Start Using Marketing Automation for your Business

By Hopinfirst on September 15, 2018

Marketing automation is a topic that generates concern and skepticism in many small business circles. While larger businesses, especially those focused in online sales, have found a lot of success with targeted marketing automation, it can be difficult to see how the same process can work for your business. But, the rewards may be well worth the hassle of starting!

What Marketing Activities Can Be Automated?

First of all, it’s important to note that you can’t expect to automate everything to do with marketing. Some human involvement is still necessary for the best results. But, you can automate a lot of simple processes and use marketing tools to make everything easier for you in the long run. These are the main tasks you’ll be able to start automating quickly:

#1. Email Marketing  

There’s no reason for you to sit and write up long emails each and every time you want to get in touch with your email list. Automated marketing means you can write out templates of emails ahead of time and direct an email marketing system to send them out at appropriate times. You can have welcome emails pre-programmed, thanks you emails, general newsletters, and more.

#2. Social Media Posting

Line up a number of social media posts for specific times and dates in advance. This will save you the trouble of having to log in at certain peak times each day and allows you more freedom about when you’re posting and what you want to post. You’ll be able to work ahead and not have to deal with social media posts daily.

#3. Data Collection & Management

Automated marketing makes opt-in forms and other data collection much simpler. Setting up automated data collection for marketing on your website is simple and helps you get more information about potential leads.

#4. Tracking Leads

Lead tracking is time-consuming if you try to do it manually, but it’s much easier for an automated program to handle. You’ll also end up with greater access to marketing data from all your leads.

#5. Content Topic Research

Content marketing is something you’ll still need a human to do, but you can help simplify the process with some automated tools that let you find trending topics and topics of interest. This way, you won’t have to do individual link research daily to find out what kind of content to make.

Benefits of Marketing Automation

What can all of that marketing automation get you? Here are a few of the main benefits you can expect when you have a great marketing automation system for your business:

  • Collect More Customer Data

The advantage of automated data collection is that it can happen 24/7 without you needing to be around all the time. So, if a customer visits your site or enters into your marketing process at any time you can still get data from them and start the onboarding process.

  • Compete with Larger Businesses

If you’re working with a very small team or doing all the marketing work yourself, you need shortcuts and automation to help you get more done with less effort. You may not have a lot of time, but by automating certain marketing processes you can accomplish just as much as larger businesses, helping you to compete with them.

  • Encourage Repeat Customers

New leads are less likely to make a purchase than repeat customers. For this reason, automated marketing messages to your previous customers can be a fantastic tool for customer retention. Building out a customer or buyer’s journey is very important for any business.

  • Keep in Touch with Leads

Following up with leads requires a lot of time and energy if you want to do it all manually. Your business may have hundreds of leads at once, which would make manual communication efforts very difficult. An effective automated marketing system can help you keep in contact with new leads and bring them through to conversion.

  • Sustainability

When your business starts to scale, your marketing needs to scale with it. Automated marketing processes are very sustainable because they’re scalable, consistent, and completely customizable. As your business grows and changes, your automated marketing practices can grow and change to fit whatever needs you have at that time. Automation also always a higher level of consistency in your messages across platforms.

  • Maintain a Social Media Presence

Remembering to post regularly on every social media network is a chore. But, automated posting makes it easy to line up a series of posts and plan them for specific times and dates. This means you can get way ahead of yourself and keep up a strong social media presence, which is very important in today’s online business environment.

  • Quantifiable Results

Marketing automation gives you much more data and helps to present results to you in measurable quantities. The right marketing system will use the data you have from your customers to produce better results while also giving you new data about the results.

  • Increased Marketing Efficiency

Do more with fewer resources and in a shorter time. By setting up a solid automated marketing strategy, you can stretch your resources much farther than you would otherwise be able to.

