What came most clear from the live Profit Planning Workshop (we'll do another in September & you are very welcome to participate while the crowd is muted) & Masterclass, is that those of you who are online just want to know what systems will automate your platform, so you can spend more time on the mystery, the glimmer, & the depth of light in your work.
I often talk about not outsourcing your learning curve, but I know it's not that you don't really want to do the research, or sit in that gap. It's that these are times when we need to just implement. At least in the U.S., of the 318 million people, 180 million can't find $400 in a life-or-death emergency. This is just the truth. So the emergent urgencies of our days make it irresponsible to go back to business school. Yes.
Your heartwork is not about running online business, I know. So let's offer up some automation so you have the spaciousness to be in practice...
The systems & technology are constantly changing. These are the systems I recommend for 2016. I haven't included any affiliate links. These are just the current black-and-white systems that are great for automating. While you are looking at these, I want you to bring the concept of "evergreen" offerings to your practice.
What would it look like to have an email opt-in that didn't need any help from you?
-For the Moon Storm Sessions, I had a free resource library full of maps, videos & instructions. This was kept on a "locked" page on my Squarespace website.
-For Empress Tides, it's not evergreen, & I haven't outsourced the upkeep of the April-June Lunar Strategy Planner, so it's outdated already. No bueno. Headache.
-For Saturn*s Sister, I sat my ass down & wrote three months of weekly emails, basically just sharing the contributors' posts + photo, along with a new & simple practice. Because it's a mini-economy, which you are all welcome to join once we get our systems down, the main promise for the email offering, 90 Days of Creative Clarity & Calm, was to expose & edify the contributors + their tools, to deepen the sense of community. We made the entire platform feel Instagram-based, so that's also worked into the opt-in, with Instagram/photo prompts. It's also a "sales funnel," meaning, along with value + education, there are plenty of soft & more direct pitches to join the circle or take a course, along with links.
When you are automating, the most important question is, "What is the next thing I want them to do?"
Always, always, always invite your people further into your platform, with the all loops leading to sales pages, opportunities & offerings. When they decline, because it takes people at least 7 times to buy, and months or even years of following you, you still want to lead them to a "downsell," which is basically a something similar, with less content at a lower price point. When they purchase, offer them an "upsell," which is something that cost 1/2-to-5 times more (yes, really, they are buying, do it) that takes their purchase to the next level. Like live events, templates that do the work for them, guides, tech videos, etc.
So think in terms of Calls to Action.
When you automate, for every single page, you must know:
-What you want them to think.
-How you want them to feel.
-What you want them to do.
Every single thing you say & show must be directly related to those things. Because you aren't there, you need to fill in every gap of their experience. My emails are incredibly gushy. Over-the-top. Because I AM INCREDIBLY GUSHY. Those of you who've circled with me know this, I always cry because all of your paths move me to tears. So I don't hold back my gesture, I put it all out there. Whatever is true about your gesture, lay it down.
If you are worried about being too aggressive, then that is great because you will convert sales. Every one of us is a "conscious-creative," or "herbed cacao truffle" personality-type. Which means so are our followers. And the truth is, they respond best to being told what to do. So tell them.
Automation means your platform is running on its own without you.
For solo-entrepreneurs, this means, with no assistant:
- Your social media accounts are sharing helpful content to your followers.
- Every person who emails you is getting a reply from you instantly.
- Your emails are sent out while you have an iced matcha matte before yoga.
For Empress Tides sistren, we have more options, because our community-economy is our platform, with cycles of others doing the marketing, sharing, content creating & automating for us, when we aren't doing it for them. Most of you aren't using community in this way, so I will explain how to do that next week.
When it comes to social media, I very much suggest you pick ONE or TWO & master them in a way that feels healthy to you. It doesn't have to look how other people do it. It just has to create the relationships you need. My Instagram direct messages & texts are my social media. It's all I have time for! I don't have time to hashtag, to curate photo galleries, or respond to comments. But I have time to make invitations & hear people's hearts & share my own, in an intimate, private way. This feeds me without draining me. You need to find your way, but *be honest* about if it's converting. My constituent archetypes & price points allow me to do less. So design it how you need it to go. You just need to provide equal value.
To be clear, you can run an entire $6-figure business on Squarespace alone, with a free Mailchimp account & Instagram + Pinterest. If you do this, just throw your courses into a private back page. Use Paypal or Squarespace Commerce to collect payments.
-Website for clean & versatile design with no coding + cover pages that "sell" your email opt-in: Squarespace
-Setting up recurring payments for memberships: Moonclerk
-Schedule emails in advance and having automated email sequences: Convertkit
-Scheduling Pinterest pins: Tailwind
-Scheduling & doing Instagram posts on your computer: Grum
-Scheduling tweets and Facebook posts: Edgar (I adore the founder, Laura Roeder, she made this for you & has a super-helpful newsletter for simplifying marketing)
-Sending autoresponders to every email that comes in: Gmail (use the vacation autoresponder!)
-Private Groups that aren't on Facebook: Slack
-Classroom automation: Kajabi. (Like Teachable but pricey) Ruzuku. (The founder Abe will hold your hand. SUCH nice people. And beautiful platform) Teachable. (We are using Teachable for Saturn*s Sister because it's a bit of a co-op, & they will let us do affiliates, pay out authors, immediate deposit & also things like $1 first month for memberships. However I can't wrap my head around it at all. Courts is our Author Hand-Holder, so she's doing it. I've been told it's fairly simple. I tried.)
-Managing media: Evernote for *all the stuff* I use, like notes, saving entire webpages, keeping notes on my family, keeping team notebooks about each project (like notes with details on offerings, roles, payment plans, etc.), storing the bajillion visual things I collect online. Think of it like a giant chest of drawers full of moleskine notebooks.
-Video conferencing with automatic video & audio recording, plus webinar setups: Zoom. I LOVE Zoom. And they will hold your hand.
Send me your automation questions, & I'll see what other resources I can find for you! Blessings on your systems. Wishing you ease.