The more things change, the more they remain the same—so it seems. The marketing masters, those who predict future business growth and marketing trends, lecture on topics ranging from responsive Web design to more vibrant website animation. However, you may not hear as much about one of the more important elements for growth—business automation.
Call it a tool, label it a process, but accept it as the one thing that can streamline your business by reducing overhead and enhancing ways to satisfy customers. Consider the following solutions.
Solution #1: Begin with small steps.
Sit down with your team and discuss what you can change that offers a high ROI. Some business owners start by automating their smallest, easiest process. The goal is to maximize your strengths to realize the best results.
Solution #2: Examine your total number of processes, and drop unnecessary ones.
Expect some flack from a few folks. People don’t always take kindly to automation because they feel their job is next on the cutting block. Automating your processes can actually help create other jobs. When employees see change as benefiting the organization, they agree to that change better.
Solution #3: Find and hire automation experts.
At some point, if you’re serious about automation, you think of hiring experts to take your company to its next level. It’s always possible that outside experts can bring a lot of energy and vision to help boost your company’s leadership protocols. In short, they can help your employees get a better grip on the big picture.
Solution #4: Master available automation tools.
You digital marketing processes automate down to the core. For instance, Hootsuite can handle all your social media needs. And there are amazing tools that can allow companies to automate their email marketing incentive.
Solution #5: Take your email and social media strategies to the next level.
The reason is that these are two elements that can generate the biggest ROI.
Here’s what else you can automate:
Don’t forget that geniuses are working day and night to create software designed to collect online leads from websites, social media, and incoming mail. The whole purpose is to nurture these leads to the point of becoming customers. The truth is many small business owners don’t have the time to master lead collection, which seems odd. They know that leads can be their bread and butter.
Automate Marketing, Sales, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
Doing this can definitely help improve your marketing and sales processes. It allows you to stay connected with regular customers and new prospects. The great thing about making this approach a reality is that you become aware of when a customer reaches the “buying point.” For certain, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of leads, and their locations, within the sales funnel. Marketing automation and CRM can handle it well. You can also find a way to automate payment processing solutions to make this step even easier.
Use Automation to Recruit Talent.
Finding and retaining the right talent is critical. You can choose to use software or online recruiting sources to help. Store online applications and take your recruiting incentives to the next level. You’ll find better applicants and spend far less money in the process.
It works, but you have to be careful that your outsourcing efforts yield the desired results. While many may not consider outsourcing as automation, it is a tool that can deliver big ROI bucks. Sure, there’s lots of controversy surrounding outsourcing, but it can work if done right.
Put Your Bill-Paying System on Automatic.
There’s no reason why you can’t pay bills on an automatic system. It’s possible to hook into a system that pays bills, and takes care of itself, without much action needed on your behalf.
Your Success Is All About Remaining Competitive
Staying competitive implies that a company is already competitive. Long gone are the days when companies could give marketing a nod and a wink. Now it’s serious business. Considering there are almost 30 million American businesses, owners should be thinking about how to edge out the competition 24/7.
Know your company’s strengths early on. There will always be competition. It doesn’t matter what the competition is doing. Identify your strengths and build out. If your competition is charging a higher price and you want to follow suit, increase your customer base, etc.
If you’re not analyzing data, then start. You can’t survive long without analyzing your own data. You need to be able to identify shopping trends, and then tailor your business to meet those demands. It’s the only way to remain competitive. Once you identify trends, you’ll be able to use them to your advantage and stay ahead of the competition.
More Ways Automation Drives Business Success
The verdict has been in for quite some time now. Business automation is not just a novelty—it’s a necessity. In a technology-driven world, it’s impossible to survive without it. Across every sector, businesses must adopt automotive technologies that will drive their innovation. This is just to keep up with the competition.
Those in the marketing research sector are particularly suited to automation and its technologies. Mobile surveys and different facets of online communities are helping transform research, how it’s processed, along with actionable insights. Automation drives innovation in the following ways.
Maximize Productivity and Efficiency
There are always laborious, manual, routine tasks that any business sector can reclaim. Reclamation allows a business to focus on critical areas where they can maximize their skills and knowledge. For instance, market research automates survey design processes in ways that enable researchers to use talents where needed: analysis and insights.
Reach Optimal ROI By Minimizing Costs
Everyone experiences the pinch of budget restrictions. Everyone has to do more with less. Automation technology can help cut costs by standardizing processes and end made up work. There are market research tools that already exist, and evolving, that marketers can use to increase ROI.
Increase Speed and Ability of Business Operations
Businesses respond to real-time events in ways they were never required to in the past. Only automation can drive this level of agility and responsiveness. In the old days, it took weeks to deliver market research insights. Now, far better results are delivered in hours.
This can only exist through automated data collected in real-time. Surveys created in the morning are ready for lunch-time strategy meetings.
Applying New Standards and Enhancing Quality
Automation drives quality. When systemizing previous processes, no one has to reinvent the wheel. This works especially well for research projects where inputs and outputs can be standardized. The best thinking can be applied to any problem. More than ever before, marketers can gain deeper layers of insight.
Deeper Connections with Consumers
The whole point of marketing is to build dialogue and get closer to consumers. This is a major goal of many businesses. Automation is what makes this goal a reality. In fact, technology helps make marketing research more democratic.
Consumers give their opinions and then can use immediate insights that help to inform their own purchasing decisions. With automation, algorithms can produce previously required responses.
Caution Just Ahead
Marketing automation works, as long as markets don’t become victims of analysis. It’s possible for automation to churn out too much data, making it impossible for marketers to know what’s important, and what’s not. They can become lost in data, not knowing what to do next.
Whatever is studied and analyzed needs to be relevant to the company’s end goals. Marketing automation should enhance human creativity, test imagery and messaging, and pay attention to data in ways that allow goals to be reached. Let the robot go to work—but remember that it has to be accompanied by marketers who can wield the intelligence in a responsible manner.
There are some who believe that automation is like painting a bullseye on audiences while shooting. Thus, automation never really hits the center of a matter. Why not focus on the audience, and let creativity run wild? How about just assessing images, color schemes, and time them with split A/B testing? Why not risk the crazy ideas? This way, metrics can tell you if your marketing efforts have succeeded or failed.
Life is an experiment, so is marketing automation. You can use amazing insights to gain a competitive edge, or you can fall behind and become a distant memory to your competitors. Use marketing automation, but learn to let creativity run wild, even through there may not be much data to back it up. Remember, it’s creative actions that form the basis for data.