Marketing automation doesn’t have to be a huge and scary process. It’s something businesses of all sizes can benefit from, and it can be implemented with relative ease in most companies. Look at your own marketing funnel today and see if there’s a good opportunity for automated efficiency!

Top 5 Free Tools For Email Marketing Services

By Hopinfirst on September 15, 2018

Keeping up with digital marketing trends is near impossible when they are constantly changing and evolving. Of those marketing trends, however, email marketing remains one of the most valuable and targeted channels to reach your target audience. It has to be used effectively in order to see true results. Email marketers that find themselves in the marketing field by chance need to understand how to make email marketing succeed for the business they’re working for. Social media publishing tools are a great asset to any social media marketer, for it allows you to schedule posts in advance, and at the times your users are most active. There are free tools available to enhance any email marketing strategy. All you have to do is find the one that would suit you best.

How to choose the right email service provider

Finding the right email marketing service can be overwhelming when there is so much choice. After all, there are multiple email solutions and reviews for each of them. The key is to identify why you need an email marketing service provider, and what your business’ goals are. The following platforms are free, but have paid upgraded integrations that can significantly grow your email list, and thus your email marketing efforts.

An email platform will help you establish automated email sending. These tools will not only help you schedule emails in advance and target your audience better, but built-in tools help you build your email list, customize emails via creative templates, and so much more. In addition, the programs are designed to become an overall part of your marketing strategy.

MailChimp

MailChimp is a great example of a free platform that you can upgrade as your account grows bigger. The free service, however, still has a lot to offer. It includes a subject line researcher, and is one of the most popular tools the platform has to offer.

MailChimp has a user base of over 7 million individuals so they certainly have an inside track on what is currently working and what is not working. You can use it to plug-in your keywords or phrases and various subject lines to see how they performed in the past. It’s a matter of one person helping another and really, isn’t that the way things are supposed to work?

A look at Benchmark Email

You can take advantage of the free plan through Benchmark Email and send up to 10,000 emails every month. It’s a lot more than other email providers have to offer on a free plan. You can access all of the features available through this email service provider, including the templates, email tracking, statistics and the ability to create online surveys. Once you sign up with your email and create a password, you’re good to go. The only issue you may experience with Benchmark Email is you can only build a contact list with users who access your sign-up form. If you already have a list of contacts, you cannot simply import their names. They have to resubscribe using the Benchmark Email platform. Don’t worry – there are other free options you can choose from if this is a hurdle.

TinyLetter Email Service Provider

If you’re looking for a simple and effortless way to send out bulk emails, look no further than TinyLetter. The entire service is designed to send simple newsletters without an additional fee. You can create a form so people can sign up for the list, but it is missing templates and other fancy settings.

What you will have access to, however, is an email editor that’s similar to Gmail. You save the draft and edit it later, or simply send it to your readers. The best part about this service is that it is 100% free, provided your email list is under 5,000 people. If the list gets too large, you can transfer it to MailChimp. They are the service that runs TinyLetter and they offer many more features.

SendLoop via MailChimp

One of the problems that many people experience with email newsletters is writing them. In addition, they only go out to people who are signed up on the list. Dripping messages to those individuals when they sign up for the list or buy a product is the solution to that problem. The problem is, most email service providers only offer that as a paid solution. That is not the case with SendLoop. You can send both drip emails and newsletters for free.

Create the emails that you want and then send them immediately to your subscribers. It’s also possible to automate the messages so they send to new subscribers as soon as they sign up on your email list. In addition, you can create a scheduled message to send to your highly engaged readers or those who don’t read your email the first time. There are many options available in this regard. The best part is, you can check out the statistics for a detailed record of how things are going.

You can use SendLoop to send 5 emails monthly up to 2,000 people.

A Look at Constant Contact

Constant Contact is one of the better-known options for sending mass email. They offer a 60-day free plan on a trial basis that offers the opt-in forms, professional templates, analytics and many marketing strategies and tips on the inside. The platform is easy to use and if you sign up for the 60-day trial, you don’t need to supply a credit card. Having said that, you’ll need to pay to continue using the program after 60 days. It will cost you around $20 a month for 500 contacts. They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee to their customers.

