In my last post I reviewed the first three steps Solo Entrepreneurs need to take to Automate and Semi-Retire.  Those steps included:

  • Write Down Your Business Mission, Goals, Values
  • Define Profiles of Your Good and Bad Prospects
  • List Your Products and Services

Those three steps give you the opportunity to review the development of your Small Business over time.  You probably received some insights.  Some relationships and themes probably emerged. 

The time you spent on this analysis prepares you for what is next: mapping out the actual work and how it can be automated.

An Example of How Automating the Work Actually Works

I often start with users of a new app by identifying how leads come into the business.  We are usually not in the same room, so we have their Infusionsoft by Keap app open on a shared screen.  We create the automation elements we need as we talk.

 

Automating Three Common Ways Leads Come into a Business

Phone Inquiries:  We create internal forms that you can easily access while talking.  The forms can prompt you to ask screening questions, so you don’t forget anything because you are tired or rushed.  The form creates a contact record when submitted.  A given form can be set up to trigger several automated responses depending upon need.  That keeps the number of internal forms manageable.

  • Submitting the form for a good prospect starts a campaign (a sequence of automated actions that start with sending something the caller requested and includes follow-up hopefully leading to conversion.)
  • You will need internal forms for sending commonly requested information or order forms for your products and/or services.
  • When talking with a bad prospect, especially one who called to ask about price, there is not always a need to complete a form. There can be a form that starts a Send Price Catalog Campaign. There is follow-up in this campaign, but likely not as much.

Campaigns can automate follow-up.  Prospects who will convert frequently do not do so without several touches.  Since Solo Entrepreneurs often focus on immediate conversion, they miss sales that take more nurture.  Automation makes a serious difference.

Website and Marketing Campaign Web Forms:  Solo Entrepreneurs often do not edit their websites or marketing efforts to match their current Mission and Goals.  Automated Marketing Campaigns are focused on current Mission and Goals.  They are a separate and very useful topic but for now we will focus on how the response to submission of a web form from a campaign email is automated. 

When a prospect in a Marketing Campaign or a visitor to your site submits a Contact Me form, a Download a Document form, or an Order Form, automation can respond for you. 

  • Contact Me Form: The form is set up to notify you that a call or email has been requested. Contact Me forms can be designed to encourage Good Prospects and discourage Bad Prospects. Reminders to call the contact can be set as well. You turn them off when you have called.
  • Download a Document: Campaigns immediately respond when a prospect clicks a link to download a document or report.  Everything can be done automatically – even in the middle of the night- follow-up included.
  • Purchase Order: The website and your app interact to process the order and payment, then launch a campaign that begins with a confirmation email to the purchaser.  Special purpose campaigns can notify when the product is shipped or allow the service (or a workshop or presentation) to be scheduled.  You can attach a contract to an email and allow online signatures using a service like DocuSign.  The same campaign can send follow-up emails to support quick return of a signed document.
  • Personal Networking: When you meet people at networking opportunities your Good and Bad Prospect Profiles come in handy.  They make your conversations more strategic because you know how the best prospects speak and act.  You want to send a good prospect specific information so write a tag naming that information on their business card. When you create a contact record for the good prospect, the tag triggers a specific information campaign.

You see how much of the work of responding to first contacts can be handled by automation.  The Solo Entrepreneur can make those personal contacts that matter most to conversion.  Automation can handle other activity, including things that happen outside of business hours. 

A CRM (Contact Relationship Management) software product does so much to expand the reach of a Solo Entrepreneur while allowing her/him to have a life, be present to loved ones, improve the daily management of the business.   It gives you control of your time.  Automation is the real secret to Semi-Retirement. 

 

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Hi!  I am Barbara Jones, Owner and Chief Strategist at Small Business Automation.  I write on topics related to automating a small business and adult/staff training.  I am a Certified Keap Partner and Memberium Partner.  I publish a weekly newsletter on Infusionsoft by Keap.  If you would like to be on the newsletter mailing list, click here.