Katya Sarmiento is the CEO of Bots for Business, a company that helps digital small businesses get more engagement, more qualified leads, and more sales using Facebook Messenger Bots.
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ConvertKit – Katya’s small business resource
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Katya Sarmiento – Katya’s website
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[00:57] – Katya’s business partner in Bots for Business, Scott Oldford, was on Episode 1730 of Entrepreneurs On Fire
[01:08] – They started Bots for Business in March
[01:22] – Katya runs the systems and operational side for Bots for Business
[02:23] – She self-taught herself everything
[03:09] – Katya’s area of expertise is scaling up through operations with the help of bots
[03:45] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: A bot is a software or an app that automates a specific task. Bots for Business uses Facebook Messenger bots to automate lead generation and sales conversations
[04:33] – A bot is not an auto message pop-up that engages in a conversation based on a keyword
[06:23] – Bots answering customer questions are one of the best ways to utilize your bots
[07:02] – Katya has created bot maps to engage customers in conversations
[08:20] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Katya studied a lot in college when she decided to drop out and quit her job. She went all-in with her business – with no savings, but with the help of her family. Three years later, she was making more money than she thought she could, but nothing she was doing was inspiring her. She went through a rough break-up and moved away. She used this time to reflect on her real purpose
[11:21] – Get clear with yourself
[11:47] – What are you doing right now and what are you NOT doing what you’re supposed to be doing?
[12:42] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Katya was talking about bot complaints and there was a moment that Katya looked at their numbers and the bot rates were much higher than the email rates—this fired her up. She was reminded that email is still very important. Katya thought why not use bots to improve email marketing?
[15:17] – Katya talks about the step-by-step process with email bots
[16:07] – Katya is adding email bots to her course’s workshop
[16:41] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “I actually didn’t know it was a thing”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Persistence is key”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “The Miracle Morning Routine”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – ConvertKit
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Loyalty to Your Soul – “that was the book that completely changed everything for me”
[18:41] – Think long-term
[19:25] – Check out Katya’s Website Katya Sarmiento
Interviewer: Katya is the CEO of Bots for Business, a company that helps small businesses get more engagements, more qualified leads, and more sales using Facebook Messenger bots. Katya, take a minute and feel in some gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Katya: Yes, definitely, and thank you for the intro and thank you for having me. You actually had my business partner, Scott Oldford, just a little while ago.
Interviewer: Yeah, for a second time, actually.
Katya: Yes, for his second time. So, we’re partnered up and we started Bots for Business in March and it absolutely blew up just like Facebook bots are. As you know, Scott is SO amazing when it comes to marketing and sales. He’s just got the brain for that. I’m actually the systems and operations side, so I take any idea or any – usually, because my other business is Reach and Make Millions, so what I’m doing for Bots for Business I do for other clients as well and so I take these ideas that these business owners have and I make them happen with systems tech operations. So, bots was just absolutely perfect for me.
I love playing around with the technology and Scott just loves, you know – I don’t know what the word for it is but I say he’s the living ATM Machines. So, I just scale that.
Interviewer: So, he loves making money? That’s what you want to say.
Katya: Pretty much, yes. He is SO good at that. I’m like, yes, I will help you scale that even further by automating and systemizing everything, especially when it comes to bots and we’ve just had amazing results from it. You know, this has just been a lifelong passion for me going into the personal side. I self-taught myself everything. I grew up with a computer and CD lessons about Frontpage and Adobe Photoshop. I used to code MySpace layouts for people and that was cool.
When I was 18 years old, somebody introduced me to the online entrepreneur business owner thing. I was like, oh, my God, I’m so going to do that because in college I was studying Business Administration, Computer Science, Music Education and Performance, and Air Traffic Control. So, I was very indecisive.
Interviewer: I could see you on a runway with some flags, getting people in, you know, maybe on an aircraft carrier someday. Who knows? But, Katya, what would you say, just in one or two sentences, is your area of expertise?
Katya: It’s definitely helping – you know, I focus on the operations, so without it you can get all the leads and all the sales in the world but you’re still slave to a business. So, while Scott is helping us, you know, build the leads and the lead generation and the scales, I help scale that up. So, I automate and I systemize and bots is a huge, huge part of that now.
