What is marketing automation?
Marketing Automation is exactly what it sounds like– marketing, automated. It is the automation of your emails, social activity, even landing pages and CRM. Marketing automation isn’t just one single thing, it’s the leveraging of different platforms and strategies to nurture your leads efficiently and economically. By using these tools in sync, you can be sure that you’re making the most of your leads while saving yourself heaps of time.
Marketing automation can define and segment your customers so that you can send out a personalized message to each base, it can measure and track individual campaigns so you can compare results and metrics, it can increase your customer base’s loyalty, and most importantly, it will streamline and automate tasks to save you time and money.
Here’s the thing – marketing automation doesn’t have to be expensive!
While people commonly refer to marketing automation tools such as Marketo, Act-On and Hubspot, which can cost between $500 – $2000 per month, there are a bevy of more affordable tools better suited for startups, who are looking to scale up fast on a limited budget while maintaining flexibility to aid in their fast-paced growth. The secret is in connecting them together to achieve almost the same functionality of the large platforms at a fraction of the cost.
From our experience with startups, we found that the following automation techniques are the best for ease of use, scalability, and of course, price. These techniques will help you to boost results from your campaigns and will free you up extra time to focus on building and scaling your product:
- Content discovery: A good campaign begins with good content, and creating good content requires a bit of inspiration. You can spend hours of your day scanning the web for high quality content, but if you’re not so into that idea, you can utilize content discovery automation. That’s right, there are tools out there to help you find the right content for your needs. Try tools such as Google Alerts and Feedly, and then connect them to your social automation tool, such as Oktopost. You can also connect it to Slack so members of the social media team channel are updated if your competitor is mentioned on twitter, for example.
Content distribution – now that you have created highly-targeted and awesome content, why not automate its distribution — are you updating your WordPress blog regularly? Of course you are! So how can you let people know when you have new, great content for them? (And let’s not forget repurposing content you’ve already composed. Here’s a blog we’ve written on just that topic.)
It’s as easy as inserting an RSS plug into your blog, which is responsible for notifying when you update, and then integrating the RSS with MailChimp. You’ll be sending out automatic notifications to your subscribers whenever you have something new for them to read! Go a step further—integrate Mailchimp with your CRM and you’ll be able to automatically send new subscribers the content that’s most relevant to them based on the blog articles they initially read.
You can use automation tools to automate your social media posts—that is, you can schedule posts in advance, manage lists, and see how posts have done via analytics. We’re using Buffer and Oktopost for different needs. With Oktopost we automate posting, approval for content from clients, content discovery and tracking which leads came from our social media efforts!
- Automate lead collection: Your landing page is one of the most important, if not the most important, element of your campaign. You have gotten the reader to come to you, now you have control of how to deliver your message. You can also collect information on your leads. Unbounce and PageWiz are great resources to help you get your landing page working at maximum capacity. Save time– build your page using templates, setup conversion tracking, and perform easy A/B testing. Important: connect your landing page to CRM and email platforms. Synchronize all these functions via Zapier, which will help your CRM, email, and landing page speak to each other. This will enable you to track your leads and send better-targeted emails.
Pro tip: turn your blog posts or even homepage to lead collection machines with Sumo – use a topbar, a popup and other call for actions to automatically turn visitors into subscribers or leads!
Nurture your clients: We all know getting the lead is not enough. A good marketer will automate nurturing leads until the right time . Set up an email drip process with MailChimp that distributes content nuggets your clients might respond to: white papers, ebooks, videos, etc. See what works for them!
A great way to automate your leads or even visitors is with remarketing – if you have any experience in sales, you know that sometimes a good sale takes persistence. Have a look at some of our remarketing tips here!
- For those of you on SaaS and mobile platforms, we’ve got a little something extra for you– use Intercom.lo and Mixpanel for both analytics and engagement. You can automate these based on user actions in your app. You should absolutely be using these platforms to provide in-app messaging, popups, email drips, SMS, push notifications, and chat!
This should get you started. Of course, your own recipes will come through a process of trial and error, just like any good recipe is made. Maybe for your business you’ll need another dash of social automation, and just a little less blogging. It’s a learning process, but mostly importantly, have fun with it as you find out what works for you!
Amit is CEO and co-founder of Marketing Envy – a startup & Tech focused marketing agency based in Tel Aviv. He’s a Mentor at Google Campus and Microsoft Accelerator and a Facebook and Google Alumni.
Marketing Envy help tech companies define their messaging, define (and test) their target audience, acquire users, improve user engagement within the app or web site, build the sales funnel using all major PPC and acquisition channels, establish content and social marketing presence, use marketing automation…. and more.