Using Automation & Outsourcing to Make it Through Busy Season
Busy season is coming up. Are you ready for it? Do you feel like you spend more time answering emails than getting out there doing your best work? Are you completely overwhelmed with all the mundane tasks in your business? If so, it’s time utilize automation & outsourcing effectively in your business. Today, I’m going to share with you the most effective wins that you can achieve in your business through automation and outsourcing.
Automate Your Booking Process
You do NOT need to be answering the same questions over and over! Most people simply want to know 1) what are your prices and 2) are you available on this date? So why not automate that process! Most people are scared to do this because they think that it takes away some of the personalization. But you can craft email templates that are personal and effective and don’t just sound like a stuffy robot! Here’s what I recommend:
Using a Lead Capture Form
Direct every interaction you get to a page on your website with a lead capture form. You can set up auto responders on Facebook, Instagram, WeddingWire, etc. so that everyone goes to your website & follows the same process. Once they inquire, you can send informational emails based on their response automatically! Most CRMs (like Honeybook and 17hats and Dubsado) will have something like this that makes it really easy!
In this informational email, let them know more information about your services. You can give them your pricing guide. You could also consider sharing your available dates using a scheduling app so that they can see right away if you are available whne they need you!
Send a Questionnaire & a Link to Book a Call
Next, direct them to a questionnaire so you can get more information about the scope of their project. This will help you know if you will be a good fit for them. You can then direct them to book a call with you using a scheduling app like Calendly or Acuity. With these apps, you can have complete control over when you accept calls, and it will take away any last minute bookings as well.
Imagine the freedom you will have if your lead process is working for you! You will be able to get into your email and see that you have landed some client calls. You don’t have to worry about anything except showing up for the call and opening up their questionnaire before the call.
Automate Your FAQs
Have you ever noticed that clients tend to ask the same questions over and over? Whenever a client asks a question, you can write a blog post about it! Then in your informational email to them you can send your most commonly asked questions as links so they can get more information right away. You can also let them know they can search the blog for any topic to get an answer and you probably have written about it!
I also recommend having a FAQ page on your website if you tend to get a lot of questions over and over. That way in the email they get from you they know to check there first!
You can also send out FAQs periodically using a drip email sequence. If your clients go through the same process over and over, then you can send them automatic emails throughout the process that you have them as a client. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, and you know that you will have your engagement sesson first, you can have an automatic email sent telling them how to prepare for their engagement session 2 weeks after they book with you. You can also send out emails about timelines or detail shots a couple months before the wedding.
A lot of photographers like to have all this information in a bridal guide or on their blog post, but remember that repetition aids recall! Having the information in multiple places and letting them know where to find it will keep you from having to answer the same things over and over. It will also help them in the process too!
Automate Your Social Media Posting
You can use an app like later.com to schedule your social media posts. With the paid plan you can even schedule stories so you don’t have to worry about it. You can batch schedule these things a month in advance if you want! With Facebook, you can schedule posts using the Facebook Creator Studio, or with Later if you want to post to a page. With Facebook Groups, you can just write a normal post and select “post later” instead of “post now” and tell it when you want it to post. I do this for the TuesdaysTogether group I co-lead. I schedule all the posts for the whole month in one sitting!
Another great app for scheduling your social media posts is Tailwind. I especially like it for Pinterest. I am able to have 10 pins going out every single day by only spending about 15 minutes a week, or an hour a month, on Pinterest! They have some tools for Instagram too that I’ve heard are amazing.
Outsourcing In Your Business
Busy season is also the perfect time to outsource. You can outsource your editing, or you can hire a virtual assistant to help you with tasks like finances, sending invoices, admin tasks, answering emails, social media scheudling, and so much more. Other tasks you might not consider outsourcing but really are so effective are:
- Lawn care
- Grocery pickup/delivery
- Meal kit/meal planning service
- Cleaning service
As the CEO of your business, you should be spending your time on the $100+/hour tasks (most profitable). A good rule of thumb is to outsource anything that’s <$20/hour.
Those are my best tips for using automation & outsourcing in your business! If you want more specific help with this, you can schedule a Strategy Session with me.
Be sure to check out my FREE Facebook Group for Small Business Owners!
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