As a marketer, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and all other social media platforms that you’re on all at once. And yet these are things that are part of what you need to do in order to build a successful blog or online business.
So what is the solution? How do you make it work when social media has gotten so out of control? There are over 200 social networks, each with millions (or billions in the case of Facebook) of users all over the world. How can you, as a marketer, possibly manage to be constantly productive across all of them?
We all know just how hard it can be trying to maintain even one social network. That alone can be a full-time job. But luckily, there are ways to help ensure that you keep up with your Facebook, Tweeter, Instagram, Pinterest and any other social networks that you’re on all at once and all without exhausting yourself.
What am I talking about? Marketing Automation.
This is the answer to all your problems if you have been feeling overwhelmed by your efforts to keep up with multiple social media accounts. In this post, you’re going to learn all about how you can use marketing automation to save time and increase your productivity when it comes to building and growing your business or blog.
As a marketer, you have most likely heard the term ‘marketing automation’ before, but it’s alright if you don’t know exactly what it means (90% of marketers don’t either).
But this is about to change for you because in this mega guide for beginners, I will not only show you what marketing automation is and the benefits of using it in your business, but I will also show you exactly how you can get started right away to grow your traffic, your following, and your leads on autopilot.
What is Marketing Automation?
When you conduct a simple search on Google, you get a lot of different definitions to this simple phrase, but we’re going to stick to the one that makes it the easiest to understand what we’re talking about here. While some talk about marketing automation as being about tactics, software, or even as one of the subsets of customer relationship management, here we are going to define it as follows:
Marketing automation is … automating your marketing.
OK. I guess that is obvious. But automation requires technology, and so that is the core part of the process. So for an even better understanding of the process, our definition could be as follows:
Marketing automation refers to the process of using technology and software to automate, optimize, and measure repetitive internet marketing tasks.
If you find yourself always doing the same tasks over and over online, then you can be sure that there is some way of automating those tasks. This is particularly useful for anyone whose goal in starting an online business or blog is to create time freedom for themselves.
Being able to automate many of the tasks associated with blogging and online marketing will save you tons of time as well as help you to become a better marketer because you will be able to spend more of your valuable time on the things that matter more in your business.
With marketing automation, you won’t have to spend any time executing the task, and you will be able to optimize how the particular task is done as well as measure the performance of that task continuously.
There are essentially three main areas that you can automate (to a certain extent) when it comes to online marketing:
1. Email Marketing Automation
You can use software to have emails sent to your subscribers after a triggering event like when they sign up for your newsletter. Delivery and distribution are two ways of automating your emails. You can also automatically segment your email list according to who signed up and from where. Also, you can use auto-responders to automate your sales with emails.
2. Social Media Automation
When it comes to social media, there are dozens of great third-party tools that you can use to automate the distribution of your content across all social media platforms. You can also use social media automation to grow your business by engaging with leads and followers automatically.
3. Landing Page Automation
This is the third core sector of automation. Designing landing pages used to take massive amounts of time, and you had to code them manually using HTML and CSS but these days you can just take a template and copy the same design over and over again. A/B testing also helps you (to some extent) to automate the copying of your landing pages.
We’re now going to take a deeper look into each of these three segments of marketing automation and you will discover how you can get started right away.
How to Automate Your Email Marketing
The first step in email marketing automation is to segment the subscribers on your list based on where they came from. Whichever email marketing service you’re using, the steps are going to be similar, but for this example, we’re going to use MailChimp since it’s a free platform that a lot of bloggers and online entrepreneurs use when they first get started.
Go to the email list settings in your account and choose ‘List Fields and Merge tags’. Scroll down to ‘add field’ and click on that. A drop-down box will open. Give your list field a name which refers to the traffic source.
For instance, if the subscribers that you want to tag signed up from a particular blog post on ‘Facebook Ads for Beginners‘ then you can name that field ‘Facebook Ads Beginners’ or something like that. To hide your form field, uncheck the box labeled ‘Visible?’ Underneath the list field options, take away all the choices but one and then name that one ‘Yes’. Just click ‘save changes’ and you’re all set.
Now, whenever anyone opts in on a landing page that you drove them to from that Facebook Ads post, MailChimp will automatically check that field for you and those subscribers will be marked as ‘Facebook Ads Beginners’.
You can also complete this process in MailChimp directly by going to where it says ‘Sign up forms’ in your account and selecting ‘General forms’. You will then be taken to the menu where you can add fields on the right side. But, since it’s a generic, hidden field, your standard sign up forms will already contain it.
