How to Be Efficient and Effective With Small Business Marketing Automation
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Marketing is a critical element of business success…
… Just like the other 500 things you’ve got to get done RIGHT NOW.
There’s hardly a marketer out there who doesn’t wish for a clone of themselves who can keep working happily around the clock. It’d make things so much easier, right?
Actually, it just so happens that this very thing exists. We even know where to find it.
If you’re poring through the lists, guides, and tutorials wondering how on earth you’ll ever find the time to market your fledgling business, listen up: we’ve got the answer to your prayers.
It’s called automation. (It’s basically your clone.)
For a small business, marketing automation can be a literal world saver. By taking over the rote, repetitive, and mundane tasks of managing email lists, blog content, and social media posts, you’ll save so much time and sanity while staying on top of your marketing game.
Automation is your new best friend. Read on to learn exactly what it is and how to take advantage of it to thrive.
First, Download Some Simple SMB Marketing Templates to Get Organized
Not quite ready to start automating tasks and processes? You can still get organized with these easy-to-use template:
- Content Calendar Template: Plan ahead and organize your content publishing schedule.
- Marketing Project Checklist Template: Map out tasks ahead of time and get more work done.
- Best Times to Post on Social Media Google Analytics Custom Reports: Follow the directions and copy and paste these custom reports in to Google Analytics account to track your best days and times to get the most traffic from social media.
Download the whole kit now:
What Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is defined as the use of software platforms or technologies to automate repetitive marketing tasks in order to more effectively market on multiple online channels at once. In other words, you’re deploying technology to execute a marketing strategy.
What are these repetitive marketing tasks? They’re things like:
- Posting on Instagram twice a day.
- Posting that announcement of your latest blog article on Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, etc…
- Sending a welcome email to everyone who subscribes to your list, or a transaction email to everyone who buys something from your e-commerce site.
- Tracking readership demographics.
Although you typically hear about marketing automation in relation to email campaigns and social media, any formulaic and repetitive action in marketing can be automated.
For a small business, marketing automation is a time saver. However, it’s also a mistake saver. When you’re bored, you’re less likely to be paying attention, making it easier for mistakes to sneak through. (Research shows that when presented with something boring to read, our mind wanders up to 50% of the time and – no surprise – reading comprehension diminishes.)
However, there’s one other critical advantage delivered by marketing automation to a small business: it lets you be more human.
Paradoxically, automation is one of the most powerful tools you can leverage to create a personalized, engaging interaction with a customer – even as you yourself step away from the computer. How? Automation:
- Makes it easier to deliver personalized emails. Whereas before you had to look up the person’s name and order to write out a thank you email, now an algorithm can do it for you.
- Keeps content delivery consistent and frees up time for response. We say it all the time around here: consistency is key. Stop wasting time posting things and move on to responding to the comments so that your readers know you see them.
- Enables more targeted communications. Trigger-based automation can help segment things like email lists or subscribers to deliver more personalized and specific content directly to them.
Whereas these things were once reserved for large companies with marketing departments, automation puts them into the hands of small businesses. That lets you compete on the same level, delivering effective, personalized marketing into the hands of your customers.
Pretty neat, no?
1. Blog Publishing on Autopilot: CoSchedule + WordPress
As of October 2019, WordPress powers 35% of all websites on the internet. It’s not hard to see why. Its interface is intuitive, powerful, and has a very small learning curve. WordPress is everything you need to run a blog (or a business) – but you do have to remember to post.
We can help with that.
CoSchedule’s WordPress plugin puts our intuitive calendar interface directly into your WordPress control panel, giving you a quick and easy way to manage your blog from one central interface. With it, you can:
- Automatically populate your calendar with published and draft posts on installation, so that you can get started organizing immediately.
- Draft posts in WordPress or CoSchedule and populate the calendar and Posts tab accordingly.
- Schedule content to publish, so the posts keep coming even if you’re not there.
- Automate social media promotion for the content that was just posted.
2. Make an Impression on Social Media, Effortlessly
Once you’ve published that article, you need to get the word out there. However, if your business social media presence reflects your personal presence (the average internet user has just over 7 social media accounts) that can be almost as much work as creating that post.
Fortunately, there are many different tools at your disposal to cut back on the amount of energy it will take. Tools like CoSchedule's Social Organizer, Buffer, and Hootsuite help you manage social media by making it easier to curate, create, and schedule social media posts.
