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What's the difference between smart files and automations?
What's the difference between smart files and automations?

Understanding the differences between smart files, automations, and how to use the two together

Updated over a week ago

Using smart files in your HoneyBook automations is an amazing way to supercharge your process, showing off your brand and your business efficiency in one fell swoop.

Automations allow you to automate different steps of your client journey using certain criteria (e.g. sending a questionnaire 3 days after a contact form has been submitted, or sending an email 2 hours after the previous automation step is complete). Smart files contain one or more pieces of content and/or actions that you can share with clients (e.g. a contract to gather signatures, and/or a questionnaire for clients to provide important details).

Smart files, then, can be used in automations to let your client-facing processes fire with minimal effort, so you can spend less time on the back-end work and more time with the hands-on stuff.

PLEASE NOTE: This article references automations, available for Essentials and Premium plan members. Learn more about the features included in each plan here.

With smart files, you can craft experiences for your clients based on information you want them to review and actions you need them to take, combining and elevating elements of your customer-facing process.

Though you can create any number of smart files to align with different milestones of a project, each individual smart file will be sent to your clients via a single link, so they can review the information and take requested actions without needing to receive and respond to multiple emails or documents from you.

So, for example, you might send a single smart file that includes your business intro, some onboarding questions, and a contract to sign, allowing the client to submit their answers and contract back to you from one file in a matter of minutes.

An automation, on the other hand, allows you to facilitate your entire process, helping you manage both internal and client-facing actions.

In an automation, you can create a set of steps or actions that run automatically, but individually, and with cadences and timing you set up in advance. These steps might include client-facing actions, like sending a particular file; but they can also be internal actions, like creating tasks. This flexibility maximizes your business efficiency, while the automations help free up some brain space!

For example, you might create an automation that sends a new client questionnaire when a new lead comes in; automatically sends a thank you email 10 minutes after that questionnaire is submitted back to you; then automatically creates a task for you, as a reminder to follow up with the client in 3 days.

Be sure to check out our Help Center for the full rundown on creating and activating automations!

Still have questions? Feel free to send us a message by clicking the Question Mark icon on any HoneyBook page. Our team is always happy to help!

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