3 Hacks to Automate your Business

To Survive a busy season ( You need to check out number 3!)

We have all been there, it’s half term or you are about to switch into holiday mode and the panic starts… how can we manage our work load whilst the kids are home or we are off travelling?

Well, I wanted to put together a guide with some quick tips to help you manage your workload and automate some key aspects of your business so you can actually take the break you need.

Continue reading “3 Hacks to Automate your Business”

Why Blogging is so important for your business in 2019

and not to mention your Instagram strategy!

Blogging is such an important tool for small businesses, but it can seem like such a daunting task and another thing that is tacked onto the end of your never ending ‘to-do’ list.

And if writing just isn’t your thing (which I honestly hear all the time, and trust me it definitely isn’t mine!! Hello dyslexia!) you probably want to stay as far away from blogging as possible!

Especially if you don’t know the benefits that blogging can have on your business, you may decide it really isn’t really worth it, or maybe worse still you might start one and only post once and then forget about it.

So, I am going to detail the benefits to blogging and why blogging is important and how you can incorporate a ‘blogging’ strategy into your marketing plan. I also want to tell you why it’s a crucial aspect in turning your Instagram followers into paying clients. I’ll even share some ways to blog if you don’t want to blog! Sound good?

BENEFITS OF BLOGGING

EXPANDS TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE

If you have an online business especially, your website is the equivalent of a brick and mortar shop. Instead of having customers who can walk into your store to see your products, you have to rely on traffic coming to your website.

Blogging is important as it allows you to increase the amount of traffic coming in to your website.

If you have a blog that you are updating weekly, all that extra content you are creating increases your chances of being found online via multiple sources!

The more extra traffic that falls onto your website has a higher potential of converting into sales/potential clients, which leads me to my next point…

INCREASES YOUR CLIENT LIST

It is all well and good having a blog, but you need to consider what is the aim of each post is, is it to target clients or generate leads. Keeping this in mind, what do you from this blog post, is it to get more email leads? Is it to sell? Is it to get inquiries from a contact form?

Try and find a way to weave that into your writing, offer an option to respond with their opinion. Or sign up to your email list to get more information on the topic.

Knowing the end goal of the blog post is incredibly important as it will shape your tone, the way you write and the keywords you are targeting.

EXPANDS YOUR SEO (AKA FREE MARKETING)

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process of obtaining free traffic from Google and other search engines.

Search engines favour websites that continuously create new content, which is why blogging so advantageous for SEO.

Not only that, having a blog will allow you to get in front of potential customers far easier.

For example, let’s say I sell baby sleep routines online. (Something I definitely purchased when I was a sleep deprived mum to a newborn baby).

With a blog, I’d be able to write posts on various topics about motherhood (but more specifically for new mums who are desperate to buy anything that helps them and their little one sleep) such as:

  • a post on how much a new-born should be sleeping (someone looking into this is probably struggling to get their child to sleep through)
  • a post on the top sleep accessories for babies (again someone searching for this is probably desperate to try anything to get some sleep)
  • a post on why sleep routines are good for babies and how they thrive on them.

When someone is searching for queries around babies and sleep, your blog posts could show up in the search results. It also means these people are your ideal client and are looking for a solution and your product or service could be that solution to their problem.

Without a blog, it would be much harder to get organic traffic into your website.

BE SEEN AS AN AUTHORITY IN YOUR NICHE

When someone new visits your website, it’s so important that they feel a sense of trust that turns them from ‘first time visitor’ into ‘raving fan’ and then ‘loyal customer.

And a blog plays a huge influential role in that, as it showcases your knowledge and positions your brand as a leader within your niche.

When someone lands on your website and reads through your blog posts, you are able to develop a connection with them without having to actually speak to them.

I know my ideal client and so I craft blog posts around FAQ’s, problems they might be facing and any anticipated needs they have. Any questions my visitors have can hopefully be answered through a blog post!

And if they are, that will have started to build that valuable ‘like, know and trust’ factor that is essential for any business and customer relationship. It will also show them that I know what I am talking about and so leave them wanting to hear from me more often.

IMPROVES YOUR INSTAGRAM STRATEGY

With Instagram the aim should be to send people down a rabbit hole. The last thing you want is for them to ‘like’ your pictures ‘comment’ and then click away. Your strategy should alway be to keep them wanting and learning more. You should be gently guiding them through a series of steps which help them get to ‘like, know and trust’ you and your business.

You also own your blog space, where as any social media platform could disappear tomorrow meaning all that hard work you put in to growing it would be wasted. So driving your followers onto a platform you own and giving them an opt in to sign up to your mailing list should be your number one priority.

