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How to Boost Your Retail Store Sales with Task Automation

StrategyDriven, Business Management, Retail Sales, Marketing Automation, Lead Generation,Every business owner needs a little more time and money on their hands. But both resources can be hard to come by, especially if your everyday tasks are bleeding you dry.

Enters task automation and you can save the day and your sanity. Task automation saves you a lot of time and money, while allowing you to close more sales on autopilot.

Thanks to automation, you can effectively boost productivity, lower costs and offer better customer service online and offline.

With a clever automation strategy, your cash registers keep ringing and you spend less time on mundane and repetitive tasks.

At the end of the day, you end up with more time and money to channel towards business growth. And when you hit your growth goals, automation scales with you making your job easy.

With the preamble, continue reading to learn how you can easily boost sales in your store(s) with task automation.

How to Use Task Automation to Boost Sales

Automation uses software to carry out most of the tasks that were traditionally performed by a team of people.
Nowadays, and thanks to advances in technology, you can automate many tasks including marketing, lead nurturing, sales, daily operations and customer service among others.

In the following section, we cover several areas you can automate in a bid to increase sales while saving tons of time and money.

That out of the way, let us get down to business.

Marketing Automation

Businesses spend a huge amount of money marketing their products and services. Usually, most businesses don’t achieve the desired ROI thanks to poor execution, human error and so on.

Automating your marketing strategy can save you a lot of money and time. If you run a website for your store (and you should), automating your marketing efforts include adding features such as newsletters and social media.

Once a visitor sign ups to your newsletter, you can send them automated emails to convert mere subscribers to ready-to-pay customers. To automate opt-ins on your website, you can use a service such as OptinMonster and Thrive Leads among others.

If you didn’t know, email is a powerful marketing channel for online and offline businesses. You can easily send automated offers to your customers, which can boost both online and instore purchases tremendously.

Most email marketing providers offer you automation with a basic plan. For popular players in the industry, checkout MailChimp, AWeber and Campaign Monitor among others. Once you sign up, you can offer free content on a regular basis to win over customers, a practice known as content dripping.

Further, you can schedule social media posts that feed your social media marketing campaigns on autopilot. You don’t need me to tell you that posting on various social media platforms daily can eat up a lot of your precious time.

To be on the safe side, you can pick a few hours to schedule a month’s (or a year’s) worth of social media posts, and automate everything with a tool such as Hootsuite or BuzzSumo among others.

Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing involves actively participating in the customer’s journey from lead acquisition to purchase and beyond.

Many first timers to your businesses aren’t ready to purchase. However, you can turn the tables in your favor by automating lead nurturing – the process of converting a mere visitor to paying customer.

For starters, you must respond to contact requests immediately. If you delay your responses to customer queries for more than 30 minutes, you are 23X more likely to lose leads left, right and center.

What to do? Automate the contact process. How? Automate email/SMS responses that are sent out as soon as the visitor contacts your business.

As soon as you send out the canned response, automatically assign the lead to a sales rep who then follows up immediately. The prospect appreciates the fast response times, and you smile all the way to the bank.

Additionally, you can incorporate an automatic system that helps you to master phone calls. Such a system allows you to win leads you’d have otherwise lost due to phone tag.

On top of that, follow up with networking connections to generate more leads. However, following up manually can cost you a lot of time. You can automate the whole process, so you can follow up on prospective customers while saving time.

You can automate lead nurturing using a combination of tools such as email marketing, LeadSquared, Zapier and so on.

Sales Automation

Netting that one elusive sale doesn’t end with lead nurturing. Once you or your team has qualified a lead, it’s time to move on to the next phase; closing the deal. But inefficiencies can arise and kill the sale when you’re so close.

Your best bet is to automate the sales pipeline. There are couple of stages involved in closing the sale, and the fewer problems you have in the workflow, the better your bottom line.

