On its surface “automation” brings forth images of robotic arms in widget factories or lifeless emails (selling those robotic arm fabricated widgets) blasting out mindlessly for eternity. Using automation email for business, however, can make a big difference in how clients and customers feel about working with you and help you gain repeat business, testimonials, and referrals.
When you look closer though automation is really just about taking repetitive tasks off your plate and setting up processes that are on brand and highly targeted. For service based businesses, automated email for business can be as simple as setting up a few followup emails that make the experience of working with you better. One is onboarding, which can save you a lot of time, and the second is how you stay in touch with previous clients.
Automating parts of your business doesn’t have to mean removing the human touch or what’s unique about your brand – it just means you can scale that voice and tone you’ve developed and spend more time doing awesome projects and making your customers happy.
Automated email to turn finished projects into repeat customers
Repeat clients are the best clients – you already have a relationship with them, you’ve already (hopefully) trained them on how to be a great client and they know how you work. An automation email sequence at the end of a project can help you get repeat business.
Think about it. Your clients (or customers) are people who like your work so much that they paid for it. And, since you’re good at what you do, they were happy with what you produced. So why lose touch with these people? When phrased this way, it almost seems rude not to re-connect.
There are two ways to get repeatedly hired by the same clients. Obviously, you need to do great work for them. That’s a no-brainer. But the second way is to follow up after projects or contracts are complete.
Too many agencies and freelancers miss these opportunities of easy additional work because they finish one project and quickly move onto another client and another project. But with automation, you can easily create automatic follow-ups for previous clients to stay in touch and more importantly to stay on their radar.
Here’s what a previous client outreach automation sequence could look like:
- When you finish a project for a client, add their email address in Mailchimp to a group, e.g.‘Leads : Follow up’. (Not sure how to do this? Check my Mailchimp Tutorial.)
- Create an automation sequence that starts when List Activity: Joins List Group and select the group with the follow up group name.
- Create an email in plain-text (since it’s better if it looks like an email from you) and in your own voice that checks in with a previous client – it can be short and sweet too. For example:“Hey *|FNAME|*, hope all is well. Just wanted to check in to see if there was anything else I could help your business with?”
- Set that email to go out 4–8 weeks after you’ve finished the project.
- Create (by replicating) several more emails that go out every 3–4 months (or whatever makes sense for your business and the type of work you do). Change the wording up slightly from email to email, but keep the gist the same: short, to the point, and asking if there’s anything else you can do for them.
- Bonus: in the required footer of these emails, you can allow subscribers to opt out of an automation sequence without opting fully off your list by using this merge tag: *|AUTOMATION:WORKFLOWREMOVEURL|*. So your footer could have a link to unsubscribe (since it’s the law) plus a link to “stop receiving follow-ups like this” that links to *|AUTOMATION:WORKFLOWREMOVEURL|*. That way previous clients can stay on your list (if you send them regular campaigns too) but not be sent these check-in emails anymore.
Automated email to get great testimonials
Chasing down clients to get great testimonials is a struggle for lots of agencies and freelancers. Using an automated email for business testimonials can help you get testimonials after finishing a project.
All you’d have to do to automate collecting a testimonial from a previous client is to create a drip sequence based on a subscriber joining a group. If your client or customer is already on your list from onboarding them, then creating a sequence based on a group makes sense, since once a project is done, you can manually check a single box to add them to that group.
Once they’re added, you can setupset up a few key emails (these are just examples):
Day the project is done: thank them for their work, perhaps give them a check listchecklist of what they can do now to get the most out of the work they just paid you for.
7 days later: check in with them, to see how the launch went and if they have any questions.
30 days later: ask them what the results of the work have been so far and give them a way to find that out. How many new subscribers did it produce? How much revenue did it generate? How many leads did they get? Ask them to write a tesimonialtestimonial for you based on the positive results your work gave their business.
Testimonials that say you’r’e great to work withork with might sound nice, but they’re not nearly as effective as result-based testimonials. Think about it, what sounds better, “Paul was a pleasure to work with” or “Paul’s work help generate an extra 6-figures for my launch”. I’d hire the second Paul in a heart-beat.
Automated email to get referrals
When your clients are happy, it’s easy to think they’d tell their friends about you. The truth is your work probably isn’t top of mind and they don’t think to refer other work your way. Helping your work stay top of mind with automated emails for business and asking for referrals from your happy customers can help you grow your business and get more work.
Part of your automated email to get great testimonials could be a simple ask for referrals. You could add one more email, perhaps 40 days later, asking if they know of any other businesses or have other contacts that might benefit from your work.
You might feel weird asking for a referral, but most business happens via word of mouth, so why not offer a prompt for it? I’ve found that most of the time people are happy to refer me to other folks they know, but won’t unless I ask them. Most of the time they enjoyed working with me so much that they’re eager to share with other businesses. So adding an additional email to the drip sequence, with a prompt for referrals, can drive a whole lot of additional business.
Automated email for business can help you grow
Using automation sequences like those mentioned above allow you to inject your own style, brand and personality into repetitive tasks that you no longer need to worry about. It gets specific people on your list (potential leads or past clients) the information they need, when they need it, and frees you up to continue doing awesome work for your current clients.
This process can help smooth out the “feast or famine” in client work, as well as keep your agency or freelance business top of mind well into the future.
Leave the robots to make widgets in widget factories – and use automation in your own business to have some human touch without spending your time and attention on it.