How automated emails can help your business

Do you ever sign up for something and wonder how you get a quick email response from that person or business? And because you had such a quick response- were you inclined to open the email and read it? That’s because new leads are more likely to take action within a few days of sending a request for information. The window of opportunity is small and with a competitive market, you want to make sure you have a foot in the door. Creating an automated email can have a big impact on your conversion rates along with saving your business time and money.

 

So what is an automated email, you ask?

Automated emails or workflows are a series of emails that are pre-designed and set on triggers so that when a client or prospective client takes a pre-determined action, they automatically receive an email based on their action. The email is also set on a timer.

 

For instance, you might have an appointment form on your website. When a prospective client schedules their appointment, you then have an email that is automatically sent (and personalized) confirming their appointment. You also can take it a step further and have a reminder email scheduled to go out a day before their appointment. Another example is having a newsletter sign-up form on your website. When someone signs up, you have a series of emails that are sent to help them get to know you better, such as:

 

“Thanks for signing up” (sent immediately)
“A little about me” (sent 2 days later)

 

How do automated emails help your business?

Think about the emails you send to people. Are you spending time emailing every new client their confirmation or paperwork each time they schedule with you?
Do you answer common questions with each person and how much time does this take out of your day?
What if you could make a template of what you often email and have it set on a trigger so that those emails can go out automatically?

 

With an automated process, each client or potential client is getting a response from you promptly and you’ll notice you not only have more time to use towards other important parts of your business but you’ll cut back on getting asked so many questions. An automated process can also save you from needing an additional person to handle these tasks!

 

What’s the cost?

Luckily, we have come a long way in the last year on services available for setting up automated systems. There are many options out there and depending on the size and needs of your business will determine what’s best for you. Systems start as low as $11/month and can be up to $100s/month. My favorite email system is called Flodesk. The reason why I love Flodesk is that they charge a flat fee and allow unlimited email contacts and automations (also called workflows). Some platforms will charge more as your email list grows or nickel and dime you on additional automation features. Flodesk is easy to use and has email examples and automated emails to help you get started. I’ve also noticed after switching to Flodesk from other platforms such as Hubspot and Mailchimp that I had a much higher open rate. This in itself makes the switch worthwhile! Use my affiliate link here and try Flodesk  to try it for free and receive 50% off their subscription price (I receive a small commission)!

 

If you are interested in setting up your automated emails, reach out -we love setting up automated systems for small businesses!

person using a calendar app to schedule
How to automate scheduling with online calendar tools

Scheduling clients for services can become a time suck. If you schedule through email, it can be a trail of back and forth messages to find the right time. When scheduling by phone, you might strike up a long conversation that can also take time. Time is precious in a growing business and your time needs to be streamlined so both your time and your client’s time are respected. There are a few calendar apps out there that can help you streamline your services, schedule appointments, collect a payment, and send follow-up emails. There are free calendar apps that will be sufficient for some businesses and there are others that have a minimal monthly fee. It all comes down to your needs. The other great feature of most of these apps is being able to embed them into your website.

 

Calendly

Calendly is a popular scheduling tool used by service providers. If you have one type of appointment you are scheduling such as a massage or a meeting, the free version of Calendly will be sufficient to set up. It’s fairly simple to set up your appointments and plan your schedule with your availability. Plus all you need to do is give out your scheduling link for a client to schedule an appointment with you. There is a paid feature of this app that offers more for a growing business.

a screenshot of calendly schedule with Lifecoachforyou
This is how Laura Pollard, Lifecoachforyou uses Calendly for scheduling free consultations. We set up her scheduling system when we built her website in 2021.

Acuity Scheduling 

Acuity Scheduling is one of my favorite tools as its $15/month service offers a lot of customization. I recently created a scheduling page for my other business, Link, so a new client can easily schedule a bike fitting service or bike repair. I also set up a comprehensive Acuity Scheduling calendar for Maroon Bells Shuttles, a seasonal shuttle service. This scheduling system allowed clients to schedule to have their vehicle shuttled over to Aspen from Crested Butte or from Crested Butte to Aspen. There were more customizations, a waiver, detailed follow-up emails depending on where the shuttle was going, and a way to handle cancellations. I was impressed by how much the software was able to cover for a low monthly price.

 

acuity scheduling bike fit at link
This is how a person can schedule a bike fit with Link using Acuity Scheduling.
acuity scheduling service at link
This is how Acuity Scheduling is used to schedule bike repair services at Link.

If you need help streamlining your scheduling system, contact us to see how we can help set up the right system for your business.

small business owner doing marketing on a computer
Our Favorite Marketing and Email Resources to Grow Your Small Business

At Gnarketing we are passionate about helping small businesses streamline their marketing efforts. There are many free or low-cost resources available to help small businesses with their marketing that we would recommend. Here are a few of our favorites.

 

Canva

Canva has become one of our favorite online graphic design tools. You can create professional-looking ads, social media posts and use stock photography – all for free! The platform is user-friendly so even a mediocre graphic designer can learn how to use the tools. There are many pre-made templates to choose from. Need a logo or infographic? You can do it all in Canva! The premium subscription is only $12.99/month and is worth the value of the tools you can access.

