Learn More Earn More Business Growth Podcast
Host: Brian Webb
Episode 57: 10 Things Every Business Should Automate To Save Time & Grow Faster
So here you are, you're running your business, you want to grow faster, you want to be more efficient, you want to add time back to your schedule, I'm going to teach you 10 things that you and every business should be automating.
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So here you are, you're running your business, you want to grow faster, you want to be more efficient, you want to add time back to your schedule, I'm going to teach you 10 things that you and every business should be automating. Let's jump into the show.
This is the Learn More Earn More Business Growth Podcast.
Hey everyone. Welcome to the show. I'm your host, Brian Webb. This podcast is designed to be your number one premier place to learn the framework, secrets and growth hacks to grow and scale your business smarter and faster. While you're working on pursuing your dreams and growing your business, I'll be here to help you make better decisions and avoid costly pitfalls and expensive mistakes along the way. So let's go ahead and jump into today's episode.
Hey, everyone. So I'm going to share 10 things that you should be automating in your business, but the reality is you should be automating dozens if not hundreds of things in your business. Today, we're just going to cover 10 of them. If you rewind tape about 20 or 30 years ago, automation was only really available or affordable to big businesses. But today automation is for everyone, not just the corporate giants. We use all kinds of automations here at Whatbox Digital, and we encourage our clients to do the same.
When leveraged well, automation can simplify nearly every department in your business. The reality is automation is becoming increasingly more and more integral to the success and goals of businesses from nearly every industry sector. Like I said, automation is no longer just for the big guys. Even if you're a solo entrepreneur in your business, automation is something you can and should be using to run your business better. It literally can save you time and help you to grow faster and more efficiently.
According to gleanster.com, nearly 80% of all top-performing companies used marketing automation for at least two years or more according to their research. So there are numerous automation tools in the market that are available for every business. Our tool of choice here at Whatbox is ActiveCampaign. In fact, I wrote an entire article on it on my LinkedIn newsletter, which you can find at learnmoreearnmorenewsletter.com that will redirect you to my newsletter on LinkedIn. By the way, as of the time of this recording, you'll be joining about 840 other CEOs, business owners, and executives who have also already subscribed. And we're only about five weeks old right now in that newsletter. So you can go and check that out.
Now, I've talked about automation before, but just to give you a refresher course, there are three components that can be used in any automation. Two of which are always necessary. The first is triggers. Every automation on the planet must start with some kind of a trigger. Triggers are what inform your automation platform that something needs to happen. Next, conditions. Conditions can be applied to triggers to narrow the focus on whether an action should happen. So, for example, the trigger could be, I added a tag to a user, but there could be a condition like something like has not visited my website in 60 days. So that's a condition.
And the third is actions. Once an automation has been triggered and a condition has been met when you want a condition to be met, then finally there's an action. The action is what you need to see happen in order to achieve your objective. So actions could include, send an email, send a text, send a slack notification, wait 30 days. That's just a handful of them. So again, 10 automations we're going to cover today. There are hundreds you could and should be using for your business, but we're going to start with number one, create an autoresponder to immediately reply to email inquiries from your website. If you have a contact email address on your website, and you probably do, for visitors to get in touch with you, you could potentially become overwhelmed by the number of leads that might be expecting to hear from you. A 30-minute delay literally in response time decreases the odds of closing a new customer by 21 times compared to responding within five minutes. So you can see that, that's important.
So a trigger, in this case, would be forms submitted. The action would be to send reply email. Easy. Probably the easiest of all the ones I'll talk about today. Automation number two, automatically request online ratings and reviews from customers who are raving fans. In March 2022, I released a podcast episode that actually teaches you how to automate the process of requesting online reviews from customers who have recently had a great experience with your products and services. But basically, this process involves sending a survey upon the sale of a product or the completion of a service project. Then depending on how your customer replies, you follow up with a sequence that would be sent to the customer to compel a new response.
So, for example, trigger, tag added a customer. For example, project completed product sold. Action, send email with a performance survey. Now, when they reply, there's a condition, three conditions. Condition A, customer replies with five stars in the survey. Action, send them an email and ask for a review on Facebook or on Yelp. Or condition B, the customer replies back with three stars. Mediocre. Action, send an email to ask about how your service or product could be improved. Or worst-case scenario, condition C, the customer replies with the one star in the survey, meaning you suck. Action, literally in triplicate, send a slack message, a text message, and an email notification to your customer service team to inform them that you have an unhappy customer. This is so that you can reach out to them immediately to do damage control and potentially increase customer loyalty.
So you're doing two things. You're increasing customer loyalty. And for those that loved what you did, love what you sold to them, you're automating the process of getting more reviews, which is great for social proof, it's great for SEO and it just makes your brand look good. And, by the way, quick plug here, if you need help with your marketing automation needs, Whatbox Digital is totally here to help. Literally, just call our office at 281-801-7721 or just send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll help you out.
