“You need to have the machine, and you also need the human element.”
My friend and fellow business owner Paul said that to me when we were meeting over breakfast.
We were talking about the Accelerator course we deliver for accountants. I created it several years ago and it’s gone through a few iterations, but now it’s a tried and tested course that delivers incredible results for the accountants who go through it.
So now we have landing pages and quotes and testimonial videos and FAQs and introductory videos and everything someone could possibly need to make a decision about whether to join the course or not.
But sometimes, people still contact us personally when they’re making their decision.
They send DMs on one of the social platforms, or ask their question in person, or send an email.
And I thought, “I must be doing something wrong if people still need to talk to me or one of the team. We must be missing something.”
And what Paul said was that (especially these days) you need a little humanity mixed in with the machine, or else it’s too automated. Too computerised, too systemised.
He had been looking at the course for one of his team members, and he texted me a few questions. We discussed it, I pointed him to a few things that would help them decide, and they decided to sign up for the course.
“I know all the information is there somewhere,” Paul said, “but I’m too busy to spend hours looking for it all. I just wanted to get to what I knew I needed. And I like being able to talk to a human about it.”
I did actually feel like it was one of those moments with the lights shining from above. Suddenly I put myself in the place of the potential buyer and realised I love the human side too.
I love it when I go to order something online and they don’t have it in my size, but a human on live chat finds the nearest shop which does have it, and has that shop ring me to get the order taken care of.
I love it when I reply to a mass email by someone I consider really important and well known, and that person, themselves, emails me back.
I love it when I know I’m not being churned through a machine.
This was my inspiration for deciding to sketch and send individual “welcomes” to every person who signs up to my Karen’s notes.
It was Saturday night. I was posting on social about the sketch I’d done that week, and how I send out these notes every week, and here’s the link to sign up. I started to get a lot of people signing up right then and there.
I was sketching a few things on my ipad whilst watching the Mentalist, and I suddenly thought – wouldn’t it be a lovely thing to get a personalised welcome? Wouldn’t it be great practice for me, and help me to know the people signing up to my notes as humans, not just email addresses?
So I started. Right then, Saturday night, sketching out welcomes to Ann and Jennifer and Jacob and Sharon and Robert and Claire.
People who were either already known to me, or were becoming better known when I looked up their website (using the domain of their email) and seeing what colours and brand and style they use.
It’s one of those decisions I could have dithered on for a while. What if I get too many people signing up? What if the personalised sketchnotes end up taking over my LIFE??
Seriously. This is the level of thinking my brain does sometimes. As if 25 people signing up on a saturday night means that next week there will be 250 and the following week 25,000….
But I decided to do it because it’s personal.
It connects me with a human, not just an email address.
I enjoy doing it, and it comes easily.
The recipient enjoys it, and feels important (because they are).
And no, it hasn’t taken over my life. As a matter of fact, it’s been a lovely little exercise to do once a week, and remind me that every single person who signs up to Karen’s Notes is a real human person. With their own name and their own company or job. Their own life, their own interests, their own personality.
The machine is still important. I type out this note, I give it to the team and they create a blog post and an email and social posts with hashtags and do all the detail work. I couldn’t personally hand-write these Karen’s notes and send them to hundreds of people every week – it’s not physically possible.
But it IS physically possible to sketch out a custom welcome for each one, so I do it.
What can YOU do to add a personal element to your machine work? What automated thing could be humanised just a little bit?
Enjoy your custom sketchnote. (And if you signed up before I started doing this and never got one, drop me a reply. I’ll take care of it for you!)
I send these tips and sketchnotes out every Saturday! Sign up to get them here.