7 advantages to automating your workflow

Workflow automation allows you and your employees to save time on administrative and repetitive tasks, so they can focus on more important business goals. 

In addition, automating your workflow helps you avoid the issues associated with manual work, such as human error.

Many stages of workflows can be automated to speed up processes and cut back on costs. Developing an automated workflow for repetitive, laborious tasks, such as customer communication, can help your business grow. Automation can be applied to many different tasks while providing you with detailed record-keeping that’s error-free. Here are the benefits of workflow automation

No. 1: Speeds up task management

Whether you’re a SCRUM master or simply need help managing your task load to promote a better work/life balance, automation speeds up the management and completion of tasks. For example, without automation, a software development team might not be able to manage projects as effectively or meet deadlines. In this case, a workforce management system can automate insights to help team leaders identify bottlenecks and come up with creative solutions to advanced problems.

Not only can developers benefit from automation, but so can anyone. Does anyone in your organization perform data entry? Automation can automatically populate forms and spreadsheets from databases to ensure correct data. Not only will this save someone time, but it also prevents the risk of someone typing in the wrong number or letter.

No. 2: Reduces labor costs

Automating essential tasks can lower costs because it reduces administrative tasks and repetitive tasks, ultimately decreasing the number of hours needed to perform those tasks. Not only that but digitizing documents can help boost productivity while automatic validation ensures incorrect data can’t move through the workflow and prevent problems later on. 

For example, if someone enters a wrong number, the problem might not be discovered until it’s too late, which means hours upon hours of finding the error and fixing it. Automation prevents this by ensuring the data is correct at every stage of the process. Instead of letting the wrong letter throw your employees on a quest to find the right information and remedy the problem, you can save on labor costs by having smaller teams that can get more work done.

No. 3: Reduces errors

As we’ve already mentioned, human error is always an accident, but it can be pricey. Manual processing means just one employee can throw off the entire workflow, no matter what you’re doing. For example, suppose you’re performing equipment testing, which requires employees to write down numbers and other types of information. In that case, the person who must type up the information can easily misread a calculation. 

Automation can’t misread calculations, especially when you use software that integrates with all of your processes to ensure every number and letter is in its proper place, this is why many companies lean into test equipment and generators. Errors lead to delays, unhappy partners and customers, and even compliance issues, so the fewer, the better. 

No. 4: Streamlines approvals

If your business has a long approval process for anything, including purchasing products, then you already know how long it can take for a request to get approved. When using a manual approval process, staff members must deliver documentation to approvers and chase them down when they don’t get a response. 

Using automation can make the approval process quick and painless. It can send documentation to the right person based on logic while allowing approvers to sign documents digitally to prevent delays. 

No. 5: Improve customer relationships

Automating workflows can help you quickly respond to customers with accurate information. With fewer errors and delays associated with automation, you can enhance the customer experience with products and services that can be promptly delivered. 

Not only that, but automated workflows can help you quickly address customer concerns. As you know, customers expect a quick reply when they have a concern. To solve this problem, you can set up an alert for your customer service representatives that alerts them when a new issue needs their attention as soon as possible. 

No. 6: Happier employees

Happy employees are more productive employees, making them more likely to help your business succeed. Sitting at a desk doing the same tasks over and over can lead to burnout and fatigue. Instead of relying on your employees to do manual, repetitive tasks, you can automate their workflows and allow them to do more exciting tasks every day. 

By saving them time on the boring tasks that are just a part of the job, they’ll be more excited to come into work to focus on achieving business goals.

No. 7: Scalable

Workflow automation requires you to understand everything you can do with it to make your business more efficient. However, the time you spend learning about automation can help you save time in the future because it’s easily scalable. 

As you know, every department has different responsibilities and needs, but all of them can benefit from automation. For example, accounting can automate invoicing while HR automates paid time off requests. 

As soon as you design and implement a workflow, you can scale it and add more tasks to it. In addition, automation will become easier the longer you use it, which means finding and fixing issues within your business will, too. 

workflow-automation

Do You Need Workflow Automation?

