Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top 4 Favorite + Frequently Used Systems in My Business

I can not even begin to describe how relieved, freed and unburdened I feel since I removed myself from my own way and am leaning on SYSTEMS to do the dirty work for me!

I have leveraged + automated systems for:
  • creating my newsletter format,
  • creating content,
  • making sure the newsletters are being done - IN ADVANCE! 
  • scheduling calls with clients,
  • getting pre-call data,
  • post call check in’s,
  • progress testimonials. 
I even have systems to invite people I meet through networking to my email list where it’s super easy for me to keep in touch with them!


Here's my "Liz-Ism" for the word SYSTEM:

I've taken the liberty of putting together a list of my 4 most favorite and frequently used systems in my business:

1) Google Calendar
(All the cool kids use it!)

But let me tell you, I was sooooo amazingly resistance to this at first.  For those who have been with me a while, listen to my trainings or follow me socially, you know I'm a #coloredpenjunkie!  I love journals, I love planners - I'm happiest at an office supply store in the planner aisle!  

When Google Calendar was introduced to me, I said NO WAY am I ditching my planner and using my phone!  

Well - after much curiosity of everyone else in the world using the dang thing, I finally got out of my own stubborn way and saw the beauty, ease and simplicity of using an online time management and tracking system.

For the rest of my thoughts, actions and life - it's my planner (which I'll get to in a moment!)

2) Online Appointment Scheduler
Schedule Once (because why do it more than that?!)

Starting in my business, I scheduled with clients 'the old fashioned way'.  
What's better, Tuesday at 3, or Friday at 1?
Neither, ok, how about next week.
Oh, you're on vacation.
How about the next week....

I was going nuts!  

ScheduleOnce was introduced to me by a coaching colleague who had me use it to book time to speak with her!  First having the experience of the end user - I was so impressed with how easy it was!

No back and forth - I'm in her calendar without seeing her personal appointments, just available time. I open another screen to see my calendar, find something that works for both of us and VIOLA - I schedule it!

As someone who uses it now in my business, it links IN REAL TIME to the aforementioned (yes, I just used that word, no, I'm not a lawyer), Google calendar.  If I book an appointment on my google calendar and it overlaps on my 'open time' on schedule once, the scheduling system automatically knows to block that time as busy!

To date I've had close to 100 appointments booked through this system and not 1 user complaint!

3) Online Form Builder
(You read about this in last week's #freemail - but it's so helpful it bears repeating!)

If you’ve scheduled an appointment with me using the system above, you’ve either gone through or been directed to an online form to share some information with me. 

Why do I love online forms? Let me count the ways...
1) Online forms are an easy way to capture important and sometimes hard to get information, like testimonials, client progress, and insights into where someone is in their business.
2) As much as you'd like them to, no one is really going to reply to your bulk or mass distributed email.
3) Everyone is online, why not meet them where they are!
Up until recently I was using Google Forms to capture feedback, but recently I’ve switched back to Wufoo. 
Google was great for a lot of reasons, mainly, it’s free + super easy to use.  The challenge for me was that the data is captured and stored in a spreadsheet.

In many ways, I’m still stuck in 1999 and folders and paper are my go-to’s.  I like to have all information for each client in their folder. With the spreadsheet, this was tricky.

Wufoo is an equally easy to use form builder that emails me the form as the client has filled it out. It also sends a copy to them, because I think transparency and tracking is really important - especially in business growth. Wufoo, a SurveyMonkey company, is free for 3 forms, and then there are plans starting at $14.95 a month, or $129 a year.

4) My Planner
Paper + Colored Pens all the way!
Thoughts are spinning through my head at speed that would make a Category 5 hurricane look like a soft breeze!

Having my physical paper planner system that is flexible and robust at my finger tips is an essential element of my business and my life.

I use the Circa System from Levenger, which you can also find at Staples as Arc. It's a disc bound note book system with a hole puncher that puts rolodex style holes in your paper so you can move the pages in and out without opening binder rings.  The note books flips around like a spiral notebook too.

While I've purchased just about every planner ever made, over the years, I've taken what has worked best for me, left the rest behind and have made my own planner system of sorts.  

It's here where I do my planning, recapping, keep my 'egg basket' and my 'gold mine'.  In other words, it's my brain on paper where I can convert concepts to cash-flow!  

I wouldn't be surprised if sometime in the near future you see an email in your inbox announcing a beta version of this planner available!  

There are SO many more, and I started to write about them, but then I realized I was writing a book, not an article!  

So maybe in the future, look out for a new #freebook on a few of my favorite things!

In the meantime, take a moment and share in comments below, what you think and how this has impacted you!

If you found this any where other than your inbox first - WELCOME!  And please jump over to www.LizDederer.com and subscribe to the list to get these notes weekly, AND to receive insights I share ONLY with my email list!  :)

And of course, if you found this topic helpful, get social about it and share it!  

I look forward to seeing in the comments how you will maximize your value with what you learned in this #freemail article!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How I recovered from breaking the #1 Rule in Email Marketing

Marketing your business can seem overwhelming.  So much so, that we may end up in a paralyzed state of confusion, frustration, heart palpitations and general flux.

I've been using email marketing in my business for a little over a year now.  I started off full of excitement that I was now joining the world of 'internet marketers'.  However, not long after starting on this adventure, my journey came to a screeching hault when my email marketing service provider canceled my account because I broke the #1 rule in email marketing! (I'll get to that in a bit).  