There are numerous free email platforms to choose from. We recommend you take the time to watch video tutorials to understand how the platforms work. Then, you can make an educated decision on which one would positively impact your business. You want to choose an email marketing platform that will help you fulfill your digital marketing strategy.

Author Bio :- Nicole Wilson is a freelancer who writes about many marketing strategies for the purpose of educating local businesses about improving brand awareness.

Marketing Automation Tips for Digital Marketers

By Hopinfirst on September 15, 2018

A common debate among marketers is the benefits of marketing automation. With digital strategies sweeping the marketing scene, many marketing agencies have been forced to consider the actual benefits of marketing automation.  

The truth of the matter is, marketing automation is very much beneficial.  In fact, marketing automation plays a gargantuan role in the acquisition of big data.  So much that marketing agencies report that 9 out of every 10 enterprise leaders believe big data is essential to their business strategies.

For example, valuable user behaviors can quickly be discovered by marketing automation data. Tracking user behavior allows you to modify and adjust your marketing plan to tailor to what users want to receive.  This type of information is not as readily available when you opt to use other marketing channels. 

Use Email Marketing to Gauge Stability

It can be challenging to determine if something is working well without a clear look into how it’s affecting the end users. Is it stable, or does it needs some tweaking?  Before you can answer this question, you need to know what works and what doesn’t.

Launch an email marketing automation campaign for six months, measure its success.  If it’s working, note what you have done, and try it again with a new campaign.  If not, pull the plug and try again with new techniques. 

Personally Engage

Millennials want to be up close and personal.  Period.  In fact, many marketing agencies have learned that when you get personal in the subject line of your emails, there’s a 26% increase in open rates.

It would be impractical and near impossible to engage with all the customers on your email list personally—regardless of size. With marketing automation, you can set up your emails based on end user behavior so that the customer has a more personal experience with the information you send them. Marketing automation allows you to create this beneficial relationship with your clients.

With the right marketing automation program, you can easily understand buyer persona and buyer behavior so that you can personalize your marketing efforts.

Set a Goal

As the marketing agency, you have the tools to engage, but you need an end goal.  Here are a few pertinent questions to ask:

  •      Are you looking to increase social media engagement?
  •      Are you aiming for repeat sales?
  •      Are you seeking feedback?

Marketing automation allows you to create several different responses that can be tailored to particular situations. To begin, you should follow the simple sales process.  It goes as follows:

  •    Identifying your target audience
  •    Prospecting
  •    Attracting leads
  •    Conveying your value proposition
  •    Follow-up
  •    Closure

Nothing is cut and dry when it comes to sales.  You know all too well that first, you have to gather your leads, then you have to go through a series of interactions to turn leads into sales. The one tool that remains consistent to go from lead to close is the follow-up. 

One problem that many salespeople are faced with is remembering when to follow up.  Throw in a substantial number of leads, and you are spending more time trying to figure out the who, what, when, where, why and how than you are actually engaging with the potential sales. So, the solution to this problem is automated follow ups.  But this poses the question, “How do I personalize an automated response?”

The right sequence aimed at the right audience will help draw your existing clients back to your website, and it will contribute to creating brand loyalty.  Thus, your emails will invite potential customers to re-engage with your brand so that they can see the benefits of what you have to offer.

In addition, the correct email sequence will also offer new customers a better understanding of what your brand has to offer.  Simply put, email automation done well extends an avenue for customer satisfaction.

Maximizing Potential

You have your goals, and you have your sequences in place. The key is putting together a series of measurable objectives that helps you achieve your goals.  Ask yourself, “How can my email campaign align with my goals?”  Then, break your answer down into small manageable objectives.

