How You Can Use Automation to Help Your Small Business
As a small business owner, you likely wear many hats and it can be overwhelming juggling all your daily tasks. Plus, with limited time, it’s hard to maintain efficiency. However, there’s a solution that won’t break the bank – automation technology. By implementing various tools, you can navigate the fast-paced business environment while maximizing efficiency.
Below are some automation ideas you can introduce to your small business. Of course, not every small business owner will need multiple automation tools. However, introducing automation, even in a small amount, can be a great way to familiarize you and your team with the power of automation and the time-saving opportunities it can offer.
Social Media Scheduling Platform
Maintaining your small business’s social presence can be an important way to reach current and potential customers. However, finding the time to post daily to multiple handles is not always within reach for small business owners. With automation, you can use a content scheduling platform that will automatically post the content you create to your social media platforms on the dates and times of your choosing. This automation tool can help you determine and carry out a posting strategy, and it will help you solidify the amount of content you want to share each week, which experts say differs per platform. Some social networks, like Facebook and Instagram, now offer free scheduling tools, while other popular software platforms that offer free versions include Hootsuite and Buffer.
Customer Relationship Management Tool
Incorporating customer relationship management (CRM) software into your small business can be a valuable tool for organizing information and data about your customers. From sales to marketing to customer service, a CRM system can be a helpful solution for your business to keep many customer-related details in one place. Depending on the CRM you choose and the type of small business you have (i.e., e-commerce, brick and mortar, or a mixture of both), it can show a customer’s shopping history, personal details such as their name, email, and phone number, any current or outstanding issues relating to customer service, the interactions you had with a customer in-person, and much more. Essentially, it is a way to keep organized on several fronts when it comes to your customers. As your business grows and you acquire more customers, that can be particularly useful.
One example of how a CRM uses automation is through lead management. If your small business has a form on your website or you created an advertisement that links to a landing page with a form, a CRM can be extremely helpful. A CRM tool will automatically take the information a customer supplies on that form and generate a record, which can be assigned to you or someone on your team to follow up. This can save a significant amount of time, as you do not need to seek out and retrieve this information from your forms, and it can also help ensure you keep track of this critical information.
In case you needed any more convincing – the CRM market size is expected to reach USD 163.16 billion by 2030, which is a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13% between 2023-2030, further highlighting the demand for this tool.
Send Follow-Up Emails
Small businesses can benefit from email marketing as it helps engage with current customers and also reminds inactive customers about your products or services. However, generating and sending multiple, personalized emails can be time-consuming for small business owners. If you struggle with this, or you would like to establish an optimized email marketing strategy, automation can be a great solution.
Several email marketing tools use automation, and depending on your small business, you can pick and choose the type of email you want to send to your customers. For instance, you can set up a personalized email campaign that will automatically categorize your email list using the criteria you select, such a demographic or purchase history. From there, you can personalize the message to match the receiver, which can be a great way to boost open rates and engagement.
If you are a small business with e-commerce options or are fully e-commerce-run, automation can help you send emails based on the customer’s action. For instance, if someone places items in their cart but does not proceed with the purchase, which is called cart abandonment, you can automatically send follow-up emails enticing them to buy (such as including the items within their cart and a call-to-action to your site). Research indicates that cart abandonment emails have an impressive 39.07% open rate and 23.33% click-through rate, which exceeds the average open rate of 21.5%.
Another example includes someone signing up for a newsletter on your website. When someone does this, it can trigger an automated email that gets sent out. Rather than manually sending a welcome email yourself to everyone that signs up, you can write the content once and have it automatically sent. This can be especially helpful for small businesses, as these types of emails have a 42% higher read rate compared to other types of emails.
Keeping track of inventory as a small business owner can be challenging. Without a system in place, you may run out of stock, causing a potential loss in sales or delayed shipments. Fortunately, automation can help. Inventory management software with automation features can be especially useful. It can automatically reorder items, keep track of available stock, and assist with demand forecasting. As a result, small business owners can successfully manage their inventory and fulfill orders much more efficiently.
Having an automated system keep track of inventory can be especially helpful for small business owners looking to save costs wherever they can. It can help prevent ordering too much of a product or losing a sale because an item is out of stock, and can help predict the demand of each item so the right amount is always on hand. This type of tool can also provide analytics on how well items in your inventory sell (or any areas where this lacks), which can be a great way to optimize your business plan and meet the needs of your customers. Of course, automation in this area helps eliminate the need for you or an employee to manually enter this data, which reduces errors and lets you focus on building customer relationships and providing optimal service.
Your Small Business Solutions with The UPS Store
While automation can be a helpful tool that can optimize your business strategy and cut down the time it takes to complete tasks, there are other time-saving opportunities available, including the services we offer at The UPS Store. From printing services to packaging and shipping services, and more, we offer Small Business Solutions that can set your small business up for success. Find a location near you to see how we can offer assistance.