Number three, and this might be my favorite, automatically get notified when known visitors and hot leads are on your website. This one's a little bit more of a secret. Most people don't know about this. You're probably not even aware that this is even available to you, but it's easy to do. So imagine this. You own a brick-and-mortar store. Would you ignore customers when they walk through the door? No, of course, not. Your website is the foyer to your business. Wouldn't you like to get notified automatically when known visitors and sales leads visit the various pages of your website? I would, I do, actually.
This automation does require that a snippet of tracking code be embedded into the header of your website while this step is likely a task that you're not comfortable doing yourself. It is something that anyone with reasonable web editing experience could do in literally two minutes. So in this case, the automation is trigger a known user, to visit your website. Action, send a Slack notification. By the way, pro tip, you can set up a trigger for every page of your website, which allows you to monitor which pages your guests are visiting in real-time. So it's like watching someone walk from one side of your store to the other. By being able to monitor your visitor's footsteps across your site, you have an indication as to what they're seeking and what might be important to them, or at least interesting.
Automation number four, capture and nurture sales leads over time, and then convert them into paying customers. If there's one topic I cover regularly is sales funnels. Sales funnels are essential, literally imperative to systematically generate new leads for your business. Sales funnels can range from very simple, like a string of emails when a new lead opts into your offer to extremely robust and complex, which could include emails, text messages, ringless voicemails, physical and direct mail, and much more. Now, a typical sales funnel that we would do here at Whatbox Digital is typically pretty robust. And so again, if you want to see a video of this being fully laid out for you, just go to learnmoreearnmorenewsletter.com and go check out the article called the ultimate B2B lead generation squeeze funnel.
Automation number five, always win at phone tag. It's easy to lose a game of phone tag when you're a busy entrepreneur or a business leader that's highly involved in the operations of your business. You leave a voicemail with a client, then he or she returns your call while you're in a meeting. You make a note in your mind to call back when you're at your desk, and voila, another voicemail. If the game continues, all while you're chasing other players, you might eventually give up either intentionally or because you were too busy to remember to call them back. Maybe you had a lead, but then you lost it. So in this automation, the trigger is add tag in your CRM that says left VM, for example, to a contact. When that happens, action one sends an email to the contact, and action two sends an email reminder back to yourself to call back.
So if you're using an automation platform like ActiveCampaign like us, you can note in the system that you left a message for a contact. Doing so triggers an automation to email him or her, I just left you a voicemail, sorry, I missed you. If I don't hear from you, I'll follow up tomorrow. The software then reminds you to make the call tomorrow as promised. No sticky notes are necessary and no lost leads.
Automation number six. Okay, I'll get back to the podcast in just a minute, but let's face it. Most marketing doesn't work. Did you know that most business owners and leaders are making the same mistakes over and over again? Like so many others, you're probably tired of relying on hope, which is a failed marketing system. You know what that is. That's when you're spending valuable time and money on marketing, and then you hope it works. You've probably thrown tons of money towards marketing mistakes and failures. You wish you could get all that money back, but you can't. When you don't have a reliable system for generating leads and acquiring new customers, then you're doomed to exclusively rely on the loyalty of your existing customers and word of mouth. But it doesn't have to be that way.
I want to give you a resource for free. You heard me right, free. I've put together the ultimate 97-point marketing audit checklist, which will allow you to assess and diagnose what is and is not working in your marketing. And it will only take you about 10 to 15 minutes. Think of it like an MRI for your marketing without the expensive medical bills to follow. And to get this free marketing checklist delivered right to your email inbox, just go to getmymarketingchecklist.com, provide your info and we'll get it out to you right away. And again, it's totally free. I'd actually encourage you to walk through the checklist with your team and honestly discuss and evaluate every item on the list. It will be the best 10 minutes you've invested into the growth engine of your business in a long, long time.
Again, don't waste another day or another dollar on failing hope marketing strategies that do not work. If you want to grow and scale your business smarter and faster and with fewer mistakes, you're in the right place. Again, totally free. Simply go to getmymarketingchecklist.com right now. Let's fix what's broken in your marketing today.
Automation number six, and I love this one too, follow up with new networking connections. Whether you're at a networking happy hour or a conference or any business function or event, networking can pay off with a large stack of business cards in your hand. But you already know that collecting business cards isn't the goal. So you can use the power of automation to start communicating with your new contacts immediately before both you and your new contact forget about the conversation you had to begin with. Transfer the contact information for your new connection from their business card to your CRM. Tag each person as a conference or event contact. Then use automation software to schedule an email to be sent. Whether you want to follow up an hour or later or the next day, doesn't matter. And when I say send an email communication, send a string of email communications, maybe four or five or six of them.
So, for example, trigger, add new contact, action, send email one of seven, action, wait one day, action, send email two of seven, action, wait two days, so forth and so forth and so forth. It's a great way to introduce yourself over a period of time to indoctrinate the people that you met with all that you can do to help them based on the products and services that you have to offer.
