By Margie Zable Fisher

What’s the best gift you can give yourself and your team this holiday season? How about the gift of time-saving tips? And fewer energy-draining daily tasks?

The holiday season is always jam-packed. So take back some of your precious time by not sinking it into manual tasks in the first place. Consider following these time-saving tips before the madness of the holiday season begins.

  • You don’t need to dedicate a person just to setting appointments. Use an online scheduler instead.
  • Are you still scheduling each of your business’s social media posts? Let a social media management tool do the heavy lifting.
  • Does sending endless emails consume your days? Set up an email marketing automation tool to send them for you.
  • Still trying to keep up with customer reviews on different websites? Use a review monitoring tool to ask customers for reviews and alert you when they do.
  • Wish you could send estimates and invoices from the field? Done. Use a mobile estimating and invoicing tool.
  • Are your customer details tethered to a spreadsheet on a hard drive? Or worse, on index cards? Unlock the power of your customer list with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool.
  • Do you still only accept checks as payment? Time to offer multiple ways to pay through a modern payment processor.

This list might seem daunting, but you don’t have to make all these changes at once. Pick one to start — your biggest time wasters or the easiest tool to implement. Go from there. And let the promise of how much time you’ll save be your motivation.

Make Appointments and Reminders Easier

Want to take your staff for a holiday lunch, but don’t want to miss customer calls? No problem!

With an online scheduling tool, your customers can book their own appointments whenever they want, from any device. These tools also help you manage your team’s schedule and sync everyone’s calendars, so no more double-bookings.

You also can set up automatic email and text appointment reminders, as well as thank yous that prompt customers to make their next appointment.

The time savings benefits of using an online scheduler include fewer phone calls to answer, appointments to book and confirmation calls to make.

Get Paid Faster

Waiting to get paid is like getting coal in your stocking, right? Not what you expected. Here’s some good news.

You can avoid unpaid invoices by using tools that make paying you easier. Accepting deposits and partial fees upfront also helps.

And you can save time by having your invoices go out automatically (which reduces errors), too. Without automation, the average cost of processing a single invoice can be up to $15.

Offer a variety of payment options that appeal to your customers. These include accepting credit card payments or digital wallets (with or without a reader).

If your service requires estimates, you don’t want to lose out on business by not being able to produce a quick, professional-looking estimate.

Some tools allow you to create one in minutes (or even seconds), using the contact information already in your CRM. (Use our free tool here!) Then they help you turn that estimate into an invoice, along with discounts, taxes and more.

Some tools allow you to send both estimates and invoices through via email or text message, from any device, even when you’ve just met with your prospective customer.

Automating your payment process makes it easier for customers to do business with you, saves time, reduces errors and, in the end, helps you avoid chasing unpaid invoices.

Streamline Marketing Efforts

Ho, ho, ho — it’s holiday greetings time!

Most businesses offer holiday greetings to their clients. Wishing your customers a wonderful holiday season is easy with marketing automation tools. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Throughout the year, you have many reasons to send emails to current and potential customers. Here’s how you can not only save time, but improve your email marketing.

  • Personalization — According to McKinsey & Company’s “Next in Personalization 2021 Report,” 72% of consumers expect any company they do business with to “recognize them as individuals and know their interests.” With an email marketing tool, you can easily incorporate first or last names into emails, and send certain messages to certain clients based on their interests.
  • Discounts, freebies and special offers — Set up your email marketing system to automatically send promotional offers throughout the year, without you having to remember to do it.
  • Birthday greetings — You can ask for this information as part of your new customer intake process. The best part? Customers love birthday messages, and they bring in revenue, too! According to Experian’s “Birthday Emails Best Practices Guide,” birthday emails provide significantly higher transaction rates (481%) and revenue (342%) than other email messages.
  • Greetings all year ’round — Sending holiday greetings at the end of each year is a must, but there may be other times you want to send holiday greetings. For example, an HVAC company could send customers a Happy July 4th message with an air conditioning tune-up discount.

Automating your marketing isn’t limited to emails. You also can use social media marketing tools to schedule content in advance, and manage all your social accounts from one place, making posts with one click. Some tools even offer libraries of pre-made posts for you to choose from.

58% of consumers say social media will influence their holiday buying decisions.

McKinsey & Company

The vast variety of marketing tasks that can be automated can save you tens of thousands of dollars a year in labor costs.

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Give the Gift of Time-Saving Tips

We can’t get back lost time. But you can prevent wasted time.

One of the smartest moves you can make is committing to incorporating tools that help you save time. Even better is when you can find a tool that consolidates many or all of the above. Talk about economies!

That could be the best holiday gift you and your team ever receive.

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