A List of 15 Simple Tasks Easily Automated Right Now
Automation can be incredibly beneficial for tasks that are time-consuming and that don't require a lot of effort to complete. When used properly, automation tools will help to save time, save resources and improve productivity. However, identifying the tasks that can benefit from automation can be challenging. Trying to automate tasks that need your personal attention could result in costly errors. That's why we've identified 15 different tasks for you that can benefit greatly by automation.
1. Email Templates
Email-writing is often a significant time waster, especially if you're sending out company wide newsletters or marketing emails to your leads. More often than not, you're basically writing the same email but with minor alterations and spending the majority of your time figuring out who to send them to. The use of email templates can go a long way toward automating these tasks. Email templates are standardized messages you can send out both manually and automatically.
Not only can email templates help save time, they can be scheduled to be sent automatically at specific dates and times so you don’t even have to think about them again. Timely emails can have a big impact on customer relations and, in turn, your sales.
2. Invoice Reminders
Tracking what your customers owe you can be a real hassle. It's a time-consuming process to have to send reminders to your customers about upcoming payments that are due or about overdue payments. But not doing so can result in unpaid invoices and hurt your cash flow.
Invoice reminders are an effective way to automate the process so that you don't have to waste time chasing invoices. The way it works is simple -- you just customize an invoice message, whether it's a reminder of an upcoming payment due date or an overdue payment notification. You can then automate the message to be sent out at specific points before or after the payment due date.
3. Shared Calendars
Trying to coordinate a meeting with a single client or a group of co-workers can be challenging, especially when everybody has a busy schedule to contend with. A shared calendar app can make the process nearly painless.
There are many shared calendar apps out there. Some allow you to view your calendar alongside the calendars of your teammates so that you can easily identify where you have free time in common. Others allow you to choose when you have free time available on your schedule enabling others to view your calendar and schedule accordingly. The frustrating back-and-forth email trail is avoided.
4. Event Registration
Event registration tasks require a lot of organization, from confirming registration to collecting payments to setting up a waitlist. Fortunately, these are all tasks that can be automated. For example, you can use automation software to send out confirmations within minutes of when a person signs up to attend an event. If the event costs money, you can set up payment due date reminders to be sent out within a specific amount of time following the sign-up period.
Additionally, if the event sells out or is at capacity, a waitlist allows people to sign up in case of cancellations. If an attendant drops out, a message can be sent to those at the top of the waitlist informing them that a spot is available.
Recruiting new employees is an important part of building your company. The more qualified they are, the more value they will add to your business. However, it takes a lot of time and effort to identify high-quality candidates. Not only do you have to post job recruitment ads, you have to sort through hundreds of resumes to find the right candidates.
Automation tools allow you to automatically post new positions to a wide variety of job boards so you don't have to manually post job descriptions one board at a time. Automation can also be used to screen applicants, thereby weeding out any candidates that aren't qualified. Dealing with unqualified candidates is a huge waste of time, which makes automation tools especially helpful in this regard. Recruitment automation can also help you schedule interviews, send interview reminder and confirmation notices, set up employee referral campaigns, and more.
6. Email Signatures
Ending an email with your name, company name, and phone number is often a good idea, especially if you're emailing a prospective client or business partner - or even someone within the company. Not only does it lend a professional touch to your email, it ensures the recipient knows who the email is officially from and gives them an easy way to contact you.
However, adding this information each time you write an email is an unnecessary waste of time. Instead, you should automate your email signatures. There are plenty of tools that allow you to create an email signature template you can then add to certain emails or to entire batches of emails at once. Many of these tools also allow you to add social channel links, logos, and other images, thereby helping to brand your emails.
7. Email Tagging
Many email marketing tools provide an email tagging option and it's something you should definitely take advantage of. Essentially, email tagging serves two purposes: it allows you to segment your email lists to target specific groups of recipients, and it allows you to collect more specific performance data.
For example, a restaurant owner who wants to provide a discount to customers born in February can tag individuals in their email list born in that month, thereby automatically sending out the promotional offer to only them. Tagging your emails also makes it easier to track certain metrics. For example, you can identify how well a promotional piece of content does with different groups of recipients, thereby allowing you to target your emails more effectively in the future.
