Hello PerfectForms Community,
Now that we have discussed when it is appropriate to use a table, I would like to provide you with some additional tips to help in your build. As mentioned in our last article, tables are a great tool for forms that require calculations, such as order forms. Tables work well as they have the ability to add and remove lines as needed by the user. Over this article, I will discuss how to properly include behaviors to calculate a line total and a sum of your line items.
Let’s begin by adding a table to your canvas, this table will consist of 4 columns:
• Quantity (Formatted as numeric)
• Item (Formatted as text)
• Cost (Formatted as numeric)
• Total (Formatted as numeric)
Now that our table has been configured we can begin building the behaviors. The goal of our first behavior will be to calculate a total based upon the quantity and price of an item. Please follow the steps below:
1. Click on the ‘Quantity’ column of the table.
2. Click on ‘Numeric Input changes field data’ at the bottom right of the properties panel under the behaviors section.
3. Drag a ‘Set field’ behavior onto the canvas
4. Click the ‘Set field’ behavior and Select ‘Total – Current Row’ on your table as the target of your behavior.
5. Click on ‘Formula’ in the ‘Set field’ behavior properties.
6. Click on the ‘Compose’ button just below ‘Formula’
7. Add the formula (Quantity – Current row * Cost – Current row) as depicted below:
Once you have completed the steps above please repeat the exact same steps for the ‘Cost’ column in the table. By adding the behavior to both columns you can ensure that the total will be recalculated if the price or the quantity changes. With the behaviors applied to both columns, you may now proceed to test by clicking preview.
Once you are satisfied with testing you can move forward to the next step, calculating the sum of the total column in your table. To add this functionality, we will need to add an additional numeric input field to the canvas. I like to place this field directly under the total column of the table. This field should be named ‘Sum.’ Next, click on the ‘Total’ column of the table followed by ‘Numeric Input changes field data’ in the bottom right of the properties panel. Drag a ‘Set Field’ behavior on the canvas then select the ‘Sum’ field as the target of the behavior. Once complete, click ‘Formula’ then the ‘Compose’ button right under the ‘Formula.’ For this behavior, clear the ” from the formula by click on the entry and clicking the trash can, then click the ‘Add Function’ button. Scroll down the function list and click the ‘Sum’ function from the list. In the function click the ” then select the field ‘Total – All rows’ in your table. Your behavior is now complete and ready to test to ensure the proper result is achieved.
If you’re old enough to remember when the beginning of the school year coincided with a stack of paper forms that had to be completed for every child, you probably also remember the sense of dread that went along with filling them in. Families with two, three, or more students in the same school system had to go through the entire pack of forms for each child, even though much of the information on the forms was identical.
Fortunately, more school systems and institutions of higher education are putting forms online and making the enrollment and registration process faster, easier, and more accurate. In fact, schools can put an almost unlimited variety of forms online, including field trip forms, grade reports, and discipline reports. Here’s why form creation software is such a smart investment for K-12 school systems, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities, and which forms should go online first.
K-12 School Systems Can Save Tremendous Resources
Having just one school-age child can be exhausting. Yet some parents have multiple children enrolled in the same school system. Parents quickly become frustrated when having to complete the same dozen pages of forms two or three times by hand. When schools put forms online, however, even if they don’t allow address, phone, and other data to populate forms for multiple children at once, copying and pasting is an option, and the whole thing is easier than paper forms. Furthermore, parents whose children remain within the same school system for several years like the option to reuse last year’s information, making updates only as needed.
The time and resource savings to schools can be significant. The Visalia Unified School District in California managed to save $10,000 per year by taking a single, heavily used form from paper to electronic. School systems that are just starting to put forms online can begin with the basics: registration and enrollment forms. As new workflows for handling electronic forms become established, it’s easy to add more online form options, like submission of lunch funds, field trip permission, and discipline reports.
Making Community Colleges More Efficient
Community colleges represent a great value in higher education, costing significantly less than four-year institutions. Unfortunately, many community colleges have coped with budget cuts that often make it necessary to raise tuition and other fees. Eliminating paper forms and putting as many forms online as possible is one-way community colleges can make the smartest use of their resources. Students of all ages are quite computer literate, and though they probably will only be completing forms for one person, they appreciate the time savings and ease of online forms. Processing these forms is also much faster when they’re online instead of on paper.
