How To Build Organized and Profitable Business With Automation
When you’re a small business owner you probably often run short with time because you have to deal with more things than you can handle. Furthermore, you probably still do most of those things manually, although today there is a wide collection of automation solutions available, which make dealing with everyday tasks much easier.
Depending on the type of your business, you might need different automation tools so we’ll go through several types of automation tools from all-in-one to single-featured ones.
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. – Bill Gates
1. All-in-one Automation Tools
These are rarely used platforms for small businesses. Given their ability to automate much more tasks than single-featured tools, their costs are much higher. But when you consider the time you save from not switching from system to system you can compensate that higher cost.
The top notch all-in-one tools today are Ontraport and Infusionsoft. Both solutions come with powerful marketing automation and CRM functionality.
Infusionsoft is a fully-equipped E-commerce pack and has a much larger group of plug-ins for extra features while Ontraport is a little easier to deal with and is more suitable for solopreneurs.
How much of your valuable time do you spend each day taming your overflowing email inboxes and sending out countless emails one by one?
Let’s see how you can improve with automation:
- By sending automated emails, you are 133% more likely to send relevant messages that correspond with your customer’s purchase cycle. – Lenskold and Pedowitz Groups
- 95% of organizations that utilize marketing automation, take advantage of email marketing. – Regalix
- 56% companies currently use an email marketing provider and are 75% or more likely to be purchasers of marketing automation software over the next year. –VentureBeat
With 15 years and over 650,000 customers, Constant Contact is one of the top notch email marketing solutions. It has features that collect specific data and allow you to target your audience more precisely (based on customers preferences, behavior, past sales and similar).
Of course, every business has different requirements and there are other top solutions which you may find fit your business better.
3. Social Media
If you’re new to social media automation, you should definitely start with the biggest social media services today, and those are Buffer and Hootsuite.
How do they work?
Well, first of all, both solutions work for most familiar social networks. Also, both allow you to optimize post scheduling for when your audience is most active. You simply schedule posts from the content you created or you found on some curated sources.
The only difference between the two platforms lies in the amount and detail of analytic and reporting elements. Buffer can provide you with reporting based on the shared-through-app content while Hootsuite has more detailed analytics (especially in its paid packages).
4. Invoicing and Bookkeeping
When the cash is flowing in your business sometimes it can make you dizzy when you’re filling out and sending an invoice for the service you provided, the time you spent working on a job or when your customers make purchases. And it can consume a lot of time. When it comes to bookkeeping most entrepreneurs face common problems – they either ignore it for months or spend up to 10+ hours monthly on it. With invoice and bookkeeping automation tools, you have aggregated data at your disposal which allows for some processes to be done in just a few clicks. Beside time-saving, automated processes reduce the possibility for error making as well as the amount of additional paper waste.
5. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Given that today’s market is ultra-competitive, the winner companies are those that ace managing customer relationships. That’s why adoption of new CRM system makes a smart move for businesses of all sizes. Replacing manual processes with a well designed CRM system can improve organizational efficiency. Also, most of CRM systems have the ability to integrate with other systems and tools such as those for marketing automation. That way they open up new options for more efficient interaction with current and prospective customers.
CRM systems can be very useful for sales managers to watch over sales team’s progress, and sales representatives can use them to watch over their own appointments and leads.
The greatest advantage that CRM systems can offer is improved overall customer experience.
Although each businesses’ needs and goals differ, automation technologies can make them realize through enhanced productivity, cost savings and efficient time management. These valuable advantages allow you to focus more on strengthening your business model and strategies. That’s why automation stands for one of the top business trends in 2016.
Do you use automation tools in your business? What are some of your favorite solutions?