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16 things to do in your business right now

As divided as the world may feel right now on #allthethings, there is one thing everyone can agree on: things are weird.

You may be struggling with what to post on social media these days, or you may be struggling with what.the.heck.to.do.next.

Are your sales down? Are your sales up? Are you scrambling trying to figure out how exactly the economy is changing? Not to mention—theorizing if it’s going to ever go back to how we knew it to be a year ago?

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Stop trying to figure out all the things right now and just do.

how to prepare your business

But what should you be doing?

What to do in your business to prepare

Here is a list of 16 things you should be doing in your business right now to best prepare for the upcoming season.

1  |  Set up Google Analytics. Hopefully, at this point you already have Google Analytics installed. But if you don’t, start here and make it happen. Once you have the basics of Google Analytics set up, consider these steps:

Who has access to your Google Analytics? Ensure you have removed any past contractors or employees from access.

2  |  Update lead gens. Or if you don’t have one, make that happen right after Google Analytics is in place. A lead gen (or opt-in) is a way to invite users to join your email list by giving them something tangible, in return. This may be a checklist, an ebook, a free trial, or even a coupon to use on their first purchase. This needs to be visible and enticing. And should definitely be something more than ‘Join our  newsletter.’

ConvertKit offers a number of subscription boxes that will integrate easily with your website.

3  |  Check your thank-you pages. While you are evaluating your lead gens, look at your thank-you pages. The thank-you page should outline what comes next (i.e. Your download is on its way to your inbox.) and is also a great place to offer related content. For example: did the visitor just subscribe for 5 Recipes for Chicken? Offer a link to a popular post that also includes using chicken on this thank-you page.

  • Other ideas to include on a thank you page:
    • Social follow buttons
    • A one-question survey (this will help you segment your list)

4  |  Update your sales pages. These pages are often created and forgotten. Take time to look back over each of them and make adjustments as needed.

  • What to include on sales pages:
    • SEO friendly <h1> and <h2> headers.
    • Answers to your customers’ pain points. How will this service or product help them or move them forward?
    • Testimonials.
    • Clear and enticing call-to-action. Offer something more than BUY THIS NOW in a CTA box. Change the verbiage to I NEED THIS or YES! THIS WOULD HELP ME or something more catchy than BUY NOW.
    • FAQs. Chances are if one or two people have had a similar question, others may be wondering the same. Answer these questions right here on your sales page to alleviate doubt and once again, be a step ahead of your potential customer.

5  |  Gather testimonials. Reach out to your current or past customers for testimonials. Use these testimonials on your website (think: home page!) and for social posts. Nothing sells better than word of mouth, and incorporating testimonials (especially recent ones) is a great way to make this happen.

6  |  Update your welcome series. You don’t have a welcome series of emails that are automatically sent as a sequence to your new subscribers? Make it happen.

Read :: How + why to write a welcome email series

7  |  Audit your blog for conversions. Refer to Google Analytics and see which of your content gets the most traffic. [Note: depending on your niche, this may vary by season.] Ensure these articles are well optimized and offer a strong CTA (that is relevant to the content). This step can also help you with strategizing your content planning.

8  |  Archive irrelevant content. As you are looking through your blog, you may find out-of-date articles or even articles that no longer align with your brand. Archive these posts. You can always go back and update the articles with out-of-date information, but all content on your site should align with your brand and product(s)/service.

9  |  Clean up your email list. I had a conversation recently with a client in regards to this. I’ve referred to doing this for a year or longer with this particular client, and I realized recently that what they considered “cleaning up” was not what I was referring to. While this may seem 101 to many of you, let me explain in laments terms: cleaning up your email list is when you delete emails from your list that don’t open your emails. You may have a list of 60K emails. Great. But if only 4% of that 60K is opening your emails, why do you keep the rest? Delete those bad boys. If people remember you and want to (re) engage with you at a later date, they can always resubscribe. Having dead weight on your email list is serving no benefit to you and most likely costing you more money monthly.

Nervous about cleaning up your email list? If you don’t want to hit DELETE so quickly, create a re-engagement campaign. Send an email to your dormant (hasn’t opened an email in the last 6 months) list. Use a subject line such as “We haven’t heard from you in a while” or “Hey! Are you still interested in hearing about <your product/service/industry>?”

Here are 2 good examples of re-engagement emails:

 

10  |  Do a system audit. What bells and whistles are you paying for each month or quarter? Or a year? This may take going through your PayPal statements or bank statements. Make a list of all charges you have for any service, tool, plugin, or service. Evaluate how often you use each and the return you receive from each. How effective are they? Is there a simpler or less expensive option available? Evaluating your systems and tools will most likely help you to find unnecessary expenses that you can eliminate to save money in your budget.