Higher Education Benefits Most by Putting These Forms Online
As with other educational systems, colleges and universities have the ability to put nearly all their forms online. And with the right form creation software, they don’t have to rely on overworked IT teams to create electronic forms for them. The University of Portland has put more than 100 forms online over the past several years, making things easier on students and administrators, and freeing IT resources for other priorities.
During college application season, admissions offices can be overwhelmed, and placing admission forms online can take up much of the slack. eCampusNews.com suggests putting the following forms online first when making the transition away from paper:
1. Scholarship application forms
2. Application admission forms
3. Recommendation forms
4. Candidate interview evaluation forms
5. Campus visit scheduling forms
Form Creation Software That’s Up to the Challenge
PerfectForms is a form creation software made for non-technical users. It has been successfully used by K-12 systems, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities, as well as a wide range of businesses in many industries. The intuitive drag-and-drop interface lets your team get busy creating online forms right away, and creating online workflows is just as easy.
With PerfectForms, schools can save parents and students massive amounts of time, spend far less on paper, ink, and the costs of handling all that paper, and can count on more accurate forms that are easier to access and update. We encourage you to look through the case studies referenced above, or watch the PerfectForms demo for inspiration about forms and processes you can put online for the benefit of all parties involved.
It’s easy for a rapidly growing company to realize the need for a business process management (BPM) solution after so much time has been spent on operational issues, and when it appears that every process is somehow being “managed” by spreadsheet. Often, processes are managed by departments and software that are locked up in silos, and it can be especially hard to navigate processes that cross departmental boundaries.
Evaluating BPM solutions is, of course, necessary before making the investment, but what do you evaluate? It’s best to start by looking at your business processes themselves before trying to find the right BPM tool.
Ensure Processes Themselves Aren’t Broken
Sometimes processes themselves arise organically, and this often happens in companies that are forced to scale up quickly and don’t have time to stop and evaluate processes along the way. In some cases, the processes themselves are pieced together inefficiently and need to be redesigned before you start considering BPM solutions. Every process for which you are considering BPM should be broken down and analyzed thoroughly to ensure that process-related problems don’t carry over into your BPM environment.
Determine Whether a Cloud or On-Premises BPM Tool Is Best
Most companies – particularly small ones – choose BPM software that runs in the cloud. Using cloud software makes it easier to spread costs out and puts the burden of maintaining software and hardware on the software company. You won’t have to install updates and patches, and you can be confident that everyone in the company is using the same version of the software.
Some companies, however, choose on-premises BPM solutions, often due to strict regulatory or security requirements that must be met. Having physical control over the hardware and software responsible for BPM is necessary or desirable for certain companies, and if this is you, make sure your provider offers on-premises installation. Not all do.
Choose a Solution That Plays Nicely with Other Software
No software should be isolated but should interact with easily other regularly used software packages. In fact, the best BPM solutions make integration easy enough that you won’t have to bring in your IT team to accomplish it. Will your BPM tool interact with databases, spreadsheets, web forms, and other software packages without custom engineering? Even if you don’t require this capability now, it’s smart to ensure that it’s possible before choosing your BPM tool.
Consider Flexibility and Scalability of BPM Solutions
BPM tools should assist with processes throughout an organization, from HR to building maintenance to IT. The flexibility of your BPM tool should be non-negotiable because how you need to use the tool will be unique to your business. Likewise, scaling your BPM software up or down should be straightforward. This is another reason many organizations choose BPM solutions that are run in the cloud. The cloud makes it easy to scale processes when, for example, you add to your staff and suddenly have more people using a business process.
Evaluate Your Service and Support Options
Finally, don’t invest in a BPM solution unless you have absolute confidence in a provider’s service and support operations. Rare is the company that won’t have any questions about their BPM software, and it’s important to know you can access the help you need when you need it. Moreover, you should look for BPM software providers that record and evaluate customer issues and questions and use this data to inform software upgrades. Your needs may change, and you want to feel assured that your software will still be there for you as you do.
PerfectForms is the BPM tool that can streamline and automate processes across your organization, whether you’re in medicine, education, insurance, or any other industry. It’s flexible and easy to scale with the cloud option, plus on-premises installation is available for organizations that require it. PerfectForms includes a drag-and-drop interface that allows non-programmers to create sleek and smart business processes without having to use programming code.
