5 Best Business Automation Tools
Business automation sounds like every business owner’s dream. You can just set things up to happen automatically so you don’t have to worry about it. If you could automate your business, maybe you could take a long-overdue vacation!
Unfortunately, business automation doesn’t mean that your entire company can run on autopilot. However, automation does allow you to use software to complete repetitive tasks so that you and your staff can work on higher-level work.
What can you automate in a business, and what tools are available? Let’s take a look.
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
What Can You Automate in Business?
You already know that project collaboration software can be a lifesaver when it comes to keeping up with your team. But what are some of the business processes you can automate to make your life easier as a business owner? Here are a few great examples.
Email Marketing is one of the best business processes to automate because it’s so easy to do. With the right software, you can reply to email queries immediately, assign follow-up tasks, set up marketing campaigns to drip emails out over a period of time to nurture leads, and send out loyalty rewards to eligible customers.
Other Marketing Processes can also be automated. This might mean setting up automatic social media posts, sending text messages for marketing, assigning a new customer to an onboarding team member, and more.
Customer Care can also be automated to a certain extent. People don’t want to be treated like a number or forced to speak to a robot, but automation can help your customer care team quickly access relevant information about a customer’s needs. Chatbots can also answer common questions and free up your employees for more complex cases.
Certain Management Tasks can benefit from automation as well. Of course, it’s not about robotic process automation or removing the face-to-face interaction between employees and management. It’s about automating things like meeting reminders, task follow-ups, and report creation. That allows managers to spend more time with staff, not less!
The 5 Best Automation Tools For Your Business
Now that you know what business processes can be automated, it’s time to look at the best business automation solutions for your small business. Some of them are specific to particular business activities, while others help you with automation in general.
Zapier is a tool that allows you to boost productivity quickly and easily by creating automated actions between common software programs. For example, you can set up a “Zap” to automatically share a new blog post to social media as soon as you hit publish. Or create an action to backup all Google Docs to Dropbox.
Automating these small manual tasks helps ensure that nothing is overlooked and forgotten, while also giving you the time you need to focus on important work.
- Purpose: Can be used for a variety of automations
- Cost: Free up to 100 tasks/month, monthly fees allow 750+ tasks per month
- Free Trial: Yes
If you’re looking for an affordable email marketing software and customer relationship manager (CRM) all in one, ActiveCampaign is the solution for you. It works well for a sales team of any size, so you can start with it as a small business and continue to use it as you grow.
With ActiveCampaign, you can avoid having a huge price jump once your company grows past a particular size. Since the whole purpose of automating your sales process is to improve your customer service and grow your business, that’s important!
- Purpose: Email marketing and CRM
- Cost: Based on how many contacts you have, each level offers Lite, Plus, Professional, or Enterprise
- Free Trial: No, but they may offer a discount on the first few months
Collecting leads online can be a bit piecemeal if you try to use the built-in system on each platform. You also may not get all the information you need, and it may be difficult to get the new lead information into your CRM.
OptinMonster solves the problem by not only providing excellent website forms but also by popping these forms up when customers are most likely to respond. With advanced targeting options and over 100 templates, you’ll get the lead capture you need and it integrates seamlessly with ActiveCampaign.
- Purpose: Lead generation and capture
- Price: From $9/mo to $50/mo depending on pageviews and features
- Free Trial: No, but the first year is 35% off
Scheduling posts on social media is extremely time-consuming and there’s always the chance that you’ll be pulled into reading and interacting online, which can cost you hours of productivity. Instead, take advantage of social media posting automation like MeetEdgar.
The best feature of MeetEdgar is that it reuses previous posts over time and can access a wide variety of social media platforms. You set up a content library and the software pulls posts from there so that your content is fresh every day, but older posts aren’t forgotten forever. It also includes analytics and A/B testing options so you know what works to boost engagement.
- Purpose: Social media automation
- Price: $19/mo to $49/mo, depending on the number of social accounts and features
- Free Trial: Yes, for 7 days
Is your team tired of sending 12 emails to schedule a 15-minute meeting? It wears thin on everyone. Calendly allows your team to coordinate availability so that it’s easy to see who’s available at what time.
Managers can use the time saved in setting up meetings for more valuable tasks, like reviewing the sales process or making key business decisions. Avoiding repetitive tasks helps enhance the work environment for everyone!
- Purpose: Scheduling
- Price: Basic plan is free, the paid Professional or Teams plan is $12-$16/mo per person, billed annually
- Free Trial: Yes
The Best Business Automation Tools
As you can see, there are a lot of manual processes that you can eliminate with business process automation. Automation not only saves time but also reduces errors and helps your staff stay focused on the projects that really make a difference.
These five automation tools are a great place to start if you’re looking for a way to do more with fewer resources. If you’d like help with project management or financial reporting, we at FreshBooks are here to help.
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