11  |  Audit your social media channels. Is your branding consistent across the board? Do your profiles or descriptions need updating? Do your profiles offer a (current) CTA? Use these checklists below to audit your social media channels.

 


12  |  Evaluate your pop-ups
. Like lead gens, too often we set it and forget it. Which pages do you have pop-ups? Are you seeing a decent ROI? What’s the conversion rate on each? If you aren’t seeing a return from these, consider changing the messaging or your offering or even the layout. Ensure that each is mobile-friendly and easy for visitors to close if they aren’t interested.

13  |  Check your Google Tag Manager. Ensure you are tracking all of your tracking tags in GTM. Often we have tracking codes on our site that we should be measuring in GTM. The Chrome extension Ghostery will show you which codes you have installed on your site. You can then compare with GTM to ensure they are all listed there.

Want to see what your competitors are using on their site? Use Ghostery to peek on them too.

14  |  Update your Google My Business. Ensure your GMB profile has your correct contact information. Be sure you are using a UTM tracking code for your website link here.

15  |  Ask for reviews. Similar to testimonials (and some you may be able to use as testimonials on your site!), reach out to current and past customers and ask for reviews on Google or Facebook. Asking for a Google or Facebook review is also a great piece to include in a follow-up email after purchases.

16  |  Educate yourself. As a business owner (or simply as a human being), you should always be learning. Want to understand Facebook ads? Take that course. Catch up on listening to podcasts. Read that book that has been on your Amazon wishlist. Set aside time each day or week to invest in yourself—which in turn—will be investing in your business.

And get ready, friends. As hard as the season may seem today, a new season is coming.

And I want you to be ready.

prepare your business

How to write a welcome email series and why

You’ve offered a relevant and enticing lead gens to grow your email list.

Great. You’ve captured a new email and you have the new subscriber’s attention.

Now what?

The worst thing you can do is deliver what they requested (your lead gen offer) and then do nothing else.

You have the subscriber’s attention. You want to keep it.

how to write a welcome series Story Social Media

What is a welcome series

A welcome series is a sequence of emails you send to a new subscriber. This is an opportunity to make a great first impression.

Although they have already received what they requested from you, consider that a one-time interaction.

The average open rate for welcome emails is 50%, making them 86% more effective than a standard email. [source]

A complete welcome series will allow you to introduce yourself, tell your story—allow the subscriber to get to know you. Structuring your welcome series well will begin the journey of KNOW → LIKE → TRUST between your subscriber (AKA potential customer) and you.

KNOW LIKE TRUST BUY Story Social Media

There is too much information to throw at a subscriber in one email, hence we send it in a series of emails—a welcome series.

What to include in a welcome series

The first question to answer is what do you want the end result for your new subscriber to be? This will help you decide how many emails to include in the welcome series and what to include in each.

I recommend a series of 4-6 emails in a welcome series. Through this process, a subscriber should be engaging with you—clicking links through an email to read one of your articles, following you on social, purchasing from you, or even replying to one of the emails.

Possible goals of your welcome series emails:

[note: Depending on the type of business you have and your desired customer journey path, some of the following suggestions may not apply.]
  • Make a sale (duh!)
  • Upsell or cross-sell a product
  • Grow your Facebook group or other social channels
  • Gain testimonials or reviews
  • Drive traffic to popular articles on your site

One of the main goals of a welcome series should be for your subscriber to get to know you and vice-versa.

Example of welcome series emails for health and wellness coaches:

  • Email one: introduce yourself; tell your story of how you got to where you are; offer CTA of “Reply to this email and tell me what your (health) goal is. I want to help.”
  • Email two: share your Facebook Live schedule and lead them to your Facebook page or group
  • Email three: solve a problem; what’s one of the most FAQ or concerns this time of year (this can change seasonally)? Answer that. This will help to grow your credibility and authority with the subscriber.
  • Email four: share a seasonal article that includes a lead to a popular product
  • Email five: share a coupon, exclusive to this email series
  • Email six: share customer testimonials, with lead to your CTA

Example of welcome series emails for realtors:

  • Email one: introduce yourself, your story, and the areas you serve
  • Email two: offer a checklist (dependent on the segment they are in [seller vs buyer]) // examples: “What to expect when buying a home” and “How to prepare for selling your home”
  • Email three: “Touch base” – offer your phone number or link to your scheduler to schedule a phone call to see how you can help them
  • Email four: Send a link to current listings; include various home sizes (3 BR, 5 BR, with a pool and without) to serve various interests

Example of welcome series emails for bloggers:

