Jenni here, and it's no secret that when it comes to our partnership dynamic, I am definitely the one who is always geeking out about new systems and technology. I love a good CMS, or automation platform — anything that you can program to "make it do" without having to manually participate. Last October we launched a "Primd 2.0" if you will — new website, and LOTS of new systems to help us tackle growing and scaling in 2016.
Today I am going to share with my 3 favorite systems we've implemented in the last 6 months, and why they work for us.
SWITCHED FROM: MAILCHIMP
We, like every other small business owner, were using Mailchimp to send out our customer newsletters, and to handle segmenting our people into groups based on their interests. But when it came time to build Primd 2.0 it became clear that Mailchimp wasn't my ideal tool.
We like ConvertKit because:
- Customized User Funnels + Seamless Functionality: It has the ability to create multiple sign up forms, landing pages, and then tags for people who are interested in various products. Folks thinking about our Brand Plan are at a totally difference place with their marketing than those who are thinking of a new website, and I want to know that. I know Mailchimp does technically "have" those features, but with their mandatory double opt-in process and inability to customize any buttons read anything other than "SUBSCRIBE," I couldn't customize the user experience as much as I wanted. Plus most of our confirm emails were going to spam, and then we 'd get emails from people saying "I wanted an info pack, but I never got one?"
- Courses: This wasn't something I discovered until later, but the "Course" section is like a new and improved version of Mailchimp's "Automations." It's a visual and simple way to build a drip campaign for people who sign up through various parts of the website OR drip emails to clients through a package you're selling (for us we'll use it for The Brand Plan).
- If/Then Rules: This is the geeky magic. Once someone comes into your system, you can add all kinds of rules (send an email, tag them this way, assign them to an email drip). It's super flexible and powerful.
- Their WYSIWYG editor isn't awesome. I did have to do some rudimentary coding to get things to look how I wanted. (Which is funny because their target market is marketers. ConvertKit, if you're listening, customization is important to us!)
SWITCHED FROM: SPREADSHEETS (BUSINESS) and /or MINT (PERSONAL)
I don't want to be hyperbolic and say that this has changed my life — but I can honestly say that it's been extremely illuminating. I started using this in my personal banking with my family, and within six weeks I started seeing what it really takes to run my household, money-drama free. And if that sounds horrible to you, let me say that my husband and I have started having conversations about what we value, what we want to be priorities, and what our life dreams are (not squabbling about pennies). YNAB has a whole philosophy, and the way you allocate money to categories forces the idea of priority. So, it was all of 6 weeks before I turned to Sophie and said, "We're doing this."
We Like YNAB because:
- They don't judge me: It's budgeting for people who don't like budgets
- They get visual people: As a part of their process, you move money from one big bucket (your income) to smaller buckets (your expenses). If you need a certain amount of money in a bucket (like rent or mortgage) it stays red until you've filled it up. Yay for creative-people-budgets.
- We now GET what's happening in our business. We're now asking each other "At the moment we can either go on this offsite OR hire this person to help us grow. which do we want or need more?" <— that is an informed intelligent conversation. I'm a happy business owner.
- Understanding the credit card integration was a trip. While Sophie and I don't use this much for business, on the personal side my husband is a credit-card-points-guru. We're both pretty tech savvy, and it took us more than a few hours and frustrated Google searches to get our budget to make sense to us after we paid our cards. (Dear YNAB, help us non-money people get your credit card system. It's smart but not as easy as we want.)
SWITCHED FROM: MANUALLY TRYING TO MAKE APPOINTMENTS (ew.)
Acuity has been a super time saver. Anyone whose been doing business for a while knows that getting people on your calendar can be so hard. And, the more full your schedule gets the more you need your calendar to be up to date. We've added calendaring links to all of our sales funnel emails, allowing clients to have direct access to our calendar. We can also just throw a link into an email, allowing current clients to make their own appointments.
We like Acuity because:
- It was SO simple to get set up on. I got us 90% of the way there in less then 30 minutes. And, mind you, I was setting up my calendar, Sophie's calendar and a Joint Calendar for certain kinds of meeting that we both have to attend. I needed that joint calendar to talk to our individual calendars to make sure we weren't going to have any scheduling nightmares. I'm not going to lie, it was tricky to learn that last 10%, but Acuity worked because what I wanted to accomplished was possible (vs other scheduling tools that can't calendar layer), and their support staff was on it and incredibly helpful.
- It's customizable. No code required, it's got my business in the URL, my logo at the top of the page, and uses my brand colors. Seamless.
- It integrates with my client in-take funnel. We added questionnaires into scheduling intake calls with new clients. That way by the time interested people get on the phone with us, they've gotten our info pack about the product their interested in (Convert Kit), and we have a detailed background of who they are and what their pain points are. We're both halfway there before we even get on the phone.
- Integrating 2 calendars that needs separate appointments plus combined availability wasn't easy enough that I could do it without help. It did take a good amount of back and forth. But like I said, their customer service team is prompt and informed.
Ok, those are my top three geekiest systems that I've had nothing but pure joy building into my business. Next up for Primd is going to be looking at a Customer Management System or Lead Management System to help us make sure we're communicating with all of our best people as often as we want to be. Let me know — what systems do you have? Do you have a CMS that you love?
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