Marketing automation. Two buzz words that are infiltrating just about every publication Small Business people…
Where to Start With Marketing Automation
‘Automation’ is definitely a buzzword in the marketing community.
Some marketers absolutely love it; while others seem scared even to dip a toe in the water. The thought of automating aspects of your marketing might feel akin to letting a robot handle your customer relations, but the fact is marketing automation isn’t about erasing human input from communications altogether, and it’s certainly not here to make marketers redundant.
Marketing automation at its best is simply about automating those menial day-to-day tasks so that you can focus your time and attention or more important things. As Neil Patel defines it, “Marketing automation is the process of using software and technology to optimise, automate and measure repetitive online marketing tasks.”
So now we know what marketing automation is, and that it means us no harm, the question is where to start? How can you dip a toe in and test the waters without having to dive in head first?
First, decide on a platform.
As with most things in life when you initially start down the marketing automation path, you’re going to have to make a few crucial decisions, and one of those will be deciding on an automation platform. There’s a lot to consider when weighing up the pros and cons of each option and if you’re new to the game this might seem a bit daunting but, in my humble opinion, the best way to decide is by first figuring out what you want automation to do for you and your business.
If you want to start small then a simple, low-cost platform may give you everything you’re looking for, but if you have a large team behind you that you want all to be able to access and use your automation platform then it might be worth investing a bit of time and money into a more complex system. Personally, I use ONTRAPORT, but there are other options available.
Start small and expand from there.
Like I said, marketing automation is all about taking those menial, repetitive tasks out of your hands to free you up for more creative assignments. So, if you just want to test out automation and see what it’s capable of, then there’s really no better place to start than automating simple tasks like emails and reply messages.
Marketing automation at its simplest is really about building cause-and-effect funnels; e.g. if a customer clicks ‘subscribe’ to our newsletter, they automatically receive a ‘thank you’ email, without our staff even lifting a finger. These funnels can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be, but the idea is to lead potential clients down their own unique pathway to purchase with very little input from you or your staff until they are actually ready to purchase.
Far from being impersonal, by taking human-error out of the equation, marketing automation assures that no lead gets lost, ignored, or forgotten because an instantaneous chain of events is set off from the moment they click that subscribe button. Along with their automatic ‘thank you’ email and monthly newsletter, your new lead could also receive an automatic follow-up email a few days after every newsletter is dropped. This follow-up email could invite their feedback, which if they supply, they would then receive another automatic email reply offering them 20% off any purchase they make in the next 48 hours and so on and so on.
Like I said, start small and expand from there. Test out what works and what doesn’t and continue to build and grow. Marketing automation is not a short-term win, but if you are willing to invest some time and effort into your campaigns, they will yield some worthwhile results.
Bring in an expert.
This is a very personal choice. For some, it might seem like a no-brainer to bring in somebody who knows the ins and outs of automation; for others, the idea of bringing in an outsider might be close to blasphemy. And whilst there are plenty of ‘self-taught’ automaters out there, the fact is you’ll never really get the most of your automation platform if you don’t understand it.
My recommendation would be to bring somebody in for the initial start-up process, that way at the very least they can help you set everything up, show you the ropes and give you a push in the right direction.
So, I hope you are now ready to dip at least your pinky-toe into the crystal-clear waters of marketing automation.
It might seem a little daunting (only at first, I promise) but automated marketing is the future, and once you give it a chance to ‘wow’ you, trust me, you won’t want to go back.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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