Do your systems support your work? 🎢

Have you ever felt like you're creating content, knocking out blog posts, posting on Youtube, Instagramming, whatever but you don't know if anyone is even listening?
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I’m writing this before I head out of town to sunny Central Oregon, home of beautiful mountains and the world’s last remaining Blockbuster. I realized that I haven’t been out of the Portland metro area, aside from a couple of day trips, all year long and that’s just not awesome at all. Have you remembered to take a break and recharge? It’s important, folks!Do your systems support your work?

Kath and I were having a tête-à-tête this week and we were talking about how a client was so excited about all the backend business stuff their website couple do for them. For us, this is just obvious, because we’re both obsessed with streamlining “busy work” so we can devote our workdays to satisfying, engaging work instead. And, the first line of defense in this is your website.

(By the way: Kath’s working on a mini-training about this for our Design in a Day™ clients—if you’re a past DIADer, give me a shout and I’ll add you to the free membership, but I’d thought I’d share a few tricks that we share to make websites part of our own business systems. Work smarter, not harder!)

1. Thank you & next steps pages. Kath is a wiz at this! Did you know that in most website builders and CRMs you can redirect form submissions to another page? This is a golden opportunity to get ahead of common questions, people worried that their message hasn’t been received, you name it. You can also adjust this per submission. That means, if someone send you a quick note via your contact form, you can send the visitor to a thank you page that tells them that you try to respond to everyone and strategically directs them to some blog posts. Whereas you could direct potential client inquiries (“warm leads”) to an FAQ about working together or even a scheduler page for them to book a discovery call.

Which brings me to…

2. Embedded schedulers (public and/or private). I’m yet to find a business or organization that couldn’t benefit from streamlining scheduling, but it’s something that a lot of folks are nervous to do, out of fear that it’s somehow impersonal or unprofessional. In reality this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, tools like AcuityCalendlyBook Like a Boss and others, including industry-specific ones, make it easier for folks to get time on your calendar without having to get sucked into the email back and forth. It also saves them headaches when they have to reschedule (again, reducing email back and forth). It also makes it easier to offer a lower-cost “get paid for your answers” type service (such as my website strategy calls or Kath’s one-off training sessions)—this is a great way to expand who you can help if your services or programs tend to be on the higher end of things.

Pro tip: Many schedulers also allow redirects so you can redirect them to a “what to expect during our call” page on your website. See how this is all coming together?

3. Consider automating responses. Again, this is something that can be viewed by some folks as impersonal, but in reality is something that makes people’s lives easier. There are many ways to do this as well as degrees of implementation. For example, I know a designer who links their ConvertKit account (you could do this with MailChimp too, but MC is on my naughty list at the moment) to their inquiry form and automatically sends potential clients a PDF “lookbook” to give folks a general idea of pricing, process and approach. That doesn’t mean they don’t send a personalized response, but instead it’s immediately sending people who are interested in working with them the information they need in the moment—it’s a jumping off point for a conversation.

If you want to be a bit more intentional about this, you can saved canned responses in another tool you’re already using, such as Gmail, as label them so you don’t have to retype everything but can save time, keeping from having to craft original responses to the same questions (most people get the same three or four questions over and over).

The cool thing about each of these simplifying and streamlining approaches is that they are all using tools you already have to work harder for you.

So many people have subscription fatigue, or don’t want to have to learn one more thing, understandably. They save time, money, and your mental bandwidth. They also have the added bonus of improving consistency in your communication—this is crucial when you’re busy and can also easily fall by the wayside if you’ve got a lot on your plate.

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