What are you passionate about? What are you good at? If it’s NOT running the marketing for your small business, we have something to share with you, it’s called marketing automation. We want to share with you our automation business ideas and the best automation software tools for small business owners.
Today, three out of every four companies are using some kind of marketing automation tool in order to save time, reduce costs, increase leads, and drive sales. There’s a good chance your competition has discovered marketing automation.
Maybe it’s time you should too.
What is workplace automation?
Workplace automation refers to the use of technology to automate or streamline tasks, processes, or entire jobs in the workplace.
It involves the use of business automation software, machines, and other technologies to replace or augment human labor with the goal of increasing efficiency, productivity, and profitability. These can be powerful tools for small business owners and large corporations alike!
Examples of automation in the workplace
Examples of workplace automation include the use of robots in manufacturing, chatbots for customer service, automated data entry, and artificial intelligence (AI) tools for data analysis and decision-making.
Automation can also involve the use of software to automate repetitive tasks, such as scheduling, invoicing, and payroll processing.
Pros & cons of automation in the workplace
While workplace automation can lead to increased efficiency and cost savings for businesses, it can also result in job displacement or the need for workers to acquire new skills to adapt to changing job requirements.
As such, it is important for businesses to carefully consider the impact of automation on their workforce and to implement strategies to mitigate any negative effects.
While small businesses to large enterprises utilize business automation software and tools, keep in mind you can’t just set it and forget it. It’s best practice to monitor the automation tools that you have implemented and tweak to improve their effectiveness.
Workflow automation tools & business tasks that can be automated
Here are some small business automation ideas and tools to consider for task automation:
- Email Marketing Automation (ActiveCampaign)
- Customer Relationship Management (HubSpot)
- Customer Service (Live or AI Chat bots)
- Social Media Management (SocialPilot)
- SEO Automation (SEMrush)
- Project Management Tool (Trello)
- Website Automation (WordPress Automation Plugins)
- Automated data entry (Zapier)
- Scheduling Automation (Calendly, Google Calendar)
- Invoicing Automation (QuickBooks)
- Proposal Automation (Proposify)
Next, we will dive deeper into the business automation ideas and talk about some of the best business automation software tools.
What is marketing automation?
Good marketing today involves almost constant sending of information and targeted relevant messages through channels to specific audiences. Unless this is your only task, keeping up manually is close to impossible. And—no doubt—you have much better things to do.
Marketing automation software automates these necessary but repetitive marketing tasks. Every step of a marketing campaign from the initial kickoff and through the entire customer journey can be automated.
Using marketing automation software increases your chances of generating new leads, making sales, and increasing your ROI—all while freeing up your time to do something you truly want to do.
Automating marketing processes and communications is how growing businesses successfully scale!
The top 9 business and marketing tasks you can automate.
What are some business automation ideas using marketing automation software?
Think about every step in your marketing strategy. Every process in which you are sharing your message, boosting your brand, selling your product, and tracking and analyzing results can be automated.
1. Email Automation Templates to Streamline Your Workflow
Automated email sequences can be set up using simple email templates and triggers.
Most email marketing automation platforms, like ActiveCampaign and HubSpot, have point-and-click features to add, delete, move, and edit elements to create professional-looking email marketing campaigns.
Once you create your first email sequence, you can save it as a template in your email marketing platform’s template library. Then duplicate this email sequence to be used in other marketing and sales funnels that will nurture your prospects along their customer journey on autopilot.
Check out our premade email automation template that you can implement in your small business marketing funnel today.
2. Automated Landing Pages for Lead Generation
No coding required. Most marketing automation software tools offer a landing page builder. Some even feature the ability to track leads and offer tips to help you adjust your strategy.
Landing pages can be a powerful tool for a small business owner’s lead generation efforts and content marketing strategy. Once you’ve created and published your landing page, it has the potential to generate leads and sales on autopilot.
Once a lead is collected or a sale occurs, your email marketing tool’s triggers will nurture the new lead and welcome your new customer.
3. Customer Relationship Management Automation
An easy-to-access space for all your relevant customer data.
CRMs, like ActiveCampaign, also allow team members to communicate internally with social notes and follow-up reminders.
Workflows & Triggers
With pre-set triggers, leads are automatically filtered into an email campaign or sales funnel and can be tracked along with way. New customers can be entered into workflows for an order confirmation or post-purchase funnel, which in turn, can help increase your repeat purchase rate (RPR) and average order value (AOV).
You will also want to set up automated lead scoring and qualification in your CRM or email marketing tool. The rules for most of the lead scoring automations are unlimited.
Lead scoring is a process used in sales and marketing to rank potential customers or “leads” based on their level of interest and likelihood to purchase a product or service. The goal of lead scoring is to identify the leads that are most likely to become customers and prioritize them for sales outreach.
Lead scoring typically involves assigning points or scores to different attributes of a lead, such as their job title, industry, company size, website activity, and engagement with marketing materials. For example, a lead who has downloaded your whitepaper or attended your webinar might be assigned a higher score than a lead who has only visited your website.
