Think about all the things you would do if you didn’t have to waste time at work. Every minute that you spend doing mindless, repetitive tasks could be better spent making evangelists out of your customers, building excitement in your team about what’s next for your SMB, or working with your vendors to improve your bottom line. Here’s where AI comes in. AI lets you break free from your desk so you can get back to being chief strategist instead of chief spreadsheet specialist.
To not use AI in 2020 would be like not using a car in 1900 because you like horses better.
If you’re not using a CRM by now, you might have some work to do. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. CRM stands for customer relationship management system. You might have heard of some guys in the game like Hubspot or Salesforce. A CRM enables businesses to treat 1000s of customers like they’re the only person in the room. Hubspot offers a free CRM to help you get started. SugarCRM is another great alternative. No matter which CRM you choose, the core features are essentially the same. A CRM will empower you to:
Manage contacts for both existing and potential customers
Call, text, or email your contacts (some people say omni-channel communication)
Move your leads through your onboarding process to becoming customers
Manage support and service requests
Get insights on to how your business is delivering your ideal customer experience
Drip Campaign Automation
Drip campaigns are the new way of automating your collective marketing and sales process. Your “drip campaign” will typically exist as the collective effort between your digital advertising, email campaign, remarketing platform, and your CRM. There’s a lot of lingo here but the one word you need to know is Drip. Drip is a platform that, appropriately, makes managing drip campaigns a seamless and stress-free experience.
Drip is one of our favorite marketing platforms out there because it allows for all the marketing tools that your business is using to work together to bring in customers. Drip is an email marketing provider that gives you the superpower of being able to perform “workflows” on your contacts. Imagine each contact running like a droplet of water on a clothesline. We can control where the droplet of water runs to by moving the line. This is essentially how drip campaigns work. For example, let’s say that we get a new lead from Facebook Lead Ads. With Drip, you can automatically have this lead added to a workflow. Let’s say the lead visits your website once and shows interest in a particular service. Drip can automatically send an email about the service to the lead. Drip can monitor if the customer opens or clicks the email and perform personalized marketing actions from the decision tree that you build in Drip. We know, we know, this sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. Drip makes this entire process easy peasy and that’s why they’re an essential for the modern SMB.
Social Media Automation
We’ve heard hundreds of small business owners say, “I just don’t have time to manage our Facebook.” That’s where Buffer comes in. Buffer is an all-in-one social media management platform. You can schedule posts across all of your accounts and grant access to your team members so that everyone can contribute without having administrative access to your accounts. With Buffer, you’ll have a streamlined post-planning experience so that you can get ahead of the game and get back to business.
Another suggestion that we tell our clients is to run Facebook retarget ads. If someone visits your website, it’s a good idea to retarget them for a few days so that you stay top of mind. Retarget ads are very inexpensive to run.
Live Chat Automation
Live chat is something that, 5 years ago, was only available to big enterprises. Now, live chat is available for free to small businesses. A big problem that SMBs often have when adopting live chat is that they don’t have time to constantly monitor their chat for messages from customers and they often end up losing more leads because of it. This is something we’ve solved at ZyraTalk by using artificial intelligence to automate your live chat experience. SMBs that use live chat automation see 40% more conversions from their website because of it. Plus, you don’t have to worry about having someone from your team being available to chat. ZyraTalk can collect the customer’s contact information and you can follow up during your normal business hours. Plus, live chat automation can give directions, answer general questions, and even schedule an appointment on your behalf. It’s like having your best sales rep available 24/7 to your customers.
Automate the Little Things
With the hundreds of automation tools out there, there’s one that stands out for being the automation tool for automations. It’s called Zapier. Zapier is an intelligent platform that is friends with all the tools you use everyday like your CRM, your social media accounts, and your drip campaigns. With Zapier, you can create what are called Zaps, or simple processes that should be done when something happens in one app (like a new lead from ZyraTalk) in another (like subscribe the lead to your MailChimp newsletter). With Zaps, you can automate tasks between thousands of apps for free. This saves time and keeps your business connected. For example, you can add attachments that you receive in Gmail to your Dropbox automatically. You can send a message in Slack when you get a new Facebook Lead. There’s no limit to what you can do with Zapier. That’s why they say that Zapier makes you happier.
Automations are designed to help businesses increase productivity and efficiency while reducing cost and stress on your team.
It’s 2020 and it’s time to put technology to work for your business. There are solutions available to every small business that not only help you save time, but also help you get more customers with less hassle.These 5 Must-Have Automations for Small Businesses make some of the most modern technologies out there like artificial intelligence and machine learning easily accessible and actually usable by small teams. Consider getting started by adopting live chat for your website or start automating your marketing with Drip. The possibilities are endless. See you in the future.