Automation is huge in the business world right now, and it’s not hard to see why. By streamlining certain tasks with the right technology, you can free up valuable hours in your day and focus more on running your business.
Marketing tasks are especially ripe for automation, and they can directly help a business boost its bottom line. So what are some good approaches to use if you’re looking to tap into the process? Below, members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) share their favorite tools and strategies for automating their marketing efforts.
1. CRM software
“We use our client relationship management software to help automate marketing campaigns and increase returns. The CRM automatically tracks the activity for each campaign and provides data on the results. We analyze the data to identify campaigns which need improvement and establish where to invest our resources for a maximum return.” – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
“On-site popups help us reach customers based on their behavior on our website. We can target customers who try to bounce, repeat visitors and first-time visitors with smart ads. Our system looks at various data points and trends with each consumer, and then triggers a campaign that is personalized just for them. Others can use this system by analyzing their customer data and identifying trends.” – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
“We use chatbots as a way to contact consumers while they are on our website. If they are checking the pricing page, the bot will ask if they have any questions. If the consumer is viewing blog content, our bot is capable of suggesting related articles to the consumer to keep their interest and improve engagement.” – David Henzel, LTVPlus
4. Lead scoring
“Automated lead scoring is a great tool to use to increase conversions, because you can assign points to your leads based on particular attributes or behaviors they’ve taken, such as signing up for your email list or visiting certain pages of your website. With lead scoring, you can easily see which of your leads are sales ready instead of focusing on leads that aren’t ready yet.” – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
5. Automated email sales funnels
“We found a helpful program that will automatically send prewritten emails to new mailing list subscribers. These emails follow a highly effective sales funnel that alternates between soft and hard sells. Since the content is prewritten and the emails send automatically, now we only need to focus on building up the mailing list itself!” – Bryce Welker, The Big 4 Accounting Firms
6. Blogging by voicemail
“When you’re busy, you might not have the time to write that next thought leadership post. Instead, leave your marketing team a voicemail. When you’re walking the dog or commuting to work, share some ideas that your team or a freelancer can craft into your next post. That way you can be consistent about content.” – Chris Ronzio, Trainual
“We use a software called MeetEdgar to automate our social media. Instead of assigning posts one by one, it allows you to create categories to be shared at random. For example, every Monday you could have it share company updates, Tuesdays for interesting industry articles, etc. It also lets you pull content from RSS feeds. We spend 20 minutes a week on getting 25-plus posts out on all platforms.” – Karl Kangur, Above House
8. Optimizing against your customer acquisition cost
“Facebook and Google Ads are AI-powered engines that you can bid on for a cost per lead or cost per sale. Instead of optimizing bids and budget daily, let the system help you optimize against your customer acquisition cost metric. It’s highly efficient and also fully automated, meaning that you can test creative pieces, landing pages, offers and the audience without spending your time on things that can be automated.” – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
9. Email personalization
“Many small businesses are still writing personalized emails, which works very well, but you can scale this process with email senders like Mailchimp and AWeber that automate various personalization tasks, saving tons of time.” – Frederik Bussler, bitgrit Inc.
“Zapier and IFTTT are essential tools for automating tasks and syncing data. These tools connect various tools and databases, and then automate workflows. An example would be connecting Facebook Leads to your CRM. Rather than manually looking up leads in Facebook, the lead automatically feeds into your CRM. Take this one step further by adding new lead notifications via text and email.” – Chase Williams, Market My Market
11. Automated webinars
“An excellent way to grow and scale a business is through the use of paid lead generation (email/autoresponder), which then leads to an automated webinar series and follow-up mailing list. One of the main reasons why this works so well is that you will already have a proven lead gen and webinar in place. After that, it’s simply a matter of finding new traffic sources and converting audiences.” – Zac Johnson, Blogger
12. Audience segmentation
“Every service or product has several different audiences: a primary, secondary, tertiary and possibly even beyond. That’s not a bad thing; it’s simply important to recognize that your service or product can serve multiple personas and market it as such. Once you set up your automation software with different prospect profiles, you’ll find it much easier to optimize for ROI.” – Yaniv Masjedi, Nextiva
13. A virtual receptionist service
“Leads come into your business from many different sources. One of the most difficult to capitalize on is incoming calls. When a potential customer calls your business, don’t put them into an automated system. We use Ruby Receptionist to answer our incoming calls. The service reps answer right away with a smile, and if a team member is unreachable, they enter the lead into our CRM.” – Brian Greenberg, True Blue Life Insurance
14. Targeted interactions
“Personalized messages are way more effective than generic emails. We use a tool to track customers’ interaction with our business to identify their interests. Based on their activity, we send them an automated message, email or push notification that fits their personal style. This builds a customer relationship that will lead to a sale. Then we focus on boosting interaction to feed the pipeline.” – Shaun Conrad, My Accounting Course
15. Onboarding via file sharing
“I encourage clients to use Dropbox to avoid emails and cumbersome file sharing. This requires an investment of our time in training clients; however, it gives us the opportunity to introduce new products without constraints of heavy attachments. Be wary of keeping a client for too long on training because you will lose their attention. Everyone, though, has five minutes, and an added benefit is we gain product exposure.” – Matthew Capala, Alphametic
“We have several channels of marketing set up that run on autopilot and only need be adjusted every once in a while, which grows our leads of new business each month. Remarketing on Facebook, Google and LinkedIn help us follow our customers who have experienced our brand. Since we generate new videos and blogs each month, we push these through all our channels to keep it fresh and exciting.” – Justin Nassie, Brandastic.com