  • Email one: Introduce yourself; share what the subscriber can expect from you—how often you send regular emails, do Facebook LIVES or publish YouTube content
  • Email two: Address pain point of your audience [i.e. parenting tips, easy meal planning] and link to 1-3 of your most popular articles
  • Email three: Do you have a Facebook LIVE series or YouTube playlist with evergreen content? Or a popular podcast episode? Lead them there.
  • Email four: Introduce your most popular product(s) and include customer testimonial(s). Offer a coupon, exclusive to this series, if applicable.
  • Email five: Share links to your most active social channels (again), explaining what type of content you share there and how often
  • Email six: Ask how you can help/serve the subscriber. This may be in the form of a short (1-3 question) survey, or simply asking them to reply to the email. This will serve a couple of purposes: you will get the subscriber engaged and you will also learn more about your audience and what they are looking for

Need suggestions for setting up your welcome series? Make an appointment and let’s chat.

How often to send automated welcome series emails

While there is no set rule and what works for one will not always work for others, you certainly don’t want too much time to pass between the receipt of the lead gen and the next point of contact. And you don’t want too much time to pass between the next point of contact either.

Two examples of welcome email series schedule

Example #1
  • Day one: user subscribes + receives what they requested
  • Day two: welcome series email one
  • Day four: welcome series email two
  • Day seven: welcome series email three
  • Day ten: welcome series email four
  • Day twelve: welcome series email five
  • Day fifteen: welcome series email six
Example #2
  • Day one: user subscribes + receives lead gen
  • Day three: welcome series email one
  • Day five: welcome series email two
  • Day eight: welcome series email three
  • Day eleven: welcome series email four
  • Day fourteen: welcome series email five
  • Day seventeen: welcome series email six

There are various ways to use your welcome series to grow your business. The most important fact is you have one and use it.

While this should typically be an evergreen piece of your business, some pieces may need revising seasonally. And if you have a brand pivot? Your welcome series should be on your shortlist to revise.

how to write a welcome series Story Social Media

Best tools for entrepreneurs

I dipped my toes in the entrepreneurial world over 23 years ago. And I have never looked back.

I’ve been a mompreneur now for almost 21 years.

mom·pre·neur

/mämprəˈnər/

noun

a woman who sets up and runs her own business in addition to caring for her young child or children.

Tools for entrepreneurs

I had my first child on a Tuesday and went back to the office (which, at the time, was actually out of my house) on Friday. And let the record state: I was wearing jeans.

I didn’t go to the office because I had to. I went because I wanted to. Before anyone @s me with all of the ‘that time should have been spent bonding with your baby,” I didn’t dive back into work 19 hours a day. I would spend a few hours at the office checking on things and connecting with my employees. The baby was with me 24/7. I even set up a nursery area at the office for the sake of convenience, and so I didn’t forget anything going back and forth. #smart

But my job mattered to me. (Still does!) And I found a way to balance all of it. Did I do it all perfectly? Not a chance. But I made it work.

Fast forward to having my second child, and nothing has ever been the same. Especially the jeans.

I’ve owned various businesses over the years—brick and mortars and others that I ran from my home. If I know anything in life, it’s what I have learned from running businesses while raising kids. It’s no easy task.

There is no right or wrong way. There are better and worse choices, yes. But what works for one mompreneur may not work for another.

The key is to find what works for you and your family in the current season.

Seasons will change, and it’s perfectly okay to change how you do things. If you aren’t growing and changing with the seasons, you will most likely become overwhelmed, hit burn-out, and want to quit. And unfortunately, some actually do.

These are some of the apps and programs I use on a daily to that help with the balance of owning a business and raising a family. 

Tools for entrepreneurs

Voxer

My brain was so wired for talking-to-text, it took me months of using Voxer to stop saying period or question mark after every sentence. #truestory Voxer is a walkie-talkie app I use for chatting with friends or colleagues. While email is ideal for business conversations, Voxer makes it simple to get a quick answer or provide feedback quickly. I use Voxer regularly with my virtual assistants to talk through tasks. It’s also great for quick messages you may generally send as text, but that can be too much to type.

Cost :: $0

Zoom

Zoom has been my virtual conference room for years. I use it with all of my clients, from discovery calls to follow-ups from comprehensive strategies. I also use Zoom to record videos for course material and site assessments. You can host up to 100 people for 40 minutes with a free account. I currently have the Pro account, and it serves me well. And you can’t beat their customer support.

Cost :: $0 + paid options available

The Podcast App

I’m a big fan of podcasts. I listen to them all throughout the day, when I’m driving home from school in the mornings or when I’m in the car line for pickup. (I spend a lot of time in the car for those tasks.) If you subscribe to specific podcasts, they will all appear in your library to eliminate the need to search each time. And my favorite xx of the app? I can increase the speed it plays. Depending on whose podcast it is (some people talk faster than others ;)), I typically choose the playback speed of 1.5X.

