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MARKETING STRATEGY

5 ConvertKit Automation Rules That Save Time + Increase My Revenue

 How I use ConvertKit automation to save time and increase revenue for my online business. Learn these helpful email marketing hacks to make more money from your small business or blog on autopilot!

This post contains affiliate links for tools I use and recommend which means at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase. 

Raise your hand if you could use a few more hours in your week to work more / sleep more / binge watch Netflix more?

Raises hand.

I don't know about you, but as a busy solopreneur I'm always looking for ways to save time – because there are always more things on my to-do list (also I really, really enjoy naps). I've shared 5 ways to save time on social media + 5 tips to save time creating blog posts and today I'm sharing 5 ConvertKit automation rules that save time AND increase my revenue!

AUTOMATION VS. SCHEDULING

A quick note – something that really bothers me is when people confuse scheduling with automation.

In relation to online marketing – scheduling means you're doing the work / creating or curating the content and setting it up to publish or be shared at a later time. Scheduling saves time because it reduces context switching, allows you to batch related tasks, and prevents you from having to keep up with #allthethings throughout each day.

Automation, on the other hand, means setting something up once so it's done automatically over and over again. It's the best form of set it and forget it (i.e. a busy solopreneur's favorite thing)!

For example, adding tweets to your Hootsuite publisher is scheduling. Adding tweets to your Edgar library is automation because they get shared over and over again. Similarly, adding pins to your Tailwind queue is scheduling, setting up pins to “loop” on autopilot is automation.

Moving on…

Scheduling saves time because it reduces context switching, allows you to batch related tasks, and prevents you from having to keep up with #allthethings throughout each day.Click To Tweet

WHY AUTOMATE?

It saves time – If I have the choice to manually do something over and over again or set it up once to run on autopilot – I'm probably going to pick autopilot. There are only so many hours in the day and there are a lot of other things I want to do with them #timeismoney

It streamlines workflow – There are probably a ton of “small” things that need to happen on a regular basis to keep your business rolling along, but it's easy for “small” things to slip through the cracks unless there is a real system in place for getting them done. Automating these little things can not only make your life easier, but it will also ensure that they always get done!

It increases sales opportunities – Most people don't have time to be consistently promoting their products / services, consistently following up with leads, or consistently sending sales pitches. Except everyone does, IF you use automation! There are a lot of different things you can automate in your online business, but in this post I want to specifically talk about how I use email automation to save time AND increase my revenue!

Free guide to creating irresistible email opt-in freebies

EMAIL AUTOMATION WITH CONVERTKIT

Since last Fall, I've used ConvertKit as my email marketing service (you can reach why I switched from MailChimp to ConvertKit in this post) – it's not a perfect system but it makes a lot of things really easy to do – including automation! I have over 50 different automation rules set up (mostly because I have a lot of different opt-in forms), but here are a few examples of automations that not only save time, but also increase my revenue on autopilot!

Opt-in to free resource >> Add to email sequence

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 6.05.13 PM copy

When people download my free stock photos, they automatically get added to an email sequence that introduces them to the Styled Stock Society (paid membership) and invites them to join. Over 15% of people who receive these emails click through to learn more about the Styled Stock Society and over 10% end up becoming members – all because I set up a simple email sequence that works on autopilot!

I have similar sequences set up for any opt-ins that related to paid products – for example, if someone downloads my Ultimate Guide to Hashtags, they get added to an email sequence that eventually introduces them to my Instagram course. They keyword there is eventually – if someone is new-to-me, they're likely to purchase a paid course right away. I think it's important to provide a lot of value through free content before earning the right to sell to someone (I have a free Instagram course, free Instagram challenge, 6 value-packed blog posts, and have held several free Instagram webinars).

If you have any sort of evergreen product / course / membership program – having an email sequence in place is SO important if you want to make consistent sales!