Interviewer: Well, let’s talk about bots for a second. I think a lot of people within Fire Nation have seen me using bots. You know, thanks in part to your course, by the way, which I’ve taken and gone through and it’s great. What is Facebook Messenger bots and how do they work in business?
Katya: Yes. So, let’s break it down to what a bot is, in general, because most people don’t know that bots have been around for a very long time.
Katya: So, the definition of a bot is a software and an application that automates a specific task. So, in this sense, we’re using a Facebook Messenger bot to automate lead generation and sales conversations. That’s the very basic definition of it. So, there’s – and I’m sure you spoke with Scott – he likes to call it a natural language sequence. So, there’s this confusion with, oh, is this artificial intelligence where somebody types in a key word and then it pops something out, like a response. That’s absolutely NOT what we’re talking about here.
What we’re talking about is somebody engaging a conversation. So, let’s get very literal here. Let’s say you have a sales process. We can talk about a local gym. So, they need to find out what fitness class they want to take and what their fitness level is and all that good stuff and you already do this, let’s say, through email or on the phone conversation. You can create this conversation on a bot where the bot is like, okay, so what’s your fitness level? Choose A, B, or C. All right, great, so since you’re not super fit, what classes were you thinking about?
These are our Entry Classes A, B, or C. It just automates the entire conversation and helps people self-qualify. It gets people engaged with you and you also get direct feedback. So, if there is a part where somebody is like, well, here’s my objection. I’m scared to go to a CrossFit gym. I’m not sure about it. You could just – it’s a conversation, so you could just go in and start typing to them versus email, you know, it takes people a couple of days, a couple of hours to respond to actually check it. Everybody is on their phone on Facebook Messenger and it just feels a lot more natural and a lot more conversation and a lot more personalized.
Interviewer: One thing that I found is that it’s kind of like a living, breathing FAQ. Like, this Frequently Asked Questions page that everybody has on their site but it’s actually not having people search for that question that they have. They can just enter the question and it computes out and kind of gives it back to you in a great way. Like you said, I love how you as a human can jump in and kind of pick up wherever the bot left off because you have that opportunity and there are a lot of cool opportunities to do that.
Now, Katya, if you could just maybe sum up some of the best practices that you’re seeing with Bots right now with Facebook Messenger, what is that?
Katya: Yes, so actually what you just said of like having somebody type in the question and then the bot shoot it out, yeah, like that’s definitely like the FAQ. What I was talking about is where YOU actually create the questions. So, your bot is asking those people the questions and they are giving you the answers. So, the ways that this can be used is for sales conversations for qualifying. It’s like, okay, so I work with entrepreneurs that make more than $10,000.00. Are you this type of entrepreneur? Yes or no?
Interviewer: Then if they say no, you’re like, okay, go home now.
Katya: Well, that’s where it can get even deeper and in the course like you’ve been through, I’ve created Botmaps. Like, there’s SO many different ways to use them simply. So, just a sales conversation, yes, you can definitely be like, all right, you don’t make $10,000.00. What’s stopping you?
Katya: But you could still start that conversation.
Interviewer: And I loved looking at those maps, by the way, because I was like this is like looking inside Katya’s mind right now. This is FASCINATING and a little scary at the same time – but more fascinating than scary. Now, one thing that I definitely love personally about the bot situation is it’s kind of like a “choose your own adventure.” Like, I’ve had some fun really taking people on this journey where there ARE some dead ends where I’m like, okay, well, you know, have a nice day when that does kind of peter out.
But, you know, there’s very easy ways for them to get back on track if they wanted to and continue that to whatever conclusion that might be. So, a lot of great opportunities, a lot of fun, and a lot of opportunity that I’m seeing in this world right now for businesses to scale, to leverage, or just to have the right conversations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now, Katya, I’m going to shift this conversation a little bit to your journey as an entrepreneur because I’m curious about that.
You’ve had the ups, you’ve had the downs. What would you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date? Like, really take us there and tell us that story.
Katya: Yeah, as I said before, at 18, I was in college and studying a lot and I decided to drop out and quit my full-time job and go ALL into my business with no savings or anything. My family was helping me really. After three years of learning whatever I could and starting my business, I had done freelancing for a while before I did the online stuff. You know, there was just that one point where I stopped and I looked around. I was making great money. I was making a lot more money than I ever thought I would at 20 years old but there was just – like, nothing that I was doing was really inspiring to me.