Once the leads are scored, they can be segmented into different categories based on their scores, such as “hot leads” who are ready for immediate sales outreach, “warm leads” who need further nurturing, or “cold leads” who are unlikely to convert.
Lead scoring can be done manually or with the help of software and automation tools. By using lead scoring, businesses can focus their sales efforts on the leads that are most likely to result in revenue and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales and marketing efforts.
To set up lead scoring:
- Identify conversion goals that are relevant to your business.
- Scale and prioritize these conversions: what goals will get the least and most points?
- Figure out the integrations your CRM will use to track these conversions.
- Lastly, set up the triggers within your CRM that will assign a specific score to your leads based on the actions they do or don’t take.
Customer service automation
Your CRM can also be used to augment your customer service team by automating customer service processes. One common approach is to use chatbots or live virtual assistants to handle customer inquiries and provide support.
AI Chatbots can be programmed to answer common customer questions, provide product information, and even initiate and manage customer service tickets.
Another way that your CRM can be used for customer service automation is by using predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms to anticipate customer needs and identify potential issues before they arise.
For example, programming your CRM chatbot so that a chat window opens engaging a visitor upon their intent to leave the web page. This can help small businesses proactively address customer issues and provide personalized recommendations to customers.
Collecting customer reviews or testimonials is vital. Your CRM can also be used to automate customer reviews, feedback, and satisfaction surveys, as well as to provide self-service options for customers to access their account information, update their personal information, and track their orders.
Overall, one of our best business automation ideas is customer service automation with your CRM! It can help your small business improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its customer service operations, reduce response times, and provide a better customer experience.
4. Social Media Automation for Small Businesses
Social media automation tools can automate tasks such as publishing your posts for you, scheduling posts, monitoring and responding to comments, and analyzing social media metrics. This gives you the ability to post on different social media platforms, all at the same time.
There are several social media management tools that allow users to manage multiple social media accounts in one place, schedule posts in advance, and track performance metrics. Some of these platforms also use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms to recommend content, suggest optimal posting times, and analyze engagement and conversion metrics.
Looking for an affordable, user-friendly design tool that can help you automate the task of designing graphics for your social media posts? There are also many graphic design tools out there, like Adobe Creative Suite geared more for expert graphic designers, or the more affordable, intuitive Canva platform that can help you organize, create, and automate the design of various marketing assets, including your social media graphics.
Another way to put your social media on autopilot is social media advertising.
Social media advertising platforms such as Facebook Ads and Twitter Ads allow businesses to create targeted ad campaigns based on user demographics, interests, and behaviors. These campaigns can be automated to run at specific times and can be optimized based on performance data.
While social media automation can save you time and improve efficiency, it is important to ensure that automation is used responsibly and in a way that aligns with your brand’s social media strategy. Over-automation or spam-like behavior can be detrimental to a brand’s reputation and may even result in penalties from social media platforms.
5. Automate Your Blogging Workflow
While we don’t recommend using AI-powered content creation tools to generate blog posts, we do recommend working with a content writer that will help you produce high-quality blog posts that will boost your website’s SEO and build brand awareness and credibility.
As a small business owner, creating and publishing blog content can be time consuming!
Don’t fret, we’re here to share some of the best business automation ideas for blogging:
- Create 1-2 blog post templates: Using a WordPress theme or website builder tool, offering a selection of customizable templates, gives you the ability to quickly schedule and publish your articles to your website.
- Document converter: Publishing a preformatted post to your WordPress website can be time consuming though. Automate that process using a WordPress plugin like Mammoth .docx converter. Mammoth takes the Word or Google Doc and converts it to HTML, omitting styling (font, color, text size) and keeping the paragraph and heading styles (H1, H2, H3, etc.).
- Social media promotion: After publishing a blog post, social media promotion is key to reaching a wider audience. Social media automation tools, like the ones we mentioned above, can be synced to your blog’s RSS feed to automatically schedule and publish social media posts promoting newly published blog content. This can save time and ensure consistent promotion across multiple platforms.
- Email newsletters: Bloggers can also automate the process of sending email updates about new blog posts to subscribers by syncing your email marketing software with your blog’s RSS feed. Like social media posting, when a new blog post is published, you can set up automations so your email marketing tool creates and sends out an email update to subscribers.
- Analytics and reporting: Analytics tools can be used to automate the process of tracking and reporting on blog performance metrics. This can include metrics such as pageviews, engagement, and conversions. By automating analytics and reporting, small business owners can save time and gain insights into what is working and what can be improved.
6. Automate Your Marketing Analytics Reporting
Do you want to quickly access statistics and results without having to spend hours digging through boring and confusing data? Who doesn’t, right? Track all your marketing campaigns from your email click-through and bounce rates to your social media engagement and ad performance.
