5 tools to automate running your business
So, with that in mind, we’ve assembled a list of tools that can help automate your day-to-day business tasks, so that you can focus on the other priorities that come with running a business.
Cost: Professional (£16 per month); Team (£80 per month); Business (from £400 per month); Enterprise (variable)
Hootsuite is a social media management tool that enables you to manage all your social media platforms in one dashboard. Social media is an important part of any marketing strategy, and can be a very fun creative outlet for a company, but it can also be hugely time-consuming. With Hootsuite, users can deploy and analyse campaigns across multiple channels from one place. You can also schedule posts in advance, so that your social presence is always maintained.
Cost: New Business (Free); Growing Business (from $10 per month); Pro Marketer (additional $199 per month)
MailChimp is a marketing automation platform for sharing email campaigns with customers and subscribers. MailChimp provides customisable templates which can be used to create slick, bespoke communications for your target audience. It then provides key metrics such as opens, click-throughs and a Click Map – so you can see exactly where your readers have clicked thus gaining valuable insight into what interests them. You can also segment your contact lists based on factors like engagement or location. Simply create your newsletter, choose the group of contacts you’d like to send to, and schedule to be sent at your chosen time and date.
IFTTT, an acronym for ‘If This Then That’, is probably the most exciting – and fun – of the tools listed here, in terms of the sheer scope of its capabilities. IFTTT is a web-based service that people use to create chains of simple conditional statements, called ‘Applets’. An Applet is made up of two parts, the ‘this’, which is the trigger, and the ‘that’ which is the action. Choose from the many Applets that have been created by existing users, or create your own based on any variation of triggers and actions you wish. We’d recommend starting with 18 Applets for small business owners.
Cost: Free; Premium (from $69)
Yoast is a search-optimisation tool for WordPress, used to improve on-page SEO. Although strictly speaking, Yoast won’t automate your SEO, it will point out anything you’ve forgotten to include and what you can do improve your overall ‘score’. Using a traffic light system, Yoast will rate your on-page SEO as ‘Good’, ‘OK’, or ‘Needs improvement’ and provides a checklist of criteria to be met.
Cost: Starts at Essential (from £5 per agent, per month) to Elite (from £149 per agent, per month)
Zendesk is a cloud-based customer service application, designed with one purpose in mind: to help companies create and maintain meaningful relationships with their customers. Their ticketing system acts as a shared inbox, taking incoming customer requests for support and automatically generating a customer service ticket. Keeping track of and responding to support requests becomes swift and efficient, and customers are satisfied as their issues are solved that much more quickly.