Scroll all the way down to the bottom and you will see the new field. All you have to do now is to ensure that your new form only contains this hidden form for that location and not any others. Now scroll all the way to the top and then copy the sign-up page URL and you will be able to link people to that particular sign up form at the end of your ‘Facebook Ads Beginners’ posts.
So, as you can see, segmenting your list automatically is a great idea to get started with marketing automation right away.
But what about the ones who have already signed up?
You can segment lists of your existing subscribers simply by asking them. Tools like ConvertKit make this really easy to do and allows you to tag your subscribers depending on which links they click on. So, if you send out an email with links to, say, a guide on creating content upgrades, then you could just tag those who click on that link as ‘interested in creating content upgrades.
This is a smart tactic that is used by a lot of marketers to segment their lists. You could do it by sending out a question asking people to choose what they want to learn more about. Your subscribers will then automatically be tagged according to which links they clicked on. After that, they will each receive more content about their chosen topic.
Whenever most bloggers publish a new blog post, they immediately send it out to their subscribers. They use a simple message to do this. This type of email marketing can also be automated. If you want to ensure that your posts are automatically distributed in MailChimp, all you have to do is to go to the campaigns and click on ‘new campaign’.
Next, click on RSS campaign and then just enter the URL of your blog. MailChimp will then find that RSS feed URL for you so you don’t have to bother with that part. You can set your email to however often you publish content whether it’s daily or weekly. Click ‘next’, and then you can start to design your email as usual. All the posts that are sent out automatically will have the message that you define here.
This type of automation also makes it extremely easy to deliver bonuses automatically. Say you were to design a landing page where you give away a particular lead magnet. Once your subscribers get to your landing page, you can choose to send them a customized email when they register.
This email delivers a personalized message with the link to the bonus you’re offering them. Once this is in place, you don’t ever have to worry about any of the tech stuff again. You just copy and scale the entire process so that each time you build a new landing page the settings will be copied with it and you’ll only have to change the link to your bonus.
When someone subscribes to your email list, you can use auto-responder services to send them a sequence of emails over a period of time. You’ve probably noticed this plenty of times whenever you signed up for something and immediately started receiving emails from that site.
A day or two after that you get another email from them offering you valuable information for free, and then another a few days later. Eventually, they slowly introduce you to a paid offer that is relevant to you.
None of those emails are written specifically for you.
It’s just not possible to write and send emails to every person who signs up for an email list one by one, but an auto-responder makes it easy to send them to everyone. No matter what time that person signed up, they can get an immediate response automatically.
So as you can see, an auto-responder is a great way of connecting with your audience and taking them on a journey that leads to you eventually selling them something after you’ve established a relationship with them.
In MailChimp, setting up auto-responders is a paid feature. You can do this by clicking on automation and then setting up a series of emails. When those emails get triggered, the process begins. If you want to see this process in action, choose a few of the leaders in your industry and opt into their email lists so that you can see how they do it over the next few days.
Running Social Media on Autopilot
You can automate your social media in two ways. First, just like email marketing, you can automate the distribution. This is most likely the most automated part of marketing so far. Many marketers post a lot of their content on social media using third-party tools. But, if you look a little deeper, you’ll find that you can also use this to partially automate your growth on certain social media platforms.
The average internet user has five social media accounts. As a marketer, you probably have that many or more. It’s only natural that you want to inform people about whatever is new with your business or blog, but have you ever tried to send out the same status update or message on five different social networks manually?
It can prove to be quite annoying, but thanks to marketing automation, you can now use tools to handle all of that for you. One such tool is Buffer. The basic version of Buffer is free which makes it by far the best way to automate your social media updates when you’re just getting started.
Buffer lets you connect up to 5 accounts from various social media platforms. After setting it up, you can then Buffer your posts from right within your social media account. You can set different messages for each of the channels and schedule the specific time for the updates to be released.
Buffer even allows you to use Power Scheduler to post the same update many times over different channels automatically. Buffer’s pro plan starts at only $10 per month and lets you use up to 10 accounts and send up to 100 updates at any given time.
The Bottom Line
I always try my best to give you as much information as you need to fully understand the topic we’re discussing, as you can see, this is turning out to be yet another ‘monster guide’ and so we will continue discussing Marketing Automation for Social Media as well as Landing Page Automation in the next post.
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