Category Archives for "Featured"

Are you seriously not doing this?

In the past few weeks I’ve seen so many businesses making the mistake of not following up or not following up effectively on their simple opt in campaigns that I had to share.

See if you are sticking to the simple 1 email approach after someone opts in this this is exactly what i’m talking about.

I need you to be effective in building your relationships, and sending 1 email after opt in, simple isn’t going to cut it.

It doesn’t matter if it’s for a free report, some sort of opt in giveaway, sign up on account, or even a new member for a bricks and mortar style business.  If you are not doing this, you may as well not be collecting the contacts details in the first place..

Top 10 Automation Apps

10 Top Automation Applications to Build Your Business

10 Top Automation Applications to Build Your Business

Since 1977, business failures in the U.S. have declined 30%.

In Australia, Garry Visontay describes tech start-ups as “relatively buoyant and healthy.”

Why the reversal in business fortunes?

No one’s sure. But the smart money’s on the availability of reliable automation tools that provide…

Comprehensive digital platforms that help build small businesses

Forty years ago, running a small business meant overwork and, often, failure.

Today, things have changed, thanks to easy-to-use, full service applications like…

1. Infusionsoft®

The world’s leading automation software for small businesses, Infusionsoft® offers five annual packages, according to your budget and need. Each package helps:

• Launch your business, and scale it fast using real-time analytics
• Manage sales leads, conversions, marketing campaigns and e-commerce pieces
• Create business templates, collect customer data and streamline workflows

In short, Infusionsoft® coordinates all the complex operational data management and scheduling processes while you focus on strategic growth.

Another must-have app is…

2. Zapier

As you scale your business, you’ll need a tool like Zapier to connect and automate all of your application processes and workflows. It lets you:

• Integrate over 750 applications so all your data is always one click away
• Search, save and compile statistics for quick use now or to refer to later
• Share processes and information across apps as you streamline workflows

With Zapier automating your busywork, you can explore apps like…

3. Xero™

Anyone who’s ever tried to reconcile business accounts knows the value of an app that tracks, and manages, cashflow for you—real-time. Use Xero™ to:

• Track sales, bill payments, batch receipts, purchases and inventory history
• Create, and email, purchase orders and recurring (read-receipt) invoices
• Schedule payments to vendors, employees and manage taxes and much more

With Xero™ doing your books for you, you’re ready for…

Applications that manage time and increase curb appeal

4. AppointmentCore

AppointmentCore is a master scheduling app that automates appointments across your Google and Infusionsoft® platforms. It lets you:

• Share your minute-to-minute meeting availability—and stop playing email tag
• Send individual emails, email blasts or campaign invitations to coworkers
• Schedule buffer zones for meeting prep so you’re never overbooked

Another, consumer-driven scheduler is…

5. TimeTrade®

TimeTrade® engages customers on the devices they prefer to do business to “capture customer interest at its peak”. Use it to be cutting-edge competitive and:

• Guarantee successful customer experiences with Omni-channel appointments
• Create ‘we’ve been expecting you’ customer interactions, using in-store tools
• Analyse who’s visited your business, when, and for what, to personalize services

In short, turn browsers into buyers and brand ambassadors. Like you will with…

6. EverWebinar™

Endorsed by Marketing gurus, Russell Brunson and Jeff Walker, EverWebinar™ uses the highest converting marketing techniques to help you:

• Build—and grow—your email lists, qualify prospects and A/B test messaging
• Put your message in front of as many people as you want
• Offer lead magnets that have the feel of interactive, live events

Now that you know how to schedule your time and build your list, you’re ready for…

Experiential tools that help you invite customers to visit

7. Zoom Video Conferencing

Zoom provides “one consistent enterprise experience for your business.” With its easy-to-use features you can:

• Unify cloud video conferencing, simple online meetings and cross platform chat
• Provide access for 500 video participants and 10,000 viewers
• Create content-rich events with voice, video and screen sharing options

Another excellent app that helps you provide user experiences and build your list is…

8. Memberium

A plug-in that connects Infusionsoft® with WordPress, Memberium is the membership site building app Ryan Deiss recommends you use to:

• Quickly build an unlimited number of online courses to unlimited students
• Sell an unlimited number of free, paid or trial memberships to build your list
• Offer responsive, scalable courses that don’t require huge amounts of memory

What’s more, members manage their own accounts. Another course-building app is…

9. LearnDash

When it comes to WordPress Learning Management Systems (LMS), LearnDash is ranked #1 in the world. A robust course development tool, it helps you:

• Create, publish, and sell courses according to built-in pricing models
• Provide participants with real-time feedback and award certificates
• Offer “drip-feed content” according to a pre-defined schedule
Simple to use, it’s a reliable course builder. A final courseware creator is…
10. WP Courseware

Developed with ease of use in mind, WP Courseware lives up to its claim that building and selling courses is “As Easy as Drag and Drop!” Use it to:

• Turn your WordPress content into complete fully automated courses
• Give quizzes, export results, track progress, and offer certificates
• Sell courses using your favourite e-commerce and membership plugin

Automated experiential events draw your customers closer to you and to your offer. As such they’re promotional gold.

