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!

Healthy Sleep Habits for Entrepreneurs

Sleep is an overlooked topic on health and essential for a busy entrepreneur in starting the day on the right foot. 

 

There are things you can do to improve your chances for a more restful sleep. These include:

  • eliminating screen time 60 minutes before bed
  • reading a book
  • limiting alcohol and sugar before bedtime
  • having a regular exercise routine

 

Research has shown that higher use of screen time before bed is associated with poor sleep quality, reduced sleep duration and a delay in onset of sleep. Research article here. Try turning off your devices at least 60 minutes before bedtime and reading a book. Come up with a routine that will help you wind down each night.

 

Alcohol and sugar have also been linked to poor sleep quality. Research by Dr. Michael D. Stein, MD and Dr. Peter D. Friedmann, MD, MPH reviewed 107 studies that suggested alcohol use and sleep disturbance are related. Research article here.

 

Another study examined the relationship between poor diet and sleep quality. The conclusion was that “poor sleep quality was associated with greater food intake and lower‐quality diet, which can increase cardiovascular disease risk.” Research article here.

 

Create a regular exercise routine. If starting this habit is a challenge for you, I recommend reading the book ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. In the book he describes how important it is to just “show up” to your routine, even if it’s only for two minutes. Get in the habit of showing up and then move forward with your exercise goals. Having a regular routine will not only give you an outlet but will help boost endorphins and help you sleep better.

 

It can be easy to get caught in the trap of poor diet (convenience/quick food), alcohol consumption (to deal with stress), and screen time (checking messages/social media). However, this lifestyle will only lead to burnout and disease. Take care of yourself and make that a priority this new year. A healthy you is going to be more efficient in your work, more level-headed, and less stressed. Your goals and ambitions matter, but not at the cost of your health.

How to determine if you should build your website from scratch

Starting a new business is exciting but full of priorities that need immediate attention. Often, business owners get caught up in investing into a website. Having a great website in the beginning can reap its benefits, however, depending on the stage of your startup, your budget, cashflow, and plans, it might not be essential right away. 

 

There are a few things to consider when deciding if investing in a website is the right timing for your business:

 

  • Are you selling online goods?
  • Are you a service-based business?
  • What is your timeline?
  • What is your budget?
  • How many customers do you have?

 

If you are a service-based business, you can probably set up your Facebook page, GoogleMyBusiness listing, and start to generate new clients. Once you have a steady stream of revenue, that’s a good time to start working on your website. 

 

Do you want to build your website?

 

If you answered yes – good for you! There are many great platforms to create your website for free with no experience necessary! 

 

If you are unsure about how or where to start, don’t worry because we have a free mini-course to show you how to build your website on a dime that’s available on-demand.  Building your own website might seem intimidating at first, but, once you dive in and have a step-by-step process, you’ll see how fun the process can be and rewarding.

 

Maybe you are too busy to build your own website and hiring a professional is your option.

 

 

Should you hire a professional? 

 

It depends on your business goals, timeline, and your budget. 

 

Hiring a professional right off the bat will allow you to focus on other aspects of the business while they can make sure your site looks professional and functions the way you envision. Just be sure to make sure to ask your web designer how you can make edits later on and always be sure you own 100% of the content. We have met business owners who signed up for costly website services and didn’t realize if they ever left, their website would go away because the marketing firm owned the content! Yikes!  At Gnarketing, we work with our clients to find the right solutions for their budget and needs and you will always own 100% of your content and site. Our goal is to help you become self-sufficient and understand how to manage your new website. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your plans.

 

 

 

New Mini Courses on Mission and Vision Statements and How to Self-Publish

We are excited to offer a series of free mini online courses. The new courses are geared towards new business owners who are needing help creating their mission and vision statements and writers who are interested in learning about self-publishing. Whether you are starting a new business or writing a book, taking the first steps can be very intimidating. Each course is offered on an online course platform so that when someone registers, they can view it at any time.

The free mini-courses include:

Creating Mission and Vision Statements featuring Laramie Life Coach, Laura Pollard

Laura Pollard has had a long career in building teams as an NCAA and NAIA women’s basketball coach and has worked with universities, non-profits, and organizations on their mission and vision statements and implementation. In this free mini-course, Laura teaches how to create and implement mission and vision statements in your business or organization.

 

My Self Publishing Journey featuring Laramie author Diana Seabeck

Diana Seabeck published her first children’s book, “My Grammy Says I Can’t Grow Up!” during the pandemic. In this interview, Diana covers everything from ideas to self-publishing, challenges she overcame, and how her book became available online and made it on the shelves in local bookstores.

 

You can register for the free courses by following this link!

After you register, you’ll be prompted to create a username and password. From there, you can watch the courses at any time as they will be available on your dashboard.