So, the question I have for you about automating your business is a simple one:
What are you waiting for?
The numbers don’t lie. Here’s what we know about automation:
- 60% of all occupations could save 30% of their time with automation
- It’s estimated that the average CEO spends 20% of their time on tasks that could be automated
- Businesses lose an estimated 20% to 30% of their profits due to inefficient processes
#1: Marketing Emails
This one’s obvious, but I’m always shocked at how many small businesses don’t have an active email list. Since one of the biggest excuses business owners make is a lack of time – and believe me, I get it – there’s no excuse not to embrace email automation.
The beauty of email automation is that it’s truly a “set it and forget it” proposition when it comes to new subscribers. Unless you make major changes in your business, your introductory email sequence will work for years. And adding new emails is a snap.
#2: Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing only works if it’s consistent. You can easily use automation to streamline your lead nurturing process and ensure that nobody falls through the cracks.
- Remind you to make phone calls
- Make a record of your outgoing phone calls
- Send automated emails to follow up on voice mails
You’re busy and you might miss something if you try to handle your lead nurturing without automation. With the right tools, you can automate most of the process and turn more of your leads into paying customers.
#3: Repeat Sales
If you have customers who order from you regularly, it’s essential to stay on top of those orders and send reminders as needed. One of the beauties of automation is that you can use it to set reminders and send your clients prompts to place their regular order.
Automation can also be useful for other parts of repeat sales, including creating invoices and sending collection reminders. These things will ensure that you most loyal customers know you care about them and value their business.
On a related note, you can use automation to remind customers when they abandon items in their shopping cart.
#4: Client Appreciation
Once you attract a new client, it’s important to let them know that you value their business. But as you know, it’s all too easy to get distracted in the course of a busy day and forget to touch base with your existing clients.
With automation, you can create a welcome series of emails to ensure that new clients feel appreciated and valued. You can also set reminders to follow up regularly, thus minimizing the risk of losing a client because they think you’ve forgotten about them. You can even use automation to remind you of clients’ birthdays, so you can send them a card or email wishing them a happy birthday.
#5: Customer Support
We live in a service economy and that means that customer service is hugely important when it comes to attracting and retaining customers. Automation can help you do the best possible job of serving your customers and giving them what they need.
For example, setting up a customer service chatbot is easier than ever before. Chatbots can handle simple customer service requests such as password resets and address changes. They can also, if programmed properly, make product suggestions and redirect customers to self-service options when it’s appropriate.
Scheduling (and remembering) appointments can be a real hassle when you’re busy – and most business owners are! Automation can help you by automatically adding events and appointments to your calendar. Then, it can send you reminders before your appointments.
The same is true of appointments with clients. You can use automation to schedule the meeting and then, use it before the meeting to confirm the appointment and minimize the chances that anybody will forget to show up.
#7: Collect Customer Data
- Create a content marketing strategy that provides them with the answers they want
- Address problems with your existing products and services
- Target your marketing and advertising to the people who are most likely to buy from you
- Learn how to improve your customer service
Automated surveys, which you can send out via email or link to on social media, are a good way to get data from your customers. With automation, you can tally the results and analyze them – leaving you free to focus on what to do with the information you collect.
#8: Build a Referral Database
Referral business is valuable because the leads you get from referrals are likely to be highly targeted and relevant to your business. It’s a must to build a referral database that allows you to track your referral sources and make good on any incentives you’re offering to encourage referrals.
For example, you can assign referral codes for online referrals and track them as you receive calls or emails. Then, you can use automation to thank your referral sources and in your lead nurturing as well. You can also automate the referral process by making it simple for your existing clients or local business partners to direct potential customers to your website.
Automation is here to stay – there’s no question about that. The question is what will you do with it? While there are many potential answers, I think the 8 suggestions here are the best ways to use automation to your advantage, attract new clients, and make your business both efficient and profitable.