To learn more about processes to automate, read “9 Things You Should Already Be Automating.”

Interaction + Automation =

How Personal Interaction + Automation
= Business Success

How Personal Interaction + Automation = Business Success

Today’s businesses must not only do more, they must do it…in 8 seconds.

That’s how long you have to connect with prospects and position yourself as the solution to their problem.

Which means you must make every second count. How?

Follow the AIDA model to provide personal and automated value to customers at every stage of the sales journey.

1. ATTENTION

The first contact many prospects have with your company is your lead magnet.

It’s your job to personalize your lead magnet to the particular pain points your ideal customer has.

Make it grab their attention. Make it quick and easy. Make it FREE.

And make it one of the four most popular lead magnets:

1. Simple Checklists
2. [How-to] Process Maps
3. Infographics
4. Quick Tutorials

People jealously guard their email addresses. If you want prospects to share them with you, offer something that doesn’t require a lot of work to consume.

Create an optimal lead magnet, then link it to an automated campaign.

Use it to attract prospects to opt into your funnel.

But remember, your prospects aren’t ready to buy. They’re just getting to know you.

You want to entice them deeper into your funnel. And to do that, they need to download your lead magnet and share their contact information.

Once they have, you can begin a one-on-one dialog with them. Starting with an automated series of emails that offer even more ‘helpful’ information.

2. INTEREST

At this second stage of the sales funnel, prospects are still NOT ready to speak to a member of your sales team.

However they have identified an interest in your company. Repay them for their interest by providing them with more value.

Begin slowly educating them about the features of your company and its products. Demonstrate more about the specific products they’re interested in.

Do this with helpful longer content.

Content you’ve carefully created for prospects in the interest stage of the sales cycle. And have linked to a campaign of automated emails.

Offer prospects clickable links to informative content like:

1. Product webinars
2. Case studies
3. Demo videos

Use your automated business analytics to assess which content receives the most click-throughs—and draws prospects deeper into your sales funnel.

If product webinars are heavily viewed—and lead to more sales—create more of them and send them in your automated email series.

In short, “identify actions that hasten [prospects’] move to the next stage of the sales funnel.” And do more of it.

3. DESIRE

In the desire stage of the sales funnel, you begin adding personal touches to nurture the prospect.

Your company’s on the short list. You want it to be the only company on the list.

Do that by linking the benefits of your product to its features. Show what makes you remarkable, distinct, and better than your competitors.

Now’s the time for personal attention.

The automated email series you send at this stage should encourage people to speak to someone on the sales team.

1. Trial offers
2. Live demos
3. Proposals and/ or cost estimates

Offer enticements like gift cards or free lunches to encourage customers to meet with your sales team.

And if prospects agree to meet with you, don’t push too hard for sale.

Don’t make the mistake of “focusing on sales at the expense of customer engagement.”

You’re still forming a relationship. Alienate prospects at this stage and all of the helpful automated emails and product materials you’ve sent will have been for nothing.

Try to personally engage prospects. Don’t push them away.

4. ACTION

In the fourth and final stage of the sales funnel, everything you’ve done before leads hopefully to the action you want the prospect to take: a purchase.

You’ve worked hard to offer an engaging combination of automated content delivery + personal attention that positions you as helpful, trustworthy and an expert.

Continue fulfilling the promises you made to prospects in the earlier stages of your sales funnel or you jeopardize the relationship you’ve built.
Strengthen your relationship by sending new customers automated campaigns that include:
• Welcome SMS series to introduce new customers to your other products
• Implementation documents that assist them in every way possible
• Guidelines for success that provide extra information… they didn’t expect
Send automated emails containing motivational materials to keep customers excited about their purchase.

Send automated surveys to determine which customers are the happiest. Do more of what they like. And stop doing what they don’t.

Continue providing personal + automated value and “delightful content experiences.”

