This automation thing might seem scary.
You’re a creative and automation seems like a term big companies you escaped use as a reason to fire people. My bet though is that you didn’t start on your own to do more of any of these important tasks:
- Setting up meetings
I don’t know if you freelance to earn more, own your time or your for the craft, but you could save a few hours every week and set up systems to do a better job in less time and in a more professional way, effectively earning you more money for the same input.
Too good to be true?
Automate, rinse and repeat your social media
You definitely should include social media in your strategy. Starting from zero, sharing good content that you created on your social media is the low hanging fruit to get people to see your content.
Think deeply about which one does your audience spend its time on, but don’t spend too much time there, it needs to be automated!
The problem with social media are multiples:
- You don’t own the platform
- It becomes more and more pay to play (pay for reach)
- It’s a chicken and the egg problem, no reach at the beginning but is it worth it today to build an audience from scratch that you won’t own
- Social media can be a huge time suck while feeling productive
- Social medias are far from the money (people actually making a buying decision) not like emails
So, what should you do?
- Create a Buffer account (free up to 3 social media accounts)
- Connect the social media accounts
- Create content on a platform you own (your blog)
- And share it through Buffer
- Reshare the best-performing ones (all of them at the beginning)> change the text of the social media post while doing that
- Schedule 15mn every week in your calendar to plan your next week content
Overtime with new content you’ll create a Flywheel!
Important note, don't fear to share multiple times the same content. Your audience might not have seen it, it was maybe bad timing, a good read is worth rereading...
Automate your appointment and lead qualification process
As a freelancer, you don’t have the luxury of a secretary making an appointment and filtering out the incoming calls.
By using an automated scheduling tool, you can streamline your scheduling process and save time, look more professional and get to talk to more people in less time effectively giving you more opportunities to get clients.
Leads, your current clients or people wanting your time can simply choose a time slot that works for them in your calendar.
Different time zones are taken into account and instead of 10 emails back and forth, they click, choose and get reminded automatically of the upcoming call.
The slot they chose is added automatically into your Google calendar (and Icloud, Office, Outlook).
You look professional, save time and make it convenient to work with you.
Ok, how do I implement this?
- Go to Calendly and create a free account
- Set up your language and timezone
- Connect it with your agenda
- Create an event (ex. 15mn call)
- Choose your availabilities (every Monday and Thursday from 9 am till 11 am)
- Ask for relevant invitee questions (phone number, skype id, the goal of the call)
- Embed your Calendly link where people can find it (like your contact page, sales page or client portal)
Automate appointment scheduling and qualify your leads before the call by making them answer a questionnaire.
By doing that, you can filter out bad fits, make them do their homework and thus being more prepared for the call and really helping them.
Less work and better call. Plus, it shows that you’ve done it before and can actually help!
- Create an opt-in form for inquiries (Thrive Leads or Converkit included ones)
- Add people to an automation that send automatically the first email with a questionnaire to fill up (Wufoo or WPForms to connect with your email marketing and Zapier)
- Once they answer, send them to your Calendly link, if they don’t answer, follow up automatically a few days later (and so on and so on)
- Once they have chosen a time, send the instructions for the call, if they don’t book a time, follow up automatically
You just created an asset that automatically qualifies, schedules and follows up with potential leads without you even thinking about it.
And when you get to the call, you get all the relevant information to give a great first consulting call.
Leads follow up and nurture
Following up is probably the best habit you can have in your business. Yet most of us suck at it.
First, we say we’ll do it, and when comes the time we either forget to do it or feel weird and rationalize not doing it.
Yet, the great marketer Dean Jackson said something like "of the people who are going to invest in a solution (maybe yours), 15% are going to buy in the next 90 days and 85% in 3-24 months".
If you got an interaction with someone, you did the hardest part. If you don’t follow up, you’re not serious.
But I have a good news, there is an easy way to automate it and stop feeling weird by sending the "Hey, how is everything going" email.
Send a regular newsletter with your articles and an embed CTA at the end:
- The newsletter is going to be about your articles that are useful for him/her not salesy
- It’s a really soft way to follow up and stays top of mind
- You can embed a CTA at the end like “Need help with X, just click here and let’s schedule a 20-minute call to see if I can help
- The link gets to your Calendly link we set up above or an email sequence to qualify and schedule a meeting
You’ll effectively follow up and never leave a lead behind.
And when they are ready to work with you, they will be the one doing the work and scheduling the call so that you don’t have to feel weird.
Their intention, not your interruption
How to get this done
- Setup an opt-in on your website embed on your home page and every post
- Connect it (and set it up if not already done) with your email marketing tool (I recommend Convertkit or ActiveCampaign)
- Create a sequence sending emails once a week/month linking to your past posts (creating an evergreen newsletter with you past content)
- Ask people manually if you can add them on your newsletter where you talk about “your expertise” and “business of your target market”
- Embed a CTA in your email footer with a link to your scheduling and/or qualification process
We effectively created a Flywheel.
Once set up, you can add the new articles (or videos) to your newsletter creating an evergreen system to follow up with everybody, all the time, automatically.
See, marketing automation doesn’t have to be scary
By thinking strategically and putting in a place some systems, you can gain leverage as a service provider.