For many people, it’s exciting to imagine living in an automated world.
Self-driving cars. Exceptionally speedy deliveries. A staggering degree of convenience that allows us to minimize the frustration in our lives and make the most of every moment.
Compared to most science fiction films, it’s pretty clear that we’re not living in the picturesque age of automation quite yet – but the technology is getting there.
Sure, perhaps your car can’t drive you to work or to a vacation destination of your choice on its own. But in the meantime, there are still dozens of effective ways to put your business on autopilot.
Business automation tools are becoming increasingly popular – and for good reasons! With the right software in place, you can save time, energy, and even see your business performance skyrocket!
So, what business automation software is worth your time by extension of saving it? Read on to find out!
1) Automate & Streamline Your Digital Marketing Efforts
The growth of any business is heavily dependent on successful marketing. Without reaching new clients and customers, it’s next to impossible to see your profits rise.
Unfortunately, marketing is typically a highly experimental field. Not every marketing strategy can be expected to work with every business – there’s a degree of trial and error involved.
That said, there are countless digital marketing tools out there that make gaining online traction for your business a whole lot easier. Here are just a few of our favourites!
Oversee Your Social Media Campaigns With HootSuite
Today’s online marketing sphere involves several or more social platforms – but with HootSuite, all your accounts are conveniently available in one place. HootSuite supports account integration with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and many more services, so your bases will definitely be covered!
Using HootSuite’s browser-based interface, you can quickly switch tabs between your social media accounts, observe trends, schedule updates, and more. HootSuite makes overseeing your social media campaigns a breeze, allowing you to make your results count!
Supercharge Your Email Marketing With MailChimp
Many business owners often overlook the importance of email marketing, preferring to emphasize their social media marketing efforts instead. This is a shame because, as research clearly demonstrates, marketing via email is still extremely valuable in 2018.
In fact, research by OptinMonster illustrates that user engagement with email still beats out the respective engagement rates of social networks like Facebook and Twitter. In that study, email marketing saw conversion rates of 66%, while users were much less likely to make a purchase as a result of visible marketing on Facebook and Twitter.
That’s why we wholeheartedly recommend that you get started with MailChimp if you haven’t already! MailChimp is a fantastic all-in-one email marketing service that helps you build, manage, and grow your email marketing efforts while also leaving you plenty of room for customization and experimentation.
The best part is, MailChimp is totally free forever – as long as you’ve got no more than 2000 subscribers and you’re sending no more than 12000 emails a month.
Step It Up With Spokal’s Automatic Content Scheduling
Spokal is a relatively new competitor in the social media marketing scene – but it’s well-worth including it on this list. Spokal is similar to social media management services like HootSuite and Buffer, but with one notable difference.
Instead of merely posting to your social media feeds at pre-selected dates, Spokal actively monitors the performance of your previous posts to better optimize future posts and automatically reschedules your content accordingly.
Spokal also features an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface and allows you to build a backlog of content, called a “library,” from which it will source future updates.
If you weren’t impressed with HootSuite, Spokal’s learned automation feature might just bring a whole new level of convenience to your everyday marketing efforts!
2) Let Scheduling Software Run Your Service-Based Business
For service-based businesses that exist more so in the physical world than online, scheduling software like Yocale is a fantastic way to cut corners safely while also saving time and boosting profits.
The best scheduling software keeps you in-tune with your schedule via an intuitive and fully customizable calendar. As appointments are booked, they’ll appear automatically within your scheduler, which you can access from your computer or iOS/Android-based mobile device at any time.
There’s no need for you or your staff to sit by the phone and take down appointment details by hand – scheduling software makes appointment management a breeze! Once your appointments are confirmed, you can drag, drop, and label them to your heart’s content.
Superior Inventory Management
The automation doesn’t stop there, though – scheduling software can often bring you huge advantages across nearly all facets of your business.
For example, inventory management is a common source of frustration for businesses and their employees.
As you might guess, manually managing your inventory is nothing short of exhausting. But with scheduling software, those days can be long gone!
