Automated DMs 101: The Rundown of My Newest Marketing Strategy

Jenna Kutcher 

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January 30, 2023


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When I tell you about this marketing strategy exponentially grew my email list and therefore my business, I mean it! Exponential growth. I can’t keep something this good a secret, so I’ve invited the absolute best source I know to dig into the system and strategy with us on the podcast.

Natasha Willis is the co-founder of School of Bots, where she and her team have generated over $30 million in sales for clients and taught over 14,000 marketers how to generate highly qualified leads and convert them faster with conversational marketing on Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM, WhatsApp, and SMS. 

Okay, okay, before you shy away from the word “Bots”, you have to hear how we were able to add thousands of new subscribers – I mean NEW, new, never before on my email list – are now part of my brand ecosystem beyond just following me on social media and how there are still very organic elements to something automated. Let’s go to the School of Bots with Natasha Willis.

The Early Stages of Automated DMs

Natasha Willis and her business, School of Bots, creates automated messaging systems on Instagram DMs, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and SMS. Back in 2016, I used ManyChat in my business, which is one of the core platforms in Natasha’s tech stack. It worked only on Facebook Messenger at the time and allowed users to send automated and scheduled messages to those who had opted in. Natasha saw the potential in this type of platform and went all in on it.

“I actually dropped out of college. My husband, who is also my business partner, left his job and we started our marketing agency entirely focused on this service,” she explained, “So it was a ‘jump off the cliff and figure it out later’ kind of situation, but you know, it was a bet that paid off.”

It’s impossible for business owners, regardless of how big your following is, to get back to everybody in real time, all at the same time. Over the years Natasha has fine tuned what truly drives revenue with automated DMs, which then allows business owners to have deeper connections in a proactive way.

It’s Not a ‘Bot’, It’s a Chat Funnel

The term ‘bot’ has a negative connotation, especially in the Instagram space. Those annoying bot comments that show up on your post if you use certain hashtags? SO annoying. Believe me, I was critical of the word even as I spoke to Natasha the first time about bringing this marketing tool to my business, but what she does is different.

Natasha explained, “Over the last two years especially, we’ve moved away from using the word bot and are really looking at it more as these chat funnels, because I think now at this point in marketing and online business, almost everyone has a general understanding of what a marketing funnel is, meaning that somebody can come to a page on your website, they can enter their email, and then you’re now gonna send them through ultimately a sales process or a way to deliver your content to them by opt-in form to then email to then other website pages.”

She continued, “That whole experience now can be replicated in chat and that allows us to boost conversions, significantly serve people, and it’s a lot simpler as well because people don’t have to worry about looking at all these things on your site pages or seeing your emails in their thousands of unread emails within their inbox, but instead really be able to focus on what you’re saying line by line in your messages and that’s something unique that doesn’t quite exist in other communication methods.”

To be clear, this is 100% approved by Meta, Instagram and Facebook. Natasha reassured me from the start that the entire system is based on user permission and adheres to the terms of service for these platforms.

My Results

You know I love to be transparent and specific about how different marketing strategies are working for me, so I asked Natasha to dig into some results that we’re seeing using chat funnels in my business.

One thing that is crazy to see is that we’ve had very little overlap in subscribers between campaigns, meaning that NEW people (or a different segment of my followers) are engaging with each campaign we do, which goes to show how you can think about each ‘chat funnel’ like different landing pages with different marketing angles and messages to attract different people that all like following for different reasons. If you give those people the opportunity, they’ll all engage and buy.

For our very first campaign using chat funnels, we captured 6,091 emails for my journal sale waitlist (a secret project I teased without even saying what it was that I’d be announcing!) I also used a chat funnel for my Black Friday sale and had 6,940 people comment on my posts and reply to stories for Black Friday sales access. I

How It Works & More

Any interaction that somebody can do on an Instagram profile can be a trigger to send an automated message. But it’s not just one autoresponder, it’s the start of a whole conversation. Natasha Willis dives into the nuts and bolts of the system and user experience in this conversation, so hit play to get the full rundown of the marketing strategy that I can’t stop talking about!

Want to see what a chat funnel looks like in real time? DM me the word CHAT on Instagram @jennakutcher or @goaldiggerpodcast to experience how a chat funnel works and functions.

To learn more from Natasha, visit schoolofbots.co. 

Thank you to our Goal Digger Sponsors

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  1. […] you’re just getting started with ManyChat, Jenna Kutcher’s podcast episode on using automated DM’s to help grow your business is a fantastic […]


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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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