If people choose to sign up to follow your blog and join your email list those are people that really want to hear from you and should be considered warm leads when it comes to selling.

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SHOULD YOU START A BLOG?

 Is starting a blog for everyone? Ideally, if you have a website, I’d say ‘YES! Start that blog!’ but there are some cases where I think maybe it’s not for you…hear me out.

Incorporating a blogging strategy can be very time-consuming. Search engines favour long-form content and if you want to start blogging, you should be aiming to publish at minimum a few long-form blog posts each month.

If you can’t commit to this, reconsider your blogging strategy. It’s better to not blog than to keep an empty blog on your website that only has one post that you wrote over a year ago. An empty blog can make it seem as if you aren’t active on your website anymore, and you don’t want potential customers to think you don’t have time to manage your site. Instead, consider some alternatives to blogging.

But what should you do if you understand the importance of blogging but still don’t really want to blog…? That’s when you will want to blog, without actually having to blog.

BLOGGING WITHOUT HAVING TO ‘BLOG’

WRITE CASE STUDIES

When some people hear the word ‘blogging’ they run in the other direction. Let’s change it from ‘blogging’ to content marketing’. Content marketing is a marketing strategy where you create content in order to drive traffic and leads to your website. A blog is a form of content marketing but can really be any type of content that you plan to update your website with!

Perhaps you could do case studies or publish reviews on products or services?

HIRE A COPYWRITER

If a blog is something you want to have but don’t have the time for, or truly hate writing, you still have options!

You can always consider outsourcing your content creation to a copywriter. There are a lot of websites where you can hire someone to write ghost-written blog posts for your business!

GUEST BLOGGERS

Consider asking guest bloggers to write pieces for you, it helps with exposure on both sides and it helps you by creating content for your site without having to write a single word.

And again posting to your site helps drive traffic to your site.

VLOG or PODCAST

Some people, myself included if I am honest find it far easier to talk to a camera than sit down and write. I however am limited to the amount of time I can talk toddler free, so I choose to blog in the majority instead, as it doesn’t matter if Henry is nattering away in the background.

But if talking comes far easier to you, record yourself speaking and upload that to a blog post with a little summary of what you are talking about and ta-dah you have a blog post.

 

7 tips for using Canva for your business

Launching a online brand can feel like you have to suddenly become a graphic designer and web developer or at least have one on tap to create all sorts of funky designs you didn’t even realise you needed.

Creating a business doesn’t end once you have decide on the look and feel of your web site. You’ll need to make sure your brand’s design aesthetic carries across all your online platforms in order to become a recognisable brand.

As female entrepreneurs, we are constantly reminded of how important it is to have an online presence that is cohesive in content, design, and structure to enhance our client experience and drive brand recognition. But between balancing life and business building, you may find that you don’t often have too much time for creative play.

The good news is that Canva has you sorted. This online software allows you to create professional graphics for your website and social media feeds for free. It even let’s you save templates so you can just tweak the wording and your new graphic is ready to go. You can see I do this for all my blog posts, it keeps it simple for me but also allows my brand to stay consistent and recognisable.

Here are our 7 c’s to using Canva effectively for your social media:

1. The Canva Colour Picker

It’s important to make sure you know the colour “number” code. This is called the hex colour value often seen as “colour code #”. Using the Canva colour picker you can simply type this number into the box and it will match your brand font or background colour, allowing you to design with consistency.

2. Consistency is Key

I recommend you design with consistency in mind. What are the fonts, colours, background images and textures of your brand look and feel? Deciding on your brand style as early on as possible and sticking to these decisions whenever you’re designing in Canva will ensure you create consistent content no matter which pre-made design you choose to work with. It will help to make your brand ‘instantly recognisable’.

3. Create for All Platforms

Canva makes it really easy to select which social media platform you’re working on. Once you choose from a variety of pre-made designs for Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest, you can constantly view “my designs” and bulk design for across all platforms to promote the same update for your viewers.

It’s also a good idea to include your URL address at the bottom of your design, allowing whoever views your content to know where else to find you.

Quick tip: try and design with the platforms you want to share to in mind, for example if you are going to promote something on Instagram stories and in feed you could pick the story template and make sure the bulk of your design is in a square so that the same image can be used in feed. 

4. Create Interest

Canva allows for several design layers, fonts, and images to be combined into one design. Make use of this feature when tweaking pre-made designs to create interest. We recommend you use up to three different type fonts, alter the layer transparency and carefully select your copy that keeps your ideal clients interested in your products.

