There are thousands of powerful apps available to help today’s small businesses. Whether you are managing your finances, digital marketing, contacts or sales, there are specific apps to help you control each. However, each area of your business should not be running independently; they need to run together. Sales needs to talk to Marketing. Marketing needs to talk to Operations. Operations needs to talk to Accounting. Thanks to app integration, you can get them all working together so you can build a smarter, more efficient business.
What is App Integration?
Every action in your business typically triggers another action. For example, when a customer purchases a product and the payment has processed, an action to deliver the product is triggered. You may also want to trigger an action that adds the customer to a specific list in your email marketing program or trigger an action that creates a sale receipt in your accounting program. If you are using different apps to process each of these actions, then you need a way for them to ‘talk’ to each other. This is where app integration comes into play – the process of bringing data or function from one app together with that of another.
How App Integration Works
Many of the apps you use allow you to integrate with other tools so that information is shared and actions are automated. Using the example above, let’s say that you use PayPal as your payment processor and AWeber as your email marketing tool. By integrating the two through AWeber’s app integration, you can automate the process of adding customers to your email list when a purchase is completed in PayPal. You’ve now eliminated the need to have someone manually add the new customer to your list. By integrating as many apps as possible, you can quickly automate processes in your business.
Building Your Own Integrations
If you can’t find an integration between two tools that you are using, all is not lost. You can easily create your own integration with tools like Zapier and IFTTT. These tools allow you to build custom integrations between thousands of common apps, with absolutely no coding experience required. Using the example above, you can use Zapier to create a quick “Zap” that connects PayPal to Quickbooks Online and tells it to automatically create, or update, a customer and create a sales receipt when an order is processed.
Technology offers many advantages to small businesses operating on slim budgets. By taking your tech a step further and developing smart app integrations, you can automate simple business actions to save a ton of time and money.