Cost :: $0

Dropbox + Google Drive

Dropbox and Google Drive are my digital brain. They are what I use to store #allthethings, personally and professionally. I learned the hard way years ago to not depend on the hard drive on my computer to store all of my files. #it will crash eventually Plus, it doesn’t matter where I am, which device I am on, with DropBox and Google Drive, I have access to any file at any time. Game changer. [I do pay minimal fees for each of these services due to the amount of storage I use, but free versions are available.]

Cost :: $0 + upgrade options available for each

ConvertKit

It’s where it’s at for email marketing. I’ve tried other ESPs, and I keep coming back to ConvertKit. The ability to tag and segment and an audience based on behavior is not only priceless, but also very simple to set up. They continuously add options for landing pages, and they are one company that continues to grow with the times. This has been one of my best investments ever.

Cost :: based on size of your list; a free option is now available

Use this link to join ConvertKit and you’ll unlock 500 subscribers for free.

LastPass

While I don’t pay for this service, this has probably been one of the smartest and most mature choices I’ve made as an adult. Ha! How many times do you have to reset your password just to access your account? (I’m looking at you, Facebook!) LastPass is a password manager that remembers everything for you and gives you the ability to share credentials of a specific account with a team member. It’s available for PCs and Macs and has a mobile app.

Cost :: $0 + premium option available

Canva

I have become a big fan of Canva the last few years. I use it to create graphics for myself and for clients. While it offers 1000s of templates, fonts, and graphics to choose from, you can also upload your own. My favorite features are being able to save individual brand pallets, or Brand Kits as Canva refers to them, (note: you don’t have to look up the hex # or font for various clients) and the ability to create folders within the dashboard to refer to for past client graphics. You can also share individual graphics or a folder with a team member or the client. Handy-dandy.

Cost :: $0 + paid options available

Use this link to create a Canva account and receive a Canva credit, which can be used to download a premium graphic or image.

Survey Monkey

This program has been around a long time, but they are another company that has stayed in the game by adapting to change and serving their customers well. Customers request a feature? Survey Monkey does its part to make it happen. I use SurveyMonkey for custom surveys for clients as well The Report on the American Homeschool Market. I have the Team Premier subscription, which allows me advanced survey logic tools. I’ve tried other survey programs, but at this point, it will be hard for any company to top what Survey Monkey offers consistently.

Cost :: $0 + premium options available

Lat.er

Lat.er is my Instagram scheduler of choice. It rules the roost, in my opinion. Later offers the option to also schedule to Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, but I use it solely for Instagram. That is what the company started with; that is what I believe to be their strong-suit. Their customer service is also bomb-diggity. If you want to try it out, there is a free option that allows for 30 posts a month. To get access to additional features such as hashtag suggestions and analytics, you’ll need to upgrade.

Cost :: $0 + premium options available

MeetEdgar

MeetEdgar is a social media management tool that automates your content re-sharing. If you manage others’ social media or your brand has evergreen articles, you are losing time if you aren’t using MeetEdgar. I can’t sum up in a few sentences how powerful this tool is. It allows you to organize content by category (think: various clients). You have the ability to post to Facebook pages, Facebook groups, Pinterest, LinkedIn profiles and Company pages, as well as Twitter and Instagram. I use MeetEdgar for all things Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The only downside? There’s not a free version. But it’s well worth the investment.

Cost :: $19-$49/month

Use this link and save $10/month on MeetEdgar forever!

Buffer

Buffer is another long-time-running social media scheduler. Although I use MeetEdgar I still use Buffer too. What’s the difference? Buffer doesn’t allow for recurring shares like ME. Buffer services Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. I use Buffer only for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I use it mostly to share articles I find in the moment. Simply click the Google Extension (that you’ve already installed) and add the content to your queue. Easy peasy.

Cost :: $15/mo + (free, 14-day trial available)

TailWind

While there are other options for scheduling Pinterest, nothing compares to using Tailwind. The feature of Tribes is worth every cent. Tailwind is a scheduler for Pinterest and will also schedule Instagram. (I use it solely for Pinterest accounts.) While I always recommend going to Google Analytics and the source (in this case, Pinterest) for analytics, Tailwind also has a pin inspector that tells you specifics of how a pin is performing and also tools for evaluating group boards. Sign up for Tailwind using this link and get a month free.

Cost :: $10+/month // must pay annually for unlimited pinning

Get your first month of Tailwind free.

 

tools for entrepreneurs

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