This post contains affiliate links for programs that I use and love!
I’m all about utilizing whatever I can to make it so I’m spending less time on the mundane, repetitive tasks in business. On an average day I’ve got about 2-3 hours max to truly devote to business (those of you with multi-passionate business dreams, kids, or 9-5s will understand!), so I’ve really got to make sure I make each of those minutes count.
I definitely don’t have the whole “work-life” balance thing all figured out. Sometimes my evening will be spent writing emails on the computer after the kids go to bed, rather than hanging out with hubby. But on the other hand, some days are spent going to the zoo all day with the kiddos, rather than actually doing work. It’s not perfect, it’s not your “normal” work schedule, but for now, it works for us!
So today, I want to share with you a swipe guide on how I’ve set up 5 different automations in my business, with the help of some pretty kick-ass systems and programs.
The goal is to spend the limited time I have to work, on things that truly move my business forward, rather than dealing with the tedious (but need to get done) tasks.
AND because I love you guys, I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY where you can win a subscription to a couple of my favorite programs (ConvertKit AND Tailwind … woohoo!!!), plus a scholarship to my Pintastic Profit Plan 2.0 course that relaunches this October (totally updated, along with a huge section on website conversion strategy added).
Go ahead and grab your entry now! It closes October 6th, 2016 so don’t wait. AND you can get (a lot!) more entries by sharing the entry out on social media, so be sure to look for that after entering.
Now on to the swipe guide to my top 5 favorite automation systems for business.
5. Deadline Funnel
1. Tailwind (win 1 year free!)
I’m starting here because I’m ALL about Pinterest marketing, so of course using an automation system to keep my pinning schedule consistent is at the top of my list. I’ve been a Tailwind customer for quite some time now, and after looking at all the other Pinterest scheduling options out there, it’s definitely top of the pack in my opinion. They are constantly coming out with new snazzy features and updates based on customer feedback!
Here are a few of the ways that I use the system, and keep my pinning queue full:
- Optimized schedule: Right now I have 30 times picked for each day when my pins will be sent out. This schedule is all optimized on what Tailwind says are the best times for my pins to receive the most engagement. (Yep, they know that kind of data!)
- Group board lists: I have all of my group boards that I’m a part of listed in 1 Board List. This allows me to quickly schedule a new blog post image to post to ALL of my group boards, spread out over the next week, with 2 clicks.
- Tailwind Tribes: this is a new feature in Tailwind that allows you to join a group of like-minded Pinterest users to be able to easily share and re-pin each others’ content. I like how easy this makes it to find new, high quality content from other Pinners that I trust.
- Pin Inspector: I love this tool that let’s me quickly determine which of my boards and pins are doing the best on Pinterest in terms of gaining traction. This allows me to figure out the topics and Pin styles that seem to be the most popular, so I can base future content on that information.
If you’re serious about using Pinterest for marketing or traffic generation purposes, then a system like Tailwind is really a must.
Remember you can win 1 FREE YEAR of Tailwind in my Pintastic Business Booster giveaway. Or if you just can’t wait, you can sign up through my referral link to get 1 free month of Tailwind when you purchase a paid plan.
2. ConvertKit (win 6 months free!)
ConvertKit is my complete email system, and was one of the first “pro” investments I made in my business. (If you missed it, I just wrote a blog post about 17 lessons learned from 1 year with Convert Kit)
Like many of us, I started out with the free MailChimp plan, but quickly realized that there was a lot of functionality that I was missing. I knew that I was going to be building my email list by using multiple opt-in “freebies” and an automated free email mini-course, and with MailChimp that whole process was going to be extremely clunky and time consuming.
ConvertKit has made it easy for me to do all those things that I only *wished* I could do with MailChimp.
Here’s some of my favorite ways that I use ConvertKit:
1. Free Email Course: Creating a free email course was one of the best decisions I ever made for my business. It’s been responsible for bringing in over ½ of my 3K+ subscribers, and it’s an asset that I can keep promoting over and over again. My free course has come a long way since I first created it, but to start with it was a simple 5 day sequence of emails that provided instruction and value on my topic. It’s a great way to gain trust in your business and brand!
2. Tags: I set up systems in ConvertKit to tag subscribers based on how they joined my email list. Some of my tags include what they are interested in (based on where they signed up), what they have purchased, or what trainings they have attended. This helps me to know what my audience is interested in, and where I should spend my time creating new content.
3. Automated Webinar Sign-up: Instead of forcing people that are already on your email list to enter all of their information again to sign up for a webinar (or anything that you’re offering), you can create an automated link. So if someone clicks on my webinar sign-up link in an email, they are automatically tagged and registered for the event!