After having my account closed, I went email-less for a while.  I was in a state of business hibernation, certain this was a sign and that I should find another way to grow my business.

Really?  How?  
Smoke signals? Facebook?  (same thing by the way).

I decided to get over myself, and I found a new email marketing service and started doing things the right way!

Here are 6 simple steps to use email marketing to ensure you're delivering MASSIVE VALUE to your clients and future clients!

Tip #1) Get Started!
Do you have an email list?
Do you have an account with an email marketing service?

All you need to get started is ONE email address - and guess what, it can be yours!  Seriously!  From there, forward that email to your clients and ask them subscribe and provide them with a link.  

Tip #2 offers another way to get people to subscribe, but before you go there, read the next paragraph!  

When I was first starting to use email marketing, I started with MailChimp.  
It was great, super easy to use, easy to track metrics, and as you're starting, it's free!  Overall it's an amazing service. 

The problem is, I broke the #1 rule of email marketing: I added people to my list who did not subscribe!  

After the first few emails went out, my unsubscribe rate was really high, and I actually had someone contact MailChimp to cancel my account.  While I feel that was a bit unnecessary, I take full responsibility and see that as an amazing learning + teaching opportunity.  

Tip #2) Ask for help!
When I first had the idea to convert to a 'real' newsletter, I was super excited and kind of embarrassed that I hadn't done it yet.

Having messed up on my own the first time, I hired an Implementation + Delegation Coach to help me get my ship in top shape!

She referred me to a virtual assistant team that specializes in the email program I use (Ontraport).  Based on my concept, they were able to put together a great email template for me to run with.  From there, I made some edits, added the content - and viola!  I have a newsletter!

There is really something to be said about having people to be accountable to - both up and down!  Not only do I have to have a 90-day strategy together, I have to, um, DO IT too!!

Tip #3) Give people an incentive to get in contact with you!

Based on that little story above, you're probably thinking "No way am I going to add anyone's name to my list!  So then, how do I GET people on my list if I'M not the one adding them?"

Easy - give them a juicy incentive to add themselves to your list!  

>Write an ebook of helpful tips, shortcuts or tricks that speak to your expertise that your tribe can not live without!  (click here to see my #freebook download). 
PS - An ebook doesn't have to be an overwhelming task.  If you've given a talk or hosted a teleseminar or webinar on a topic your tribe will love, have it transcribed, edit it, get it designed and BOOM - there's your ebook!  
> Give your newsletter a sexy or intriguing name so it doesn't sound 'newslettery', it sounds appealing. 
>Offer a free report on something laser specific that your tribe MUST know!

Tip #4) Pace yourself.
There are a few lists I'm (and will be off soon), where the content is good, but the messages are daily, and sometimes 2-3 times per day.  

That's a lot.  I don't have time to a) read it and if I did, I certainly wouldn't have time to absorb or implement what they are saying.

It's also a lot to create, write, edit, proof read, etc.  It's just a lot.

Pace yourself as you're getting started.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with starting with an article once a month.

If your metrics are strong (meaning people are opening the emails and clicking through to the articles), then you may consider increasing frequency.

Tip #5) Focus on quality, not quantity!
When I put the finishing touches on this newsletter, thoughts of fear instantly came flooding in...
"This thing is MASSIVE!"
"This is just like some of those newsletters I delete week after week."
"No one is ever going to read this."
"How am I going to create this much content every week?!!"

So I stepped away and asked myself what I would ask a client:
"Why did you first decide to create this new format?"

And the answer was simple - MASSIVE VALUE.

I get a fair amount of weekly newsletters from mentors I follow, respect and admire.
And yes, I'll admit it, there are weeks I scan, skim and usually delete.
But then there are weeks when I scan, something catches my eye, I read it, or I move it to a folder to read later or save for reference.

Why?  Because they deliver massive VALUE in their newsletters.

While yes, this format is MUCH longer than what I was previously doing, and actually much meatier (is that a word?), from what I was planning, I landed on this format based on the vision of massive VALUE.

If I had been concerned with word count, keeping a certain length or doing what others were doing, I would have censored myself and missed the whole point of MASSIVE VALUE!  

Tip #6)  Do not fear the unsubscribe!
The first few times people unsubscribed from my list, I was heart broken and devastated!  I mean, really, who do they think they are?!

Well I'll tell you exactly who they are!  They're someone who doesn't resonate with my message, frequency or something.

So now let me ask you, why would you want someone who doesn't resonate with your message on  your list?  Are they an ideal client?  No!  Are they going to become a client?  No!  Are they going to share your message?  No!

So guess what?!  The unsubscribe is a good thing!!

So now it's your turn!
The best learning comes from shared real life experiences.  Take a moment and share in comments below, what you think and how this has impacted you!

If you found this any where other than your inbox first - WELCOME!  And please jump over to www.LizDederer.com and subscribe to the list to get these notes weekly, AND to receive insights I share ONLY with my email list!  :)

And of course, if you found this topic helpful, get social about it and share it!  

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing in the comments how you will maximize your value with what you learned in this #freemail article!

Talk soon!

PS: If you find yourself in this same boat having a hard time with accountability, getting started with email marketing, or want to talk through sequencing, you're not alone!  Matter of fact, you're just like every other person I have ever talked to!  Get unstuck with a swift kick in the...ear, let's talk!  Go to www.CallWithLiz.com to book a strategy call with me!