Much of the stress associated with trying to simplify the communications process is tied to keeping its many parts in smooth working order. This includes communications on many mediums—from email to user-engagement platforms to social media and more.

Forming a strong marketing plan is both multifaceted and all-encompassing. But with the following online tools, business automation can be much more effective (and much less time consuming).

1) Email Marketing

If you’re one of the millions of people that receive hundreds of emails a day, then you’ll understand why email is a major marketing platform for businesses, big and small. An email packs a lot of power in one punch—This is just one reason why it’s crucial for businesses to explore automated strategies in email marketing campaigns, when appropriate, both to save time and to generate consistent messaging across all individual emails. Through online subscription forms (e.g., allowing a user to opt-in to receive your emails) and automated email software such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, businesses can keep in touch with the customers that choose to spend their valuable time engaging with your brand. Take it one step further—further your SEO initiatives through email campaigns by repurposing great emails as blog content that can be posted on the web.

2) Blogging

Scheduling blog posts using online tools like WordPress has never been easier. Future publish dates can be set in the draft/edit area for either one-time posts or periodical publications. This allows business owners to prepare in advance and set up articles weeks (or months) in ahead of time so that they can spend more time focusing on what matters in the moment.

3) Social Media

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn facilitate a space where businesses can freely engage with its community online. Despite its seemingly casual nature, the social media space is crucial for businesses when remaining reliable in the eyes of the consumer. Consistent, creative, timely, and valuable social media content—just one ingredient for communications success—is a hefty task. With the help of platforms like Hootsuite, TweetDeck, or Dasheroo, multiple social media accounts’ content can be managed, analyzed, or monitored on one single platform.

4) Sales/Distribution Management

In our 24/7 online world, solutions focused on easing the sales/product distribution process are the peanut butter to our jelly. And with all the competition to deliver products and superior customer service fast and furiously, we’ll take all the help we can get when it comes to logistics and sales management.

With the help of affiliate and third-party marketers like Amazon—and with tools like Easy Digital Downloads, where you can see your sales and earnings history in a way that’s easy to view and analyze—sales operations for an e-commerce business become more seamless. Shopify is a platform that helps companies process payments easily and manage its online storefronts to reach the end user.

5) Virtual CMOs

Many small to medium-size business leaders focus on the company growth and larger efforts that generate more revenue. However, while many leaders do drive to reach success, their marketing strategies are often outdated. The hustle and bustle of managing a business often leaves little room to create a healthy marketing campaign. Some business leaders believe launching any type of marketing strategy requires having full-time, in-house personnel to manage their efforts, but a virtual CMO may be a much better fit for some businesses.

The role of a virtual CMO is to help shape a brand’s story, develop a marketing plan, and execute those efforts with the use of automated tools online. Having a single in-house marketing specialist is nice, but what if their skill set is limited to a specific industry or outreach? Virtual CMOs have a dynamic expertise across multiple disciplines. As business challenges pile up—you’re facing a shifting target audience, or if you want to venture into a new marketing medium such as social media, digital media, or public relations—a virtual CMO may provide a broader range of expertise for generally less money, so that you can hire experts in other key functional areas such as strategy, copywriting, or PR.

Don’t Stop Here

Though businesses can use these five strategic marketing techniques to automate its operations, what ultimately drives revenue is brand loyalty, made possible by strong, human-centric customer service. And at the end of the day, it’s important to keep in mind that the face behind the computer is what provides the humanity to your brand.