Opt-in to free resource >> Add interest tag

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Your email list is only good if it's targeted – you can have 5,000 people on your list who opted in because they wanted free stock photos, but if you are trying to sell them mindset coaching, I'm guessing that not many people on that list are going to sign up! To keep track of who is interested in what on my email list, I have several rules set up to auto tag subscribers when opt-in to various lead magnets. Since ConvertKit is subscriber-based and not list-based (like Mailchimp), this is an easy way to filter my subscribers based on interest so I can share relevant content with them.

Click a link >> Add interest tag

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Another way I use automation rules to determine subscriber interests is by setting up “link triggers” so that when someone clicks on a link in an email, a tag is automatically added. In this example, anyone who clicked on a link to my Glam Your Glam sales page in an email gets tagged because (I assume) clicking on that link indicates they are potentially interested in the course. From there, I might decide to send anyone who is tagged with a particular product interest a special offer or I might add them to a different email sequence. It's another layer of targeting that can be particularly helpful during a launch period when I don't want to annoy everyone with sales emails.

Purchase a product >> Remove from funnel

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Speaking of not annoying people with emails, I also set up automations so that when someone makes a purchase as a result of an email sequence, they get removed from the sequence so that they don't continue to get sales emails. In this example, anyone who enrolls in Glam Your ‘Gram is removed from my Instagram funnel so I don't continue to pitch them the course. ConvertKit easily integrates with Teachable (where I host my courses) and SendOwl (what I use for digital products / memberships) so it's easy to automatically tag customers as well!

Opt-in to a free / low-priced offer >> Offer a paid upgrade

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Last but not least, I also use automation to offer “upsells” to any offer where there are multiple price points. For example, when someone joins my free Instagram challenge, they receive a welcome email that also reminds them that they can upgrade for a small fee to get immediate access to all 14 challenge lessons right away. Approximately 5% who join the free challenge decide to upgrade to the FAST TRACK version, so that's a nice little revenue stream that works on autopilot!

So those are just a few automation rules that I have set up to save time and drive more revenue, but there are so many other possibilities! Here's a screenshot of some of the other possible combinations you can set up using ConvertKit:

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I'd love to hear how you're using automation to save time in your business, and if you have any questions about ConvertKit automation – let me know in the comments! 

Free guide to creating irresistible email opt-in freebies

 

Expert Tips On Getting Clients From Instagram

Instagram isn't just for pretty pictures or product-based businesses. 5 experts share tips on getting clients from Instagram - plus beginner mistakes / what NOT to do!

I recently realized that usually, when I hear someone say “I don't know what to post on Instagram” – it's someone with a service based business. It's easy to come up with ideas for Instagram photos when you have products, but for service-based businesses – it's not always so obvious what we should be doing. BUT – that definitely doesn't mean that you can't get clients from Instagram (I've shared my thoughts on this myth before) – the majority of my clients over the past several months have found me through Instagram and I know that I'm not alone!

I asked a few fellow biz owners (and all around awesome gals!) how they use Instagram to attract potential clients and also what mistakes they made in the beginning that might have prevented them from getting potential clients – here's what they had to say:

AlishaJohns

On getting clients from Instagram…

As a social media strategist, stylist & photographer, Instagram acts as a working portfolio to help attract potential clients. It is the perfect platform to not only display the creative work that I'm producing, but also to interact with the potential clients who may appreciate it the most. The hashtags that I use, and the community that I have built all support a bright, happy, and colorful brand aesthetic, and those are exactly the type of clients who reach out to me saying that they saw my work on Instagram and would love to work together somehow. I also frequently include a call to action to “click to the link to in my profile to…” which increases site traffic and ultimately leads to more inquiries.

But in the beginning… 

At the very beginning, I didn't realize the importance of having my email address listed in my profile description, I assumed clients would just visit my website if they wanted to get in touch, and that was definitely a mistake. Having my email address listed nearly doubled the number of inquiries I was receiving from potential clients, especially for influencer related work.

