Whether you’re already using automated marketing tools or you’re at how it will benefit your business brand, there are a few ways to ensure that your efforts and output really hit the mark.
In a nutshell, marketing automation…
- Enables you to schedule blogs, social posts and emails in advance
- Delivers precise metrics and business intelligence
- Removes repetitive and routine manual processes
- Saves time for you and your team (and we could all use a bit more time to get on with the job, right?)
But how can your business make the most of marketing automation?
1. Why Automation?
It’s critical to know why you’re engaging in marketing automation – after all, you don’t want to invest in automated technology without a clear idea of your business objectives.
Common reasons for automating your company’s marketing include…
- Initiating customer interactions
- Nurturing existing customer relationships
- Raising brand, product or service awareness (or all three!)
Even without automation, you can still achieve these goals. But the technology makes it a lot easier to maintain consistent, standardised messages across social media, websites and emails that hit every stop on your customer’s journey.
2. From Social Media to Emails
When it comes to marketing, there’s not much that can’t be automated. Sure, you’ll still need human brains – and fingers – to write your content (although even that is, slowly, changing as artificial intelligence continues to grow). But when it comes to delivering those messages, you’ll want to take full advantage of the automated possibilities. There’s more to this than simply doing more for less; it also means you’ll obtain an overview of all key metrics to assess your marketing performance. Speaking of which…
3. Create & Test
One of the most useful aspects of automated marketing is the ability to conduct tests. After all, you’re likely pumping out all that awesome content, writing all those witty tweets, sharing all those videos – but how do you gauge what’s really working?
Of course, gaining followers, likes and retweets are all useful metrics. It shows your output is, well, liked, but what if an increased subscriber count isn’t actually a business objective; you’d rather have them downloading your content marketing ebook, for instance.
That’s when you want to start a little split-testing. Try tweaking just one variable at a time (so, for emails, you’ll want to try two different subject lines to see how open-rates are affected) and you’ll start collecting hardcore data that shows you exactly what’s working for you, what isn’t, and how to continually improve your output.
4. Human Touch
Automation might help deliver your multi-platform marketing efforts, but that absolutely doesn’t mean you should lose the human touch. That’s a factor many companies forget, relying on robots can make them sound like robots – which is a sure-fire way to keep followers, friends, fans and, yes, customers totally unengaged.
Although your posts and emails and blogs are scheduled far in advance (freeing up your time to perform other important tasks), you still want to write all your content as if the conversation is happening right now. With immediacy, urgency and relevancy. Face-to-face, human-to-human – because your customers don’t want to connect with robots; they want to connect with you.
5. Choose Your System
It’s usually a good idea to bring all your automation under one roof (you know, like the Toys R Us of marketing automation) – think platforms like Hubspot and Marketo. This gives you far greater oversight over your entire output and funnel. And it also makes it super-easy to actually do the scheduling on a single platform too.
Certain industries can often get the all-encompassing software, such as a training management system for training providers or a CRM for sales, with marketing automation featuring as an additional module. Often, you’ll find these bundled with other insightful tools like Google Analytics, for increased business intelligence.
Depending on your budget, and overall business objectives, this may be an investment your company might wish to make – comprehensive platforms like these have a greater impact on your operations, enabling employees to also manage other aspects of their work. However, there’s no hard and fast rule, and if you’re happy enough using more focused apps like MailChimp and Hootsuite to automate aspects of your content marketing, and you’re getting results, that’s cool too.
6. Don’t Fire & Forget
Remember when we said don’t sound like a robot? Well, this is sort of linked to that. See, because posts and emails are scheduled so far in advance, poorly automated marketing offers an output that’s often blandly non-specific, since it doesn’t account for the latest trends.
But content marketing, particularly social media, is ridiculously fast-moving. So, ‘fire-and-forget’ just isn’t an option, after all the world keeps moving.
‘Newsjacking’ – or ‘hijacking the news’ – is a tried and tested method for jumping on a bandwagon that’s relevant to your business. It’s a nice way to show that your company is switched on to current events, can offer a fresh opinion or perspective, and has a brand personality. And, on social media, if key terms are trending, you’ll want to be aware of that and consider how you can harness those hashtags for the benefit of your business. Just don’t try too hard; if you’re seriously reaching to connect your brand to a news item it’ll come across as desperate.
So, even though you’ve scheduled a ton of posts and emails and a blog or three, doesn’t mean you can rest on those lovely laurels of yours.
Author: Dave Evans is managing director of accessplanit, the award-winning training management system software house that has delivered innovative solutions for training companies and L&D departments for over 15 years.