5 essential business automation hacks for 2019
Overworked, underpaid, stressed-out. There isn’t a business owner or employee that hasn’t been touched by one of these adjectives in their work life.
That’s probably why the promise of automation is so alluring: it brings the potential to save money, time and human effort. Automation can help bring your most ambitious business strategies to life. It’s a weapon in the arsenal of every growth hacker and smart sales or marketing professional out there – and it can even become part of the value you bring to your own clients.
Automation has to be employed with purpose, though. When applied randomly, or because it’s a trend, it won’t do much to serve your bottom line. If you’re on the hunt for effective ways to do more with less, here are five business automation hacks that’ll help you reclaim your team’s time and energy.
#1: Set up behavioral triggers for all stages of your customer’s journey
Use a marketing automation tool to send specific content at the right time in your buyer’s journey, based on different user behaviors. Examples include:
- Lead generation content. Use IP address data from your website to group together site visitors who have returned repeatedly to your page, but haven’t made a purchase. Deliver several different Google Display ads to these users in near succession to keep your brand top of mind.
- Lead nurture content. A lead signed up for your weekly newsletter, but never returned to your website. For users that exhibit this behavior, trigger a series of special offers that “fire” over a long period of time to get them to come back to your website.
- Sales content. Did a customer abandon their shopping cart? Automate a task for your sales rep to follow up with them with a special discount offer.
#2: Free up time by automating sales processes
If your sales team is responding manually to prospects’ emails and spending countless hours following up with leads, why not automate the repetitive stuff? Your sales team will thank you for it, and your customer acquisition rates will soar. Start by meeting with your sales team to review their current sales process.
Mundane tasks like putting data into your CRM, scouring the web for prospects’ personal and professional information, and scheduling phone calls can all be handed off to the robots.
#3: Look into advanced email marketing
If your an agency, you’re likely already familiar with many of the automation capabilities within email marketing. But according to a 2018 report, nearly half of all marketers still aren’t using automation in email campaigns, or A/B testing their subject lines and email content.
With only half of businesses using these basic tactics, it’s clear that even fewer are delving into more advanced email automation techniques. So even if you’re already doing the basics like automating “welcome” emails, you can go way deeper:
- Use an AI-based service to grow your email lists.
- Trigger specific actions when customers click email CTA buttons.
- Segment customers by time spent reading emails or category of emails read – and automatically deliver related content in separate monthly emails.
#4: Create and automate a lead nurture campaign
Your clients (and your clients’ clients) need time before making a purchasing decision – especially if it’s a big-ticket purchase. Lead nurturing can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, and with a massive number of leads in your pipeline, it is nearly impossible to nurture each one manually.
Use marketing automation software to keep your leads interested, educated, and aware of what’s new with your company. Then, spend your valuable time doing the lead nurture activities that only humans can do, like making phone calls and meeting for coffee.
#5: Automate social media
If your business spends even a little time prioritizing social media, you’re probably well-aware of automation tools like Buffer and Hootsuite. But did you know that you can use social media automation for so much more than scheduling posts? There are social media automation tools to help you grow your list of followers, and discover new organic and paid audiences. Automatically track social media conversations happening around your industry and brand, predict PR problems, and use AI to quickly and automatically mine blogs for information on any given topic with tools like Buzzsumo, Mention and EpicBeat.
Before you dive in, make sure you deeply understand the risk and reward automation poses for your business. With the right tools and strategy in place, automation can be the time-saving ammunition your business needs to get to the next level.
Jonathan Herrick is co-founder, chief sales officer, chief marketing officer, and chief high-fiver of Hatchbuck, an all-in-one sales and marketing platform based in St. Louis. His extensive experience in digital marketing and sales strategies has been a driving factor in growing Hatchbuck’s sales by over 2,000 percent. A purpose-driven leader in all aspects, Jonathan has a passion for cultivating his team’s culture, spending time with his family and working to make a difference in the St. Louis community.