Whether you want a BPM tool to automate HR processes, make IT services easier, manage the transportation pool better, or what have you, PerfectForms offers the flexibility and ease of use you require. Best of all? You can try out PerfectForms for free and see for yourself what this powerful BPM tool offers your business.
Hello PerfectForms Community,
Any handyman counts on a variety of tools that are needed for their different tasks. Each tool in their toolbox has a specific purpose and if used incorrectly won’t get the job done. Sometimes a hammer is a right fit other times it is a screwdriver. A good handyman knows when and how to use their tools. Forms designers must also know the tools in their PerfectForms toolbox as well as the right time to use each one. Many objects can complete the same task but just like the hammer and screwdriver some components are a better fit depending on your form design goals. Today I would like to discuss when to use regular data entry fields and when to use a Table in your form design. Learning these use cases will provide you with the knowledge required to achieve the desired output from your form design the first time around.
A Table is one of the most powerful objects in PerfectForms. Key features include:
• High data capacity
• Variable data amounts
• Configurable data types
A Table’s features make it perfect for returning bulk data from other forms, databases, or 3rd party data sources. Calculating sums based on column and rows can also be performed with ease, making them ideal for forms with a purchasing function. When using a Table it is best practice to ask a few reflective questions such as:
• Do I need to print?
o The print functionality will only show what is seen on the form. If the amount of data exceeds the visible space of a
table an appendix will need to be included in the print command to view all the data.
• Can I define the maximum amount of fields I will need?
o If the answer is yes, and the fields can be reasonably applied to a form design it may be best to use fields.
• Will this form be used on a mobile device?
o Tables do not provide the best user experience for mobile devices.
• Does a print of an appendix serve my business case?
o An appendix will be on a separate page that will only include the Tables data. (Example Below)
Example: Top image is a print of a form with a table in it. The bottom image is a print of an appendix of the table.
Tables although powerful should be used only after considering the questions above. By using these questions the process of deciding to use a table or fixed objects should be simplified.
The major difference in using fixed objects instead of a table is that they do not provide variable data amounts. By using fixed objects in your build you can simplify calculations, behaviors based on a field, connecting to a form, and printing. Any behavior or function that can be performed by an object in a table can also be performed with a corresponding fixed object. If you find yourself leaning towards a table only for the aesthetics remember you can always arrange fields to appear as a table and fulfill that requirement.
Now that we have discussed the strengths of Tables and fixed fields you should be able to choose what is best for your use case. If you are thinking of using a Table try out the example questions for your next build. By using the questions picking your next tool should be an easier choice. If you have any additional questions please feel free to post below and I will be happy to respond.
Thanks for reading and happy form building.
Fred Reichheld, the executive behind the online satisfaction survey devised by Bain & Co back in 2003, is tired of customer satisfaction surveys. He thinks that they have grown wildly out of control, and that they subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) nudge customers toward leaving only the highest ratings, whether they want to or not.
Yet online surveys are a tremendously easy and economical way to learn more about what your company is doing right, and where it could stand to improve. With the right form software, you can create custom online surveys that are inviting and that can deliver valuable, actionable information. Here are some thoughts on making online forms and surveys that perform as you want them to do.
Do These Things with Your Online Forms
Online surveys should generally focus on a single objective. Often that can be as simple as a single question: “Would you recommend [our product or service] to someone else?” But sometimes you need to use multiple questions. For example, you may create a brief survey about your new website design. If that is the case, stick with that topic, and leave questions about your product for another time.
It’s also good to create surveys from online forms that are clear and easy to read, and that will take less than five minutes to complete. Questions should be specific and easy to answer, and it’s important to make your questions as unbiased as possible. Explain at the top of the survey why you’re conducting it and thank the survey participants for their time.
Don’t Do These Things with Your Online Forms
While multiple-choice surveys are most convenient for all parties, don’t leave participants whose answers don’t match any of the choices with no way to respond. Simply including an “Other (please explain)” option is one way to handle this, and another is to use open-ended questions instead of multiple-choice ones.
Don’t place too heavy a load on the shoulders of your online surveys. Some things should be tested, rather than surveyed. For example, what customers say they will spend rarely corresponds to what they will actually spend, so determining price should involve testing rather than a simple survey.
Finally, don’t ask context-free questions (“What is your favorite coffee?”) and hope to get valuable answers. A person’s favorite coffee may well depend on whether she’s making a pot at home, grabbing it on the way to work, or choosing what to have after a nice dinner out.