By checking in via an easy-to-use graphical interface, you can quickly glean insights into your inventory and identify what’s moving, and what’s not. The best scheduling software doesn’t just keep track of your inventory’s past – it gives you clear-cut insights into how to optimize your inventory for the future.
Automatic Transaction Receipts And Self-Serve Printing
If you’re looking to optimize your business and really make the most of every second, it’s important to evaluate every potential time-suck within your business.
And even though it’s 2018, many businesses are still relying on paper receipts. While there are some upsides to providing paper receipts and some customers prefer them, offering them might be doing your business more harm than good.
Why? Well, if a customer or client needs a reprint of a past receipt, they’ll need you to reprint it. This might not sound like a huge burden, but add up these scenarios over time, and you’re likely looking at a lot of unnecessary workplace distraction.
However, with the automatic transaction receipts feature of scheduling software, you can circumvent this issue entirely – even while continuing to offer paper receipts. Anytime an appointment concludes, scheduling software can automatically email a receipt copy to your client, which includes a link to reprint it at their convenience!
3) Get Ahead With These Automated SEO Tools
Admittedly, SEO – or search engine optimization – probably doesn’t come to mind when you think business optimization and automation. You might be wondering what boosting your business’s online page rankings has to do with saving you time and energy every day.
That’s just it, though – many businesses already pour countless dollars and hours into marketing/advertising efforts that don’t warrant the initial cost. In many cases, these methods are wildly ineffective and actually rob businesses of profits in the end, given their meager returns.
That said, stepping up your business’s SEO game is a great way to capture the attention of your audience and gain traction, both online and off. The risks are minimal compared to traditional advertising/marketing – and best of all, you can automate a significant amount of the process.
Optimize Your WordPress SEO With Yoast
If you’re using WordPress to host your business’s site, Yoast is an excellent way to ensure your content is optimized for success.
Yoast installs like any other WordPress plugin. Once installed, you can use it to check on the existing pages of your site to see what needs optimizing.
Yoast will automatically recommend changes to formatting and page titles, so you don’t need to be well-acquainted with SEO techniques or strategies. In fact, Yoast makes the whole process accessible and user-friendly, so fear not!
Gain The Upper Hand With SpyFu
Have you ever wanted to gain x-ray-like insights into the SEO strategies of your competitors? If so, SpyFu – an online SEO tool – might just be a dream come true for you.
With SpyFu, you can search for any domain and get in-depth information on their Google page ranking history, their keywords, ad placement, and more. Once you’ve taken some notes, you can apply their strategies towards your own marketing.
In addition, Spyfu also provides an all-in-one pagerank tracking solution across platforms like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The service will even automatically recommend new keywords based on the ones you’ve supplied.
Those who prefer software to do the lion’s share of their SEO/marketing work should look no further than SpyFu. Remember, when utilized correctly, laziness can become effectiveness!
4) Improve Your Workflow
Zap Your Workflow Into Action With Zapier
We’ve already listed numerous productivity-oriented services in this blog post. And while it’s great to have software working for you, wouldn’t it be better to have your software working together?
After all, having to switch constantly between apps to copy, paste, and cross-reference data is antithetical to getting things done. There’s certainly a point where the productivity-obsessed can become the productivity-distressed.
Enter Zapier – a service that’s built around the idea of connecting your productivity-driven apps to serve you better.
The process begins by simply identifying a “trigger” to Zapier – that is, an event that tells Zapier to take action and relocate data, create an event, or spark a notification within another app. Zapier calls these chain-reactions “zaps,” and there are hundreds of possibilities to choose from.
Impressively, Zapier claims to be compatible with more than 1000 apps. It’s also extraordinarily easy to use, guaranteeing that pretty much anyone can start optimizing their workflow with Zapier in a matter of minutes.
If automation is the future, don’t get stuck in the past! We hope some of the tools on this list have demonstrated the value of utilizing software to better optimize and streamline your work life.
After all, time is of the essence – so here’s to making every second of 2018 count!
Thanks for reading!
For more business strategy – online and off – keep up with us here at the Yocale blog, five days a week.