Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball

3 Things You Can Automate in Your Subscription Box Business Today

May 03, 2021 Julie Ball Episode 72
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
3 Things You Can Automate in Your Subscription Box Business Today
Chapters
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
3 Things You Can Automate in Your Subscription Box Business Today
May 03, 2021 Episode 72
Julie Ball

#072 - In this episode, we're going to hear Amy Lockrin, the Director of Operations for Sparkle Hustle Grow and Subscription Box Bootcamp. She's going to share three things you can automate in your subscription box business today.

Summary:

  • Automate how you handle people interested to be a part of your box (00:02:18)
  • Automate customer service (00:04:39)
  • Automate growing your audience (00:09:41)

Links:

Show Notes Transcript

#072 - In this episode, we're going to hear Amy Lockrin, the Director of Operations for Sparkle Hustle Grow and Subscription Box Bootcamp. She's going to share three things you can automate in your subscription box business today.

Summary:

  • Automate how you handle people interested to be a part of your box (00:02:18)
  • Automate customer service (00:04:39)
  • Automate growing your audience (00:09:41)

Links:

Speaker 1:

So you want to launch a subscription box and don't know where to start. Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach, and your host here at subscription box basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper, and let's have some fun.

Speaker 2:

Everybody at Amy locker. And here I am, the director of operations for spark also grow and subscription box bootcamp. And I am so excited that Julia invited me on to come and share with you. The three things you can automate in your subscription box business. Today, I have to say, I mean, our team is just so dedicated to helping you create success in your subscription box business. And I live in the operations land, right? So I'm in the spot where it's not maybe not as like fun, as exciting as marketing or what you're doing , um, to be able to like bring in the new customers and things like that. I live in the backend to say like, what can be done in your business to help you strategize, fail, and systematize the things you have going on. And I tell you the shifts and changes that we're able to make to automate and to make your box business just a little bit easier day in and day out. That's what I love. So I am here and I'm going to go through a couple of different things. The first thing we need to talk about is please know, there's just not such a thing as total automation. It's just like, if you ever hear somebody talk about passive income personally, I don't believe there's a thing called passive income because there's always going to take some level of work that you do to create a result. The same thing with automation, we can automate so much about our business, but know that it will take some work from you upfront to get it done, or it might take just a little bit of time and energy to check, to make sure what you have automated in your business is working for where your business is now, right? Because we want to grow. We want to scale. We want to see new things and we want it to fit in our lives in a way that makes sense and bring joy. And so that's why it's so important to know that with automation, you're creating ease for yourself and your business, and you're making it easier for people to work with you and for people to understand how they can buy your product. And that's what I'm going to talk about today. So let's dive in. So the first thing that you can automate in your business is interest in the box. So here's what I'm talking about. If you're sending out a box that has a lot of different pools , if it's people want to send their product in, if it's, you're getting bombarded with interested parties who were saying like, we'd love to be in your box. And then you're like, wow , they're not a fit or they are a fit, but I'm just not sure how I can make this process a little bit easier. So instead, maybe you scramble and you're like, you know, I know two months out, I need something. I'm not going to go. And like spend all this time searching for who that person could be. That could provide me the right product. I'll just go buy something on Amazon. Ah , no, we want to be able to save you money from the start. We want to be able to have to help you build relationships with the people who are interested in me in the box. And then also to make it easier for those companies that are looking to see how they can put something in a box because you guys are a fit as far as what your audiences. So here's some ways you can automate that one set up a form on your site. And so being able to set up a form where anyone who's interested in being a part of your box can submit and answer a couple of questions. It takes the guesswork out of how they can reach out to you. So you don't get those DNS on Instagram, where somebody is trying to woo you with what they have, or if you do still get those DMS, you can direct them real quick to the right page to be able to put it in there. The cool thing about this is if you put any type of form , um , we love type form here at subscription box bootcamp. And so the thing that we love about that is you can put it in there. It can shoot over to a Google sheet and then you can even set it up so that you have conditional formatting on your Google sheet. Now you might be thinking any, I don't know what conditional formatting is and why should I care about that? Well, it's really great because if you have someone who has to answer from a multiple dropdown one, you can say like, if they give this answer, then I'm going to highlight it in green, because that means they're a fit. Or if they say they have less than this product, and I'm going to put the whole thing in red, and then that's going to mean like they're not a fit. And then we can just send out an email that has been completely set up and is canned and ready to go

Speaker 3:

To say like, Hey, you're a fit for this business.

