Automation is the process of replacing manual, human tasks with technologies. Setting up an online auto-debit to pay for a monthly bill is an example of automation. Instead of having to remember to pay that particular bill every month and going through the online process of electronically submitting a payment, you instead set up an auto-debit, and the online banking platform will handle the work of paying the bill on time every month.
Saving time and effort, and reducing human errors, are just some of the benefits of using automation.
Your marketing tasks can also be automated to save you time and effort, and reduce human errors. Marketing automation is defined as any technology that manages the digital marketing processes you ordinarily handle by hand. Marketing automation utilizes artificial intelligence to a degree, as well as machine-learning strategies, and can streamline multifunctional, omni-channel campaigns for you.
Implementing marketing automation at your business enables you to interact with potential customers as well as loyal customers across email, web, social media, SMS text message, and any other method you would like.
Nowadays, automating your digital marketing is typically done via a marketing automation platform.
Any online platform that offers marketing automation in the form of Software as a Service, or SaaS, is considered a marketing automation platform. These platforms provide marketers with the tools to upload, organize, and schedule all of their digital marketing content and campaigns, including automating social media posts, blog article posts, and email marketing campaigns. Marketing automation platforms also integrate with content management systems (CMS) and customer relationship management (CRM) software to centralize all marketing into one software solution.
In this article, we are going to focus on the two most popular forms of marketing automation that business owners like you can benefit from using, which are social media marketing automation and email marketing automation.
If you’ve already done your research and know all about marketing automation, and would like to discover the marketing automation solutions offered by FTx 360, we invite you to sign up for a free 30 day trial with our agency. You will only be asked to supply your business name, email address, business location, and telephone number. No payment information is required and there are absolutely no strings attached to this incredible offer.
Social media automation refers to automating various aspects of your social media marketing, which can include automating the publication of your posts, automating your responding comments, and automating the lead generation aspects of your social media advertisements, if applicable.
By automating certain aspects of your social media marketing, you can grow your business and optimize ROI while saving time. Social media marketing automation can also effectively support your efforts to spread brand awareness, engage potential customers, and gain social followers, all of which help promote your business.
Though there are indisputable benefits of using social media automation, many marketers believe that automating your social media marketing defeats the purpose and beauty of social media in the first place. Simply put, these marketers feel that social media marketing automation is actually anti-social, because it involves replacing human interactions with machine-programmed actions.
The social media marketing specialists at FTx 360 both agree and disagree. Yes, the beauty of social media is that social platforms enable users to socially interact with each other. But the fact of the matter is that if you want to post multiple times a day and every post generates a ton of engagement, you will not be able to keep up with interacting with every single follower. That’s just the way it goes.
You can greatly alleviate the amount of manual attention you give your social media accounts by automating your posts. This way, your social media posts will automatically publish. If you schedule your automatic posts days, weeks, and months in advance, it can free you up to spend your “social” time manually replying to comments and quickly tending to any customer service messages that come into your DMs.
To provide deeper insight regarding your social media content, we would like to introduce you to the 5-3-2 Rule. Any of the content categories we propose below can be automated. Then, as your social followers comment, reply, and interact with your posts, you can engage them further by responding.
This social media posting rule can be used as a content guideline. The types of posts you make should be diverse and surprising so that your followers remain engaged. For every 10 social posts you publish, here is the content ratio breakdown you can schedule:
● 5 out of 10 social posts should consist of relevant, shared content from third parties
● 3 out of 10 social posts should consist of original content with the exclusion of hard sales pitches
● 2 out of 10 social posts should consist of personal, opinionated, or ruminative content that humanizes your brand to help followers relate to you
As you can see, there is virtually no emphasis on using social media to make hard sales pitches to your audience. And equally important, about half of your social media posts should be shared links from other websites. That being said, you can schedule just about all of these social posts ahead of time using a social media scheduling calendar like the one that can be found on our resources web page.
Our resources web page also includes a free download of our Marketing Automation Playbook, a how-to ebook that will help you discover all the ways in which marketing automation can help you capture more leads, convert leads into customers, and increase revenue.