How One Company Used Form Software to Improve Survey Response Rates
Business consulting and survey company Affinity Management Group knows all about online surveys, because that’s a big part of their business. What they needed was a way to make the survey process both flexible and efficient so they could reach deadlines more easiley and customize surveys more precisely based on their client needs. They chose PerfectForms form software to power their online surveys and were delighted with the results.
PerfectForms was not only easier to use and offered outstanding customer service, it gave Affinity an expandable platform that allowed them to run client-based customer surveys, giving them a competitive edge and saving them (and their clients) thousands of dollars. What’s more, after implementing surveys created with PerfectForms, response rates rose significantly because survey forms could be customized meticulously and could be made to appear attractive, inviting, and professional.
Using form software to create online surveys can be a powerful way to validate concepts and learn more about customers. Using online forms to gather information about, say, whether to launch a new product or service can be efficient and informative, and with PerfectForms, the results can be fed right into a database or spreadsheet if you prefer.
With its intuitive drag-and-drop interface, PerfectForms makes it easy to create and deploy fully customized surveys that include your important branding elements and draw customers to your brand. We encourage you to read about Affinity Management Group and other case studies to learn how powerful the results can be when you have the right online form software.
The Internet of Things (IoT) hasn’t made a huge impact on most people’s lives yet, but the potential is enormous. The potential for the IoT in business is even greater. The examples of IoT technology that most people are familiar with are in-home smart lighting and smart climate control systems that “know” how to function depending on surrounding conditions, including the presence or absence of people.
These systems have a place in business environments too, and in fact, we probably can’t even envision the potential for the IoT in the business world yet. When ordinary devices can digitally interact with users and with each other, the possibilities are really only limited by the imagination.
Business process management (BPM), which has been around for a while, is an “integral part of much of the digital transformation that is taking place today. Here are some ways BPM is expected to make the IoT better.
BPM Tools: Linking Customers and the IoT
Many of the ways businesses will use the IoT to create customer value are yet to be determined, but it’s easy to see how transformative the IoT will be. BPM can be seen as an essential link between the IoT and customers, because connected devices that exist in silos can’t do much. For example, coordination of tasks that involve humans and devices or systems is a natural function for BPM tools. This can be true either internal to businesses, or in interactions between businesses and consumers.
BPM Software and Customer Sentiment Analysis
BPM has long been used to analyze consumer sentiment data, so imagine how powerful the insights will be once BPM can be combined with both consumer sentiment data and data taken directly from connected IoT objects. It can already be done to some extent. Say an exercise app on a smartwatch counts how many steps a user takes. Consumer sentiment entered into a survey could be combined with data directly from the smartwatch app to gain increasingly accurate insights into how people use devices and how they rate their experience.
Using BPM and the IoT for Systems Maintenance
BPM interactions with the IoT may not all be exciting, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be transformative. As businesses adopt more connected devices, BPM will be used to help them manage and maintain them. As more data is gathered, BPM systems can evolve from simply doing reactive maintenance, to doing predictive maintenance, potentially saving significant resources by preventing the need for repairs. For example, a sensor on a building’s HVAC system could indicate that it’s time for filters to be changed or cleaned, which could help reduce energy costs and environmental footprint.
BPM Software and Smartwatch Data: Massive Potential
With smartwatches alone, the potential for BPM in combination with the IoT is astounding. Imagine a medical facility that works with people with chronic diseases – people who are each outfitted with a smartwatch. BPM could be used to orchestrate admission and discharge, and to capture vital sign data directly from the smartwatches and other types of “smart” monitors. Or imagine, say, a weight loss clinic that can gather step and heart rate data directly from a patient’s smartwatch to monitor progress and create next week’s meal plan. As more smartwatch applications are developed, more opportunities for using BPM in coordination with the data they gather and generate will arise.
The IoT is still somewhat hazily defined for the ordinary consumer, although “smart” systems are making their way into homes and businesses. BPM tools have a natural role to play in helping these systems work together, by gathering data, routing it into databases or spreadsheets, analyzing it, and making sense of it. Your business can gain a measurable competitive edge if your BPM system is poised to take advantage of the many opportunities that come along with the IoT.
PerfectForms is BPM software that is flexible, powerful, and best of all, designed and improved with stated customer needs in mind. PerfectForms listens to customers and takes their input into account when planning software upgrades and features. Users can be confident they are using a BPM solution that is, and will continue to be, ready to go to work for them.
