10 Automation Tools Small Businesses Should Use

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Brian Roberts

August 28, 2020  •  5 min read

Small business owners often work 50+ hour workweeks as they try to handle all the little tasks that keep their businesses running. Automation can help reduce that minutiae and increase sales in every area of your business. 

Whether you’re looking for automation software to help with digital marketing, schedule appointments with clients, or a myriad of other reasons, automation tools can greatly benefit  your small business. Check out these 10 automation tools small businesses should use:

1. Social Media

Managing multiple social media platforms for your business can be incredibly time-consuming. Social media management tools can help you build your brand across multiple platforms with consistent messages and valuable content.

Here are some social media management tools:

  • Buffer: This social media manager offers both free and paid plans, and allows you to post on all your social networks at once.
  • Spokal: Spokal’s plan starts at $49 a month and features  utilities such as keyword recommendations and image editing.
  • Hootsuite: Hootsuite also lets you post to all your social platforms at one time and allows you to run social media contests and campaigns to improve customer engagement.

2. Email Marketing

Email may seem outdated in today’s uber-connected world, but email marketing is the most effective marketing method with a return of $42 for every dollar invested,  according to the DMA. Email automation tools help you build email lists and nurture your relationships with existing customers. Check out these email marketing automation tools:

  • ConvertKit is like having your own virtual marketing employee. Their software automates actions in response to specific events, like email opt-ins, new sales or sending sales emails to the right subscribers at the right time.
  • Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing automation tools, and allows you to create landing pages to capture emails, run promotional email campaigns, and even host your own website and sell products.
  • Constant Contact is a marketing automation tool that provides customizable templates and tools to help you collect and grow your email list quickly and easily.

3. Digital Marketing

Your digital marketing campaign should be widespread and consistent, reaching out to customers on multiple platforms and creating valuable online content. Whether you’re creating PPC ads or building a killer landing page for your website, automation tools can help. Here are some excellent automation tools for digital marketing:

  • Needls: Needls offers features such as landing page generation and comprehensive analytics to help you monitor your business’ web presence.
  • Google Ads: Google Ads has plenty of free automation features such as bid rules, which allow you to set specific bidding conditions for your ads.
  • ActiveCampaign: ActiveCampaign combines email marketing with CRM software allowing you to craft a more comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

4. E-Commerce

As more of our daily lives move online, e-commerce becomes an incredibly important arena to help your business reach more customers. There are several automation platforms that can help you sell your products and services online in a more efficient way. Here are a few good resources:

  • Printful and Printify are great for printing your brand’s logos on products, including everything from hats and shirts to accessories and housewares. They pick, pack, ship and even handle returns. You just sell products and collect profits.
  • AddShopper is a free set of social sharing buttons–think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest–that help you understand the role social media sharing has on your business at the product level. You can use it to track product shares and revenue driven by each social media channel. Signing up is free.
  • SalesAutopilot offers intelligent upsells of relevant products during the checkout process and sends out product-specific offers to previous buyers.

5. Scheduling

Instead of paying an assistant to handle scheduling business meetings and presentations, you can use automation software to do it for you. There are many automation tools that can help you manage projects and coordinate schedules. These are some of the best we’ve found:

  • Trello: Trello lets you track projects, create to-do lists, and manage content marketing calendars.
  • Fynder: Fynder is a great tool for small businesses to manage online booking of classes or appointments with customers.
  • Calendly: Calendly allows you to create time slots to show your availability and schedule meetings with coworkers or clients.

6. Customer Service

Automation software can help your small business revitalize its customer service capabilities with improved efficiency, communication, and feedback options. Here are a few good automation tools:

  • Freshdesk: Freshdesk uses a ticket system that features time tracking and prioritization to ensure each customer is helped in a timely manner.
  • HubSpot Service Hub: HubSpot’s Service Hub allows you to create customer satisfaction surveys and other feedback tools to learn more about what your customers want.
  • Front App: Front App provides all your customer service reps access to the same information about each customer to improve communication and customer service.

7. Accounting

Managing payments and tracking expenses can be a headache to do manually.  Automation software can help you manage all aspects of accounting from one platform. Here are some automation tools for accounting:

  • FreshBooks: FreshBooks lets you send recurring or one-time invoices and accept payments via credit card.
  • Expensify: Expensify helps you track your business expenses, scan receipts, and manage employee expenses.
  • Gusto: Gusto allows you to manage your employee’s payroll, workers’ compensation insurance, and health benefits.

8. Grammar Check

With all the written content that goes into creating PPC ads, email marketing, and internal communications, you need to ensure that everything is error-free, or your business will look unprofessional. These are great resources to check grammar:

  • Grammarly: Grammarly offers a free and paid version to check your online grammar.
  • Ginger: Ginger is particularly helpful for people who aren’t native English speakers.
  • WhiteSmoke: WhiteSmoke checks grammar, spelling, and style on nearly every platform.

9. Lead Generation

Generating leads and converting them into paying customers is essential to growing a small business. Automation software helps your business generate new leads throughout the sales process. Here are some tools to check out:

  • LeadSquared: LeadSquared helps businesses send leads down the sales funnel more quickly with lead capture automation.
  • Autopilot: Autopilot lets you capture leads from your apps, website, or blog and personalize your messages.
  • Genoo: Genoo helps you grow your business with lead nurturing and lead scoring tools as well as features like SEO analysis.

10. All-In-One

Working with multiple applications to run different parts of your business can be difficult. Some automation tools offer a wide range of features that make them excellent for multiple areas of your business. These are the best all-in-one automation platforms:

  • User.com: User.com helps you obtain information about prospective customers and communicate with them via live chat or SMS.
  • Leadsius: Leadsius offers features such as email marketing, web forms, website tracking, and more.
  • Nurture: Nurture helps you track and engage with your site’s visitors, create surveys, and includes a contact management feature.

Our Two Cents

By automating as much of your day-to-day processes as possible, you can cut costs and skyrocket your efficiency. If you want your small business to remain competitive, these automation tools will help give you an edge.