Free for everyone.
Probably the most well known of the automation tools is IFTTT (if this then that). Easy to use, easy to set up, and free. The database of IFTTT is growing and evolving all the time and there’s a wide range of automation sequences (called Applets in this case) you can set up for both business and personal use. It can turn on the lights and open the garage door just as easily as it can send out a tweet or save a backup copy of your Instagram photos to your Dropbox. It even communicates with Amazon’s Alexa to do certain things.
Free version up to 100 zaps per month. Paid plans starting at $20 per month.
The free version lets you set up one step zaps, the paid upgrades allow you to create long chains of events across multiple platforms. The longer chains can save even more time if you want multiple things to happen from one trigger. I’m finding that there are a few more customizations you can make to a task here in comparison to what you can do with IFTTT, especially with WordPress and social media tasks.
Free 5 bots up to 250 actions per month. Paid upgrade plans starting at $19 per month (or $15 per month if you pay it annually instead of monthly)
Automate.io also allows the creation of multiple workflows across platforms to get those chain of events from a single trigger action that save you loads of time. Get more done in less time by setting up those repetitive tasks that you need to do every time someone fills out a contact form, or every time a customer support ticket comes in, or even some of the marketing tasks for new articles and blog posts.
Free version limits you to 750 Flows per month. Paid upgrades start at $5 per user monthly. All subscription options include unlimited flow creation. (If you are an Office 365 or Dynamics 365 customer, a Microsoft Flow plan is already included with your license.)
Not to be left out of the automation game, Microsoft beta tested earlier in 2016 and recently opened Flow to everyone. Designed to be used at the enterprise level, Flow has the ability to blend together several actions or steps into a “Flow” from one trigger event. The downside here is that it’s compatible with less than some of the choices above.
Some Examples of Things to Automate
- Create assigned to-dos in a project management system like Asana or Basecamp when a new blog post is made or a new podcast episode is released.
- Sharing photos from Instagram to other social platforms, like Twitter, a Facebook Page, or Flickr.
- Created automated backups of blog posts, photos, and more.
- Get an email notification when a brand or influencer you want to connect with tweets something so you can like and reply.
- Add new blog posts to Buffer.
- Automatically create WordPress posts from links saved to Pocket.
- Add Shopify paid orders to an email follow up list and/or Zendesk for support after purchase.
- Get an email notification when a file is saved to a Dropbox folder (a feature that many of us which Dropbox had on its own).
That’s barely scratching the surface of things that you can automate to save time on social media, your website, your newsletter, your customer service portals, etc….. There is so much more and so much possibility.
Use These Tools To Save Yourself Time
We all have repetitive tasks that need doing. Automating just a few things can save you hours of time every month. Additionally, if you’re anything like me, you’re busy doing things and forget about social sharing or other little tasks. Automating can help you “remember” by getting those things done, whether it’s posting to Facebook pages or saving photos to Dropbox.
Use These Automation Tools to Save Clients Time
This might seem counter-intuitive at first, because your clients are paying you to do work that saves them time so it might feel like giving away work. However, if you look at it from a perspective of delivering value to your client, it makes complete sense. You and your client are working together as a team, be the most efficient team you can possibly be.
You can set this up in a way that you’re monitoring or managing the automation for them if you’d like. This could look like a small service package. Perhaps you handle the set up of their account in preferred service from the list above. Then you get together for a consultation, on Skype or by email, to decide which automations are best for their business overall to meet their objectives and goals. Then you go set up the automation strings for them and set them to autopilot. All of that work is billable hourly time, or you can set it up as a flat rate add-on package that you offer, however you do your pricing.