If you are a small business owner then “marketing automation” is a topic you cannot afford to ignore if you want to maximize your marketing results. No matter how big or how small your business is, no matter what your niche is, no matter what your experience, your business will feel the benefit and it doesn’t have to blow your marketing budget! So, let’s take a look at some affordable steps that you can take today to start automating your marketing today…
1. Start with a strategy
As with any marketing project, marketing automation must be strategy-led to be effective. What do you want your marketing automation to achieve? Which sectors are you targeting? How will you measure the success of your initiative?
You can spend many hours posting, tweeting, and commenting for little more than a “like” or a retweet! Social media can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of marketing, but it is also THE greatest sources of free traffic, new leads, and potential customers. The problem is very few businesses approach social media with the one strategy that will make a difference – consistency! By taking a little time to plan your posts and posting schedule, you will produce a strategy that is efficient and effective.
Many business owners ask us this same question – “What content should I post on my social media profiles?” and the answer is easy, don’t be too pushy, build a relationship, clients need to get to know, like and trust you before they work with you. A good rule of thumb is to follow the 30/60/10 principle:
- 30% of your content should be from your own site
- 60% should be “curated” (selected by you from other informative sources)
- 10 percent should be promotional
This allows you to convert your social followers while keeping your feed full and valuable, which ultimately builds loyalty.
Once you drive traffic to your website from your social media, you need to be converting them into email subscribers.This will allow you to contact them more directly and frequently. To maximize the effectiveness of those communications, you also need to properly segment your audience so that you can personalize and tailor your emails and content toward their specific needs and interests.
Personalisation allows you to personalise messages and offers at every stage of the marketing process, and will encourage potential customers to be driven further down the sales funnel. Generalised content can be promoted to customers at the beginning of the marketing process, but it is essential that more specific content is produced based upon customer behaviour or chosen products, as they proceed along the process.
You can take the next step and build a whole series of emails that are automatically sent whenever you get a new subscriber, or want to launch a new campaign. It can be something as simple as sending an acknowledgement the day after subscribers join your list or a reminder after a the previous email was sent, but it can also get much more sophisticated, you can target customers by their behavior as well. For example, you can choose to send a different email to users based on whether they opened your previous message or clicked a link. This kind of automation can make your sales cycle more tailored to the audience and really boost conversions.
Data, Data Everywhere – But Is It In Its Place?
The biggest reason that companies fail at instituting marketing automation at a high level is that they don’t consider the role of CRM. Poor data quality will significantly damage your marketing efforts! Many business suffer from poor data (basically data that contains significant inaccuracies) and this can impact on customer relationships. If your business is still assembling client data from multiple sources and representative knowledge, imagine how many more errors you’re facing. If you want to take advantage of the full breadth of marketing automation options, spend the money to invest in a powerful CRM system and ensure it is populated with accurate data and updated regularly.
Take A Walk In The Clients Shoes
Follow a user’s full journey from inbounding to sales and beyond – When you track a customer’s journey through your system, you’ll get a sense for what kind of content triggers clicks, how much time a user spends on average before purchase, and how many contacts they make. All of this information together will allow you to estimate the cost of onboarding, how you might speed up that process, and how you can make more impact.
It’s All Or Nothing
When you start on the path of marketing automation, you will very quickly realise that this is an all in or all out scenario, you’re either using marketing automation or you’re not. There’s a big difference between having a general email list for all clients, having a well organized list noting professional needs, and offering clients the ability to set their contact preferences. Similarly, sending out generic emails is a far cry from offering mobile-optimized video messages and integrating your social media accounts with your emails.
We’re not talking about AI, although that’s playing a bigger role than ever in the marketing process. What we mean is that you need to develop customer personas. These are templates that have a particular perspective on sales, customer needs, and that embrace a tone – you can’t talk to all customers in the same way but you can’t write hundreds of individual emails either. These personas are the middle ground.
This Is A Team Effort
For some companies, starting a marketing automation initiative is a challenge because while you can see that it will benefit your bottom line, it’s hard to recognize how it will improve day-to-day operations, and how it won’t have a negative effect on productivity. You need to keep in mind that embracing automation also means smoothing workflow, improving team management, and helping sales managers shift their responsibilities to more productive activities than sheer data wrangling. Marketing Automation is a group effort, this is for everyone.
By taking the big picture view of what automation marketing is, you set your business up for success, but if you feel that the marketing of your business or organisation needs improving then please get in touch.