 

Flodesk

Flodesk has become our favorite email marketing platform. They offer unlimited access to emails, email automation, forms, and you pay a flat fee regardless of the size of your email list. With Mailchimp or Hubspot, you pay more as your email list grows or if you send out a lot of emails. Another fun feature is integrating your Instagram account so your recent posts populate at the bottom of the email. Flodesk also has a lot of templates to help you make professional-looking emails. As an affiliate – you can use this link for 50% off your subscription! (As an affiliate, I receive a small commission on referred customers.)

 

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is another great resource for email marketing. With a drag and drop platform, you can easily create professional-looking emails. They have features to create a landing page, add a popup form to your website, and can even create an automated email series. E-commerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and WordPress will also connect Mailchimp to your website. Many of these features are free however, you will need to upgrade to use more features or as your email list grows.

 

Grammarly

Grammarly is a free service that does both spelling and extensive grammar checks on your writing, based on your goals. You can set up Grammarly as a chrome extension and it will automatically analyze your emails, blog posts, and most of your online content. When you are writing a lot of content, it’s nice to have a second set of eyes to find those errors and keep your writing looking professional.

 

These are just a few of the many resources we recommend for you. Let us know if you have others that you enjoy using! If you need help setting up an automated email marketing campaign for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out!

 

If you haven’t already – check out our Free Social Media Posting Guide!

Grab the Free Social Media Posting Guide

Does creating social media posts feel like a mystery to you?

Are you unsure of what to post or how often to post?

 

You’re in good hands.

 

Sign up by clicking the link below to receive a printable weekly template on what to post each day with additional tips to help you create professional-looking posts, schedule ahead, and engage your followers.

 

 

>>Click Here to Access Your Free Guide!<<

 

How to Get Online Reviews

One of the most powerful sales tools is having social proof that your products, services, and customer support works! If you already have lots of reviews – congrats! Make sure you put your reviews to use and plug them into your homepage, use in social media posts, and email marketing campaigns. If you don’t have a lot of reviews yet, that’s ok, with a few easy steps, you can get more online reviews and use this to increase sales in your products and services!

 

Have a system to follow up with your customer, such as a friendly phone call and or email.

Let your customer know you appreciate their business and that you’d love it if they could take a moment to provide a review.

 

Direct your customer to the sites that you’d like your business reviewed on such as Google, Facebook, Yelp, Trip Advisor.

Make sure you have your business listing updated on these sites.

 

If you sell products, ask your customer to review the products directly on your website.

Some e-commerce sites have settings to allow for reviews to be public.

 

What if you are starting your new business?

Find close friends or people you may have worked with in the past to write a testimonial that you can use for your website.

 

What if your business requires confidentiality?

No problem- ask for testimonials but keep them anonymous. Posting these still show your ideal customer why they should work with you.

 

 

Below you will find free email templates that you can copy and use for your follow up requests!

 

Template 1: Product Review

Your opinion matters!
Please take a moment to share your experience from your recent purchase. 

Item Name: 

>Link to Item to Review<

 

Template 2: Service Review

How was your experience? Thank you for choosing <business name> for <services>! Please take a moment to leave us a review. Your responses will help us serve you better in the future.

Review us on Google (link to your Google Business Profile)
Review us on Facebook (link to your Facebook account)

If your experience was not great, please contact us directly at <email>.

 

Adversity in endurance sports and marketing go hand in hand

If you are like us, you’ve probably been emerging yourself in business webinars lately. On a recent marketing webinar, hosted by several top international companies, there was a discussion on failure and why failure is important for growth in marketing. Failure – that’s a mouthful to swallow! However, failure IS important in many aspects of life as we learn from it. If you have a background in competition, endurance sports, or have found yourself stuck in an adverse outdoor adventure, you will understand how relating those trying times to marketing will help you succeed with your business marketing strategy.

 

My background (and passion) is in competitive cycling with 8 years racing at the professional level in road and mountain biking. In all aspects of cycling (road, mountain, cyclocross) there are several elements that yield to a successful finish: fitness, fuel, skills, strategy, risk, and luck. Being the fittest or the fastest won’t win a race – many newbies learn this the hard way. Having top fitness, great bike handling skills, staying hydrated and fueled, and understanding race tactics (like teamwork) and strategy will help you be in the right place at the right time to take that element of risk needed to potentially win the race. Sometimes that risk will work out, other times it does not. But, the more you try and fail, you learn what elements need to be adjusted for the next time. You also learn how to evaluate your goals and performance. At some point, you break through that barrier and start to have better results!

 

Marketing is somewhat similar to endurance sports as adjusting your message, timing, and who you are targeting can be a little bit of a puzzle. But once you find the right mixture, you will be successful! You will always need to adjust your elements as you go but you will start to understand your customer better and know what you need to do to be successful.

 

Whenever you feel puzzled or overwhelmed by marketing, just take a step back and remember that you have probably encountered this type of challenge one way or another in competitive sports or during an outdoor adventure. COVID has sure thrown everyone for a loop. It’s a great exercise of how having support (like a teammate that hands you an extra bottle or lets you sit on their wheel) can help you through these tough times.

 

Gnarketing is here to help you succeed on a small budget and get you through these marketing challenges.

 

My favorite quote that I would say to myself when the going gets tough is, “pain is temporary, glory is forever.”

 

We invite you to tackle your marketing challenges – however big or small they may be and contact us for support!