What to Automate

Marketing automation is key to success in today’s digital landscape. By automating your marketing processes, you are able to do more with less, gaining more consistency in your marketing efforts and allowing you to scale up your company’s growth.

Around now most marketers and small business owners are shaking their heads yes. You agree, but don’t know where to start. You’re asking, “what should I automate?”

It’s not enough to decide to automate your marketing efforts. You need to know what to prioritize, what gets automated and what does not, what will have the most impact.

Here’s where your marketing automation process should start:

  1. Lead Nurturing – if your company is in the lead generation business, then your lead nurturing program is ripe for automation. An email campaign can be planned, with different emails going out at different times after someone becomes a lead. Physical mail and outbound phone calls can also be added to the follow up process at points strategically identified to increase sales.
  2. User Onboarding – new customers should be treated as an important audience, one you want to stay in touch with and make sure they get the best service possible. And so an onboarding campaign for anyone that signs up for your service or purchases your product for the first time is crucial. Create a series of actions that happen automatically after a new customer is identified.
  3. Content Marketing – to automate your content marketing is to develop an editorial calendar and program a consistent approach to broadcasting and publishing your content to various social outlets. New content can be written and added to a queue, scheduled to be published at a predetermined time. That then triggers an email to your subscribers, a post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
  4. Remarketing – retargeting, now more commonly referred to as remarketing, is a simple marketing automation technique aimed at converting more prospects into customers. When people visit your site and don’t convert, you can target them with specific ads as they browse other sites.
  5. Cross Sells/Up Sells – automate your marketing efforts to existing customers in order to keep them coming back for more. Emails and physical mailings with special offers on products you think they would be interested in based on their purchase history can be personalized, even while it all happens behind the scenes.

Marketing Myths – Automation is Always Better

Welcome to the first edition of our brand new weekly blog series, Marketing Myths. Each week’s installment of Marketing Myths will aim to bust a commonly held belief about marketing. Last week, we busted the “Customers Don’t Shop Around” myth.

This week’s myth = Automation is Always Better

2016 has become the year of automation. Technologies have advanced so much in recent years that the cost of automation has dropped significantly, putting it into the hands of marketers at companies of all sizes.

We automate emails, mailings, advertisements, website testing, phone calls, etc.

The argument for automation is a good one:

  • It saves time
  • It saves money
  • It’s more accurate

When we automate certain processes, we expect to get better results for less money. Who can say no to that?

Here’s why you should second guess the rush to automate everything. The human touch is still important to most customers. People don’t buy from emails, they don’t buy from websites, they don’t buy from machines. People buy from people.

Not in every case, but in some cases…

  • A phone call from a real person will outperform a pre-recorded message
  • An email from a human being will outperform a mass email blast
  • An automated message will go out when you don’t want it to because of some technology flaw or a change in business conditions

In our rush to automate everything, it can be tempting to ignore the devil’s advocate who we see as afraid of change. But I’m here to tell you that there are some things that should not be automated. The companies that find the right balance of automation and human touch will win out.

Stay tuned next week for another myth. If you have a marketing myth you’d like me to bust, add it in the comments below.

Does Your Marketing Go On Without You?

Marketing automation is a buzz word these days. But what does it mean?

It means making things work without you. It means software that completes repetitive tasks to help relieve your time. It means marketing that goes on, even when you’re not there.

On Monday I wrote a post about automating your email marketing. And in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the idea of marketing automation becomes ever more important. What happens if you can’t make it into work for an extended period of time? Will your marketing go on without you?

Automating as many things as possible is a worthwhile exercise for a marketer or marketing department. The more that can happen without human action the better prepared you’ll be for unplanned events.

However, this does not come without its own words of caution. Last week I wrote a post about the dangers of marketing during a natural disaster. Even when things are automated, it’s important you know what they say, and you have the ability to turn off certain emails, posts, or ads if need be. Don’t tell people about a deadline if it happens to fall on a day that makes it impossible for people to take advantage.

Many young marketers or small business owners are afraid of the powers of automation. Many think that when things are happening outside of their control, there are more opportunities for things to go wrong. This is a fear that may be difficult to get over. But the beauty in automation is that it frees you up to do all of the other tasks you need to do to keep your business running.

Stop worrying about your marketing and start putting what you can on cruise control!

Little Things 16 – Automate Your Emails

Welcome to this week’s edition of “Little Things”, a weekly blog series covering the small changes that you can make to improve marketing performance.

Last week’s topic was attend a marketing conference.

This week’s tip:

Automate Your Emails

Email marketing is common practice. Hopefully by now you are using it in some way shape or form. If not, this post is still for you, so get started.

Many companies that are new to email marketing take the approach that they’ll compile a list of people and send them an email every time they have a sale or a special promotion of some sort. And that’s a great start. But if that’s all you are doing then you are missing out on some of the most successful forms of email marketing that exist. I’m talking about automated email programs.

Most email marketing services will allow you to set up a series of emails that will go out to people who have taken some sort of action. Setting up a series of emails that go out automatically once a week or month is a good way to save yourself some time and stay in front of likely customers.

Here are a few actions that might trigger automated emails:

  1. Subscription to a newsletter list
  2. Registered an account on your site
  3. Requested information on a given product or service
  4. Made a purchase
  5. Contacted customer support

The people who are making the choice to interact with your company are those that are most likely to become a customer. Automating your emails to this group ensures that you stay on top of your marketing, without even lifting a finger.