If you’re still using manual processes, then it’s time to look into all of the different ways automation can help. Doing all of your work manually can cause bottlenecks and inefficiencies. These inefficiencies can force your employees to spend too much time on tasks that automation could be doing. 

Manual processes are slow and require more people and more time. Not only that, but you can easily lose important documentation. You also can leave yourself open to human error, which can be detrimental. 

Automating workflows allows you to do more in less time with fewer errors. With automation, your business can optimally function. Plus, your employees will be happy to spend more time on the parts of their jobs that matter.

About the author

Matt-Casadona

Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys San Diego life, traveling, and music. 

Email automation: What it is, why it matters and 14 examples to inspire you

Email marketing has consistently proven it’s value, but automation can take your efforts to another level.

In general, email marketing is a type of marketing that shares details about your business, products, services, discounts and other information with your customers and potential customers through emails.

See these 48 statistics that show every dollar spent on email marketing is well spent.

Let’s dive into what email automation actually is, why it matters and 14 examples that provide inspiration as you get started.

What is email automation?

Email automation is a series of emails you automatically send to your prospects or customers. Using a tool, such as DailyStory, you can schedule emails to send based on your audience’s interactions with your business.

Unlike email newsletters and one-off campaigns, email automation allows you to create a campaign one time and then automatically reach individuals when certain triggers are hit. That means emails will continue to send long after you set up that automated campaign without you lifting another finger.

An example would be signing up for an account (whether it’s Twitter, Netflix or anything else) and then immediately receiving a confirmation welcome email. Of course, when done right, that automated email is encouraging you to act or engage in some additional way. In this case, it could be a request to complete your profile.

Why does it matter?

Email automation enables you to both save time and be more effective in the timing and point of your messages.

Just set up a campaign initially with automated triggers included. That’s it. Then, your brand is meeting your customers and potential customers wherever they are in their purchasing journey with your business. It’s about scalability within your own business as you continue to grow. 

This leads to a greater return on investment (ROI) for you efforts.

With about 64 percent of businesses using email automation, it truly is the most popular form of marketing automation currently.

And while businesses are often focusing their marketing efforts on getting new customers, email automation can do the work on nurturing and engaging with your existing ones.

This is important because it costs five times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep your existing ones.

Dive deeper into why email automation matters to your marketing.

Examples of email automation

There are almost limitless ways to engage with your customers and potential customers through automated emails, depending on your goals and the nature of your business. These 14 examples can help inspire you to get started:

  1. Welcome new customers (or subscribers)
  2. New customer onboarding
  3. Abandoned shopping cart reminder
  4. Gather feedback on your products or services
  5. Inform customers of upcoming expirations (or renewals)
  6. Birthday messages
  7. Anniversary messages
  8. Appointment reminders
  9. Milestone messages, such as the 100th visit for example
  10. Nurture your leads (see more about email drip campaigns)
  11. Promote new content, such as blogs or videos
  12. Offer an email course
  13. Event or webinar reminders
  14. Replies to customer complaints that explain your complaint process and ensure you’re working on fixing the issue

In conclusion

The key to a successful email automation strategy is not only the marketing platform you’re using but also the depth and quality of your data. 

The triggers that can send off the right email at the right time to the right person are all based on the integration of your systems and the type of data you have on each consumer.

In other words, the better you know a customer or lead, the more uniquely you can design an email automation campaign around that individual to better engage with him or her.

DailyStory can help with email marketing automation (as well as in other types of digital marketing). And our platform offers even more than automation capabilities. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Also, check out these seven opportunities for social media automation that you might not have thought of yet.

7 opportunities for social media automation you might not have thought of

Social media automation is a must for any small business.

It both saves time and helps you stay consistent across social media platforms. 

Automation itself refers to any activity that you don’t have to do in real time (and perhaps don’t have to do yourself at all). Despite the myth, automated social media posts do not get penalized.

