Today's small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) have a lot of responsibilities larger firms can simply hire or contract to fill. With tight budgets and in some cases, razor-thin margins, many SMBs are looking for ways to meet internal and external deadlines in back-office areas as diverse as marketing, payroll, and accounting. One solution to consider are tools that automate part of all of these tasks, freeing up time business owners and managers need to focus on front-office tasks like sales, customer service, and in-person employee training.
Business Process Automation (BPA) Simplifies Many Tasks
Today's automation tools are intuitive and easy to learn. Those who remain wary need to see how automated processes free up their time to deal directly with customers.
Business News Daily says new adopters will be pleased to see that automation reduces the amount of tools they've been using. By streamlining routine tasks like document management, things that became complicated over time are simplified. The older technology is often less efficient than the new options out there.
Take email, for example. Free email services like Gmail can deliver email blasts, but the basic package has few management tools. It doesn't allow for scheduling or tracking metrics like how many emails were opened, forwarded, and prompted clicks to a website. It doesn't track requests to be added to or removed from the list, which can compromise marketing success and compliance with anti-spam laws.
Marketing Automation Tools Schedule Communications and Track Results
Marketing is a major overhead cost. It's also one of the most time-consuming and difficult expenses to justify at budget time. Back office automation is one way to stretch your marketing dollars smartly and make you look like you took a page from one of the big guys' playbook.
To use the email example above, marketing automation tools have literally revolutionized many processes. Popular and affordable solutions like ConstantContact and MailChimp deliver an email service where numerous campaigns can be created and stored, scheduled, and tracked by various metrics. They also take care of email list maintenance.
Is there a cost for these services? Yes, but they are far less than time spent doing these tasks manually. These services also give the marketing staff data they can use to analyze the effectiveness of one approach over another and make adjustments.
Even the smallest businesses have Facebook and Twitter accounts. Both services let users schedule communications and offer data insights. But looking at data separately on each platform takes a lot of time compared to the comprehensive picture presented by tools like Hootsuite and Buffer. Both can manage communications and track metrics on a dozen or more social media accounts.
Automated Data Backup is More Secure Than an External Drive
It used to be that data were backed up on external drives that cost a couple hundred dollars at the local Office Depot.
These aren't bad tools, but they aren't as secure as a cloud-based backup service like Mozy, which backs up files, encrypts data, synchronizes updates, and makes files accessible through mobile devices as well. All data is stored in the cloud, users actually work on copies which are then synced and back-up.
According to a study by AlertLogic, companies that store data onsite are attacked more often. Cloud security is without question more secure than desktop storage. For one thing, desktop security relies far too much on employee compliance. And as TechTarget observes, hackers look for easy opportunities to breach security. This happens more often when data is stored onsite than in the cloud.
At Verge Pipe Media, we love helping small and medium businesses solve brand and marketing challenges. We're a HubSpot partner (Marketing Automation!) and can help you implement Inbound Marketing in your business to help drive more website traffic, convert more visitors to leads, and meet your sales and marketing goals! Click the button below to get started learning about Inbound Marketing and how Verge Pipe Media can help you today.