A typical sales pipeline involves four main stages namely:

  • Identifying the new opportunity harnessed via lead nurturing
  • First contact when you or your sale representatives contact the prospect
  • Engagement, where your team finds out the prospect’s needs
  • Qualification, when the sales representative goes full throttle and closes the deal

To avoid problems, it’s best to automate the sales pipeline, such that the sales team focuses entirely on the hottest leads, without wasting time on trivialities.

With a great sales automation strategy in place, your sales team can move the lead from stage to the next without any hiccups, saving you plenty of time and money.

On top of that, you should also engage with interested leads who are not ready to buy yet. With a little automated persuasion, you can convince such leads to make the leap and become a customer.

Other than that, always welcome your new customers with automated welcome emails/SMS/phone calls. A huge chunk of customers loves welcome emails, and if you do your homework, you can even score repeat business automatically without trying hard on your part.

For sales automation tools, we recommend Pardot, Hubspot Sales, and Keap (formerly InfusionSoft) among others.

Office Operations

Daily office operations can take a lot of time. On top of that, many stores don’t carry out next-day tasks, which results in huge losses. The best scenario for all businesses is to boost employee engagement and productivity.
And did you know you can leverage the power of automation to boost employee engagement, productivity and achieve consistent store execution? That’s right, you can automate plenty of instore tasks to save time and money, boost employee morale and promote effective customer service.

You can easily automate tasks such as office communication with a tool such as RetailZipline. Additionally, you can use the same tool to automate sending and receiving of important documents, set up daily task checklists, and foster store participation via surveys.

Other than that, you can automate inventory tracking (you can use Zoho Inventory), job applications, employee onboarding (you can use RetailZipline) and so much more.

Other Areas

You can further automate areas such as:

  • Events such as instore sales or networking events
  • Ecommerce including tasks such as recovering abandoned carts, updating credit card numbers, generating repeat business, etc.
  • Customer service such as making it easier for customers to seek help, gauging client satisfaction, asking for referrals by offering small gifts e.g. coupons, remembering client birthdays, and cleaning your email lists among others

Conclusion

Task automation can save you a lot of headaches, time and money. Provided you know the right strategy and tools to use, you can easily automate your business.

As a store manager, HQ or district leader, it is important to invest in task automation to take your business to the next level.

Have concerns, suggestions, favorite tools or questions? Please share in the comments. Cheers to happy automating.

3 Marketing Processes Your Business Should be Automating Right Now

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article |Marketing Automation| 3 Marketing Processes Your Business Should be Automating Right NowThere isn’t enough time to do everything, yet most small business owners try. When it comes to marketing your business, there are things you can do to automate some of these processes. Automation helps you make sure everything is done, ensures everything is done at the right time, and helps give you more time to focus on tasks that can’t be automated. If you haven’t started automating some of your marketing processes yet, give these three a try first.

Lead Generation and Tracking

There’s a “contact us” button on the website, but just getting potential customers to contact the business is the first step for lead generation. Emails should be responded to immediately. Even a 30-minute delay can decrease the chance of the email leading to a qualified lead. Instead, start automating lead generation, so emails are responded to immediately. These are form responses, but there are ways to make it sound more personal for the customer, so they know they’re important to the business.

Along with automating these responses to generate more leads, use automation to track the leads. It’s possible to use white label reporting software to generate CRM and other reports automatically and have them sent to your email address. The software tracks everything, then sends a PDF with the information neatly arranged, so it’s easy to keep an eye on lead generation for the business and how effective the current marketing processes are.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is used by just about everyone today, so it’s an excellent way to generate new leads for a business. However, to get the most from social media, it’s a good idea to post every few hours. This ensures posts are seen, but it can be difficult for someone to do all of this by hand. Content needs to be created or curated, then posted on social media websites at just the right time to have the biggest impact.

Instead of spending a couple of hours every day just curating and posting on social media, automate some of this. Automating software can find content that your potential customers might be interested in and automatically share it at set times. It’s still a good idea to post original content periodically, but this makes it easy to post more and to keep the business in the view of potential customers.

