Business automation may sound very fancy, but it does not have to cost very much to get started. It is a question of researching and locating the right tools you need to succeed. Many of them are free or very low cost, but can be a great investment in terms of the amount of time you save. Here are a few suggestions.
WordPress is free, and is the top blogging software in the world. It can automate your business in a range of ways. For example, upload your content in advance, set the date, and it will refresh your site even when you are not at your computer.
WordPress also has an incredible range of free or cheap plugins which add functionality to your site. You can install WooCommerce, for example, and make your site into an eCommerce one that your target audience will love to shop at. Visitors browse and buy, and you get paid automatically into your account via PayPal.
PayPal offers a range of free tools for small business owners that can help them automate their business and get paid for their products and services. It will collect payments through your eCommerce site. You can create invoices, date them, and schedule them to be delivered. PayPal will also remind you which have been paid and which not, so you can track down your money easily if you have any slow payers.
Email marketing is essential for any online business in order to build relationships with your prospective customers. MailChimp is free for up to 2,500 people on your list. Use the autoresponder area to pre-load content and get it sent out according to your schedule.
AWeber is a low-priced alternative to MailChimp. The price increases the more people you have on your list. It is packed full of templates and useful features that will enable you to email market like a pro. You can also connect your emails to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, for further automation.
Zapier allows you to link up many of your apps, so that a particular event will trigger one or more other events automatically. This automation can keep you better informed about what is going on in your business and, for example, cross-promote to your many social media accounts. Start using your free account by choosing from the list of apps you use most and following their automation suggestions.
IFTTT stands for IF This, Then That. It is similar to Zapier and very simple to use. You set up your own automation from hundreds of choices. For example, if you publish a new article at your site, you would then set the automation for it to be posted at your Twitter account.
Buffer has a free and a paid level of service. It allows you to create social media posts and cross-post them to your accounts, all in one interface. You can queue up your postings as well, so they are sent out whenever you wish. Accounts include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and more. The free service allows one account and ten posts in the queue. Try it and see if you like it enough to pay money for the higher-tiered account.