I was just doing what was easy. I was doing what would help me make more money. I was completely stopped. Like, I hit a glass ceiling and, actually, that specific glass ceiling was $8,000.00 a month. I could NOT pass that whatsoever. Like, funnels, leads, nothing helped. So, what I decided to do was I actually hired a business coach. I fired all my clients. I finished up the work that I had and I just sat there for a while. It was a very big life transition for me. I went through a really rough breakup. I moved to a different place. A lot of transition was happening and I just really took some time to sit down and think about what is my purpose?
What is the impact I want to make? Who is it that I actually want to work with? These are questions that I never asked myself in the beginning. I also realized that the work that I did for my clients is something that I hadn’t done for myself and this is how I discovered the whole Reach to Make Millions thing. It was like if I don’t work, then my business doesn’t work. So, I started feeling like a slave to my business. It was like I HAVE to show up. I HAVE to do everything.
So, that’s when I started setting up systems for myself, you know, the automated funnels like diving deeper into automation, diving deeper into delegation and into organizing a company and actually stepping into the CEO position rather than I’m an entrepreneur or a freelancer, right? That completely changed everything for me. I was able to pass the glass ceiling as well.
Interviewer: I wasn’t doing what I was telling my clients to do. I mean, Fire Nation, this is SO common for entrepreneurs. You know, we know all the right moves but then when we look in the mirror we are like I’m not making the right moves. I’m not doing A, B, and C, which is the basics of how to grow and scale a business. But I know how to talk the talk but I’m not walking the walk. Fire Nation, look in the mirror and own up to it. Is that you? Because it’s just reality for a lot of us. What was, Katya, your biggest takeaway when you hired that mentor?
You went out there, you invested yourself. What was that one takeaway, that you can share with our audience, from that mentor?
Katya: To be very, very clear. I had to get extremely clear with myself. Who am I? What is my purpose? What is the impact? Who am I helping? What problem am I solving? All of these questions that are just – you know, you don’t want to sit down and really think about it. You just want to like, oh, let me do the shiny object. Let me set up a bot, you know. Let me just make some money and do something. But I really had to slow down and pause and be like what is it that I’m actually doing and what is it that I’m actually NOT doing that I’m scared to do.
And that – just like being clear in my vision and then setting up that action plan was so much easier and, honestly, like passing my glass ceiling was just instantaneous.
Interviewer: Katya, you’ve had a lot of great ideas over the years. I mean, obviously, Bots for Business, something that you and Scott combined on is crushing it and doing well. But what’s one of those aha moments you think would be a good story to tell Fire Nation when you had that idea and you turned it into success? Take us to the moment that idea formulated and walk us through that process.
Katya: I was having a conversation actually with Kimra Luna and we were talking about bots.
Interviewer: And how awesome of hair you both have.
Katya: Oh, yes. She was actually my inspiration. I used to be very I can’t color my hair and then one day I was like, whatever, I’m going to do it. If Kimra did, I did. So, we were talking about bots and, you know, there’s a lot of complaints about, you know, oh, this is kind of spammy, this is impersonal, you know, email is king, like you can’t replace email.
Interviewer: Marketers ruin everything. I’ve heard it all.
Katya: Yes. There was just that moment and I looked back at our numbers and there was a – so, when Bots for Business started in March, we had the same amount of subscribers on both the email and the bot. We were very sure of that. So, 2000 of each if you can imagine that number. We sent an email and a bot message, same content, obviously, worded different for the platform it was on. It was about, I believe, a webinar, and we saw the email open rates were like 30 percent, click rates were about 10 percent, which is like really good.
Interviewer: No, 10 percent click-through rates are unheard of actually. That’s super high.
Katya: It wasn’t a direct sales message. It was like webinar, very valuable, people were really interested, and if they weren’t we had the option. So, I’m very – like, segmenting is my thing, so usually those are the click rates I expect. But, yes, you’re right.