Email Marketing

Automation is great for sending emails as soon as a customer reaches out, but there’s more that can be done here. Email marketing campaigns, when done right, can be highly effective. Use automation to make sure an email campaign is more effective by sending out emails at exactly the right time. Evaluate your current email marketing plan to see how it can change and improve with the use of automation and find out how much time you can save. When emails can be written at any time, even months ahead, and sent out at the perfect time to grab a potential customer’s attention, they can lead to a lot more conversions.

There’s no need to try to do everything on your own. Instead, try implementing these automation techniques to reduce your workflow, make your marketing processes more effective, and to bring in more leads for your business. Automating the right tasks can make a huge difference in how much time you spend on marketing and can leave you with more time to work on tasks that just can’t be automated.

Which Lead Tactics Work Best

The worst number in business is one. If you have just one source of leads, it is only a question of time when the price per click goes up or the targeting options change or the viewership of the publication changes.

Because of this, you want to have several lead generation mechanisms in place. This way, if something happens to one of them, the other ones will continue working for you and generating new leads. This article will introduce you to five tactics you can use in your business.

1. Media Buying

Media buying is the process of negotiating and purchasing advertising time and space.

The secret to successful media buying lies in knowing your audience. One of the biggest mistakes a marketer can make is to advertise a niche offer to a broad market. The ad campaign will be expensive and the response will be small. This is not how you want to run your campaigns.

You need to know the age of your buyers, their gender, level of education, income, family status and interests. You also want to know what publications they read, how they spend their free time and what websites they visit.

Once you have this data, you can start making intelligent choices about how and where you can advertise to them. One of your goals should be to find media that are not obvious to your competition. This way you will be able to purchase space and time at reasonable rates (because the competition is not yet there) and be the only advertiser in your category in that media.

If there are certain media that you would like to use for advertisements, but can’t afford, call them or email them and tell them how much you can pay. Often, you’ll be able to get a last-minute offer if one of their advertisers pulls out and they have some free time or space. Many media are very negotiable as to how much they will sell advertising for. This is not something they advertise upfront, but if you negotiate, you will often be able to get a great deal.

2. Affiliates

Affiliate marketing is a great way to market products and services because in affiliate marketing you don’t have to pay for advertising upfront and you don’t have any risks.

Typically, you pay for advertising or lead generation activities first. These activities generate leads. Then, you have to do the work to convert the leads into paying customers. If the work is successful, only then you get your money back and a return on your investment.

This is not how things work in affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketers do all the work for you. In exchange, you pay them a percentage of the sales or a pre-agreed amount per sale for all the sales that they make.

The best way to use affiliates is to scale your sales systems that are already working. Nobody wants to pay money to test something that is not proven. While you may get affiliates to test your offers, if they lose money, they will not work with you again. If, however, you have a system that works and need more leads or need to convert more leads, then working with affiliates is a great way to go. You will make more money and your affiliates will make money, which will make them want to work again with you in the future.

3. Social Media Marketing

Today there are all kinds of social media, from Pinterest to Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn. However, this does not mean that you have to be everywhere. You need to be where your customers are. If you are selling a consumer product, you probably do not need to be on LinkedIn. If you are a high-end executive recruitment boutique, then being on Pinterest may not be a good strategy for you.

Find out where your customers spend their time. Then, get in front of them.

The good news is that social media today offer a variety of tools and ways to reach prospects and existing customers.

Using Facebook Pixel or Google Tag Manager, you can mark everyone who visits your website or certain pages on your website. You can also create audiences based on sequences of pages that people visit, videos they watch, elements of pages that they click on and parts of the pages they scroll to. Then, you can retarget these visitors with custom ads on social media and other websites. The opportunities for marketers today are virtually unlimited.

4. SMS

SMS or text messaging can be a very effective way to target customer but you need to be very careful with how you use it. Today most people use text messaging to communicate with their friends and family. They don’t get a lot of advertising messages via text. For this reason, you want to only text them about something important. Reminders typically fall into the important category and work really well. For example, you can send a reminder about a webinar. You can also send a reminder about a demo or a sales call that you have coming up.

You can also offer your existing customers to notify them via text about special sales and events.