And set up automated campaigns to ask happy customers to refer you to others…

To learn more about processes you need to automate, read “Why You Need to Automate Your Business (and Let Customers Come to You).”

Start with these 9 items

9 Things You Should Already Be Automating

For small businesses, time is money.

Wasting time on tasks you can—and should—automate is money lost.

Money lost needlessly since determining which tasks to automate is simple:

  • Complete all tasks once  
  • Develop a system for repetitive tasks, and
  • Automate the system you developed

The following 9 repetitive processes are things you should automate—today.

1. ABANDONED CART

Given that shopping cart closure rates average 33%, your Abandoned Cart sequence is something you should automate. Infusionsoft® lets you:

  • Create a tag that identifies prospective purchasers that enter your cart
  • Send them a polite follow-up email if they abandon your cart
  • Send another email in 1-2 days to revive their initial interest

Create emails with fun subject lines like “You were so close to being part of history…” But follow up on that 67% in sales.

2. CUSTOMER REFERRAL SEQUENCE

Happy customers are more likely to refer you to others. Which is why you should automate your Customer Referral Sequence to turn successful relationships into results.

How? Create a Referral Partner in Infusionsoft®:

  • Survey customers to see who’s had a shareable experience
  • Make sure their experience was a positive one
  • Send an email with a clickable link and ask if they’ll share it on social media

Nothing’s more powerful than customer recommendations.

BEHAVIOUR-BASED SEGMENTATION & EMAIL MARKETING

People are “more likely to buy right after they’ve bought.”

Which is why you should automate a Behaviour-Based Segmentation sequence to:

  • Tag customers according to when they bought first, and when they bought again
  • Customize follow-up email series to when customers most recently bought
  • Market products to customers that are similar to their most recent purchases

Let your app run on a schedule, while you analyse what customers are buying and offer more.

GOOGLE DOCS REPORTING (WITH ZAPIER)

Automate your business reporting by connecting Google Docs to Zapier.

Google Docs allows you to collaboratively edit documents with other people in real time. Integrate it with Zapier and:

  • Make the functionality of every app you use interchangeable
  • Create, save or copy from one app type to another, instantly
  • Automate tedious tasks in your workflow like generating manual reports

In short, simplify data management, business reporting and save you time.

REPETITIVE PROCESS TEMPLATES

You should always automate Repetitive Process Templates. Infusionsoft® allows you to create automated templates that are simple, scalable and run on a schedule.

Note Templates, for example, allow you to:

  • Create processes with detailed descriptions
  • Tag groups and individuals responsible who will receive notifications
  • Specify frequency, costs, expenses and follow-up sequences

All template types link to others. So it’s easy to create a process and link it to an email campaign to save yourself time.

LEAD GENERATION & SALES CALL FOLLOW-UPS

Automating a Lead Generation process saves you hours of composing emails and tracking leads.

  • Send out emails series to prospects who opt in to your sales funnel
  • Create workflows and follow-up nurturing emails
  • Send out series of prospecting emails to targeted groups

Automating Sales Call Follow-ups is harder. Human-to-human interaction is still the most successful way to close a deal. Consider outsourcing to a company specializing in outbound calling.

POST PURCHASE FOLLOW-UP CAMPAIGNS

It’s always easier to sell to existing customers. So automate your Post-Purchase Follow-up campaigns and “create strong collaborative ties” using:

  • Welcome SMS messages that greet new customers to the fold
  • Post-purchase thank-you pages that express gratitude for customer purchases
  • Follow-up email series that nurture customers by providing additional value

Keeping current customers in the loop positively predisposes them to you. It also makes them want to buy from you again and refer you to others.

CUSTOMER FEEDBACK & CALLBACKS FOLLOWING BAD RATINGS

You should automate Customer feedback campaigns. Send customers ‘quick’ surveys to rate their customer experience on a scale of 1-10.

Most people respond when only a single click is required. Next:

  • Segment positive responses from negative ones
  • Send thank-you emails to all respondents.
  • Have your sales team call negative responders

Acknowledge, clarify, address and confirm you understand the objections of negative responders. And then apply what you learn.

INVOICING

If you’re still manually invoicing, you should automate this process immediately and stop duplicating your efforts. Link invoices to existing customer accounts to:

  • Improve process time, efficiency, forecasting abilities and employee morale
  • Reduce the need to manually code invoices and the chance of human error
  • Invoice, receive payments and pay suppliers—on a reliable schedule

Do this and you’ll create satisfied suppliers who are “more willing to negotiate terms and costs because of your great payment history.”

