Expert certification. Really, Automated Dreams is a child of that certification. I created this whole company from it.”
MO Please tell us a bit about your consulting business, Automated Dreams. How did it begin? What types of clients do you work with?
VD I started Automated Dreams on October 17, 2017 — the day I flew down to Santa Barbara, California, to get my Ontraport Expert certification. Really, Automated Dreams is a child of that certification. I created this whole company from it.
As a Certified Expert, I quickly learned that Ontraport is a robust platform. If people came in for help, I didn’t want to turn them away just because I'm not a specialist in landing pages, UTM tracking or API. Because I wasn’t going to be an expert in all those things by myself, I scaled my team to create a marketing automation firm.
Fast forward to today, and we're working on some massive Ontraport projects, along with other marketing automation projects. We're not niche in any one industry because automation itself is a niche service. I've yet to run into a company that can't be served by automation in one way or another. Some of the recent industries we’ve seen have been real estate, land liquidation, SaaS products, medical spas, coaches and trainers. The whole gamut, basically.
MO Which aspects of Ontraport do you think are most useful, or underrated?
VD My favorite, obviously, is the automation mapper. Custom objects are also really underutilized. But for every client we have, there's always a use case for custom objects that makes life easier. Once we can get people up to speed, all the light bulbs go off.
“Custom objects are also really underutilized. But for every client we have, there's always a use case for custom objects that makes life easier. Once we can get people up to speed, all the light bulbs go off.”
MO You have your finger on the pulse of the small business owner and entrepreneur. What gaps are you seeing in their online strategies?
VD I'm actually quite surprised at the lack of follow-up. A lot of people don't realize how follow-up across all channels can really get people to join your calls. If someone's signing up for a discovery session, if somebody hasn’t paid, if you want to make sure they're there, Ontraport gives you the ability to track those reminders. Have they opened? Have they clicked? Have they seen it? You can catch those possible no-shows a lot sooner.
MO Tell us about your specialty, “conversational marketing.”
VD Conversational marketing is a whole new channel that we haven’t been able to scale before. You’ve had email, where you send it and pray that someone will click. You’ve had SMS, where you try to get the right amount of impact in a small amount of text. You’re not really able to have conversations that way — but now, all these platforms exist where businesses can have conversations at scale. It really helps you reach people where they want to be reached.
Facebook Messenger is one communication channel we can insert into omni-channel marketing strategies. It's still really novel; people aren't used to receiving marketing or business messages via Messenger. It helps you cut down the customer journey from multiple web pages to just one web view.
The bounce rate is low, and click-through is really high. When you send reminders, that open rate is close to 95-100% — and you can continue to have a conversation in there. It's really strong and much more flexible than SMS.
Managing appointments is one of the most common flows we have with Messenger. For service-based businesses where you have to make phone calls, for example, we're using Messenger to pre-qualify and route leads to the appropriate sales team and sales members, then people can book in that frame.
MO What’s next for you?
VD We’ve accidentally built full-fledged SaaS products with our clients in Ontraport before. My team is mapping out a few product ideas that we can hopefully create an MVP for, validate and go after this year.
MO Is there anything else you'd like to share?
VD With automation, I think it's really important to start simple.
When it comes to starting new projects, I’ve always wanted to go for version 2.0 or 3.0. But lately, I’ve been tag-teaming client strategy sessions with another consultant on our team. He's all about simplicity, and I'm all about getting the whole masterpiece done. I'm starting to value that simplicity more and more, because that's where you start to see immediate results — and it's quicker to launch.
When you start simple, it's less risky. I think people give up on automation because they try to get the whole masterpiece done, and then when something doesn't work, they throw it away and say, "Well, automation doesn't work for me. It's not for my business." And that's just not the case.
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