With PerfectForms, you can create online forms and business processes through an easy drag-drop interface, with no programming required. Accessed via the cloud, PerfectForms is always the “latest and greatest” version, so it’s always ready to help you put your innovative ideas into action. Watch the PerfectForms demo and imagine the possibilities for your business!
Auto-fill can be both a blessing and a curse. While it can help people complete forms more quickly, it can also cause users to assume the information being supplied by the auto-fill algorithm is correct. This is why so many people send unintentionally hilarious text messages when they don’t pay close attention to what their device’s predictive text algorithm brings up.
Using auto-fill can help people fill out forms 30% faster, according to Google. The technology behind auto-fill was originally designed to help people who have physical disabilities type faster and more accurately and decrease the number of keystrokes required to complete information fields. But it’s useful for anyone (like scientists, doctors, and engineers) who fills out forms and must frequently enter long or difficult-to-spell words.
Auto-Fill Especially Welcome for Mobile Users
When your online forms have auto-fill features, you make things significantly better for people who use your forms on mobile devices. It’s not as easy to type on a phone or tablet touchscreen as it is on a regular keyboard, which means that filling out forms on mobile devices can be a slow and frustrating exercise. Particularly if you use online forms for e-commerce or for potential customers to complete on your landing pages, the more real help you can give form users, the better. Given the choice between shopping from a site that minimizes typing on mobile and one that doesn’t, the business that makes mobile typing more convenient saves time and presents a customer-centric brand image.
Labels and Placeholders Help Users
Clearly labeling form fields is essential online and off, but putting labels and example placeholder text into fields takes it a step further, helping users understand exactly what kind of information they should provide. Typically, label or placeholder text disappears automatically as soon as the user starts entering information. This type of help is extremely important in industries where accuracy has to be maintained, like the insurance industry. As just one example, auto-fill capability helped Madison National Life Insurance save agents time, while ensuring completed forms were accurate.
Auto-Populating Multiple Forms at Once
You can also use workflow tools that empower you to auto-populate form fields in multiple online forms at once. Suppose someone’s name is required on two different forms. Auto-population means that when someone types in their name on one form, the information is automatically entered into the name field in the other form, eliminating the need for duplication of effort. Workflow tools designed for new employee onboarding that include auto-populate features can make a tremendous difference in the amount of time and effort it takes for your new hires to complete all the necessary paperwork involved in officially starting work.
Improve Accuracy and Save Time
Fast workflows aren’t of much benefit if accuracy problems result in starting over. Auto-fill capabilities with online forms can prevent accuracy problems. In a workflow that requires several online forms, auto-populate allows form users to type information one time and be confident that information has been input into all fields into which it’s relevant. Reminding form users to check fields for accuracy before hitting “submit” for an online form can prevent errors in auto-filled blanks from propagating to multiple forms. By the same token, correcting an error in one field corrects it everywhere else it has been auto-populated.
Online forms and workflows benefit from user help in the form of auto-fill capability. Auto-fill can prevent someone from having to type hard-to-spell technical or scientific terms multiple times. It can ensure that when the same information must be entered multiple times in a form or workflow, that it can be entered once and automatically entered into all the other appropriate places.
PerfectForms is online forms and workflow software that provides users with easy-to-use workflow tools that can be built without having to program. It uses an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface that allows form creators to simply drag form elements into place, and then link online forms into cohesive workflows that improve productivity, save money, and reduce error rates.
Even if you’ve never used PerfectForms before, we encourage you to look at some of our training videos so you can see for yourself how easy it can be to make online forms and workflows that do exactly what you want, including auto-fill and auto-populate fields. With PerfectForms you have the ideal balance between usability, power, and flexibility.
Business process management (BPM) is something so obvious that it’s often ignored, much to the peril of the businesses that don’t bother with it. Of course, everyone wants their business processes to be managed efficiently, but even the most meticulously planned business processes require certain management steps in order to function like the proverbial well-oiled machine.
By using BPM tools, organizations continually track processes, making it easier to spot problems and bottlenecks and address them. Using BPM software to manage IT services can benefit both IT end-users and the IT professionals in charge of keeping computers and networks running properly.