Of course, there are a number of online tools that can make general social media automation easy, including Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social and HubSpot

The following are seven opportunities for social media automation that you might not have thought of.

Sync your blog

If you’re using WordPress to publish your blog, there are a number of plugins available that will enable you to automatically share your content on social media whenever you publish a new article.

That option is also available on other platforms, depending on what you’re using.

Level up with advanced tools

There are a number of social media automation tools as mentioned above, but you can make your automation even more advanced with such tools as IFTTT and Zapier

These applications enable apps and websites to talk to each other. Of course, their capabilities go far beyond just social media. For example, you could sync your Gmail, Dropbox and Slack in such a way that if you receive an email with an attachment, that attachment would be automatically uploaded into your Dropbox and then a notification sent to alert you in Slack.

Both IFTTT and Zapier are either free or free to try with premium upgrade options, so it’s wise to create an account and explore your options.

Recycle, reuse your evergreen content

If you’ve been publishing on a blog for any significant amount of time, you likely have some content that can be repurposed and reused for social media.

Whether that piece of content makes sense seasonally, is a topic that works year-round or only needs a minor update to be fresh again, it saves you tons of time for social media publishing. This is because you won’t have to always spend the time to create new content.

Of course, when it comes to evergreen automation, there are tools that can help. Revive Old Posts is a WordPress plugin that will go through your archives, and MeetEdgar can publish a post and then automatically recycle your top posts several more times on a schedule.

Share curated content

Like evergreen content, curated content also saves time and resources while striving to keep your audience engaged. 

Curated content is the sharing of other people’s or brands’ content for the benefit of your audience. Check out these five reasons why you should consider curated content in your digital marketing strategy.

Many tools are available to help you automatically curate others’ content efficiently and successfully, including Feedly, dlvr.it, Scoop.it and Curata. See more curated content tools.

Check out these four more ways for you to discover new curated content.

Schedule your social media posts

This is a go-to when it comes to social media automation. Scheduling your posts in advance can help maintain consistency while also saving time.

Ideally, you’ll want to aim for the best times and days to post, which vary across social media platforms. There are a number of already-mentioned tools that can be used. Check out these 11 free (or almost free) social media management tools.

See these seven reasons why your business should consider using a social media management tool.

Of course, you’ll want to pay attention to how your posts perform at different times of the day. Nationwide trends on best times and days won’t necessarily apply to every individual brand. Different brands can have unique options, so make sure you pay attention to what works.

Chatbots can up your customer service game

These days, it’s common to think of the Facebook Messenger chatbots that appear when you visit some Facebook pages. However, chatbots also are commonly used on various websites.

The benefit to either location is the immediacy of customer service at a visitor’s fingertips. All that, and you don’t have to be available 24/7 to be successful and responsive.

For example, Sephora has a Facebook chatbot that can route customers directly to an agent on top of answering basic questions. Adobe’s Photoshop chatbot enables customers to troubleshoot questions in detail and offers relevant solutions on its full website.

Check out this guide for building chatbots.

Plus, see these eight ways to improve your brand’s customer responsiveness.

Automate your analytics reports

Another opportunity for automation is performance reporting. Many social media management tools can be set up to send you and/or anyone on your team reports on how your accounts are performing.

These can be set up to run on a weekly, monthly or other frequency.

Conclusion

Remember, you’ll want to make sure that all your automation is human and personal. That means conversational, laid-back language and even emojis if appropriate for your brand. 

There also is value in filling in your automation with real-time posts and content. Nothing replaces human responses and conversations on any comment threads.

No matter what automation you use (or how you use it), social media is a conversation where people should want to connect with your brand and engage. Automation should never be a “set it and forget it.”

Check out these 17 free online courses to level up your social media skills.

While you’re considering where and how you can automate your brand’s social media presence, think about how you can improve your digital marketing process as well. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

17 types of automated emails you can start using today

New to automated emails? The good news is that they are an incredibly effective tool when blended into your larger marketing strategy.

