What is automation?
In its simplest form automation is a way to schedule repeatable tasks so you don’t have to manually do them.
As a small business if you use cloud services, CRMs and Marketing software then you will probably use some sort of Automation already.
Automation helps streamline tasks in a predictable, repeatable way to improve your performance and save you time.
For instance, do you have a checklist of things you need to go through when a new employee starts? You have to manually go through the list costing you time.
What if you forget something off the list?
With automation you do the least amount of work whilst getting the best result. This also ensures everything is completed correctly and consistently, every time.
Types of Automation
There are some great tools here that are free and address a host of different use cases.
There are good times and bad times to post to social media if you want maximum exposure to your target audience. Accepted best days are Thursday followed by Tuesday and Wednesday and 10am is a great time to post. You can schedule all posts to be sent out on the same schedule.
Good tools for this would be Buffer, Hootsuite. Most other tools will charge for this service.
Scheduling email campaigns are essential to ensuring you effectively engage with your customers.
This can be automated and scheduled to be sent out a time where you get the most amount of interaction. You can see who opened your email and clicked on your links and even do A/B testing.
You can add code to your website to automate importing email addresses from contact forms to your mailing lists.
Good software examples would be Mailchimp and Hubspot. Both have free versions.
Sales / Customer Automation
Gone are the days where customer interactions and details are stored in Excel. Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) software can automate all sorts of workflows.
You can add contact form submissions on your website directly to your CRM.
Automatically add all emails for specific customers to your CRM so you’re always up to date.
Setup workflows to schedule events to maximise sales. 3 days after first contact you may schedule an email and a week after a phone call for example.
Create Deals to keep track of your opportunities and automate follow ups and set reminders to call etc,
Good examples are Hubspot, Nimble and Saleforce.
Remote Management Automation
For IT Managed Service Providers Remote Management software is essential. This allows remote control of the customers’ infrastructure to fix day to day issues.
Configuration Management Software
You can automate new device installs to get a unified, consistent experience.
Instead of taking hours going through a list of to do tasks, deploy in minutes or even seconds to get the perfect result.
There are many types of software some push, some pull, some agent based and some agentless. The majority of these software use the manager / agent archetype. In essence they have the ideal template on the master and push out this to the slave based on configuration rules. All these have free and paid versions and are must haves for Systems Admins.
Good examples of this are Ansible, Salt, Chef / Puppet.
There are a myriad of automation tools and techniques to streamline your business, many for free, saving you time to do what you do best.
Implementing effective automation techniques can sometimes be tricky and time consuming to setup, which is where we come in. At EXXA we can help automate your business processes to maximise your potential. Get in touch.
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