To learn about how automating processes streamlines your business, read “Automate the Right Processes and Work on Your Business, Not in It!

8 Essential Solutions

8 Essential Problem-Solving Automation Solutions for Your Business

Today, with so many automation solutions available, it’s hard to know which one to choose.

Here’s a quick look at 8 different essential automation solutions that will help you streamline your business offering.

There’s nowhere better to start than…

Comprehensive automation packages catering to the needs of small businesses

  1. Infusionsoft®

Infusionsoft® is a comprehensive small business platform that handles operations for over 125,000 subscribers. It offers 4 scalable annual plans, all of which include:

  • Full process CRM and Marketing automation
  • The capacity to send 5 emails a month each to 2,500 contacts (for the “Essentials” starter plan) and up to 20,000 contacts (for the “Team” plan)
  • An in-house support team available 24/7 to assist you with questions

Plans allow a minimum of 3 users to work on your network. With the highest level plan allowing up to 10 users.
If you choose the “Essentials” plan—or the “Deluxe” plan geared for Sales Automation—you’ll need to source a reliable add-on, e-commerce option. One like…

  1. WorldInternetOffice

WorldInternetOffice is an inexpensive shopping cart service for small business owners new to e-commerce. Unlike Infusionsoft®, which allows a free 30-day trial period, WorldInternetOffice charges $3.95 for a 4-week test-drive.

But this test-drive is plug and play. Within 15 minutes, you can link your new shopping cart to your main automation platform and start processing orders. You can also:

  • Accept order payment in any currency, calculate tax by country and shipping and handling charges and set up custom “Thank-you” pages
  • Offer discounts, integrate various payment options, set up billing cycles, recurring and installment payments
  • Apply commissions to first orders, analyze sales performance and much more

Now that you’ve automated your daily operational functions and have a shopping cart in place, it’s time to learn how…

The “Eye” Has It When It Comes to Making Prospects Say, “I Want It!”

To attract prospects to your sales funnel—and keep them there, you must offer content they want. There’s no hotter lead magnet or nurturing device than FREE how-to…

  1. Webinars

Webinars are an absolute must-have if your business is to catch the eye of busy prospects. Follow the three rules below to get prospects to opt-in to your list:

  • Make webinars short and easily consumable
  • Address a burning need your customer—new or recurring—has
  • Create webinars regularly

Keep webinars no more than 5 minutes in length, target subjects customers ask you about—and “specify the subject clearly in your webinar’s title”—and you’ll position yourself as a helpful authority prospects rely on.

A great webinar application is…

  1. GoToWebinar

Nothing builds authority more than holding a live webinar that engages global participants in interactive content.

GoToWebinar is a popular choice because you can:

  • Rehearse beforehand, have multiple presenters and link to video uploads
  • Integrate webinar sign-ups with your CRM to manage lead generation
  • Create polls on-the-fly to boost participation and analyze real-time metrics

Another great webinar tool to try is…

  1. EverWebinar™

Recorded popular webinars make excellent evergreen lead magnets. But, to be effective, recorded webinars must look like live webinars. An EverWebinar™:

  • Has the feel of a real-time event and even simulates live audience participation
  • Offers participants multiple time attendance options, including a just in time (JIT) option that creates urgency and ups attendance rates 80 – 90%
  • Helps you build email lists, pre-qualify them and A/B test at the same time

Now that you understand the lure of webinars, it’s time to discuss…

Daily interactive options that drive attendee engagement—on a schedule

  1. Zoom Video Conferencing

In a global economy you need an affordable conferencing application that supports remote teams. Zoom offers straightforward video and web options that:

  • Are ideal for meetings, training events, technical collaborations and town halls
  • Provide access for 500 video participants and 10,000 viewers
  • Have voice, video and screen sharing options for content-rich experiences

To manage your Zoom meeting schedule, you’ll need…

  1. AppointmentCore

AppointmentCore is a digital scheduling assistant that interfaces seamlessly with Infusionsoft® and Google. It will:

  • Show minute-to-minute availability and eliminate email tag
  • Send individual emails, email blasts or campaign invitations to coworkers and clients and book them automatically into your calendar
  • Schedule in a buffer zone so you have prep time before important meetings—and are never overbooked

Finally, with so many applications running, you need a process coordinator like…

  1. Zapier

Zapier links all of your web applications, increasing productivity and eliminating inefficiencies with a single click. Use it to:

  • Zap information instantaneously between all your apps
  • Identify ways to streamline CRM workflows with trigger-to-action mapping
  • Complete tedious, routine processes—behind-the-scenes

In short, let Zapier handle time-consuming administrative tasks, while you grow your business.