5. Curate Your Own Backgrounds

While Canva has many styled stock images you are able to purchase, this can get costly. We recommend making use of your own stock library, or creating custom brand images or basic coloured backgrounds that suit your brand, to then upload as you design. This helps with your brand consistency but also with keeping your design costs to a minimum.

You can also grab 5 FREE #girlboss stock images by clicking here 

6. Build Your Community

Canva makes it’s quick and easy to create visually consistent and shareable images for your brand. By following the colour and consistency “rules” while designing to create interest, your site visitors and social media followers will begin to know your style. Seeing one of your designs in their feed will immediately get them thinking of your business and brand, creating the recognition that results in sales.

7. Don’t Play The Comparison Game

With such a wide selection of pre-made designs and ready-to-use stock images, it’s easy to start playing the comparison game when using a program like Canva. Try to get clear on your own style before starting and always stick to your style guide.

It’s useful to sketch out what you need the design for before starting. Planning ahead and design in bulk whenever possible will save you time and effort and free up your creativity to focus on what you love doing for your business.

Three Ways Automation Can Improve Your Business

When I decided to start my own business the most important element of any business I was going to create was it had to be flexible around my little boy Henry.

I needed a business that allowed me to spend time with him when he needed me and get work done in the short amount of time when he napped (fingers crossed this lasts a while longer, I feel I’m running out of time with an 18 month old).

WHERE TO START

Before I talk about how I have implemented automation in my own business I want you to consider a couple of things. Ask yourself:

  • What tasks do you find yourself doing repeatedly?
  • What day to day tasks do you find tedious/boring?
  • What things are time consuming in your business?
  • Are there things more than one person to handle in order to complete them?
  • Are there things you’re doing over and over that not only need to be automated, but could also be outsourced to someone else?

1. Email Automation

If you haven’t already set up an email marketing campaign I urge you to go do it now. It is a way you can nurture your audience, getting them to like, know and trust you with out spending too much personal time daily sending emails.

I personally use ConvertKit I found it much easier to use than other email marketing platforms out there. It allows you to create a form which you can embed on your website or link to it on your social media platforms, this form ideally promotes a freebie or blog post which is so enticing it encourages the user to part with their email address to get the freebie.

Once they have entered their email address they get sent an email with the freebie and then they should be placed on what is called a welcome sequence this is usually a 5 email long sequence which introduces the new subscriber to who you are why they should care about you and your product or service and then in the final email you can offer them the opportunity to buy into you.

By doing using a service like this it is a once and done scenario, you write the freebie and welcome sequence once and then promote it continuously across different platforms so it keeps bringing traffic to your site.

2. Time blocking

Whilst this isn’t true automation it means you can get a lot of important work done in a couple of hours meaning you don’t have to spend all day working. If you want to read more about Time Blocking check out my blog post HERE but here is a quick condensed version.

Think about what’s most important for you to work on each day. This could be slowly completing a long-term project, or finishing something you have been procrastinating on for a while. Make a list of your top three work priorities.

Make a list of your typical workday tasks. Beyond the bigger stuff, you’ve probably got tons of other things going on that take up time every day. Write down these smaller tasks, noting about how long they usually take you to complete. This could be answering emails or phone calls, promoting your company on social media, or posting an online comment about a book you’re reading in a networking group.

Block time for your hardest tasks when you’re most productive. For most people, this will be right at the start of the workday. Dedicate a minimum of one hour to your highest-priority task. Start there, and then move through to the next time block in order of priority.

  • For example, if you know you work best before noon, plan to spend the block before your lunch break on your toughest task
  • Usually, time blocks aren’t effective if they last more than a few hours.

3. Social Media Automation

You didn’t think you could read a blog post from me and I wouldn’t talk about social media did you? I have spent a lot of time reading and researching this because I needed all the help I could get initially, I used to find myself going round in circles on various social media platforms and an hour would pass and I wouldn’t really know where it had gone or what I had done.

To stop this time wasting carousel I decided that at the beginning of each month I would sit down and map out my content for social media. By planning my images, captions, hashtags and strategy. This completely changed the amount of time I was spending on social media.

Whilst I still hang out there regularly, I can spend the time engaging with followers and discovering new accounts rather than scratching my head trying to think of a witty caption that helps my overall business plan.

Need a little extra help with what to post? I’ve got you covered, check out my free 30 day content plan guide below. Using this it will help your customers get to know, like and trust you and not over sell your business each time you post which will help to eliminate that feeling of being sleazy selling online.

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What are favourite ways to automate your business? I’d love to know.

Love Abi x