Save time and amplify your brand with marketing automation tools
If 2017 was the year of working hard, let 2018 be the year of working smart. When it comes to marketing, automation software can help you maintain contact with customers without managing every touchpoint yourself.
Small businesses that connect with customers digitally particularly want to consider using automation tools, says Christine Pietryla, owner of Chicago-based Pietryla PR & Marketing. “You can’t run a business with an online presence and not do at least a little bit of automation. There’s just not enough time in the day.”
If you’re ready to reap exponential time savings in exchange for a few hours of upfront work, consider automating the following marketing tasks:
Task: Personalized e-mail responses.
Old way to do it: Replying to every customer e-mail yourself.
Automated way to do it: Use software like MailChimp to set up responses based on customer actions. For example, if someone purchases a product, they automatically receive a message with warranty information.
How automation can benefit the business: Sending out waves of unsolicited e-mail is less likely to get on a customer’s radar, but messages tailored to specific interests can build strong relationships. “When you can personalize the experience and journey someone has with the company, that will net you better results than spamming e-mails at them and seeing what sticks,” Pietryla says.
Task: Dropping hooks on social media.
Old way to do it: Making manual posts on Twitter or Facebook with links to your content.
How automation can benefit the business: Ads targeted to people who are more likely to be interested in your special events, webinars, and e-books will bring you more people who are ready to buy. “I’m looking for the quickest way to get from introduction to sale,” says Pietryla. “The way to do that is put a lot of lines in the water.”
Old way to do it: Losing leads who leave your website without making a purchase or submitting their e-mail address.
Automated way to do it: Use tools within Google AdWords to target ads to people who visited your website but didn’t sign up for anything.
How automation can benefit the business: The program uses technology to track visitors to your site and later broadcasts ads to remind them of your brand or entice them to pay another visit. This way your marketing dollars are devoted to people who already have some interest in your product or service.
Task: Progressive profiling.
Old way to do it: Manually maintaining a database about all your leads and their interests.
Automated way to do it: Leverage an automatic marketing tool such as Active Campaign to track every interaction you have with a customer and analyze their behavior to build a personalized profile.
How automation can benefit the business: The better you know your customers, the more effectively you can market to them, and software can respond with ads that speak to their particular profile. “Every time you ask someone to interact with your brand, you’re asking them to tell you what they’re interested in,” Pietryla says.
Keep in mind that marketing task automation is completely scalable in size and cost, so it’s easy to find a system that fits your business, from simple e-mail systems to real-time automation to a full-blown automatic shipping platform. “It doesn’t have to be a huge overhaul of everything you’re doing,” says Pietryla. “For small business, it’s perfect.”
By Aaron Kase