When many marketers think of automation, they think of email. And yes, email is a very important part of marketing automation. But it’s not the only part. If you only automate email, and nothing else, it’s like having a car with only one wheel. What good does that do? You need the other wheels in order to keep the car moving forward.
So with that, here are the six things that every marketer should be automating to keep that car moving.
1. Lead Generation
How do you know when somebody visits your website or is interested in your product or service? You probably don’t unless you use forms to gather your leads.
But remember: you can’t just ask a lead for their email address without giving them something truly valuable in return. Whether it’s a 20-page e-book or a one-page cheat sheet, make sure that you are giving your leads something of value whenever you ask for their email address. And don’t overpromise. Make it clear exactly what they are getting from the get-go. Otherwise, you will end up losing their trust (and their business).
You should be also using a CRM platform to keep track of all the leads that those forms bring in. At SUCCESS agency, we use Hubspot to do this. Each time someone fills out one of the forms on our website, we receive an email notification and our CRM is automatically updated. Ta dah! Easy peasy, right?
2. Lead Nurturing
Once you’ve captured your leads, now you’ve got to figure out how to nurture them through the sales funnel and turn them into customers. One way to do this is with e-mail. But you definitely don’t want to spend your time composing individual emails for each lead that you obtain. What a waste of time that would be!
Instead, set up your lead nurturing emails and then….automate. Again, we use Hubspot and ActiveCampaign (but there are many other platforms out there that you can use) to set up, schedule and automate the emails that we send out.
Also try to find out what your leads are saying about your business. You can use Mention to follow the online conversations that revolve around your brand and then engage and respond directly with those leads. So much simpler than scouring the web for any mention of your business!
3. Social Media Management
In order to stay top-of-mind, you’ve got to be continuously posting on social media. But if you don’t automate this process, you are undoubtedly wasting a huge chunk of time.
Instead of going to social media to post each time you have an update, schedule your social media posts ahead of time using a platform like Hubspot, Hootsuite or Buffer (again, we use the first one). This makes things much easier.
The only downside to this is that if you are scheduling a bunch of posts all at once, it can be easier to miss little typos or grammatical errors. Be extra careful. You also don’t want to be posting too far in advance, otherwise you risk posting untimely or irrelevant content. Scheduling posts one week in advance (and allowing room for flexibility) is recommended.
Much of SEO cannot be automated. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little help. Tools like Searchmetrics Suite can help you analyze your SEO results, as well as make recommendations for the future.
Even something as small as the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress can make a big difference. At SUCCESS agency, we rely on this plugin to find out how we can optimize our blog posts for SEO purposes. For instance, the plugin will advise us on things like the content length; strength of the focus keywords and meta description; and keyword density, and it will tell us how the posts can be best optimized for SEO.
5. Content Creation
No, I’m not talking about the literal creation part. I’m talking about repurposing your content. You could create a webinar and then transcribe it into a blog post. Or take your top blog posts, and compile all of the advice into one. If you find that a blog post is successful, turn it into an infographic, video or Slideshare presentation.
Repurposing your content is useful because it targets your different types of readers. You might have some visitors that are more visual and would appreciate an infographic, while others prefer to read an in-depth article. Repurposing your content will also help with your SEO and will help to broaden your reach.
In similar fashion, you could also create a crowdsourced blog post with advice from experts in your industry.
Check out Buzzsumo to discover what type of content your audience is after and find the influencers that can help promote your content.
Yes, you still have to do a little bit of work. Unfortunately (or fortunately perhaps), there is no way just yet for a computer to literally create and write content for you. But you can save a lot of time by repurposing your content and reaching out to influencers in your industry.
6. Reporting and Analytics
Why spend hours digging up data, pulling it all together and then compiling it into an Excel spreadsheet…when you can just automate it?
Luckily, your marketing automation platform should have this included. Use it in conjunction with Google Analytics, which you should use to examine the behavior of your website visitors. Once a month, draft a report to determine what pages of your website your visitors are drawn to and where they are spending the most amount of time. Find out where they are coming from (email, referral, social media, direct…). Check out the demographics. Then pull all of that information together, along with the data from your marketing automation platform, and use it to better tailor your marketing efforts for the next month.
This all may seem like a lot of work. And truth be told, it generally is at first. But once you get into a routine and have everything automated, you can spend your precious time on other things—things that a computer can’t do for you.
And hey, before you know it, the wheels of your car will be spinning around and around…