Automation number seven, welcome a new client. I'll tell you something that you already know. A sale is not the end of your relationship with a new client. In fact, it's only the beginning you need and want to make a great first impression by sending a series of welcome emails to demonstrate to your new clients that you care about them. And again, it's a great opportunity to indoctrinate your clients with information about your business and to set and manage their expectations about what it's going to be like to work with you.
Staying in touch is effortless with automation. Setting up your software so that when a purchase is made or by manually adding a tag for B2B service businesses, a trigger automatically activates that email series. In the first email sent immediately after a purchase or a tag is added, send them a thank you and an intro to your company. You could also send answers to frequently asked questions or an overview of what your services entail. And if you really want to up your game, consider sending a thank you gift. Check in again shortly after the client has started using your products or services to see how they're doing. Include helpful content like tips about using your products or how-to video or suggest complementary products and services that may also be of interest to them. A few days later, ask for feedback, and send them a link to a survey asking how your business could improve. If the client is dissatisfied, you'll want to take action sooner than later.
Onto number eight, stay on top of failed billing charges and past due invoices. When a customer changes or loses a credit card, your business might not have made his or her list of records to update. Billing charges that don't clear even for a short period of time, can have a detrimental impact on your bottom line. So be proactive about collecting payments by establishing automated processes. For subscriptions and other fees collected on a recurring basis, set up a trigger for your automation platform of choice to notify you when a billing charge fails. The notification prompts you to reach out to the customer, allowing you to collect payment as soon as possible. And you could prevent some failed charges from happening in the first place by catching credit cards on the verge of expiration. You can set up an automated process in which the software scans customer information stored in your client management system for credit cards due to expire in 30 days triggering a reminder to reach out to customers about updating their cards. Cool stuff.
Number nine, send appointment reminders. In a society where the word breathing is synonymous with the word busy, leads and clients need reminders about their appointments. And arguably they need to be reminded about the reminder. Forgotten appointments translate to wasted time and money for your business, but you can't afford to spend hours serving as a full-time assistant for your clients. With automation software, leads and clients can schedule an appointment at the time that works for them and that's free on your calendar. They can then receive a series of emails and appointment confirmation followed by reminders in the days or hours prior to the appointment. If the client or lead cancels, the software will automatically notify you so you can follow up and reschedule.
And finally, last but not least, number 10, ask clients for referrals at the right time. It's the oldest marketing strategy in the world. Word of mouth is the most trusted form of advertising. 84% of leaders say they completely or somewhat trust recommendations from people that they know. But sometimes clients need a little reminder or an incentive to spread the word. Ask clients at the right time to give referrals by sending an automated email. To encourage them to take action, you might offer a small gift or a hefty referral fee. At Whatbox Digital, we love to pay big referral fees to people who refer new customers to us. And I mean thousands and thousands of dollars.
Here's how you can set this up. When a client enters a friend's name or a colleague's name and their phone number and email address into a web form, your software will issue a task for you or your team member to call and reach out to that referral. So, Brian, you're talking about automation. Why the old school phone call? Emailing contacts without their direct permission puts your email at high risk of being flagged as spam, which could lead to your messages being blocked by inboxes. Pick up the phone, then ask about opting them into your emails. This is one where you might consider having a dedicated page on your website that's only there for your customers. And you remind them that it's there. It's a great way to make it easy for them to introduce you to other people.
That's it. 10 automations that will save you time, and help you grow your business faster. And don't forget, I know you heard the promo earlier, go and get your 97-point marketing audit checklist. It's a phenomenal tool to help you audit and assess what is not working in your marketing so that you can become aware of it and start working on fixing it. Everything that you fix in your marketing helps you to grow your business faster and more efficiently. So go get your checklist.
All right, that's it. Thanks for being here today. I will see you on the next episode.
Thanks for joining me today and listening to this episode of the Learn More Earn More Business Growth Podcast. We can be found on all the major platforms like Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Pandora, Stitcher, and even Amazon music. I genuinely hope you enjoyed today's episode. And if you did, I'd be honored if you'd subscribe to the show and leave us a rating and an honest review. I'd love to connect with you on Instagram. You can find me at @BrianWebb. And the show sponsor Whatbox Digital can be found at, as you might guess, @WhatboxDigital. You can also find me in Whatbox Digital on Facebook and LinkedIn with the links in the show notes. This will allow you to stay up to date and never miss out on exciting new announcements, events, special offers, and opportunities. And you'll be in the know when we drop a new episode of the Learn More Earn More Business Growth Podcast.
And if you'd like to send me a DM on Instagram to say hello or share your thoughts on how we can make this podcast even better for you, I'd love to hear from you. Again, thanks for listening. Let's go and grow together. I'll see you on the next episode.
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The Learn More Earn More Business Growth Podcast is sponsored by Whatbox Digital, a marketing and consulting agency in the Greater Houston Metroplex. This podcast is your premier place to learn the frameworks, secrets, and growth hacks to grow and scale your business and revenue smarter and faster.
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