3 Easy Ways to Automate Your Marketing

I talk to so many business owners who still don’t understand the importance of investing time and energy into marketing. I wish I could wave a magic wand and have every one of them really “get” the power of marketing and why you should automate your marketing.

Marketing is your business’s engine for growth. And if you think of marketing as a system and set it up in an automated (but targeted and personalized) way, it will take less work than you might think to make a big impact.

That’s why I’m a big proponent of marketing technology and automation. Software and apps can now do the heavy lifting for many valuable marketing functions. If you spend a little time setting up a system, it will continue to work for you while you’re taking care of business elsewhere. Here are a few easy ways to get started with marketing automation.

1. Email

Email marketing remains one of the most lucrative means of reaching your audience. In fact, studies show that for every $1 invested, you’ll see a return averaging $38. What’s even more beautiful about email marketing is that it’s so easy to automate.

Start with a compelling offer that will entice people to hand over their email addresses on your website. That might be a free white paper or special report, or a free consultation. Once they’re added to your list, they should receive a steady cadence of emails that help move them through the buying journey toward conversion.

Remember to match the messages you communicate with where your leads are in the decision-making process. If your leads are in the awareness stage, you can provide them with options to help them solve a problem. If they’re in the consideration stage, educate them on why your product is the best solution. And, of course, make sure you provide clear information on how to talk to a sales rep or make a purchase when they are ready to make a decision.

Every email series should have an end goal. If you send a series of five emails, each one should have a call to action, such as “read our special report here.” That last email is where you urge people to contact you or buy from you; give them a compelling reason to do just that.

Email automation can also be used to remind customers when it’s time to reorder supplies, send a birthday coupon, or give an update on their loyalty rewards.

2. Social Media

One area of marketing that has the potential to be a huge time suck is social media. Who hasn’t been lured by the siren song of Facebook or Twitter and whiled away hours that could have been better spent doing something else?

Automating what you share on social media keeps you focused on the task at hand, and removes the temptation of being pulled into a “cute kitten video black hole.” There are many social media dashboards available, such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social, that allow you to schedule shares in advance. Facebook also allows you to do so directly on your business page.

While you’re in your social media dashboard, look at your analytics. They’re extremely useful in helping you understand which social shares are getting the most traction in terms of shares, clicks, and likes. Use this data to help shape future campaigns.

3. Artificial Intelligence

With the right information about your audience, you can dramatically increase your ROI with marketing automation. In fact, 77% of businesses have seen an increase in conversions since they started using it.

There’s one more tool that can make your marketing automation even more powerful: artificial intelligence (AI). We’re seeing platforms like chatbots explode in popularity among businesses that are drawn to the fact that rather than expand their customer service human staff, they can invest less and increase sales as a result.

AI can use shopper behavior and purchases to make suggestions on products customers might like. Using messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, shoppers can ask the chatbot questions to find out whether a certain color or size of a product is in stock, ask to be notified when a product’s available, or get suggestions based on past purchases.

By customizing offers through these interactions, AI makes it easier to sell to your audience.

This post was originally posted on AllBusiness.com.