8. Social Media Posting
Maintaining a social media presence is essential to any company's efforts to increase brand exposure and build relationships with their audience. However, this takes a lot of work in real time across multiple social channels to ensure your target audience sees it.
Automation tools allow you to manage your social media activity much more efficiently. For example, you can link your blog to your social channels so that when you post content on your blog, links to your blog will automatically post to your social pages.
Additionally, you can write all of your content at one time and schedule it to be posted at specific times throughout the day or the week which avoids posting content manually. This is especially effective for social channels like Twitter, on which businesses tend to post tweets two to three times a day.
9. Website Traffic Reports
One of the most important metrics that you can track is your website's traffic. How many people are visiting your website overall, how many people visit each page, and how many people return to your website after their initial visit will tell you a lot about your online marketing strategies, such as your SEO efforts.
One time-waster is scouring through all of your analytics data in search of basic metrics. You can use automation to have basic website traffic reports automatically sent to you and your team so that you can stay up-to-date on your website's performance without having to dedicate too much time to analyzing your data.
10. Sales & Marketing Email Follow-Ups
Reaching your leads at the right time is one of the most important factors in nurturing them successfully. It's why you should always follow up to the actions your leads take. For example, if someone signed up to your email newsletter, you'll want to email them to welcome them. If someone has made a purchase on your website, you'll want to send a thank you email.
Obviously, manually creating follow up emails is practically impossible, especially if you're a larger business that receives hundreds or thousands of orders a day. Fortunately, pretty much all email marketing tools provide the option of automating these email follow-ups. You can simply write different follow-up emails to be sent out when triggered by actions your leads take.
11. Backing Up Data
There are few things worse than losing hours worth of work just because you forgot to save it, or -- even worse -- to lose all of your data because your entire system crashed. Automatic backup software can help you avoid such mayhem. Backup software can save your data for you at specific preset time intervals so if your computer crashes or your system goes down, you'll have no trouble retrieving your work.
12. Form Auto-Fills
The forms you have on your website are vital to capturing your leads as well as collecting valuable data that you can use to help improve your efforts to nurture your leads. However, users are often intimidated by forms, especially if you request a lot of information. By using form auto-fill tools, you make it easy for users to fill in their information, thereby helping them save time. Additionally, it helps to prevent users from making mistakes, such as misspelling important information (like their name or email address), thereby improving the accuracy of your data.
13. Creating Proposals
Writing and sending out proposals to your clients or potential clients is yet another time-consuming task, especially if you're sending out multiple proposals that are essentially the same albeit slightly personalized for the recipient.
Proposal automation software often provides proposal templates that help you skip the tinkering with different layouts, spacing, and fonts. It also makes it more efficient to personalize multiple proposals. Many proposal automation tools can even scan your content for legal and brand compliance. By using such tools you'll not only spend less time creating your proposals, they'll be of higher quality.
Printing massive quantities of documents is pretty normal for most businesses but it's rarely an efficient process. Sometimes companies have to send someone out to purchase printing ink because they've run out without realizing it. This can severely hurt the productivity of your business if everyone's sitting around waiting to print out important paperwork.
Believe it or not, this is a problem that can also be addressed by automation. You can download software onto your printer that will identify when you're running low on ink and automatically put in a replacement order so that new ink is shipped to you before you run out, eliminating any downtime caused by running out ink.
15. Expense Tracking
Traditional methods of expense reporting are not only inefficient, but they're error-prone. Employees often have a tough time keeping track of their receipts, delaying their timely submission of expense reports.Additionally, expense reporting policies are not always clear, resulting in errors that could hurt the company financially.
Expense tracking apps allow employees to take pictures of their receipts right away using their smartphones so that they don't have to collect and save receipts. This helps reduce the amount of time employees waste trying to put together their expense reports. Managers can then approve these expenses in real time, which helps speed up employee reimbursement. Data can be used by managers to help set more appropriate spending limits as well.
Automate So You Can Focus on the Tasks That Move the Needle for Your Business
Automating these tasks can not only help to save you a significant amount of time, doing so can help you perform these tasks more effectively as well. Not only that, the time you save can be put towards more important matters that will have a much bigger impact on the success of your business.