If you want to learn more about essential problem-solving automation solutions, read “10 Top Automation Applications to Build Your Business.”

Don’t work in your business!

Automate the Right Processes and Work on Your Business, Not in It!

 

With the rise of e-commerce, what you automate makes or breaks your business.

With limited time and resources, it’s vital you focus on tasks that promote your company’s growth. And you need to automate all tasks that require manual labour.

But which tasks should you automate first?

Simple, the ones that slow your response time to customers.

Your BPA (Business Process Automation) Plan needs to help you maintain your competitive edge. It should help you be nimble and ultra-responsive to customer needs.

It should:

  • Allow potential customers to find you, and then buy from you, quickly, easily and repeatedly, and
  • Perform flawlessly, on a schedule, freeing up your time for continued business development and new customer acquisition.

 

This is a tall order. And one that makes business owners stall as they decide on which business processes to automate first

Luckily, there’s a systematic approach to BPA that helps you automate business processes in a way that’s tailored to the specific needs of your business.

To begin, Lauren Simonds of Time recommends automating “time-consuming tasks that require attention, but don’t necessarily qualify as income-producing activities.”

Which means the first processes you need to automate are the ones that allow you to…

 

Always work one-on-one with customers closer to the sale

When it comes to growing your business, nothing replaces a human touch. So, the processes you automate first are the ones which allow you to interact with customers. Especially, customers who’ve expressed an interest in your product and are positioned to buy.

To decide which processes contribute to better sales, map out the entire end-to-end sales and accounting CRM process of your business. Note where your business workflow grinds to a halt or slow down due to manual processes.

The following list has typical sales activities. It helps determine any high-time, low-value tasks you currently engage in during each of them.

Activities you need to examine closely are:

  • Re-engaging existing lists
  • Capturing leads and systemizing sales conversions
  • Automated delivery of products
  • Asking customers for referrals and feedback
  • Upselling activities
  • Streamlining the sales process
  • Long term nurture
  • Attracting new traffic

 

Your goal is to prioritize your business processes. That way as many tasks as possible can run automatically behind the scenes.

Identify “time-consuming processes that occur repeatedly and automate them,” business process analyst Pratik Dholakiya advises.

You should follow this is advice, given that the vast majority of hands-on tasks performed during the sales lifecycle disrupt workflow. When you automate these tasks, you’ll have more time to focus on building relationships with new and recurring customers.

To start…

Automate all manual time-wasters susceptible to human error

Your business is in a constant state of flux. As are your business processes. Locking down yourself, or your employees, on operationally greedy tasks prone to errors makes no sense.

If you’re to have the time to work one-on-one with customers closer to the sale, you must eliminate tasks like:

  • Cold-calling
  • Compiling customer dossiers
  • Manual invoicing
  • Database management
  • Sales results analysis
  • Meetings to identify process slowdowns and inefficiencies

 

Your business will only grow, if it’s efficient. Let the built-in analytics your BPA offers perform all complex operations behind the scenes. Print off data reports, as you need them, to decide where best to focus your efforts.

Draft sales letters, regular content, product bulletins and business correspondence as needed once and let your automated system send them to your list, on a schedule.

Do the same with email autoresponder series that you send to nurture and keep customers at all stages of the sales lifecycle in the loop.

Offer free downloadable lead magnets like short how-to guides, checklists and automated webinars online to attract new customers and as bonuses to your regular content to re-engage existing ones.

 

Automate the invoicing process and accounting series. Send new and old customers quick automated surveys with drop menus to select from so you learn more about them

In short, automate the repetitive parts of your business and allocate most of your time to what systems reviewer, Mary Shacklett, considers the most vital use of your time, “customer-facing processes.”

 

Do this and you’ll…

Free up your valuable time closest to cash and make more sales

The days of manually compiling huge Access databases of customer profiles are gone. For your business to remain agile in the face of change, you must maximize your sales piece. Do this by automating tasks that disrupt workflow and detract from the growth of your business. And free up time for personalized customer interactions.

 

Nothing replaces great person-to-person interactions. Nothing. So, automate busywork and spend time developing key relationships with customers. Differentiate yourself in the marketplace with your one-on-one skills, not your business inefficiencies.

 

To learn more about automation systems that handle each step of the end-to-end business process, read 8 Essential Problem-Solving Automation Solutions for Your Business.”

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