All Posts by Haydon

Laptop pens and books

The #1 Reason You Need to Automate Your Marketing

Marketing automation is essential for anyone marketing their business online. It’s not just a nice thing that adds to your productivity; it’s absolutely necessary and there’s one simple reason for that – It takes over routine menial tasks for you so that you can focus your time and energy on more important things.

 

Saving Time for “Thinking Work”

why where when who how?As a business person wanting to market your services online, what should you be spending your time doing on a day-to-day basis? Your true role when marketing is to study your market, and plan and execute marketing strategies. In other words, it’s “thinking” work, and strategic planning.

However, when you’re bogged down with simple routine tasks that anyone (or any machine) could do for you, you’re losing that precious thinking and organising time. The hours you could be devoting to really careful consideration of your brand image or mind mapping your overall marketing strategy are wasted away on busy work.

 

Get Routine Tasks off Your Desk

In addition to planning and organising, another important part of marketing is building relationships.  You need to be actively engaged and interacting with the members of your target market, whether on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, or through face-to-face offline events or online webinars.

Relationship building, like planning and organizing, takes time. Also, relationship building tasks cannot be done by a software program, an outsourced worker across the planet, or a nifty gadget. This is work that you and only you can do.

If you can successfully automate routine tasks and get them off your to-do list, you can spend more time interacting with members of your target market, and the benefits to this are priceless.

 

[tweetthis]Automate routine tasks and get them off your to-do list. Free up time to engage your target market[/tweetthis]

Automated Tools Are Sometimes Better Than You

The main reason you need to automate is that it gets rid of simple tasks and that frees up your time. However, there is another good reason to automate your marketing. Sometimes, automated programs can do things better than you do. For example, an automated analytics program can take in a great deal of data and deliver relevant metrics to you. If you were to analyse this data yourself, it would not only take a great deal of time, but it wouldn’t be as precise as the analysis a formula or algorithm can do.

In fact, there are some tasks that you can’t do on your own. You can’t do them at all without automation. An example here would be email marketing. You simply can’t build, maintain and market to an email list all by yourself through your usual, bog standard email account. You need an automated program to carry out email marketing properly.

 

Getting Started with Automation21 ways to automate marketing cover

If you’ve shied away from automation until now because of the technological barriers, don’t. It’s very easy to get started. Start by automating one task at a time, and then once you’re comfortable and seeing results, move on to the next. Soon, you’ll see how automation saves you time for more important things and makes a huge impact on your business growth.

Download our free “21 Ways to Automate your Marketing” report. This professional report will help you to start automating your business and free up time.

 

 

What is marketing automation?

What is marketing automation? … and why you need it in your business

We are constantly being told and advised that to market our business effectively in today’s modern world we need to use numerous different tools…. and that software, and use those social media platforms and use this online tool, and send emails, and blog more, and send sms texts, and send more emails, and shout louder and … phew!  

That is a lot of tools, software and tasks to understand and complete.  Aren’t you meant to be running your business?!

In the ideal world, marketing automation will combine numerous tools into one system/platform. A system that will automate a lot of the mundane tasks required to attract, identify, nurture, track and generate new leads and customers.

Marketing Automation

Some sort of factory for marketing? (CC BY-SA 2.0 de. Imaged editted! http://bmw-werk-leipzig.de)

So let me introduce you to marketing automation.   It sounds like it should be some sort of huge factory, full of robots, dedicated to promoting your products and services without you having to lift a finger.  However, that isn’t quite the case, but it can save you time by automating a lot of your everyday marketing tasks (e.g. sending emails, posting on social media, following up).

Marketing automation has its roots in email marketing.  This is where a marketer uses software to send out emails to a mailing list.

However it is so much more than just email marketing. Now marketing automation can be used to post updates to social media platforms, generate leads, capture information and turn leads into sales. It allows you to monitor prospect actions:

  • did they open that email?
  • did they download that free guide?
  • did they visit the XYZ page on your web site?
  • did they engage on your social media?
  • any action you feel qualifies a lead

Why is this information important?