Here are some steps you can take to automate your marketing analytics:
- Define your marketing goals and KPIs: The first step is to identify what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts and what metrics you’ll use to measure success.
- Use a marketing automation tool: There are many marketing automation tools available, like HubSpot, that can help you automate your analytics reporting process. These tools can help you track website visitors, capture leads, manage email campaigns, and analyze data.
- Implement tracking codes: To gather data on your marketing activities, you’ll need to implement tracking codes on your website and in your marketing campaigns. This will allow you to track user behavior, conversions, and other metrics.
- Integrate data sources: To get a complete picture of your marketing activities, you’ll need to integrate data from multiple sources, such as your website, social media, email campaigns, paid ads, and offline sources.
- Use dashboards and reports: Use dashboards and reports to visualize your data and monitor your marketing performance. You can create custom dashboards that display the metrics that matter most to you.
- Use machine learning and AI: Machine learning and AI can help you automagically analyze large volumes of data and identify patterns and trends. This can help you optimize your marketing efforts and improve your ROI.
Overall, by leveraging the right tools and best practices, you can gain valuable insights into your marketing activities and make data-driven decisions to improve your marketing performance.
7. Scheduling Automation
If you haven’t yet, you need to streamline the process of scheduling appointments, meetings, or events with a scheduling tool like Calendly or Google Calendar.
Select a scheduling tool, integrate it with your calendar to avoid double-booking, customize your availability, automate appointment reminders, and allow clients to schedule through an online booking link.
8. Invoicing Automation
Another important business process, invoicing, can be simplified to make it easier to manage your accounts receivable. Tools, such as QuickBooks, can automate the process of creating and sending invoices to customers or clients.
Select an invoicing software tool, customize and create invoice templates, automate invoicing based on triggers (such as reaching a certain date), set up recurring invoices, and offer online payment options to speed up the payment process.
9. Proposal Automation
Just like invoicing, creating proposals can be extremely time consuming. But great proposals can help you win the bid! Don’t recreate every proposal from scratch, use a proposal software tool. There are free options out there too! We like Proposify.
After you select your proposal software, you can create professional-looking proposal templates and customize them for each of your service offerings. You also have the option to automate based on triggers (such as lead form submission), enable electronic signatures, analyze your proposal pipeline and review proposal analytics to optimize your proposals and improve your conversion rate!
Our Top 9 Best Automation Software
By automating your marketing, you can spend more time on your business than in it. You don’t need to worry about if or how things are being done. Once you have everything set up, and have a process to keep it fresh, the day-to-day work is out of your hands and off your shoulders.
Where to start?
Try out some or all of our top 9 business automation software tools:
- ActiveCampaign – Calls what it provides “customer experience automation.” From automated workflows for drip campaigns to the ability to build a complete multi-channel marketing strategy, it provides the whole automation package.
- SocialPilot – Boasts the ability to manage all your social media channels from one centralized dashboard. For teams and agency owners, it offers the ability to interact with clients, while still maintaining privacy. Users appreciate its quick and easy setup and affordable pricing.
- All-in-One SEO Plugin – Add this plugin to your WordPress website for a quick and powerful tool that analyzes your website detecting errors and giving insights to boost SEO and helps you optimize your blog posts and website pages using on-page analysis and SEO best practices.
- Zapier – Offers integration with over 5,000+ apps. Multi-step workflows combined with conditional logic make it easy to get your communications where they need to go. Automated data formatting from one app to the next keeps things moving. Users love its simple features and free level of service option.
- Trello – Trello is our favorite tool to manage projects and tasks, social media management and to organize your marketing strategies and editorial calendar too. When integrated with a tool like Zapier, you can automate tasks based on conditional logic.
- Chat widgets – These are the live chat tools that appear as popup chat boxes on your site. Here your visitors get assistance from customer support agents or bots (or maybe even both). Most CRMs, like ActiveCampaign and HubSpot offer live chat widgets that are available with different features and prices, depending on your needs.
- Klaviyo – With its ability to send hyper-targeted, behavior-triggered email and SMS automations, it is a favorite for those businesses that rely heavily on eCommerce. Reviews tout its ease of use and supreme customer service.
- Hubspot – A powerful CRM offering free and paid marketing tools to manage everything from automated email sequences to chat widgets and help desks. While it’s a pricier CRM option, it offers the ability to customize features for your complex business’ needs.
- SEMrush or Ahrefs – Create your account and add your website project to this powerful SEO tool that provides you with reports on your rankings, competitive analysis, and various analytics reports so that you have clarity on what’s working, where there are gaps, and what needs to be improved.
With these tools you can share your messaging, engage website visitors, gather & nurture leads, and build analytics reports 24/7. In other words, you can do your thing while your automated marketing is doing its thing.
Need help getting started? Get in touch to chat with us about a business automation plan tailored to your needs. Or, check out our digital marketing tools page for the best marketing and website tools that we use and recommend to help you automate and grow your online business.