What is MailChimp Automation?

Are you a local business owner or blogger? You’ve probably heard the term ‘email automation’ before, and you might be wondering what it means, and why it’s useful for business owners…

Ultimately, it saves you time. In this post we’ll explain how, using a FREE online program called MailChimp. But first….

What is email automation?

Email automation is kind of like having your own personal assistant robot…let’s call him Ted. Ted’s sole purpose is to help you connect and engage with your mailing list, so that they will feel more secure with your business and trust you more…

We thought this guy was neat, so we borrowed him from the MailChimp Knowledge Base and named him Ted.

All you have to do is program Ted with the right commands (we’ll show you how below), and he will never let you down.

Alright, but why is email automation useful for my business? Do I really need a Ted?

An automation done well will help you to retain your clients, and engage them with your business…

Some important things to remember are:

  • Serve, don’t sell.
  • Be helpful.
  • Give value.

This doesn’t mean send out discounts and specials every week, it can be as simple as saying a quick ‘hello’ when a new client signs up for your mailing list, and letting them know where the best spot to park is, or what to bring to their next appointment…

Think of useful knowledge that will make their life that little bit easier, and build trust between them and your business…

Ok, that all makes sense, but I still don’t know what an email automation does?

‘Email automation’… I guess that means it will automatically send my emails for me, right?

Yep, you guessed it. A great feature of email automation is its ability to deliver an email, or a series of emails, to your mailing list without you physically needing to be there when it sends.

The automation will send whether you’re at your office desk, at home, or out for a day at the beach – no fuss, no stress, and it’ll NEVER forget to do it, even if you do!…

This frees up time and headspace for you to focus on other aspects of your beautiful business – too easy.

Simply set your preferred trigger, and you’re done…

Great! But hang on a moment please… what the heck is a trigger?

A trigger is a command to take action

Triggers are what makes email automation a little different to a standard email campaign. A trigger tells Ted when to take action, for example when someone joins your mailing list.

With triggers you can drip-feed the same content to your whole email list over time, regardless of the date/time they subscribed.

Without a trigger, you have to manually go into your MailChimp account to tell it when to send your emails. With a trigger, it can happen automatically.

Triggers help you maximise your messages

Wondering why triggers are so useful? Or still a little confused about it all? Think of it like this:

Jane is the owner of a beautiful florist business, and likes to send out an email at the end of every month to share a useful flower tip with her mailing list…

This is great for the subscribers that are already on Jane’s list, but what if she gets a new subscriber in April?

The new subscriber will have missed the emails from the previous months… January, February, and March…

That’s three useful tips that the new subscriber would find interesting, and valuable. And three emails worth of time and effort that Jane could be benefiting from.

For the new subscriber to receive these tips as well, Jane could do a few things…

  1. She could manually send each of the previous months emails to the new subscriber – all at once.

This is a little inconvenient, for both Jane, and the new subscriber. It’s a bit much to receive four emails in a day… and what if the new subscriber joined in September…? That’s nine emails! Jane doesn’t want to flood her new subscriber with too much information… her emails are intended to be helpful and exciting – not overkill.

  1. Instead of starting with the April email, Jane could manually send the email from January to the new subscriber, and then the following month send the February email, and then the March email, and so on and so forth…

But this is a lot of work for Jane to manually keep track of – and this is just for ONE new subscriber… what if she received a new subscriber every day?

Yikes. It’s not a practical use of Jane’s time or headspace… she would start to dread every new subscriber that signed up for her mailing list!

So then, how can Jane’s new subscriber receive the emails from January, February and March, without her having to manually send them all through at once, or keep track of what email each individual subscriber is up to…?

Here’s where automation makes Jane’s life easy, with the handy little trigger feature…

Jane can design an automation sequence, which includes say six emails initially, to welcome her new subscriber and share information about her floristry services.

She can set the “trigger” to automatically start drip-feeding this sequence to every new subscriber who joins her list.

She doesn’t have to be at her desk. Or remember to send out the emails. Once she’s designed the sequence once, Ted will handle the rest.

Quick and easy.

Great! I get it now, but what information should I send in an email automation?

How do you write a good automation series?

First, choose ONE goal for your automation… This is the value that your audience will receive from your emails. A great one to start with is called a welcome series. The goal is to welcome your new subscribers to your beautiful business.

The “trigger” for this automation is simple – it is set to send as soon as a subscriber signs up to join your mailing list…

The next part comes down to your content, and tone.

Content is King.

Put yourself in your client’s shoes and imagine you are taking their client journey with them… They’ve just interacted with your business for the first time…

What questions are they likely to ask? What won’t they know, yet? What value can you offer to help them continue doing business with you?…

Start by answering the top FAQ’s about your business, and drip-feed this useful knowledge to your mailing list.

Remember, automation should never annoy, or overwhelm your audience… the aim is to give value – ‘serve, don’t sell.’  

You want your emails to excite and delight them!

Keep it conversational.

