We look after the website for Romsey Business Group, which is an informal and local breakfast networking group for business owners.
To reduce the admin work required to add the business details of new members, we wanted a way to make it easy for new members to add details themselves. The details needed to be stored in a ‘draft’ state, so that an admin could approve the profile before it appeared live on the website.
What was it like before (the automation)?
There would be at least 2-3 emails from the new business owner with their details. Details would often be missed or incorrectly formatted, or the previous admin would need to ask for further information or images to complete their profile. The previous admin would then need to clone an existing page, and then manually copy-n-paste details from the email(s) into the profile and then publish it.
It would have taken between 15 to 30 minutes to create a single profile. Plus additional time if emails were going back and forth to get all the required information.
Additionally, since the profile pages were individually created pages in the Divi page builder, if any design changes were needed, then every single member page would need to be edited. Before we took the website on, there were approximately 12 members. So that would have required 12 individual pages to have been updated. (There are approximately 25 members at the time of writing).
If you’ve used the Divi page builder before, whilst powerful, you may have discovered that it’s fiddly and time-consuming to use. Therefore having to apply the same design changes to 12 (or more) pages would waste more time.
How does it work now?
1) New members are sent a link to a password-protected web page
This is the page where they can add their profile. The page is password protected to help reduce the chance of getting fake entries from spambots.
2) The new member adds their details to a simple form
The form is self-service, which means the member can add their details directly to the form at their own pace.
The form has plenty of validation (such as required fields, checking for website addresses, checking email addresses are valid, etc). Having automated validation reduces the chance of incorrectly formatted information. This reduces how much editing and checking is needed by the admin, and therefore reducing the overall effort needed.
3) The system sends us an email
Once the profile has been submitted to the website, we’re notified that there’s a new profile to approve. We log into the website, check the details look correct (which they do over 95% of the time), and then click ‘Publish’.
This removes the need to log in and check the website every few days to look for new profile entries.
4) We email the new member to let them know their profile is live
We’ve made it easy to reply to the notification email sent by the system. The ‘From’ details in the notification email are the business owner’s. That means we simply hit ‘reply’ to that notification email to let them know their profile is live. We don’t need to spend time looking up their email address.
We could automatically send out an email when their profile is Published, but we prefer having the personal touch by sending an email manually.
A quick summary of the automation
- Password-protected page to reduce spam
- A form with explanations and validation to make it easy to complete, whilst reducing errors.
- Form removes 99% of manual effort required to create a profile.
- Email notification to prompt when profile needs review, to save manually checking
- A simple email that’s easy to reply to is created automatically.