It’s officially summer, the schools are breaking up and you’re thinking about whether you can squeeze in that break in the sun before September. Before you pick up that ice cream and put the flip flops on you’ll need to plan for being away from the all-important screen for a while.
Check out our top six tips for marketing automation to take the heat off this summer;
- Plan your diary in advance
It goes without saying that it really helps to plan your schedule early. Of course things will always crop up at the last minute, but if you can plan ahead as much as possible, informing your team, clients and partners that you’ll be away as soon as you make plans, the workload can be planned around everyone’s availability.
- Automate your social media content
If you’ve been keeping to a regular content plan, it’s best not to stop over the summer break. Although there is less happening online, this also means that your competition is less active and the general fight for attention can be much easier. Consider scheduling tools if you haven’t already, such as Buffer or Hootsuite and continue your promotion whilst you’re away.
- Have an alternative contact in place
That said, for every important area of the business you’ll need to ensure there is appropriate cover in place. If you’re planning an important message (or really, any message) to go out, or there is a chance important customers may get in touch, ensure you leave instructions with your team. Allocate each key contact or area within the business to a staff member or outsourced team member to manage, complete with details on what action you’d prefer them to take or whether you’re happy for them to use their discretion. Social media comments from potential customers that go unanswered can be business-damaging at worst and make you look like you don’t care at best. For some small businesses, a VA or a professional call minder service could be appointed to handle your calls. Freelancers can be ideal support too, to step into your shoes for a week or two and keep things professionally handled.
- Schedule emails, calls and appointments
Planning what you can before you go will pay dividends here, but did you know you can automate all kinds of communications whilst you’re away? A step on from automating email campaigns and blogs, email providers such as gmail and Outlook now offer a delayed send option, allowing you to draft messages in advance and delay responses, helping you avoid the pile-up of important emails on your return. If a VA or member of your team can’t help book your diary whilst you’re away, an alternative is an online appointment planner, some of which are available for free or free trials. Not only can this be a time-saver whilst you’re at the desk, but whilst you’re away it will allow people to book a call or meeting with you and the email confirmation will be in your inbox when you return. We’re currently triallingYouCanBook.me automation for our appointments, embedded in our site, but there are many others such as Appointedd.
- Don’t forget the basics
Setting the out of office reply is an important, but sometimes missed one. The best out of office replies (aside from the comedy ones!) not only give a return date but alternative contacts to speak to in your absence or for a particular project. Don’t forget your mobile or landline voicemail service too. Having an easy to use, online finance system can help with some automations, such as automatic invoices, reminders and payment confirmations available with software such asFreeagent.
- Bring in cover where you need it
Sometimes you need to ensure that your business is run in a professional manner and you have a smooth transition with thorough handovers before and after your break. Working with a freelancer or contractor in your specified field can sometimes be the best way to do this, depending on your circumstances.
It’s never easy to leave the office but if you plan ahead, delegate and automate what you can for this short period of time, you should be able to enjoy your Summer break.