You’re doing too much.
You know you are. You’re juggling client work with admin tasks and wear twelve different hats every single day. You know you can automate things, but you’re not quite sure how. Here are four things you can start automating in your business–today!
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Getting a client in the door and screened (so you’re not working with a bad client), and then converted into a paying customer can be almost entirely automated. Really!
First, use your contact form to ask the important questions about the project–what is the project? What kind of timeline are you looking at? What’s the budget? These are deal-breaking questions, designed to keep you from wasting time on a project that you won’t enjoy or that is beyond your abilities, has an unrealistic timeline, or there’s no money to get it done. These questions can be on your contact form, so you get information immediately.
After the client submits the contact form, you can have the form automatically send an email along with your Intro Packet to the client. The client can read through, and determine if they think you’re a good fit for their project or not–a bit of self-screening on their end.
At the end of your Intro Packet, plunk a link to schedule a chat with you–only if they agree with what you’ve outlined. Use a call scheduling service like Calendly to make this easy for the client and prevent 56 back-and-forth emails where you try to find a time that works for both of you.
Have your introductory call, and if all is well, start the next set of automations which you can set as a workflow in 17Hats. Send a quote, which once the client agrees to automatically takes them to a contract to sign, and upon signing, they are taken to an invoice to make their down payment. When payment is made, have 17Hats automatically send them an email with your Welcome Packet.
Congratulations, you’ve just saved yourself a ton of time!
Recurring payments and payment plans
If you’re manually making invoices, including recurring invoices, each week or each month, you’re wasting time. Almost all bookkeeping programs have the option for recurring invoices each month–so that retainer or hosting client can be set up in the system and billed each month automagically.
What about split payments? Maybe you require 50% upfront, and 50% a month later. You can automate that too. In fact, 17Hats and other programs let you split payments however you like–so you make one invoice, set up a payment plan for it, and the client pays at the appropriate time–no extra work or reminders on your end!
Client training and follow-up
Following up with past clients can lead to thousands and thousands of dollars in revenue each year. I actually have an entire course on client follow-up, and the strategies I used to make an extra $20,000 with only a little bit of effort–but long story short: you need to keep in touch with your past clients.
While I don’t recommend automating all of your past client follow-up (because you need to make a personal connection) there are some things you can automate.
For example, let’s say you launch a client’s website, and then add them to an email list where you automatically send out video tutorials on how to manage their new site. This would be easy to do, simply record a few short videos using a program like Loom, and then use an email marketing service like ConvertKit to drip these tutorials out over the next 2-4 weeks. You could do a sequence like:
- Intro email linking to all tutorials (for those who are ready to dive in)
- Dashboard overview
- How to create a blog post
- How to create or edit a page
- How to add basic SEO to a page or blog post
- How to edit the menu
- How to run a backup
- Wrap up email again linking to all tutorials
A lot of clients are overwhelmed and won’t watch the tutorials from the first email–but there are a few who will and who will want to poke around their sites right away which is why I link to all of the tutorials in the first email. For those who don’t dive right into the tutorials, two tutorials per week in small, digestible chunks will get them comfortable with their new website. And linking to all of the tutorials at the end will ensure they can go back and check out anything they missed.
Now, that’s great and all, but how to keep the follow-up happening after those initial two weeks? Simply space out your email sequence so that once every month or two they hear from you again. And you’re sharing useful tips, like how to write a killer About page, or see where people are clicking on their site using Google Analytics, or how to write a sales page, and even a reminder every once in a while to check if their site backups are running properly. You could easily create 1-2 years worth of automated emails that go out to your past clients and help you stay in touch, while providing great value for them.
This is not only great for your clients, but can help them start a conversation with you about hiring you for more work–maybe they write that sales page, but need you to design it? Perfect.
Keep in mind this automation is in addition to the personal emails and follow-up I recommend in PS. Write Soon! A personal touch is still needed to keep clients coming back!
I can’t take credit for this idea, I got it from Leah’s course, Set It & Forget It, but basically, you can pre-write your newsletters (or some of them) and automate their delivery. This takes pressure off you for months or weeks where you’re too busy to get a newsletter out, and ensures subscribers get certain emails you want them to get, no matter when they subscribe.
For example, once someone subscribes to your list, you should send a series of emails introducing yourself, sharing popular content, and establishing a good connection with your subscribers.
Then, maybe you want subscribers to read certain articles or know certain things, like how to find clients or price their services. If you only sent these articles out once when you first wrote them, your newer subscribers might be missing them completely! Make sure they get them by sending them out automatically after subscription.
Now, how much of your emails you automate is up to you. It could be once a month, or even once a week, or all of your emails ever. It depends on what works best for you, and what makes sense to your audience. But know that even having 12 emails set to go out–one per month for a year–can help bring your subscribers valuable information and take pressure off of you.
Again, ConvertKit would be my choice to make these email automations easy.
This blog post barely scratched the surface of what you can automate. I was going to talk about social media, but I think that may deserve its own post, because there’s so much you can do!
Automation saves a ton of time and energy–energy that could be put towards better things, like billable hours or creativity. You can automate almost your entire client screening and onboarding, the payments you receive, client training, client follow-up, newsletters, and a ton more.
There is definitely some upfront work in getting these systems in place, but the time you’ll save in the long run is completely worth it!
I want you to take action. Start automating your business with one of the strategies or tools I talked about here. Get to work!