Speaker 2:

You're not a fit for this business or maybe later. And so those things all together, making it simple for people to let you know that they're interested in being a part of your box is one of the best things you can automate to kind of get the noise out

Speaker 3:

Of your business. Number two , customer service. So

Speaker 2:

I hear you in your mind right now saying , uh, there's no way I can automate my customer service. I get emails all day every day, or I get such a variety of emails. There's no way for that to work. And guess

Speaker 3:

What there is, this is

Speaker 2:

The part where there's a catch. Now I'm not saying it's full automation because it's likely that your customers would feel that they would know that they're just getting a response. I'm sure we've all gotten that robot response where you send an inquiry in about something and then they respond back to your like, did you even like read my email? Like, that's not what I said at all. And please, no , we do not recommend that here. But what you can do is set up what it means for you and your company and your vibe, the way you talk about things, what are your responses look like? We call those canned emails or template emails, depending on where you're putting them. So if you're still using the Gmail as your software to email out, it's a very common one. And it works really great because you can set up a variety of canned emails and then categorize them based on what subjects or in what contexts people are reaching out to you. So say you have a canned email for my boxes lost , or you could have a canned email for , um, I'm unhappy with X or something broke. Those are the that we don't like to get because you know, they feel, you feel them in your chest. You love what you're doing. You're creating a business that you believe gives back to people and you want them to have a happy experience, but still anytime you get a message where someone's upset or something, it can hurt us emotionally , um , because you've poured your life and your energy and your soul into this work. So having a canned email where it takes care of all the nitty-gritty details, and then you're able just to pull it up in your Gmail and add in, in some personalization will save you so much time. Another great way to automate this is to have video responses that you embed in your email. So take a look at the past, you know, three, couple of weeks to six months of anyone who's reached out to you, all those questions, and then think, do I want them to get a written email from me? Or would I like to be able to answer those questions with a video where you can drop it in and so that they can hear you and see your face. We found time and time again, that people respond to faces. People respond to knowing the owners that are behind companies, and they want to know that they are actually being heard. So putting a video into the email, it's something so valuable because your audience and your customers then at that point are so much more connected to you. So you can also do that online community. If you have an online community that is related to your box business, then we can have a series of templates that we keep on a separate sheet. Where if somebody asks us a question, where do we want to direct them to that type of automation makes a big deal and a part of automation that people don't talk about a lot is understanding how you can work with people in your community that takes it off of you in your business, but you can depend on somebody else. So it's commonly, it's outsourcing, it's hiring and things like that. But if you look into the community that you have, I'm sure you have some raving fans that have been there where you're like, Oh , I know no matter what, Sally's going to come back and she's going to have my back. And she probably knows more about sex than I do, right ? At this point, what would it take for you to reach out to that person and say, Hey, you know , would I recommend, I would love it if you would come in and serve as our community manager and respond back and forth to people and really like serve our clients in a way that if you're not able to be there immediately and being able to provide those template responses to a person like that, because they are so invested in your box and they believe in your mission is so incredibly bad. So, and then the thing that I'm going to recommend that you can do to automate your business is no way your customer life span is. So this is something that we talk about on the sparkle hustle, grow side all the time with our executive team, as far as what is the average span that somebody is going to stay a subscriber to our box. And so knowing when it is say it's, you know, seven months, nine months, what can we do before that time? Where we typically see a cancellation to keep the person with a Conger ? Well, let's go ahead and send them some information so we can add in additional , um, physical mail that's being sent. Even if it's just a card or a letter, you can do a letter that's sent out at six months post, whenever somebody signs up for their first box to let them know how much you appreciate them to celebrate them, to just get that extra push, to let them know that you're not viewing them as just a credit card that's coming through, but that you actually do value them and their ability to invest in you. And that you want them to stay around putting this as something that's automated and not only will increase your bottom line because people will stay longer. I, for one, know that anytime I get a letter from somebody where it's personal and they're reaching out to just me, I am over joy because I feel heard, I feel seen and understood that like money for me is a way of me and besting and trusting in a person and to hear back from them, that makes such a big difference. Okay. Let's talk about the third way. You can add automation into your subscription box business today. It's all about growing your audience, but what do I mean when I say growing your audience? Well, ideally we all have a number of how many people we would love to subscribe to our box, and then that's going to help us hit income goals. Right? We set that up in goal setting and strategy , um, and really diving into what it looks like on the backend to hit those success numbers and then how we can scale. Okay. And so one of the things we're always going to need to do is we are always going to be need to be growing our audience because while we have a churn rate of how many people stay on , um, take a break, et cetera. We need to know how to bring in new customers, to be able to keep a sustainable business from the beginning. So let's automate that because it shouldn't be, you constantly reaching out , um, pushing for sales. That's not what we want here. We want you to create a business that, you know, like, and actually love being in the here's the recommendation one, if you have not created a lead magnet, more commonly call it a freebie, an opt-in that is the best way you can automate growing your audience because you're giving free value out to a person so that they understand what you can do, what your business is about and how you can help them. And it works for any