4. Connections to other Systems: I love how I can connect ConvertKit to my other automation systems. I have it set up so that when someone purchases my Pinterest course or my Canva Templates, they are automatically added to my email list, AND they are sent an automated welcome email giving them what they need to access their purchase.
And don’t forget, you can win 6 months of ConvertKit for FREE in my Pintastic Business Booster giveaway! Woohoo! :)
Honestly there is no way I would be able to keep a consistent presence on my Facebook and Twitter accounts without this social media scheduling tool. It allows me to enter my content into the system once, and then it keeps posting it over and over again for me on whatever schedule I want.
I tried the whole sit down once a week or once a month, and schedule all your social media at one time thing. But it just wasn’t happening for me. MeetEdgar is less than you’d pay a VA to do your social media each month, so that works for me! Also, it allows me to manage the social media accounts for both of my businesses, which makes things even more cost efficient.
I change up my schedule in MeetEdgar here and there, but some of my regular categories are:
- My blog posts
- Inspirational / funny
- Others’ content to share
- My newest blog post + content upgrades
This is a newer system to me that I’ve justimplemented in the last couple of months, so I know I’m only scratching the surface of what it can do for my business! I like to think of it as “LeadPages on steroids.” :)
The whole idea is that it allows you to easily recreate a sales funnel, with an easy drag-n-drop interface. So within ClickFunnels, I’m able to create the initial opt-in landing page, the thank you page, a tripwire sales page (a low priced offer that is available for a limited time after opting in), the checkout cart, and then deliver the product. But really, that’s just a small part of what it can do.
Here’s a few of the ways I’m currently using it, as well as future plans I have for the platform:
- Designed + created all of my opt-in pages for content upgrades
- Hosting my full free 5-day Pinterest course on the platform
- Hosting a webinar directly within ClickFunnels, along with Google’s live streaming
- Processing either Stripe or PayPal payments through their system
- Creating a password protected membership or course site
- Easily split testing pages to see what converts best
- Creating an automated webinar funnel
One of my favorite parts is that they have a lot of template pages and complete funnels already built within the program (that are totally customizable), so it’s easy to get additional ideas directly within the system.
If you want to give it a try, they do offer a free 14 day trial that you can get started with here through my referral link.
5. Deadline Funnel
This is a bit more of an advanced system, but totally worth it if you currently have any type of sales funnel in place that needs a form of urgency to promote sales.
Creating funnels within my business is a large piece of my profit puzzle, and Deadline Funnel lets me create an individualized deadline for each person that enters my funnel. That means I can offer each person a special offer within my funnel that expires at a specific day/time based on that individual person’s signup date.
If you’re new to funnels, and want to learn more, my recent blog post, The 5-Step Client Booking Funnel is a great spot to get started, and even includes a free sales funnel swipe file to download.
Here’s how I’m currently using Deadline Funnel:
1. Free Pinterest Course: When someone signs up for my free Pinterest course they activate a deadline countdown timer. It is set so that my paid Pinterest course is pitched to them with a special offer included throughout the free course content, but only for a limited time. So once the deadline expires, it goes back to the standard offer for them.
2. Evergreen Webinar: When someone signs up for up for my automated evergreen webinar recording, they activate a deadline countdown timer. On the webinar they are pitched my course at a special offer. After several days of follow-up emails after the webinar, then the special offer closes again.
3. Tripwire Canva Templates: When someone opt-ins to either my free Pinterest course or signs up for my Pinterest Checklist, they are offered a chance to buy my set of 10 editable Canva templates for just $7 (regularly $19). That offer is only valid for 15 minutes, the Deadline Funnel timer counts that down.
So what happens once the timer expires for an individual person? They are automatically sent to a different page of your choice (could be the regular sales page, or a different page that says the deal expired). It works correctly even if they access the link from different devices.
If you want to give Deadline Funnel a try, you can get a 30 day free trial through my referral link (on the website, you can only get 14 days). And if you have a sales funnel currently in place, I think you’ll definitely see results within your free trial period after implementing Deadline Funnel!
And that’s a wrap! My 5 favorite automation tools and systems to keep my business working, so that I don’t always have to!
Let me know if you have questions about any of them, or need ideas for how you might implement them in your own business.
And don’t forget to sign up for the Pintastic Business Booster Giveaway to win:
a scholarship to my online course Pintastic Profit Plan 2.0 (relaunching this October)
1 year of Tailwind
6 months of ConvertKit
a subscription to Wonderfelle’s Styled Stock Society