According to Statistica, high-quality inbound marketing content is the most valuable and effective method of moving prospects through the sales funnel. Without a doubt it is THE way to distinguish your brand, establish and reinforce your expertise, and stay ahead of the competition in any industry these days. And the icing on the cake: Google is becoming more and more favorable toward content that’s naturally relevant, as opposed to keyword-driven.
It will always take creativity, knowledge, time, skill, and a pinch of inspiration to create engaging, high-quality content at scale. But marketing automation makes it worthwhile (and lets you claw back some of that time).
Here are five critical marketing tasks that you can easily automate to optimize your marketing efforts and free up more time to focus on strategy and core business goals.
#1: Content Promotion and Brand-Building with Social Media
Even the most staid organizations are coming around to it: social media is a critical ingredient for their marketing mix. We say “ingredient” because different platforms in different ratios will work best for different SMBs and nonprofits.
Tools like PushEngage or Medium can drastically reduce the time you’re spending on blog promotion by sending automatic notifications to subscribers when you publish a new blog post.
You can also use tools like TweetDeck, HubSpot, Buffer, and CoSchedule to schedule social posts for all your feeds on one platform. This capability slashes the time required to:
- Spread the word about your blog and other content.
- Announce special events like sales, speaking engagements, trade show participation, etc.
- Share third-party content with commentary that gives your own take.
- Re-promote previously published blogs.
Many of these all-in-one social media tools provide results dashboards that display the results of your campaigns. Some also offer “social listening” capabilities that let you monitor specific hashtags and even see what people are saying about your brand.
#2: Email Marketing
Leveraging your CRM to automate your email marketing campaigns is another great way to save yourself and your company time and money. Your CRM should allow you to send the right message to the right group at the right time.
Using CRM-based automation tools, you can segment your contacts by buyer persona, clean up your email lists by removing spam and invalid addresses, and personalize each email with the recipient’s name. You can also follow up with analytics that help you measure the results of each campaign.
Hubspot, SharpSpring, and Pardot (we work with all of them) are three of the leading marketing automation platforms, and all have robust capabilities for creating and sending personalized emails and automating the entire process (although that’s just scratching the surface of all they do). Choosing the right platform boils down to the size of your business and the size of your database.
#3: A/B Testing
A/B testing is a proven, scientific practice that’s been around almost as long as marketing itself—and martech makes testing light-years easier (especially for time- and resource-strapped SMBs).
The concept is simple: You test two variations of a single element to see which gets better results. The most common example in digital marketing is the email subject line: An A/B test of two different subjects will show which one gets more “opens.”
Testing both website and email content can reveal a bounty of ways to improve marketing effectiveness and can also shed light on who your ideal audiences are.
You can automate testing of the following elements to figure out what is most appealing to your customers:
- Addition/removal/location of design elements
- Form layout
- Button style
- Subject Lines
- Call-to-Action buttons
- Website layouts
- Navigation bars
#4: Lead Nurturing
Gartner research discovered that companies leveraging “mature lead management [aka lead nurturing] processes” including automation are basically guaranteed to benefit from a significant ROI. The average in their study was at least a 10% increase in revenue within 9 months.
Automation can help make the lead nurturing process go much more smoothly for both sales and marketing teams. Without automation, B2B companies have to engage in cold-calling to qualify new contacts—which no one should be doing anymore.
A marketing automation platform with CRM is necessary to establish qualification criteria, score leads, populate data in lead profiles, use web analytics and personalize content to make your job much easier. With automation, you can feed relevant content to prospects at just the right time in order to nurture them through their buyer’s journey – as Hubspot explains in this post.
#5: Cleaning Out the Deadwood
Your database has names that, sorry to say, just aren’t into you. (If it helps you feel batter, every organization’s database does.) To clear out space for new—and, with hope, more responsive—names, you can set up a workflow of three to five emails promoting your best content offers. The names that don’t open any emails get removed from your database. (At StitchDX, we use a similar process to help our customers separate the wheat from the chaff in their email lists.)
￼Marketing automation helps make your messaging more personal and relevant to your clients while freeing up your time to focus on more strategic tasks that keep your business moving forward. Automating just these five tasks can improve your company’s ability to deliver personalized, high-value experiences to your prospects and current customers.
Automation IS awesome, but a little help never hurts.
At StitchDX, we’re devoted to all things digital—and especially to helping SMBs get started, get up to speed, and get growing with the most up-to-the-minute digital marketing tools. Interested in knowing more? Reach out to us anytime.