Visit Alisha's website + follow her on Instagram (photo credit: @asiacrosonphotography)

HollyMeyer

On getting clients from Instagram…

Instagram is one of my favorite social media platforms because it's incredibly visual, which works to my advantage as a graphic designer! It has sort of become my mini portfolio. I use Instagram to showcase client branding + web design projects, my own personal projects (i.e. free downloads + courses), and mood board inspiration. I also use strategic hashtags to get more eyes on my posts from dream clients. Doing this has helped me book a custom web design project and more inquiries about my services.

But in the beginning… 

The biggest mistake I made in the beginning was not posting relevant work on Instagram. I was mostly using Instagram to document life and realized that if my audience doesn't SEE the type of work I do, they'll have no idea what kind of services I offer. Of course, I don't post work all the time. I still like to mix in some personal posts or styled desk shots here and there. But I noticed a huge difference in my ability to attract and book clients when I started sharing more of my design projects.

Visit Holly's website + follow her on Instagram (photo credit: Amy Paulson Photography)

A potential client can get a feel for your knowledge, style and personality - all from your feed!Click To Tweet

 

Louise Henry Solopreneur Sidekick

On getting clients from Instagram…

I started seeing real traction in my business once I started writing as though I was talking to my best friend! It’s a simple tip – but really works! By doing this, my followers get to know me and I’m able to establish a deeper connection with them. I also make sure to deliver as much value as I can before they are a client (inspiration, advice & humor work particularly well on Instagram). I believe the visual aspect of Instagram shouldn’t be overlooked either – it says a lot about you. A potential client can get a feel for your knowledge, style and personality – all from your feed! Once I realized this and wasn’t afraid to be myself, Instagram became a main driver of clients for me!

But in the beginning… 

When I first started out, I thought that I was “engaging” simply by liking lots of photos! As soon as I made the switch to genuine comments, I saw a tremendous increase in connections made. It can be tempting to go for the “quick like” method because you feel as though you’re accomplishing more, but it is truly not nearly as effective! Focus on quality, not quantity, in order to get clients.

Visit Louise's website + follower her on Instagram

SarahShuttle

On getting clients from Instagram…

I post consistently with on-brand content, and I include my own work every day because potential clients need to see what they're getting! I also always ask a question in my caption – starting engagement and forming a relationship is much more likely to turn a potential client into a definite!

But in the beginning… 

I had no ‘organic' followers. I relied on ‘follow for follow' ladders which meant the majority of people weren't my target audience and weren't actually interested in my content or work, they just wanted to boost their own following.

Visit Sarah's website + follow her on Instagram

So there you have it – Instagram is NOT just for product-based businesses! If you have additional tips for finding or attracting clients on Instagram, share them in the comments!

Instagram checklist - free checklist of the 8 things you should be doing for every Instagram post

4 Elements of An Effective Instagram Content Plan

Elements of an effective Instagram content plan - read this if you're not sure what to post on Instagram. Tips for creating effective Instagram content for your audience and maintaining a consistent brand. Plus join the Irresistible Insta-Challenge for a 14 days of Instagram tips.

If you still think Instagram is just posting some pretty pictures and using some hashtags, you're wrong. Especially if you're using Instagram for your business! When I first shifted my Instagram account from mostly personal use to more professional (even though my professional presence is kinda personal), it was confusing. I wasn't sure what people really wanted to see, and striking a balance between my “real life” and a perfectly curated “Instagram life” took a bit of trial and error. Even though I've spent a lot of time managing other brand's accounts, doing it for myself has always been the hardest – but once I developed my own Instagram content plan, it was MUCH easier!

4 ELEMENTS OF AN EFFECTIVE INSTAGRAM CONTENT PLAN

If you feel like you don't know what to post on Instagram, here are a few key things to keep in mind to make sure your content is working for you!

KNOW YOUR PURPOSE

You should know WHY you're on Instagram and WHAT you're trying to accomplish with this aspect of your social media. Are you trying to build brand awareness? Generate leads? Build influencer relationships? What's the end goal?