Interviewer: You could’ve been less. Like, that was a qualified less –
Katya: Very, very. So, of course, we saw that bots, you know, the bot message had 90 percent open rates and like 30 or 40 percent click rates. It was like, oh, my God, big deal BUT Kimra made a very good point. She was like, but email is still really important to me and I don’t want to replace my email. That’s when I realized – this is when I got this idea of what if the bot could improve our email engagement? I haven’t really been seeing anybody do this. Like, I’ve been seeing people just directly market and sell in a bot and be like, oh, yeah, I’m collecting emails but there’s no way to connect email and bots yet. Zappy integrations are coming out soon but, like, I just thought, what if we did this? I have been secretly experimenting with this and it’s so easy to just be like, hey, so let me walk it through. Somebody signs up on a landing page through email. They put their name and email. On the thank you page, it’s a button to subscribe to the bot.
So, now you’ve got the subscriber on both places. They get the email, whatever they opted in for, either a webinar or a guide and in the bot, which you know there is more open and click rates, you’re like, hey, so I sent you an email with a very important message. Obviously, you could be more specific like, hey, I sent you an extra guide or worksheet for you to take to the webinar. Make sure you download that. It’s actually in your email. Go check that instead of just directly giving it to the bot. And, personally, in Bots for Business, we’ve seen our open and click rates increase by 15 or 20 percent just by doing that.
Also, including the segmenting because, like you said, I segment a LOT. That was amazing to see and that’s actually something coming up that I’m going to add to the course. I’m going to do a workshop on how to increase your open and click rates and engagements on your email marketing platform using bots because email can’t be replaced. You know, Facebook can shut down at any moment but you’ll always have your email. So, I want to make sure people are using bots the right way and not to just market and sell but also improve email.
Interviewer: Love that message you’re sharing and, Fire Nation, if you’ve been getting some value bombs, just wait. More are coming in the Lightning Rounds when we get back from thanking our sponsors. Katya, are you ready to rock the Lightning Rounds?
Katya: Yes, I am.
Interviewer: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Katya: I actually didn’t know it was a thing. You know, I thought I had to go to college, get a job, get married, have a family, and then retire, and that was life. So, I just didn’t know being an entrepreneur was actually possible.
Interviewer: Thank God that’s not life.
Katya: I know.
Interviewer: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Katya: Persistence is key and the people who know me know I am VERY persistent and I see people give up right before the finish line and that’s just not me.
Interviewer: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Katya: Miracle Morning – a miracle morning routine. Just buy the book. That’s the best.
Interviewer: I love Hal too. He is just so great.
Interviewer: If you could recommend one internet resource, what would it be and why?
Katya: I’d have to say Convert Kit for this one. I just came back from their conference in Boise, Idaho, which was a beautiful location, amazing conference, and just the team and the platform. As you know, I like segmenting and I get really technical in Convert Kit. I just love everything about the software, the team, what Nathan is up to. They’re amazing.
Interviewer: If you could recommend one book, what would it be and why?
Katya: Okay, so this one is going to get on the spiritual side.
Katya: Loyalty to Your Soul. That was the book that completely changed everything for me. I had to stop looking towards the outside for the answers and start looking in and Loyalty to Your Soul just really changed my perspective on just life in general and also helped me jumpstart my business.
Interviewer: Let’s end today On Fire with a parting piece of guidance the best way that we can connect with you and then we’ll say goodbye.
Katya: I think the best advice is, you know, think long-term, especially with bots. You know, bots can grow your business right now. As I said, the open rates and click rates are amazing. Then what else can you set up right now so that you can succeed later on? So, like I said, you know, having bots help increase engagement with your email marketing. Also, how can you automate a sales conversation, a lead generation conversation, engagement in your group. Like, start thinking, okay, what am I doing right now that I’m wasting time on and what can I automate so I can scale up even faster and make more money, save more time, and help a lot more people.
That’s my advice. I guess I’m a long-term thinker as well and I have a gift for your audience. It’s at www.botsfor.business/fire and bots are changing really fast. You know, advice changes, things change, technology changes very rapidly, so this page is always updated with the most recent stuff that we’ve come out with (me and Scott) and so you will always be up to date with bots and you’ll have multiple free resources there to download, to read, to check out.
Interviewer: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with KS and JLD today. So, keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Type Katya (that’s K-A-T-Y-A) in the search bar. Her Show Notes Page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best Show Notes in the biz. Timestamps, links galore and, of course, head directly to botsfor.business/fire for all that awesome stuff on bots. Katya, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Katya: Thank you.
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