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Guide to our Favorite Automation Tools

Repetitive tasks shouldn’t have to make up a large part of your workday. With automation tools, your repetitive tasks — like sending reminder emails to clients, or updating your calendar — can be triggered and carried out by software, so you can focus on moving the needle in your business. 

Here are 3 repetitive tasks you can get off your plate right away through automation. 

Each requires a small amount of setup on the front-end. But once the workflows are in place, automation is set-and-forget…until you want to set up another one! 

APPOINTMENT SETTING

Calendar management is already a challenge. When you factor in scheduling conflicts and appointment no-shows, it can become a disaster. 

Appointment setting apps and scheduling software make this process much easier for you. Rather than taking appointments manually, these apps do it for you through a web interface and send automatic email or text reminders to you and your prospect or client. 

Similar to how you would make a dinner reservation online, clients can schedule their time with you through a form on your website, Facebook page, or anywhere else the app is supported.

Our favorite automation tools for appointment setting include: 

  • Acuity – a user-friendly interface that shows clients only the calendar you want them to see. Offers customized branded email notifications and SMS reminders. 
  • ScheduleOnce – offers robust features for scheduling solo or team appointments and is designed for hassle-free canceling and rescheduling. 
  • Keap (Infusionsoft) – updates your Google calendar automatically after an appointment is scheduled and is integrated with Keap’s CRM so you can access customer/prospect data and notes all in one place. 
  • Calendly – allows you to set minimum scheduling notices and meeting caps per day while adding buffer time before and after meetings to prevent calendar gridlock. 

 NURTURE CLIENTS AND PROSPECTS

Staying top-of-mind with clients and prospects is a priority to your business’ success. But manually sending complex email nurture sequences and newsletters isn’t the best use of your time. 

Instead, leverage automation to send emails for you on the days and times you specify. Many of these workflows include triggers and actions, such as: “if [client] clicks [this link] then send [this email].” That way, if your prospect purchases a product from your website, or joins a course, they’ll automatically receive emails with product delivery details, or course login information. 

Email automation software also tracks open rate, click rate, and other delivery metrics, and adds engagement activity to your CRM database (which is often integrated), so you know which leads are cold or warm. 

Our favorite tools for email automation include: 

  • ActiveCampaign – a comprehensive blend of email marketing, email automation, sales and CRM, and messaging. Email marketing features include dynamic content, which changes the content viewed by the end-user depending on how they are segmented. Also allows you to split test, and set automation goals.
  • Keap (Infusionsoft) – the marketing campaign builder allows you to create a flexible and customized workflow for your sales and marketing process. Triggers and actions can be configured as well.
  • ConvertKit – offers a wide range of sign-up forms and landing pages to help build your email list. Great for organizing your subscribers and building email and newsletter sequences. 

 TASK MANAGEMENT 

As your company grows, so do your projects and deliverables. But wrangling tasks in a spreadsheet or in your personal todo list only works for so long before you need to explore project management software — especially if you employ other team members. 

Task management and automation go hand in hand because much of what we do every week follows a repeated workflow. For example, if you produce weekly blog content, you’ll always need to choose a topic, submit a draft, review for editing and schedule for publishing. 

Creating custom workflows in the project management software helps reduce errors while coordinating tasks and keep projects on deadline. 

  • Asana – project and task management with milestones, timelines, dependencies and more. Allows messaging between users and can track team bandwidth. Flowsana is a service that was created for automation like auto-adjusting due date windows and if-then workflows. 
  • Trello – a complex productivity platform with layers of capabilities packaged in an extremely user-friendly interface. Power-up tools like Butler and Zapier enable you to create custom workflows like “when I move this card to the ‘Done’ list, mark the due date complete in this card.” Or, “when a card is moved to ‘Publish’ send a tweet and publish to our Facebook page.”
  • Teamwork Projects – allows users to categorize and organize their projects, collaborate through Notebooks, and includes time tracking, billing, and other add-ons. Automated triggers are now available in Teamwork’s “Board View” for tasks. 

TRIGGERS & ACTIONS

Built-in automation is a great starting point for anybody new to automation. As you get more comfortable, we recommend tools like Zapier and IFTTT (If This Then That) to expand your capabilities. 

Zapier and IFTTT create triggers and actions between different platforms. They integrate different tools and basically make them talk to each other. 

For example, using Zapier, you can create a “zap” so that if you get an email, it can be tagged, and created as a task in Asana. In another instance, a Voxer message can be turned into a Trello card. 

At Priority VA, we use Zapier for our complex automation. But IFTTT is perfect for anyone seeking more simple integrations. 

HAVE QUESTIONS? 

Contact us if you have questions about automation and how we can help you achieve the hands-free momentum you need to scale your business. 

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