Quick post today about systems.
First, y’all know you need a mailing list. I am SO SERIOUS about this. Social media algorithms change all the damn time and you can’t completely control how/when you reach your audience on those platforms. Yes, use applicable social media – but use it as a tool to get people to subscribe to your list! Once you’ve got their email address, you can reach them in perpetuity (as long as you do it right and they stay on your list!).
I’m using Mailchimp – the functionality of the free version is a great place to start, and it really grows with you. It also integrates with a ton of other platforms, which can be an issue with smaller/lesser known listbuilding services.
Once I have my courses going I may switch over to a listbuilding service that’s integrated with my course platform (will be either using Podia or Kajabi, depending on the functionality I end up deciding I need). I might not, though. Beauty of this is that I get to decide whenever I want, and I can continue with Mailchimp until I have time to work out the switch.
Remember, you don’t need to make all your decisions now. Plan for change, which means plan in flexibility.
But! On to systems.
First, you’ve got your business’ voice worked out, right?
This is how you show up when you’re interacting with customers, which means it needs to be very clear in your writing. Do you curse? Are you goofy? Are you polished and serious? Are you super casual, or just kind of casual? Remember, the key to building a good voice is to focus on being relatable to your consumer.
Think about your target customer – how is this person going to feel seen? How can you adjust your language to make sure this person is saying “Yes! This person gets me!” all the time?
Next, pop into Mailchimp. Here’s a good tutorial on setting that up, if you need help.
The first thing you want to do is set up an auto-responder for when someone new signs up to your list. This is under the ‘campaigns’ tab, I think, but you might have to ‘create new.’ I’ve already forgotten. Just play with it 🙂
Make sure to lean in heavy on your business’ voice! Here’s my first draft:
Hi, << Test First Name >>!
Welcome to the world of fabulous, healthy Oh Happy Plants!
My name is Veronica, and I’ll be your plant care guide through your many adventures with your photosynthesizing friends.
Be on the lookout for regular emails from Oh Happy Plants. I’ll send you neato care tips, fun facts, info about new courses, cool pictures of crazy plants, and lots of tidbits that could only come from a professional plant nerd 🙂
P.S. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for a regular dose of cute plants!
Next, scoot on over to your Templates page – big fat nothing, right? Pop up and click the ‘Create’ button, and build a few templates. Your business will need specific things. For me, I need to have a template for alerting my audience about new Spotlight or other courses, another for telling them about new free content I’ve created and pushed out, and another that hands out little tidbits of plant info (which will act as ‘hooks’ to draw them to my Spotlight courses or just to check out my site).
You want to be giving at least 3 free, helpful things for every email that focuses on selling (you can gently sell within the free/helpful emails too, but the main focus should be on providing information).
Now, a word on systems.
If you’re going to manage your time well, you’ll have systems worked out for repeat processes. Like I mentioned, I wrote up three common email formats that I’ll use. All are visually similar to give a sense of brand cohesion (a logo helps with this!), but different enough that it won’t look like the same old crap when they get emails weekly.
The content of these templates is writing prompts, not actual text that I’ll send out. I’ve got little reminders in there for putting headings, sales buttons, questions that I’ll answer later in the email, hooks to get them to click on provided links, etc. All of this is so I don’t have to start at square one when I write an email – the template tells me what to do.
Now, this is pretty easy for me because I have a ton of copywriting experience. If you feel overwhelmed, start by reading Building a StoryBrand by Don Miller and How To Write Copy That Sells by Ray Edwards. These two resources are GOLD when it comes to writing email to your list. I definitely recommend getting the physical copies of these books, but StoryBrand can be listened to to get the general gist of it. Don also has a podcast that’s fantastic, but you really need the book to get the process.
If you feel like you’d rather fast-track your copywriting skills with coaching, I offer a Copy Coaching program at Professional Catalyst. I work with small business owners individually to develop their voice and help them learn to use language in a way that prompts action in their audience. I prefer the ‘teach a man to fish’ approach, so I don’t offer copywriting or copy editing services if a person isn’t interested in learning the craft.
Let me know if you’d be interested in a copywriting mastermind – I’ve been thinking about offering this as a way to serve a broader audience (read: more affordable, less individual attention). With enough interest I’d love to put this together.