Automation streamlines operations by taking care of the tedious work that you or your employees would otherwise have to conduct by hand. When looking for examples of automation, your mailbox will suffice.
This is the electronic version of the “I’m so sorry I missed you” voicemail a salesperson has left you. The restaurant gift card you got on your birthday. A notification from an online store that an item has been put to your shopping basket but you have yet to complete the purchase.
Automating processes has become crucial to businesses of all sizes, with research firm Gleanster finding that 80% of successful businesses have utilized marketing automation for more than 2 years.
However, today, automation isn’t just found in large companies. There is no part of a small business that should not be automated. This includes everything from the collection of leads to the closing of sales, from the provision of customer service to the completion of mundane administrative work. By automating mundane tasks, business owners may focus on strategic initiatives like expanding their operations.
Automating company procedures is simpler than you may believe, and this tutorial will show you how to automate the 25 most important tasks at your small business.
Table of contents
- 1. Set up automated email campaigns.
- 2. Create standard operating procedures (SOPs)
- 3. Upload contact data to a CRM for a centralized database
- 4. Implement a lead scoring system
- 5. Use a social media scheduling tool
- 6. Automate SMS marketing messages
- 7. Review and automate your sales process
- 8. Automate repetitive tasks
- 9. Outsource key tasks to experts
- 10. Centralize your internal communication efforts
1. Set up automated email campaigns.
Email marketing automation is one type of automation that may immediately come to mind. Because of its widespread use and ease of implementation, it ranks high among automation techniques.
Types of email automation:
- Action-based email sending, such as webinar registration confirmations and shopping cart abandonment reminders
- Drip workflows in emailing, which send out information at regular intervals
- Sending the content or data you requested after submitting a form.
- Personalizing every email you send A/B testing content and sending the top-performing version automatically
- Automatically sorting contacts into relevant categories and blasting them with targeted emails
If you’re just getting started with email marketing automation, it’s a good idea to examine the automation features already available in your email marketing platform and consider how you might incorporate them into your plan.
All mainstream email marketing platforms come equipped with automation features. Choose an emailing program that has sufficient automation features to satisfy your company’s needs if you haven’t already done so.
2. Create standard operating procedures (SOPs)
In what percentage do you have documented business processes? Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are essential for the success of any firm, regardless of size.
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are comprehensive guides that explain how to carry out tasks inside an organization. Having standard operating procedures (SOPs) on hand makes it considerably simpler to train new employees and distribute responsibilities as a business expands. The sooner new hires can contribute, the more of an influence they will have on the company.
3. Upload contact data to a CRM for a centralized database
Is your client information lost in a sea of disorganized spreadsheets? Does your team have trouble determining a contact’s status or the timing of your last interaction with them? If that’s the case, automating your client database could be a great move for your company.
Using a customer relationship management system (CRM) as a central database and syncing contact data amongst apps allows for instantaneous updates whenever there is a change to a customer’s account. As a result, your team will have less administrative work to undertake, and your connections with clients and customers will strengthen.
4. Implement a lead scoring system
Is there a system in place for your team to evaluate leads and prioritize the best ones? If not, you may want to consider implementing lead scoring.
In order to help you and your team focus on the leads who are most likely to become paying customers, lead scoring assigns numeric scores to each lead based on a number of criteria. This will free up your team’s time to focus on leads with a higher potential for conversion to paying customers.
5. Use a social media scheduling tool
Anyone who has ever worked in social media management or created content knows how time-consuming it can be, especially when publishing on the go. This is why the use of a social media scheduling tool may completely transform the efficiency of a hectic marketing department.
With the help of a social media scheduling tool, your team can plan ahead to produce engaging content and then have it automatically published across all of your most important channels.
6. Automate SMS marketing messages
As people are spending more time in front of screens because of the COVID-19 epidemic, text message advertising has had a renaissance.
Automated short message service marketing is something your company’s marketing team may use to get in touch with leads and convert potential consumers. Possible SMS advertising robots include:
- Appointment and other event reminders
- Notifications when the contact’s previously selected item(s) are back in stock Messages to prevent the contact from leaving an item in their shopping cart empty
- Discount and sale advertisements
7. Review and automate your sales process
The goal of sales automation is to improve the management of the sales process by lowering the barriers to entry and raising the percentage of leads converted.
Sales automation has many advantages:
- Maintain control over a high-volume system
- Refined time-planning
- Find the sales-ready leads and devote your efforts to them.
- Amass and put data-driven insights to use
- Keep everything in your apps up to date.
Start your sales automation journey by investigating your CRM’s preexisting automation features. The next step is to consider adopting and integrating more apps to automate even more robust processes.
8. Automate repetitive tasks
Do any of your team’s tasks include high levels of repetition, recurrence, or a shared set of skills? If that’s the case, those chores should be the first to be automated.
Automating some of your routine processes with a service like Zapier or Make can save you time and effort. Let’s say that every time your company publishes a blog article, your staff sends out a promotional tweet.
As soon as a new blog post is made on your organization’s blog, you may have your preferred tool automatically tweet a link to the content.
Similarly, you can save redundant effort by implementing a method to synchronize data across the applications in your technology stack.
9. Outsource key tasks to experts
When you’re first starting a business, you’re usually responsible for all the tasks and responsibilities that make that business run. While that can be good for the bottom line, it’s not good for scaling and automation.
Once you’re able to afford it, outsourcing tasks to new team members, assistants, and specialists can really help your business go to the next level.
Let’s say you’re a small business owner who has handled all of your own email marketing while juggling various other duties. Unless you are an expert email marketer, you may not be giving this area the attention it deserves and the quality may suffer.
When hiring a contract email marketing expert, they can set up the necessary workflows and funnels that can help your email marketing run on autopilot, potentially resulting in more sales.
Go through the tasks you’re currently doing for your business and look for areas you can outsource to someone else to save you time and drive better results.
10. Centralize your internal communication efforts
Human relationships can be simplified and improved by automation of communication procedures. You, the business owner, will have more time on your hands thanks to this automation, which is crucial for caring for your staff and encouraging their professional development.
The various forms of automated communication:
- Prepare for meetings with automated team reminders
- Check in on tasks at predetermined times automatically.
- Distributing orientation materials to new hires
- Incorporating daily reports on successes and roadblocks
- Monitoring one’s progress and conducting internal evaluations
- Statistical display screens
- Integrating information into presentations
Email clients like Gmail and instant messaging platforms like Slack and Asana also have powerful automation features that can streamline your team’s internal communications.