Whoops, we didn’t mean to digress. We just really love our social media scheduling calendar…
Another aspect of your social media posting schedule that you can automate is sharing your latest blog articles.
We all know that maintaining a blog is an excellent way to generate new SEO and attract new web visitors to your website or eCommerce site. You can maximize your business blog’s engagement factor and digital virality by posting the article links to Facebook, Twitter, and other relevant social media platforms.
Best of all, you don’t have to do this manually. Rather than copying and pasting the URL links of each blog article to your social media accounts as articles are published online, instead you can automate this process by linking your RSS blog feed to the social media accounts that you want those articles to appear on.
Depending on the blogging platform you’re using, connecting your blog feed to social media should be fast and easy. Just be sure to run a few tests to check the formatting and make certain that the article web links auto-generate the blog information that you want to appear in the social media post. Ideally, you want the article’s headline and primary image with a few lead-in sentences from the article to appear in the post itself. That way, your social followers will be intrigued, click on the link, and read the full article on your business blog. If the headline and image are thought provoking, you may discover that your social followers begin commenting right away, even before they read the article!
Automating your email marketing campaigns is by far the most popular form of automation. All digital marketers use email automation. There are many different types of email automation that you can implement, which we will cover in a moment.
First, we want to make the point that manually and personally sending out emails is ideal, but impractical. If your business is brand-new, you might be able to get away with manually sending every email and you might even love it, but composing a personal email every time simply isn’t scalable. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to implement email automation for certain workflows, and that’s okay. You can still retain as much personalization in your emails if you follow our advice.
The most helpful email automation campaigns to set up include:
● Abandoned Shopping Cart Emails
● Welcome Emails to New Subscribers
● Subscription Email Newsletters
● Promotional Emails
● Lead Magnet Onboarding Emails
● Re-Engagement Emails (After a Recipient Hasn’t Engaged for 3 – 6 Months)
By automating some or all of the above mentioned email campaigns, you can save a ton of time and effort, and that’s not all. You will also provide your visitors, customers, and subscribers with the professionalism they expect. You see, most people really enjoy receiving automated emails because these emails provide them with valuable content without the added pressure that usually comes with receiving a personalized email from a business owner.
Just remember to always include a CTA in your automated emails, no matter the reason for the email.
Then, the further along the sales funnel or customer journey someone gets, the more personalization you can give them. In fact, at a certain point in the customer journey, automation is no longer appropriate, so you should take customers out of the automation channel and email them directly to authentically engage them.
Are you convinced that using marketing automation to support your social media and email marketing campaigns will benefit your business? Good!
But how will you know which marketing automation platform to sign up for? That’s a great question. Not all marketing automation platforms are created equal or priced the same, which is why our digital marketing specialists put together a helpful research check-list you can reference while you shop around.
If, for some reason, you cannot find answers to these questions on a marketing automation provider’s website, then we strongly encourage you to call the provider and speak to a sales representative. Do not assume that the platform will meet your business needs and sign a contract before you know what features and services will and will not be included.
● What is the minimum licensing fee?
● What services are included for the minimum fee?
● How many contacts can you have for the base rate?
● What are the tiered rates and the number of contacts you can have for each tier?
● What is the minimum license period?
● Can you auto pay in monthly installments or do you have to pay for a full year up front?
● Have other businesses like yours used and loved the platform?
● Does the platform offer user training? Is training free, or does it come at an additional cost?
FTx 360 can automate your marketing activities across multiple channels. Our marketing automation services include platform selection & setup, and automation strategy & integration with your website or eCommerce store.
Our developers can assess and select the best APT platform for your unique digital marketing needs, and implement appropriate sales software such as HubSpot, SharpSpring, Salesforce, or Marketo on your business website for you. For custom efficiency, we use focused targeting, lead generation & management, and customer segmentation to keep your sales funnel organized and your leads converting. The right email marketing campaigns will be segmented, personalized, and automated when you partner with our marketing specialists.