The bad news is that you might not know where to start.

But that’s okay!

Depending on your brand and business, there are a number of “low-hanging fruit” type of automated emails that you can begin with and go from there.

Automated emails have a 70.5 percent higher open rate and 152 percent higher click-through rate than generic email newsletters, according to Epsilon.

Dive deeper into email automation and what it is. And see these nine reasons why email automation matters in your digital marketing.

Here are 17 types of automated emails that you can start using today. Let’s get to it!

Welcome emails

The idea behind a welcome email is probably pretty obvious: You want to confirm an opt-in and greet your new subscriber.

Of course, welcome messages don’t have to be limited to a single email. You can set up a series of welcome emails that can pace out introducing your brand, your team, customer experiences and so on. (Learn more about setting up a welcome email series that gets you leads.)

Welcome emails are a critical type of automated email because they serve as your first impression. They lead to higher engagement and boost customer conversion.

In fact, welcome emails generate an average open rate of more than 80 percent and a click-through rate of more than 25 percent, according to GetResponse.

Just remember that you also can remind users what they will get from your emails (exclusive content or content highlights, special discounts, so on). You also can share where users can review their subscription settings (and make adjustments).

Onboarding emails

This type of automated email is all about educating your new customer.

Onboarding emails typically share product or service features, as well as hidden benefits people might not be aware of.

You can consider these a series of training emails in which you’re helping your customer get the most out of your product or service. Perhaps you want to educate them about how to download and use your app. 

Whatever the purpose, when customers fully understand everything you’re giving them, you’ll see better customer retention and fewer refund requests.

Engagement follow-up emails

These automated emails are intended to follow up on a subscriber’s actions, such as whether a recipient opens and clicks your original email (or not) can trigger an automatic follow-up email within a certain period of time to “seal the deal” or help convert that subscriber.

For example, if you send a promotional email out, you can have an automated follow-up email set up to send to anyone who didn’t open the original email, featuring a more targeted subject line and/or even a free, limited-time offer.

Special event emails

A really popular option is to set up birthday and/or anniversary emails for your email database.

You’re essentially sending well wishes for a birthday or other special date.

It not only helps build a relationship with your subscribers but also can help lead to conversions depending on what deal or discount you might additionally offer.

Personalized, targeted emails have a higher open rate as well.

Make sure that your automated email service can support custom-value triggers, such as birth dates and opt-in dates, depending on what type of special event you want to automate for.

Cart abandonment emails

This can be critical to increasing your revenue.

The rate of online shopping cart abandonment is reported to be at almost 70 percent, according to the Baymard Institute. Imagine if you can capture even a fraction of this for your business.

Typically, this type of automated email expresses that not only has the user left items in his or her cart and leverages something to help secure the sale. Sometimes, the reminder alone is enough, but you can also offer a discount, free shipping, etc.

About a third of cart-abandonment email clicks result in a purchase, according to SaleCycle.

You have the opportunity to turn this automated email into a series as well if you desire, timing your reminders and potentially increasing your incentive for recipients to complete the purchase.

Just be aware that you’ll want to confirm that your automated email service can integrate with your e-commerce website in order to trigger these emails.

Retargeting emails

Depending on whether you have retargeting pixels installed on your website, you can set up an email automation that reminds users via email of a product or service they were viewing on your website but did not purchase (or add to their cart).

This can be more advanced to set up but still very effective.

Order notification emails

These automated emails include receipts, invoices, shipping updates, refund confirmations and even order cancellations.

They are entirely dependent on your customer’s purchase activity and can either be fairly basic in design and messaging or encompass a little flair, depending on your brand.

Content download emails

If you’re using content marketing for lead generation, then you should already be familiar with this type of automated email.

In general, you offer some sort of content that a user can download (be it an ebook, webinar, kit, so on). In exchange for this free content, the user gives you his or her contact information. You then use this information to both add the user to your database and send your free content to his or her email inbox.

