State of business automation lists some of the most time-consuming tasks for small business employees:
- Data entry, including copying/pasting data from one platform, database, document, or system to another.
- Document creation and organization, including creating meeting agendas, and to-do lists.
- Invoice management
- Lead management, including follow-up with new leads
- Managing inventory and distribution
Software automation promises to take over mundane tasks and give small-business owners more time to focus on the core aspects of their businesses. In fact, the SaaS adoption in small businesses has deepened from 27% in 2011 to over 94% today.
In this context, Jim Gilmore and Joe Pine coined the term “experience economy” in a seminal article for Harvard Business Review. They made a prediction nearly two decades ago which is coming true today.
They argued that as products or services become commoditized, consumers incrementally raise their expectations until they demand “staged experiences.” Here the goods & services are not bought marketing by their features but more for the experience the consumer could relate to it.
This explains why boutique stores, gourmet bakeries, and personal coaches are in great demand today for offering unique experiences. Unlike a good or service, an experience is not something that is consumed. And small businesses have already perfected this art of providing consumer experiences that would be different from every other consumer.
Big businesses use automation to standardize experiences, small businesses can use automation to personalize them. Time saved on automatable tasks equals more time available to enhance the “staged experience” at a small business.Cory Capoccia, Forbes.
Using automation, small business owners can avoid juggling between attracting more visitors, or supervising internal operations and concentrating more on the core business of product/service delivery.
Happy customer = Satisfied customer = Recurring revenue stream for any business!
3 Things Every Small Business Should Automate
How automation will trigger small business growth
- Will always keep your business customer-centric.
- Marketing & Sales automation solutions have become much more affordable today.
- You need it because everywhere is having it.
Automation is already characterizing most aspects of small businesses, from email marketing to customer relationship management to streamlining inventory management and the in-store experience. You can identify suitable areas of your business where you can apply automation seamlessly.
Here we have identified the three most common areas suitable for automation:
A. Marketing Automation
Marketing involves many redundant tasks such as emailing new subscribers, scheduling social media posts, and optimizing paid search ads. Introducing marketing automation is necessary when scaling up and widening reach.
Paid search ads
Search ads automation products are usually combined with advertisement campaigns to create and display more relevant messages to more people. It will help you optimize your Google ad campaigns eliminating the need to spend hours tediously updating scope, timing, and targeting.
Educate yourself more about the best PPC automation tools from renowned digital marketing expert Neil Patel here.
For some, email campaigns are dead while most marketers still believe in the wide reach of email campaigns. Email campaigns are still a popular strategy to convert passive subscribers into paying customers. Adding automation to the email workflow can improve customer retention as well.
Email campaigns can be automated to send follow-up emails at regular intervals with relevant offers or personalized check-ins based on your customers’ purchase history.
Learn more on how to select an email marketing workflow software – GetResponse Vs Aweber Vs Constant Contact from digital agency experts here.
Social media posts
As an entrepreneur, you would have enjoyed logging onto Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest to post daily about your business products and services. But after some time, it becomes monotonous, and to scale up, you require quantifiable data about user activity on your posts, basically for social listening.
Social media automation tools can help in scheduling and publishing content according to appropriate post times on each network.
More often, the campaigns that you run on social media go unanswered when you lack human agents to respond to customer queries. Apart from automating service requests related to package tracking, refund status, and other issues that are tied to your CRM, you can also tie up live chat agents with your marketing ads, so that any query regarding the ad campaign is addressed effectively.
You can opt for social media marketing services starting from USD 478 which will greatly help you to target the prospects, engage with them, and turn your normal users into high-yielding customers.
Lead management automation can categorize new and ongoing leads based on the type of content they had previously interacted with and feed them with similar content types to keep them engaged with your brand.
Using lead management automation, you can then target them with relevant offers. Based on their interaction, you can even assign a score based on the likelihood of leads turning into paying customers.
Here’s why we recommend HubSpot as the most comprehensive lead management solution.
B. Sales Automation
Sales involve streamlining redundant administrative work like invoicing, and contract management and ensuring reduced response time to customer queries. Introducing sales automation ensures better service to your sales leads.
Mostly associated with e-commerce sales, follow-up emails, and reminders based on your customer’s previous purchases can be automated. You may also automate follow-up emails and reminders when customers express interest in a particular product. Data from CRM can also be automated to send product tracking status after purchase.
Further, set up automated reminders for your sales representatives to check in with your customers personally, to add a humane touch.
Chatbot is a great alternative to online customer service support and is based on AI automation. All common queries can be answered, resolve issues, suggest relevant promotions, and even escalate the report to your live customer support agent so that wait time is reduced to zero!
We offer a wide range of web development and web tool integration services to supercharge your business website, starting from just USD 679.
Invoicing & contract management
As US consumers shift to newer ways of digital payments, B2B small businesses can optimize recurrent payments through invoice automation.
Further, businesses can automate contracts with third-party tools and integrate them with their CRM to smartly & securely execute business contracts with multiple parties.
C. Automating Administrative Operations
Operating a business is not easy. Upon that, managing hired employees as per the employment laws oblige you to withhold taxes and provide social security benefits in addition to managing their daily work schedules.
Instead of separate online timesheets, businesses can shift to an automated payroll system where employee attendance, wages, benefits & taxes are calculated and paycheques are executed automatically without error.
So, this is why every small business in the USA should look to automate its marketing, sales, and administrative areas. Doing all of this by yourself can be daunting. But, don’t worry! Several small businesses like yours have got in touch with smallbusinessweb.co to understand the nuances involved in growing and optimizing a business online.
You can also request a custom quote for any digital solutions to upgrade your online transformation at a competitive price.