When you’re writing your emails, imagine that your client has walked into your office, or strolled into your store, and you are talking to them face to face – keep your tone friendly and helpful.

And that’s that.

So, are you ready to create an automation sequence?

If you’d like a hand creating an automation sequence, we have two ways we can help.

We run a three-part workshop in Perth, Western Australia called Grow Your Business With MailChimp Automation. The next series starts on the 16 November 2017.

If you’d rather outsource it, have a chat to us. We can write the program for you and / or upload it into your MailChimp account. Prices start from $455.

13 Cool Things You Can Create With Canva

Want to create your own DIY graphics?  Let us introduce you to Canva. It’s a super fun to use, free online design tool.

Canva lets you design beautiful, DIY graphics for your business, quickly and easily, and it’s totally user-friendly. You don’t need to be a design pro to create some great looking, professional prints and digital graphics.

We’ve made a list of 13 things you can do with Canva to support the growth of your business….. let us know what you think!

The best part is, when using Canva, you can choose a pre-designed template e.g. A4 or A6 postcard, or you can start from scratch, including setting your own custom dimensions.

Just click the ‘use custom dimensions’ button at the top right corner of the home page, and input your desired size* – too easy!

*Psst, wondering how big you can go? Canva will let you customise the dimensions of any design between 40 pixels up to 5,000 pixels… that’s equivalent to 1.06 cm up to 1.32 metres.

Take a look below at the list, we’ve included a few of our own examples to give you some inspo:

  1. Social Media Graphics Galore!

Canva is perfect for designing graphics for your daily posts, just drag and drop the images and text you want, and align them using the nifty photo straightener tool. You can export the file and post it on Instagram, Facebook, and any other social media platform.

Simple!  

inspirational-social-media-graphics-example-1

A big thank you to our client Marnie Downer for the following three, fabulous examples. Marnie is a top quality Naturopath in Mount Lawley, take a look at her website here.

canva-graphic-example-3
canva-graphic-example-5
canva-graphic-example-3

2. Facebook Event Banner

The image dimensions for a perfect event banner and cover photo can be tricky – especially if the photo you wish to use is the wrong size. If it’s too big, you might be forced to crop it, which can wreck the visual appeal of the whole image, and if it’s too small, you’re left with a section of empty space. You also don’t want anything important to be obscured by your profile pic.

Simply select the preset ‘Facebook Banner’ template from the ‘create a design’ menu, import your photo*, shrink it to fit the dimensions, and fill the leftover space with some colour.

*Canva has a heap of free photos for you to use, but if you want to import your own – just drag and drop them into the ‘upload’ section…the maximum file size is 50 megabytes.

canva-facebook-banner-example-1

3. Facebook Ad

If you’re running a Facebook campaign, create a few variations of the same design and test the effectiveness of each one…

canva-facebook-ad-banner-1
canva-facebook-ad-example-2
canva-facebook-ad-example-3

4. Website Banner

Can’t find a template with your specific size requirements? Create your own custom dimensions, and arrange your photo, brand colours, and text to suit your website design.

canva-home-page-banner

Thanks to our client Karen Easter for letting us use her home page design. Karen is a psychotherapist in Darlington, specialising in anxiety, trauma and addiction. Take a look at her services here.

5. Invitations

Running an event or program launch? There are lots of cool illustrations, frames, and icons for you to use, plus a bunch of layout suggestions to help guide your perfect design. Impress your guests with an invite they can’t say no to…

canva-invitation-example-2
canva-invitation-example-1
canva-invitation-example-3

These gorgeous invites are from the Canva marketplace – another great resource you can use to get template ideas!

6. Email Header

Keep your brand consistent with customised email headers, and letterhead. You can even import your existing brand colours, just click the ‘your brand’ tab from the home menu and input your hex codes. You can input up to three default colours.

canva-email-header-1

7. A6 Flyer

Need some quick, fun promo materials? Customise some A6 flyers, the dimensions are 1240 pixels wide by 1748 pixels height.

girls-yoga-class-flyer-example-1

Image source: Canva marketplace

8. A4 Poster

With Canva, you can create up to 30 graphics in a single thread. Rather than start from scratch each time, make your first graphic the master template, duplicate it, and tweak whatever you need.

A4-cover-item-1
A4-cover-item-2
A4-cover-item-3

9. Business Card

Whether you’re after something quirky, professional, or colourful, it’s easy to make your calling card stand out from the crowd. Upload your business logo and get creative!

canva-business-card-example-1

Image source: Canva marketplace

10. Gift Voucher

Spoil your valued clients with some trendy gift vouchers – they make a nice promo tool too!

man-running-physiotherapy-gift-voucher-1

Thanks to our awesome client at Maylands Physiotherapy for the use of this gift voucher… for more info about their professional services, head to their website here.