This is a common practice that you’ll see used on many websites by businesses.

Thank you emails

These can result from almost any action a subscriber takes, depending on your business.

Whether it’s a first-time purchase or an interaction with your customer service (“Thank you for contacting us”) or something else, it’s critical to express gratitude to your subscribers and/or customers. You do value them after all.

Think through interactions people typically have with your brand. Where is it important to automate a considerate thank you message?

Of course, your messaging can include a discount or other offer as well if you like.

Appreciation emails

These differ slightly from “thank you” emails because the idea is to reward your best or most loyal customers.

You can take this opportunity to offer a special coupon, heartfelt message, exclusive content, etc.

Satisfaction emails

If you have a feedback survey system integrated with your email service, it’s possible to create automated emails related to the satisfaction of your customers. 

One email would trigger if the customer is happy, and another would trigger if the customer is not. 

It’s key that you put yourself in the shoes of the customer when creating these messages. An email automatically sending to someone who is not happy (or perhaps even angry) cannot sound fake or inauthentic. 

Feedback, review emails

When you have any amount of customer retention, you’re missing an opportunity if you’re not automating emails to solicit their feedback or customer reviews.

Everyone appreciates being heard and acknowledged, so give your customers that opportunity. What you end up hearing from them could help improve your product, service or even your marketing strategy.

Every business wants to see more positive reviews on Yelp, Google and so on. Simply asking can work better than you might assume. However, you can consider an escalating automated series that asks at first and then offers an incentive (such as a discount, gift card, free shipping, etc.) in the follow-up.

Reminder emails

If you have customers who purchase on any sort of cycle (such as a prepaid year of membership, for example), it’s helpful to have automated reminder emails that let your customer know it’s about time to purchase or renew.

Anything you can do to elevate this messaging can help with the retention and/or conversion. For example, you can include a list of the benefits they’re currently enjoying, as well as a sneak peek of anything new coming in the future.

Of course, reminders can be tied to events, webinars, product launches, you name it.

Referral emails

What’s better than snagging a new customer? That customer referring you to his or her friends, of course.

Perhaps you have an ongoing referral incentive for customers, or maybe you offer referral incentives periodically. Either way, you should communicate that to your customer base.

Referral promotion can be included in a welcome or onboarding automated series or set up separately once a customer has been with you for a certain period of time.

Win-back emails

No matter what, customers will fall off, so it makes sense to have an automated email that sends out after a certain period of time to help win your customers back.

This can include a “miss you” message, as well as an offer to help promote the conversion.

You can choose the frequency. One suggestion is that the first automated email can send 120 days without any purchase activity, a second email 240 days without any purchase activity and a third email 365 days without any purchase activity. The messaging (and even the offer) can differ depending on the length of time.

Traditional ‘drip’ emails

A drip campaign is a common phrase in email marketing and refers to a method of nurturing your leads to help convert them over time to customers.

True, many automated email workflows can be considered drip campaigns, but we would be remiss to not single out the concept separately since there are a number of variations you can employ to nurture your leads, such as upselling.

The idea is that you map out a series of emails that slowly build up the value of your product, service and/or brand to the recipient in order to ultimately result in securing a new client or purchase. 

Farewell emails

If you offer a service that customers can opt out of at some point, it’s worth considering an automated farewell email.

The idea behind it is transparency, gratitude and customer care. It is your opportunity to make a “last impression” on your customer, so be authentic in your messaging. It could very well result in his or her eventual return (or second thoughts about leaving in the first place).

For example, you thank them for the time (perhaps years) they’ve spent with you.

When starting with email automation, list your priorities and start with whatever is the most simple. Monitor that campaign’s performance, and when you feel comfortable, you can add additional automated emails and campaigns.

Check out these seven opportunities for social media automation that you might not have thought of yet.

DailyStory offers a range of automation tools. Whether you’re looking to email, text or send a push alert notification, consider scheduling a free demo today.