type of box business. So say you have a music based box. You teach people how to play the guitar, or you provide , um, additional sources for crafting. Well, what is it that the people in your community want to learn about? What do they need, if you're the crafting person, they might want to know, like what the top 10 things are. You should buy from Michael's today to be able to create all the crafts you want. Right? And being able to just provide that free resource, that checklist that somebody could just download. Um, once they see it on a webpage is such a great way to build your email list. And I know Julie talks about this all the time, but building your email list is where you're going to find your warmest audience to be able to convert. And so somebody opt in and then you have a sequence of emails that have been pre-written and go out automatically based on the day that they give you. The email is, Oh my gosh, we have created the best automation that you can have to scale and grow your business because here's where you're going. See that people are signing up. They've heard about you, they've been with you for a little bit, and then you can do really fun things like automate at this count for their first few , um, their first month. And for them to stay on or a special promo code, or they get an additional add on to the box. If they buy off a link in your email, the second way that you can automate growing your actual subscriber base is to create a community. I know I talked about it a little bit before when we were talking about the customer service responses and things like that. But if you don't have a Facebook community, being able to create one where it's in alignment with what your box provides is phenomenal. So you can do this as a free community. That is all about crafting, you know, as a mom or crafting , um, as someone who's hit their like retirement age, whatever your, your stuff is, this is great because like-minded people will search in Facebook because it uses SEO, or it will be pulled in the Google results for being something that is about your goal, your mission, your vision, right? And so creating that community pulls in like-minded people so that you can then share things that you learned , like your lead magnet that we just talked about. You could go live in there. Um, but it's the automation is once you have it up and then you utilize it and link back to it, it's going to pull for other people. So you're going to have to be having an audience that's coming to you next . What can you do with what you already have? Well, if you have a box, you typically are on some sort of platform, like create joy. Um, you have a site where people can go and learn more about you, right? I would encourage anyone and everyone to head over to video, ask.com . Um, they are owned by Typeform and they are an incredible platform where they allow you to add personalization with video to pages that you have, or you can send them out individually as well. You go to sparkle, hustle, grow.com to see a video ask that we have that Juliette did. And it is so great because we're taking that level of communication and understanding one step further and building a relationship from the very beginning. And that's the type of automation you want to have to grow your audience. You can record one video, and then anyone who comes to your site is able to see it just like that. And then lastly, the one other thing that I'm gonna talk about that can be automated to grow your business. It involves, I love sharing things that can be, you know, zero costs to nothing. Um, Facebook ads and Facebook ads are something that you can scale as you go, but using a Facebook ad to reach out into your audience where people are, whether they like to admit it or not. On all time, you're able to niche down to who your audience is and testings that will bring somebody in to your business. So if you're really interested in growing your audience and want something that involves time and energy, but does pay off in the backend , Facebook ads are a really great way to do this because while you do spend the time upfront it's as they work. And when you dive into, and I'm not a Facebook ads expert, but as you dive into, you know, reaching out to your cold audience to develop a warm audience, then retargeting people that go to your site. This is an amazing way to do it because you have a new group, a new email as it's coming in. It's also an excellent spot to put to the lead magnet that we talked about before now , what do you think of all of those? Can you see yourself adding any type of automation into your sub box business today? Do you have any questions about how it works? Because like I said, in the beginning, total automation is a myth. There's always some sort of personal human element that comes together, but there's three things that you really can automate in some way today in your box business to make you enjoy the work that you're doing more. And so to go over them again, we talked about what you can do for when people are interested in the box itself. So like the back end side of the business. So you're not fielding random questions from here and there without having a structure for how you bring somebody in second, your customer service responses. What does it look like for how people reach out to you and want to talk to you, to be able to hear their concerns heard, make a suggestion, just share how much they love you, knowing the things that are coming in and setting it up. So it takes as minimal energy as possible to be able to respond back to people is amazing. And I didn't mentioned early, but if you don't already have an email that auto responds. So an auto reply, whenever somebody emails in to let them know, you'll be with them within 24 hours, please turn that on now, because even if you read it and you respond back in 15 minutes, that's great, but people want to know that they've been heard or you're going to end up in a situation where someone's constantly checking back in and wants to know if you got their email and that one auto reply, keep it short and simple will make a difference. And then the third thing I talked about is how you can automate growing your audience from creating a freebie that anyone can use. That would be your ideal customer to putting the money and investing in Facebook ads. There's a variety of ways where it shouldn't fall on you and one-to-one conversation each and every time I hope this was so helpful. If you have any questions, please know, you can always reach out back to us on social media at Instagram. And if you're wondering, you know, how can I grow my business just a little bit more? I love these ideas, Amy, but I'm really under trying to understand some other parts. Please head on over to our site, which is subscription box bootcamp. And you can hear so much more about what it means to start your business, to grow your business. And then really how to deep dive in with everything that we offer , um , in virtual support days too . Thank you so much again, Julie, for asking me to hop on here with your incredible people. I am always open and I hope that you go ahead and start automating something today.

Speaker 4:

[inaudible] .