Your purpose should dictate your content. If the purpose of your account is to sell your products, then you should be regularly posting photos of your products – that's pretty straight forward. But that doesn't mean basic product photos on a white background that you would most likely see on a website – Instagram is a VISUAL platform so if you want to sell more of your products from Instagram, they need to look good! Use styled images to help people envision would it would look like to have your products in their life (or a aspirational version of their life).

If you don't sell physical products, then think about what your audience would want to see / learn before they hire you or before they visit your blog / website. People aren't in buying mode when they're scrolling through Instagram. No one says, “I need a tulle skirt so I'm going to go buy one on Instagram” or “I need a health coach so I'm going to go search for one on Instagram” – that doesn't mean they won't come across a tulle skirt they love or a health coach they trust on Instagram, but it's probably not the reason they opened the app to scroll through.

So even though your purpose may be “get more design clients” – that doesn't mean your posts should all be “I'm a designer, hire me!” – but what you can do is share posts that allow your followers to get to know you + how you can help them so that you can build that know/ like/ trust factor that can lead followers to becoming clients. In this specific example, a graphic designer might share things like examples of her work (completed or in progress) / tips on why good design matters / testimonials from clients whose brands she's transformed / relevant blog posts / behind the scenes photos of her workspace, etc. All of these things relate to her ultimate purpose of getting more clients, but the focus is really on educating + inspiring potential clients rather than selling to them.

If you're not clear on your purpose, you're going to have a hard time figuring out what to post and you're probably going to have a hard time growing your following as well.

Planoly - best visual Instagram scheduling tool

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

One of the reasons I love Instagram so much is that it feels like the most “personal” network of what I think of as the “big 4” (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) – yes there's also Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+, Periscope, etc. – but Instagram is my jam and how personal you want to get really depends on your audience.

If you're the face of your brand (blogger / solopreneur / small business owner) then, your Instagram content is probably going to be more personal. People want to connect with people, so it makes sense to share behind the scenes content and personal stories that help people relate to you as a business owner / mom / dog-mom / etc. Some people may share mostly business-related content plus a little bit personal content mixed in. Some people may share mostly personal content with a little bit of business mixed in. Some people may split it completely 50/50. There's not a single “right” way – because what works for me or you may not work for someone else.

If you're trying to find the right balance between personal / professional content, remember your purpose. If your purpose is getting clients for your graphic design business, then most of your content should be related to that. If your purpose is getting more people to read your blog, then you should be regularly sharing your blog posts. If photos of what you ate for breakfast or what you wore on Friday night or what your kid did at school aren't related to your purpose – don't share them!

Planoly - best visual Instagram scheduling tool

KNOW YOUR BRAND

Keeping your purpose and your audience in mind, your Instagram content should also be on brand. So if your brand is fun, colorful, and artistic, your content should be fun, colorful, and artistic. And if your brand is minimal, refined, and monochromatic, your Instagram should be as well. When someone comes across your Instagram account, they be able to recognize your brand from the rest of your online presence (and vice versa). So when you're crafting your content make sure that the colors / patterns / style / voice are all aligned with your brand – you don't want to confuse people by sharing off brand content just because you felt like sharing a random photo!

Read this: Defining your personal brand

You should know WHY you're on Instagram and WHAT you're trying to accomplish with this aspect of your social media. Click To Tweet

BE CONSISTENT

Finally, an effective Instagram content plan is going to involve consistency. Consistency in style / voice / branding, but also consistency in content. That doesn't mean you need to share the same thing every day (I actually don't think you should!), but there should be a certain level of consistency so people know what to expect. That could mean every every Tuesday you share a tip or every Saturday you share a behind the scenes photo of yourself or every other post you share a quote. By creating consistency (and potentially even creating a visual pattern), you are more likely to draw your audience in and keep them engaged.

Looking for more Instagram tips? Here are posts on 10 ways to grow your Instagram following, how to get more engagement on Instagram, and the best resources for Instagram props!

Planoly - best visual Instagram scheduling tool

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