Applying BPM Tools to IT Services
A two or three-person business may cope with IT problems by using handwritten sticky notes, emails, and phone calls. Any organization larger than that, however, should have specific processes that apply to solving IT problems so that no problems fall through the cracks, and IT issues can be detected and managed.
For example, using BPM software to manage IT services would allow the person in charge of IT to detect that a certain brand of printer or device requires repairs more often than others. Then, when the less reliable machines are retired, they’ll know to replace them with something better. BPM tools are also terrific for routing IT service requests to the exact person needed to solve the problem based on individual IT team members’ special skills.
Collaboration Between IT and End-Users Is Ideal
If you plan to use BPM software to manage IT services, collaboration among your IT team members and ordinary end-users is essential. Communication gaps often exist between IT teams and the rest of the organization, since many companies have IT somewhat set apart from everyone else. Collaboration can ensure help request forms are written in plain, straightforward language that end-users can understand, while still providing IT team members with the information they need to address problems effectively. Collaboration can also help the IT team to develop priorities for assigning help requests so that business disruption is kept to a minimum. This should take place before creating the BPM forms and workflows.
IT Service Delivery with an Outcome-Based Focus
Business process management is outcome-focused. IT service delivery should be too. End-users don’t care whether a service pack upgrade has been issued for the device they’re using. They simply want it to work properly again after experiencing problems. The very act of using BPM tools to manage IT services is outcome-based. The right BPM software can collect analytics each time a process is used, so outcomes can be measured over time. The result is happier end-users and an IT team that continually gets better at prioritizing and addressing hardware and software problems.
BPM Software Allows End-Users to Track Problem Resolution
One of the most helpful benefits of using BPM software for IT service management is the fact that it allows process users to track progress at any time. So if a person submits a request to have a printer replaced, he can log into the process later and see that the job has been assigned to a certain person, and the replacement printer is expected to be installed by Thursday noon. This prevents countless instances of phone tag between end-users and IT team members, freeing up time for both parties while ensuring everyone is apprised of a job’s status at any given time. Process tracking is one of the most significant ways that BPM software streamlines and accelerates business outcomes.
With PerfectForms, you have powerful BPM tools at your fingertips to flawlessly manage IT services and countless other business processes. The convenient drag-and-drop interface means that no programming is required to create automated business processes that are trackable and that collect data for later reporting. We invite you to watch the PerfectForms demo. You’re sure to be inspired to see your organization can streamline and automate your processes, saving money, time, and frustration.
Brand-building is more than an exercise in keeping up with what everyone else is doing. It’s essential to positioning your brand for maximum success, short and long term. Whatever industry you’re in, your marketing people create brand-building marketing content and want to get the most mileage out of it. Typically this involves an overall content marketing strategy that includes blogs and social media accounts. Since different social media platforms showcase different types of content, brand-building must have a platform-specific approach to maximize reach.
Social media has become a fundamental channel for brand-building. It is much more involved than just firing off a few Tweets now and then. In fact, it’s worthwhile to look into using workflow automation software to make the most of any marketing content, from the “evergreen” content on your website to the up-to-the-minute posts on your social accounts. With all the analytics offered by most social media platforms, it makes sense to develop workflows that are consistent, iterative, and that your marketing team can learn from.
The Social Media Marketing Workflow: Creating and Publishing Content
The ideal for your social media workflow is a “virtual loop” of creation, publication, analysis, and idea generation, based on the social platforms you choose. Creating fresh and engaging content ideas has to be done by people who understand the market and the social media zeitgeist, but other aspects of content creation and publication can be automated.
Using workflow designer software for the publishing process helps ensure that all content that goes live on any of your web properties is first properly vetted and can be tracked. Fortunately, workflow automation software can route proposed content to editors or other decision-makers, who can then “sign off” on content and have it automatically delivered to the appropriate social platform. Another workflow can gather analytics and create informative reports so your team can continually fine-tune content to improve its effectiveness.
Analytics and the Social Media Workflow
The way you know whether your content is performing as expected is to measure performance and compare with earlier performance or with defined goals. Social media analytics can be grabbed by workflow automation software, sent to personnel to analyze, or go directly into reports distributed to key players. Such a workflow helps ensure your content is meeting performance expectations and helps your marketing team concentrate on the most effective types of content and platforms on which to publish it.
Not only that, the right workflow designer software can be used to compare your brand’s social media results against the results competitors are getting. For example, if a competitor’s content goes viral, you can have your marketing analysts determine what caused that, which can inform future content generation efforts.