11. Logo

Wondering what dimensions your profile pic logo should be? Canva offers a host of helpful info in the ‘design school’, including this crafty image size guide for the main social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Youtube, and Linkedin).

canva-logo-example-1

12. Labels

Choose a shape, splash on your brand colours and customise some of your very own stickers!

canva-sticker-example-2
canva-sticker-example-1
canva-label-example-3

13. Guidebook

Want to connect with more clients online? Create a guidebook or eBook that highlights your business services. Canva lets you export the file as a PDF (portable document format) so it’s easy to share in an email, or on your website.

canva-guidebook-example-1
canva-guidebook-example-2
canva-guidebook-example-3

These pages were created for our client Bill Shepherd, for his beautiful Marriage Ceremony Guidebook. Bill is a wedding celebrant from the South West, have a look at his website here.

Would you like to learn more about Canva…? Sign up for our ‘Grow Your Business With Canva’ workshop series here.

Tickets start from $39 for the introductory workshop, through to $227 to attend all three workshops.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Jess, Chris, George and Nat 🙂

Good Marketing is Not Sleazy or Manipulative

How do you feel when you see manipulative marketing? Turned off? Angry? Is it any wonder that you don’t want to create your own? There is a better way.

_

marketing-strategies.png

How do you interpret the scene above? Is it:

a) Gullible little cupcake people lining up for something they don’t need?

b) Happy customers lining up for something they really want from an awesome balloon supplier?

From my perspective, as a marketing consultant and coach for more than 20 years, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to marketing.

Not all marketing strategies are created equal.

To me, the best marketing makes a natural connection between what the consumer desires and what the business delivers.

It’s not forced or manipulative. It’s smart and beautifully put together.

How does the word “marketing” make you feel?

So many business owners I chat to say they feel sick to the stomach just thinking about “doing marketing”.

Is this you?

Do you recall where this stems from? Did you have a really bad experience with being manipulated by some sleazy sales campaign? Are you over the screaming salesman and the bright red flashing lights?

Please trust me, there is a better way. It’s called “serving, not selling”.

“Smart, authentic marketing is not manipulative – it’s respectful and in tune with
what your clients value.”

How do you do good marketing?

With a little bit of thought and reflection, you can create marketing that serves your clients and most importantly respects their ability to make a decision.

Great marketing connects a person to a product or service that they truly desire. Something that makes their life easier or better in some way.

Please don’t try to manipulate others with lines like:

“Sign-up-today-or-a-kitten-will-die”

They’re really scammy sounding, kind of like those carpet advertisements:

“We’re going out of business, everything must go!”

You know the ones that have been on TV for 10 years now!

Please don’t threaten people or make them feel like losers for not choosing your product. Stay classy, for the love of Seth Godin the God of good marketing advice.

Begin by thinking, not doing

Start by thinking carefully about what your clients’ pain-points are.

What frustrates them?

What gets in their way of having a joyful life?

How can your business help them?

Write it all down or better still, brainstorm with someone, anyone – even the cat or that plant in the corner!

marketing-strategies.png

Can you see how it’s so much easier to figure out how to help someone by stepping through this process?

Start with who they are, and then ask what their pain or frustration is.

This leads you to some pretty logical solutions. Easy, yes? Well OK – easier. It does take practice, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time, just don’t over-think.

The “help-a-friend” principle

Figuring out how to help your clients starts with asking questions.

Kind of like asking a friend, “Are you cold?” When you know that she’s cold, you can offer her solutions:

  • Bed socks,
  • Hot water bottle,
  • Hot chocolate,
  • A heater,
  • A cashmere sweater,
  • A hug!

So many options for helping!

How does this apply to your business?

Apply the same approach to your business. What do you take for granted that your clients would be so grateful to receive?

How could you share your knowledge and connections in your industry to create something of value for your client?

Often it’s the really simple things that can make all the difference. It doesn’t have to be a big, expensive gesture. Think small, nimble and from the heart.

“Keep it simple. Just keep asking; “What would my clients love? What would
make them smile and know that they are valued?”

How does it feel to serve instead of sell?

Taking it one step further, how about if I already know that my friend loves hot chocolate and, seeing her shivering, I just went and made her one?

Of course, with 80 per cent cocoa melts and delivered with a comfy, warm blanket?

She’d be pretty happy, right?

And if you were the giver of the blanket and hot chocolate – how would you feel?

You’d feel pretty good too, wouldn’t you? 

Simply because you were helpful and you made someone else smile.

Sure your friend could have done this for herself, but that’s not nearly as wonderful as when someone does it for you, now is it?

Brainstorm ways to serve your clients and customers

So how could you bring some joy into the lives of your clients or future clients? What would be really fun to create for them, that you would also love to give them?

And again, remember to keep it simple. As the classic advertisement by Kellog’s Cornflakes would say “The simple things in life are often the best”. Love that line – so true!

Ask questions in the comments

If you would like some suggestions on what to create for your business, ask away in the comments. Challenge yourself to come up with a couple as well and I’ll chime in.

Share your success stories

If you’ve already started producing great things for your clients that bring a smile to their faces, let us know in the comments below. It’s really helpful for others to know what’s working.