At the same time, sending regular updates and marketing messages via text messaging is probably not a good idea. Most people check their text messages very frequently and if you are sending them messages that they don’t find valuable, they may feel as if you are spamming them and interrupting them with no good reason.

5. Ringless Voicemail

Ringless voicemail is a relatively new technology, which is why it is extremely effective.

Ringless voicemail works only will cellphones. According to studies, over 90% of adult Americans own a cellphone, which means that you can reach virtually any person with ringless voicemail marketing.

Ringless voicemail works by completely bypassing cellular networks. It contacts the cellular provider directly via a business landline call and drops a message on the server of the cellular provider. The provider then moves the message to the server space of the recipient and notifies the recipient about the message. This way there is no call made to the recipient, no charges to the recipient and no interruptions.

When the recipient checks his or her voicemail, he or she can listen to the message. The message can be as long or as short as the sender likes. This means that you can create ringless voicemails that are really effective.

A ringless voicemail can have options that connect the recipient to a sales person or drive the recipient to a website. By using these options you can measure the ROI from your ringless voicemail campaigns and make sure that you are spending your marketing dollars wisely.

5 Ways to Generate More Sales Leads

The objective of every for-profit company is to increase its bottom line, and if you’re in the business of selling products or services, that ultimately means you’ll need to generate more leads. But where are these prospective buyers and how can you make your brand visible to them in an effective manner? Answering that question successfully and executing based on experience are the keys to managing any well-rounded sales campaign. With that said, you’re practically guaranteed to attract a higher volume of quality sales leads if you master the following five lead generation methods:

1. Promote Email Newsletter Opt-ins

If someone is willing to give you their email address in exchange for a piece of content or another incentive you’re offering, that means they’re more likely to convert into a customer. To take advantage of this concept, all you have to do is make an email subscription form easily viewable on your site, or make it a prominent pop-up that shows up whenever a visitor arrives. Opt-in leads are a well-studied and reliable branch of marketing that has been covered extensively by blogs like 4ra and others.

2. Listing in All Major Map and Business Directories

When sales leads are your top priority, visibility is the name of the game. To ensure potential customers are able to easily find and communicate with your company, it’s imperative that you start by listing your website and/or place of business and contact information on major directories like Google Maps, The Yellow Pages, Yelp, etc.

3. Start Advertising on Social Networks

Unlocking the traffic and exposure potential of social networks is one of the best ways to generate a viral surge in sales. Although social media marketing and contextual advertising on sites like Facebook are other topics in and of themselves, if you commit to this type of marketing in the long-term, you’ll have more sales than if you hadn’t.

4. Launch a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Traffic Campaign

Pay per click traffic is a very reliable way to generate sales leads if you have the initial start-up capital to fund a sizeable campaign. With PPC, you pay to have your site displayed at the top of search engines like Google or on Facebook Ads. There are many PPC networks to choose from, but essentially the idea is the same – you pay a certain amount for every person that clicks your link and comes to your site. Since a percentage of those will convert, all you have to do is optimize the conversion rate and scale up from there.

5. Inventing and Promoting a New Product or Service

If you can establish your brand as the sole provider of something, then you’ll be in a more favorable position in any market. Sometimes doing this is as simple as modifying or adding a feature to an existing product, service, or another monetization model.

Putting it All Together for a Failproof Marketing Strategy

In closing, if you diligently pursue all of these sale generation methods, there’s a 99% chance that you’ll be receiving more quality leads than if you were to not do all of the above.

Which Lead Generation Tactics Get the Best Results

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article
The worst number in business is one. If you have just one source of leads, it is only a question of time when the price per click goes up or the targeting options change or the viewership of the publication changes.

Because of this, you want to have several lead generation mechanisms in place. This way, if something happens to one of them, the other ones will continue working for you and generating new leads. This article will introduce you to five tactics you can use in your business.

1. Media Buying

Media buying is the process of negotiating and purchasing advertising time and space.