CoSchedule also has many powerful automation tools to make social media management a breeze. Consider:
- Social media network integrations to schedule posts across a constellation of platforms.
- Leveraging Best Time Scheduling to automatically post content at peak traffic times.
- Deploying ReQueue to automatically schedule social media reposts to bring important (or well-performing) evergreen content back around.
ReQueue allows you to edit messages prior to scheduling them to repost to keep your content fresh.
3. Unlock the True Power of Email Marketing
Email subscriptions! Sales! Your article and social media game have done their job. People are trickling in, showering you with attention, email addresses, and LIKES. But your work isn’t over – oh, no, no, no. 🤣 On the contrary…
Once you’ve nabbed that interested party, you need to nurture their curiosity. Make them feel special. Keep them on the hook.
Email marketing is where automation truly begins to shine.
CoSchedule integrates with four major platforms: MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, and Campaign Monitor. (If you’ve got an email list and do email campaigns, you need to be using one of these.)
Email campaign automation lets you not just send more personalized and targeted emails, but it also helps you keep campaigns aligned with the rest of your business activities. For example, the MailChimp integration with CoSchedule enables:
- Real-time synced changes to MailChimp campaigns on your CoSchedule calendar.
- The creation of HTML and plain-text email projects within CoSchedule that sync to your MailChimp.
- Scheduled campaigns for events, fundraisers or other custom triggers that align with the schedules of blog posts, social media posts or things like e-commerce site updates.
4. Simplify the Marketing Workflow
Hopefully, you’re starting to see a trend with automation used for marketing. Ultimately, marketing automation software for small business is meant to help simplify your workflow so that you’re taking fewer actions, but each has a bigger impact.
If you’re not using automation to stay organized and efficient, you need to be. Our research shows that marketers who’ve got it together are 397% more likely to report being successful in their business efforts.
If you make $50,000 per year, your average hourly wage is $25. Automation can save you up to $6,000 per year in time. Imagine what it can do for you as an entrepreneur?]
Automation for marketing extends beyond simply how you automate your interactions with customers. It’s also extremely valuable in your internal workflow and your project management. Consider automating things like:
- Your social media approval process. Use the Task Templates in CoSchedule to streamline your content approval process, ensuring the right people see it as quickly as possible.
- Dependent tasks. Got a project that can’t be started until something else is done? Create trigger-based automation using Zapier to create tasks and notifications so you can’t forget.
- New marketing projects and campaigns. Working on a lot of different projects? CoSchedule can automatically populate your calendar from a Google Sheet or other service.
Currently, CoSchedule integrates with four different project management services: Asana, Basecamp, Trello, and Wrike. Not sure which one is right for you? We’ve put together the ultimate guide to help you figure that out.
5. Deploy Hubspot to Organize Customer Contacts
As your business grows, you’ll find yourself handling more powerful tools. One of those might be a CRM – customer relationship management software.
CRMs are designed to create a data ecosystem for all of your customers’ information. Unlike a spreadsheet, you can manage data in a way that helps you track, build, and nurture your relationships with each person.
HubSpot CRM is a free software designed to keep your leads organized so you can efficiently nurture them. Consider using this software to automate things like:
- Managing your lead pipeline.
- Setting up truly personalized email sequences.
- Creating enriched records for each customer, including data on how they interact with the emails you send them.
Drip, FreshSales, Apptivo, and Pipedrive are other pipeline or lead nurturing management systems you might consider using. They don’t integrate with CoSchedule directly, but Zapier provides the tools to make it work.
Market Smarter, Not Harder: Actionable Marketing Institute Can Help!
For a small business, marketing automation can be a lifesaver. The thoughtful deployment of automation in the form of integrations and triggers can keep your workflow - and content - flowing smoothly.
As a small business owner, you’ve already got a million and one things to do. The last thing you need is to execute marketing that doesn’t yield results.
That’s why Actionable Marketing Institute features a Marketing Basics Bootcamp. This Bootcamp features 8 courses that cover important topics like social media, branding, blogging, SEO, & more!
Supercharge your automation by making sure your marketing content & messaging reach the right people at the right time. Automation + Marketing Basics Bootcamp = results-driven marketing that works!
For a limited time, blog readers can join Marketing Basics Bootcamp for only $59 (over 60% off!).
Check out Marketing Basics Bootcamp to learn more!
January 16, 2020