Consider the following scenario.  If your company has set a goal of using automation to increase sales by 25%, how can you break this large goal down into manageable objectives? Overall, automation in general, helps many digital and internet marketing business build links faster for search engine optimization. 

Answer: you could send out three emails per month that contain coupons to entice customers to shop.

There’s Much More Profit to be Made After the Sale

You’ve spent quite a bit of time chasing your prospects and learning all about their buyer persona, quitting once you’ve landed them would be like training for a marathon and then not running.  

Once your customers start buying, remind them that what you have to offer is the best.  Most noteworthy, studies have shown that drip campaigns yield a 98% conversion rate.  The concept is relatively straightforward.  Send out targeted and relevant communications to warm leads at regular intervals to educate current customers while reaching out to potential new ones.

To put this type of marketing automation into practice, you’ll need an email platform that supports triggered automatic sending.  Consequently, if you own a sporting goods store, and you want to send accessories to customers who just purchased baseball gloves, your triggered email campaign will search your database for customers who bought gloves.  Then, it will send a triggered email out with coupons for balls or glove oil or anything else you think might be a great up-sell for someone who has recently purchased a glove.

The numbers speak for themselves.  If there are over 205 billion emails sent each day, the only way to get read is to be relevant.  To do that you need to study the metrics.

  •      What are the most recent purchases?
  •      How often do they buy from your store?
  •      How much do they spend?

Additionally, with the right segmentation plan in place, you can tweak your email messages based on behavior.

  •      Offer rewards programs to customers who have not been visible.
  •      Give those who have never purchased offers for discounts.
  •      Send emails immediately offering rewards for signing up.

The time between purchase and delivery can be an excellent opportunity to capitalize on a customer’s anticipation for the arrival of their purchase. 

It Takes More than One Try to Create Brand Loyalty

Nothing stays the same.  So, to be successful with any campaign—marketing automation, email, social media, or traditional—you need to understand that you must embrace change.  A one and done state of mind will never yield results—ever.

Study the different dynamics of your data.  Look at bounce rates over different periods of time.  

Ask yourself:

  •      What types of messages have seen great success?
  •      What types of messages were failures?
  •      What time of year do you get the most click through rates?
  •      What types of customers seem to be the most receptive to your offers?

Experiment with drip campaigns and triggered automated sending and then analyze the results, and modify and adjust as necessary.  Just think of it in terms of fashion.  If a customer buys a top, trigger an email to send discounts for the bottoms.  There’s always an upsell, suggest it, and they will come.  You can’t achieve anything with a one and done philosophy.

Establish a Reputation

Just because a customer ignores a message, doesn’t mean to forget about them entirely.  This is not middle school, and you can’t fold your arms and say, “I am not talking to you anymore.”  Keep reaching out until you find the right message.

Moreover, trial and error will make you feel like you are constantly changing direction. Remember, your goals and objectives should not waiver.  Keep your end game consistent, and engage with your customers along the way.  Find out how they want to engage, and capitalize.

Research has shown that customers want to interact with you, so listen to what they have to say, and invite them to give you their opinion.  If they aren’t responding, make it a priority to find out what you can do to make their experience with your brand one that is worthy of their time and effort.

Timing is Everything

The right message is only part of the equation.  If you are sending the right info at the wrong time, it can easily get overlooked.  If you own a restaurant, you shouldn’t be sending breakfast emails at 2 PM.  They will be long forgotten.  Do your homework when it comes to timing.

Take Aways

In conclusion, brand loyalty is hard to achieve, but with a consistent and engaging email campaign and an automated marketing strategy, it’s certainly achievable.  The keys are knowing your audience and then tailoring a campaign that is not only actionable to you, but to them as well.  Don’t stuff their inboxes with fluff.  Offer them value and rewards for being loyal, and engage with them to remind them that they are a crucial part of your brand’s identity.

Author Bio :- Ryan Stewart is a digital marketing consultant and current owner of WEBRIS, a Miami based digital marketing agency.

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