The secret to successful media buying lies in knowing your audience. One of the biggest mistakes a marketer can make is to advertise a niche offer to a broad market. The ad campaign will be expensive and the response will be small. This is not how you want to run your campaigns.

You need to know the age of your buyers, their gender, level of education, income, family status and interests. You also want to know what publications they read, how they spend their free time and what websites they visit.

Once you have this data, you can start making intelligent choices about how and where you can advertise to them. One of your goals should be to find media that are not obvious to your competition. This way you will be able to purchase space and time at reasonable rates (because the competition is not yet there) and be the only advertiser in your category in that media.

If there are certain media that you would like to use for advertisements, but can’t afford, call them or email them and tell them how much you can pay. Often, you’ll be able to get a last-minute offer if one of their advertisers pulls out and they have some free time or space. Many media are very negotiable as to how much they will sell advertising for. This is not something they advertise upfront, but if you negotiate, you will often be able to get a great deal.

2. Affiliates

Affiliate marketing is a great way to market products and services because in affiliate marketing you don’t have to pay for advertising upfront and you don’t have any risks.

Typically, you pay for advertising or lead generation activities first. These activities generate leads. Then, you have to do the work to convert the leads into paying customers. If the work is successful, only then you get your money back and a return on your investment.

This is not how things work in affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketers do all the work for you. In exchange, you pay them a percentage of the sales or a pre-agreed amount per sale for all the sales that they make.

The best way to use affiliates is to scale your sales systems that are already working. Nobody wants to pay money to test something that is not proven. While you may get affiliates to test your offers, if they lose money, they will not work with you again. If, however, you have a system that works and need more leads or need to convert more leads, then working with affiliates is a great way to go. You will make more money and your affiliates will make money, which will make them want to work again with you in the future.

3. Social Media Marketing

Today there are all kinds of social media, from Pinterest to Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn. However, this does not mean that you have to be everywhere. You need to be where your customers are. If you are selling a consumer product, you probably do not need to be on LinkedIn. If you are a high-end executive recruitment boutique, then being on Pinterest may not be a good strategy for you.
Find out where your customers spend their time. Then, get in front of them.

The good news is that social media today offer a variety of tools and ways to reach prospects and existing customers.

Using Facebook Pixel or Google Tag Manager, you can mark everyone who visits your website or certain pages on your website. You can also create audiences based on sequences of pages that people visit, videos they watch, elements of pages that they click on and parts of the pages they scroll to. Then, you can retarget these visitors with custom ads on social media and other websites. The opportunities for marketers today are virtually unlimited.

4. SMS

SMS or text messaging can be a very effective way to target customer but you need to be very careful with how you use it. Today most people use text messaging to communicate with their friends and family. They don’t get a lot of advertising messages via text. For this reason, you want to only text them about something important. Reminders typically fall into the important category and work really well. For example, you can send a reminder about a webinar. You can also send a reminder about a demo or a sales call that you have coming up.

You can also offer your existing customers to notify them via text about special sales and events.

At the same time, sending regular updates and marketing messages via text messaging is probably not a good idea. Most people check their text messages very frequently and if you are sending them messages that they don’t find valuable, they may feel as if you are spamming them and interrupting them with no good reason.

5. Ringless Voicemail

Ringless voicemail is a relatively new technology, which is why it is extremely effective.

Ringless voicemail works only will cellphones. According to studies, over 90% of adult Americans own a cellphone, which means that you can reach virtually any person with ringless voicemail marketing.

Ringless voicemail works by completely bypassing cellular networks. It contacts the cellular provider directly via a business landline call and drops a message on the server of the cellular provider. The provider then moves the message to the server space of the recipient and notifies the recipient about the message. This way there is no call made to the recipient, no charges to the recipient and no interruptions.

When the recipient checks his or her voicemail, he or she can listen to the message. The message can be as long or as short as the sender likes. This means that you can create ringless voicemails that are really effective.

A ringless voicemail can have options that connect the recipient to a sales person or drive the recipient to a website. By using these options you can measure the ROI from your ringless voicemail campaigns and make sure that you are spending your marketing dollars wisely.