Social Media Interaction Often Generates its Own Content
Marketing on social media requires listening to what followers are saying and engaging with them in positive ways. It’s not enough to simply have a mass following because people expect their favorite brands to engage with them on social media. While interactions themselves can’t be automated, other parts of the process can be. For example, your workflow designer software could be made to notify a specific person if someone comments on, say, a Facebook post. That person can then respond and have the workflow document that interaction.
And social media interactions can become excellent sources of new content ideas. If a post on a particular product draws a lot of attention, for example, tailoring more content for that audience could be a way to make the most of your marketing efforts. Tracking responses like social shares and re-tweets can feed into your idea generation workflow as well.
A Simple Workflow for Social Media
Brand-building workflows don’t have to be complex, however. One example of a simple, yet effective workflow is one that is automatically triggered every time a new blog post is published. This workflow can automatically post links to that content on your social media pages, immediately extending the reach of the blog post. If you have the right workflow automation software, developing such a workflow can be simple.
When PerfectForms is your workflow designer, you don’t have to know how to program to create sleek, efficient automated workflows, whether for brand-building or any other business process. PerfectForms uses a drag-and-drop interface that helps you create online forms and workflows, complete with notifications, triggers, and built-in reporting. It’s ideal for streamlining your brand-building efforts. Better still, you can try out PerfectForms for free! Learn for yourself how easy it can be to make brand-building work like a precision-engineered machine.
Some people may regard email marketing as outdated in the world of social media marketing, but companies use it extensively for a simple reason: it works. Email marketing can easily be used to reach mobile users since people regularly check email on their phones, and it integrates well with other marketing tactics.
Marketing emails can, for example, help you inform others about your latest blog or social media post, or alert someone when the deadline for an offer is near. The return on investment for email marketing can be staggering. Marketing automation firm ExactTarget reports that every dollar spent on email marketing offers a return of $44.
If you’re going to use email marketing effectively, you’ll need workflow tools to automate parts of the email marketing processes that don’t need to be done manually, saving considerable time and money.
Workflow Automation for Email Marketing
Email marketing may intrinsically be “automated,” but that’s once you have a contact list and content to send. Readers expect email marketing to be highly-personalized, while based on the content they have already viewed on a company’s website. Therefore, many companies have different email templates ready to personalize and send. Workflow automation can take the guesswork and manual work out of many of these tasks because the right workflow automation software can gather information from your web pages and make decisions based upon that information. The result is the right content reaching the right potential customer at the right time.
Welcome Workflow for New Blog Subscriber
Suppose you want to thank people who subscribe to your blog with a thank-you email and, perhaps, a special offer for a product or information they are seeking. Workflow automation software can respond automatically whenever someone subscribes to your blog. The email can warmly welcome your new subscriber by name, remind him or her what they’ll get from reading your blog, and can offer helpful information, like how to adjust their subscription and notification settings. You may include a special offer or links to your blog’s best performing posts for their convenience.
Suppose someone visits your company’s website and downloads several “top-of-funnel” eBooks or white papers. This indicates that they’re interested and are ready to advance further down the sales funnel.
When someone downloads a particular paper, your workflow tools can trigger a marketing email to introduce them to some of your “middle-of-funnel” content, such as a special report, case study, or free trial offer.
When leads indicate they’re close to a buying decision, your workflow automation software can trigger an internal company email to a sales rep who can reach out to the client personally.
Timing Follow-Up Emails
Workflow automation software can be set to send out follow-up marketing emails at specific intervals after a potential customer downloads an eBook, subscribes to your blog, or takes some other action on your site. You might set up a workflow to send follow-ups after one week and again after two weeks, for instance. By automating these tasks, you ensure that they’re not forgotten and avoid having people take time out of their schedules to send them. You can expect greater retention rates and a sales pipeline that flows faster than if you neglected follow-up emails or sent them too late.
PerfectForms is workflow automation software that can make your email marketing program work harder and smarter. It can take many tasks off the shoulders of your marketing team members and ensure that no steps in customer outreach are neglected.
With PerfectForms, you can create and implement online forms and workflows without programming. Moreover, you can set up workflows to take cues from web data, triggering actions like the creation and sending of welcome or follow-up emails. If you would like to see how easy it is to customize our workflow tools to your email marketing needs, we invite you to watch at some of our training videos to learn more.