The things every small business should automate

Automated responses to  queries sent via your website helps improve your changes of turning them into customers.

By Henry Brown

Automation is all around you, even if you do not realize it. The emails you get from some suppliers, for instance, will have been sent to thousands of people by an automated service. All trades and profession are becoming more automated, and you do not have to be a big business to make the most of this new technology. Small businesses can automate many areas of their trading and marketing processes, leaving them to get on with the important task of running their business. However, when the automated systems are in place they need to be used properly if they are to be of any benefit.

Respond without delay

Your email address should be on your website, and if not, there should be a contact form that will come through to you as an email. Do not ignore these for days, as you will have lost a potential customer before you even reply. Try to answer all queries the same day if possible, or at the very least let the sender know it is being dealt with. Research has shown, however, that if they do not get a reply within 30 minutes, you are 20 times less likely to convert that potential customer to a buyer.

Automated software can send a reply almost instantly for you, just to let the potential customer know their email will not be ignored. These reply emails can be personalized with their name so it looks as though it is a real person that has done the reply. The software will also assign the query to a staff member so the matter is dealt with in the correct way.

Assigning leads    

Not everyone will want to contact you by email; some people would rather pick up the phone for a chat. This is a great way to start building relationships with customers, but they need to be followed up on and this is where many small businesses fail.

Automated software lets you set up a form when people call your main line that will have just a few details about the customer. Five minutes after the conversation has finished, it will assign it to a member of staff and send an email to the caller saying how nice it was to speak to them. That email will be personalized and will be from the member of staff the matter has been assigned to.

This quality of customer service will impress new potential customers, and within a time period set by you, the software will remind the staff member to make a follow-up call.

PPC automation

Google Ads and other display networks can be a great way of getting your brand known. As simple as the like of Google and Bing try to make it, it would be a lot easier if all the processes and the information from them were automated.

Well, now it can be and you can have a free trial to see how it works. Get PPCnerd Scripts today to see how much easier search campaigns, display campaigns, video campaigns and a whole lot of other things become once they are automated. You’re sure to be surprised!

Following up on networking

When you are out and about networking at trade shows, conferences or any other events, you could end up with a pile of business cards. You then have to remember where you met that person and try to recall the conversation you had.

You should start communicating with your new contacts straight away, as they could well turn out to be very useful in the future. While it is still fresh in your mind, transfer the details from each business card into automated software, and make other notes for you to see at another time. The software will send a personalized ‘nice to have met you’ email after a time specified by you. This could be the next day or the next week, whichever is your choice.

However, you could make this process even easier by downloading one of the apps to your smartphone that will scan the business cards and feed in the information for you.

Focus on the best leads

As your small business grows you could well find that you have more leads than you have time to deal with. This is a good problem to have, but one that needs addressing. Automated software can prioritize these into order for you based on the potential customer engagement with your marketing efforts. They usually work by having a scoring system for each lead, depending on how they first made contact with you.

They could get points for filling in the contact form, or for picking up the phone and calling you. The point is that the way people handle marketing can suggest if they are more likely to convert to a customer. Prioritizing the ones that are can save you a lot of time and effort and mean that you get the sales you are after.

Although it goes without saying that all leads should be followed up on, the less likely candidates you can do when you have a bit more time.

Don’t forget existing customers

Keeping an existing customer happy is less costly and less time-consuming than find new ones. It is important that you have a strong customer base, and to ensure that happens there is automated software that will keep in touch with existing customers for you. You write an email, perhaps with a special offer or just say how are you, and the software will personalize it and send it to each customer that you have an email address for. If you do this every few weeks, when a customer needs a product or service you provide, you will still be fresh in his or her mind and they are more likely to give you another order.

There is no doubt that as technology continues to progress there will be even more automation. In fact, it will probably not be too many years before the current automatic systems are out of date and new ones will have been introduced. For now, there are lots of ways to automate your business to optimize your sales and make it easier to run.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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