Knowledge is power. Information is power!  By monitoring your leads’ behaviour and their interactions, you’re gaining valuable knowledge about them and you’re then able to score your leads according to their actions. This helps you to determine just how interested they are in your product/service?  You can then place your leads into different groups and relevant nurture paths to move them down the sales funnel.

sales funnel

Sales funnel

It allows you to segment your customers and leads and give them the information that they are interested in. You’re able to send information that is relevant to each particular group and really personalise the communication by adding the individual’s name and other data to the email, postcard etc. , so marketing personalisation is part of the formula.

Common features of marketing automation:

  • Social Marketing
  • Landing Pages
  • Email Marketing
  • Campaign Management
  • Prediction/Scoring
  • Drip Marketing
  • Lead Management & Nurturing
  • List segmentation
  • CRM Integration
  • Marketing Analytics

Lead nurturing (57%), Analytics and reporting (52%) and List segmentation (39%) are considered the most valuable Marketing Automation features.
– Marketo & Ascend2 “Marketing Automation Strategies for Sustaining Success” (2015) – 
http://uk.marketo.com/ebooks/marketing-automation-strategies-for-sustaining-success-ascend2/

Marketing automation combines software and strategy so that organisations can effectively use multiple online channels and tools to distribute their message and marketing materials.

The marketing automation software or platform is hosted or a web-based solution and no actual software needs to be installed by the customer.

A comprehensive marketing automation platform enables marketers to plan, coordinate, manage and measure all of their marketing campaigns, both online and offline.  The platform will enable the marketer to streamline their efforts and reduce the amount of time business owners or staff spend on managing different software and tasks.

It is important to remember that to succeed with marketing automation there must be a solid, comprehensive strategy in place as well.  

To succeed with #marketingautomation there must be a solid, comprehensive strategy in place

Don’t just use it to email all your contacts i.e. spray and pray! What are your goals from your campaign?  More signups to your newsletter? More customers who are interested in X product or Y service?  Plan and strategise.

The most challenging obstacles to success are lack of quality content (40%), budget constraints (38%) and the lack of an effective marketing automation strategy (38%).
– Marketo & Ascend2 “Marketing Automation Strategies for Sustaining Success” (2015) – 
https://www.marketo.com/_assets/uploads/Marketing-Automation-Strategies-for-Sustaining-Success-Ascend2-Marketo.pdf?20150429100716

Which Processes to Automate?

Here are some examples…

  • New Leads into Funnel
    Educate people who aren’t ready to engage. Get them to know, like and trust you. Nurture them through the buying process. Deliver relevant content such as white papers, articles and webinars.
  • Welcome and Education
    Welcome new customers with personalised content. Deliver content relevant to the product and services they have purchased. Communicate with them so they get the most out being your client. Send them guides and how-tos.
  • Event Communications
    Automate the invite process, reminders, follow up and post-event communications. If they don’t attend, offer an alternative date.
  • Customer Data Enrichment
    Knowledge is power! Survey your existing customers and find out exactly what they want and need.

 

Automated Inbound Marketing

Awesomeness

Lure your leads in with awesomeness!

Inbound marketing, also called Content Marketing, can be properly enabled through the use of a  marketing automation tool.  Content marketing is all about luring your customers to you with awesomeness. 

Identify and analysis your market. Who is your perfect customer?  Create personas detailing who your ideal client is. Age, sex, industry?  What do they like?  What do they read?  What are their issues and pain points (ie what keeps them awake at night)? Then create amazing content/information that your personas want to share. The content gets shared amongst your target market and it encourages those leads to come to you. Once they are at your doorstep, wow them with your charisma, knowledge and skills!

When using marketing automation you can automate the process of publishing content, sharing content, being everywhere and nurturing your leads. You are able to implement “if-then” logic to your tasks.

When considering which marketing automation platform to go with, bear in mind that some of them are 1) very expensive and 2) very complicated to use. Many of the available tools are aimed at big corporate businesses, however marketing automation tools are now available for small business’ as well. Make sure that you take your time and research which platform is most suitable for you and your business. Is there help and support readily available if you get stuck or need help?

 

Marketing Automation Platforms & Pricing

Prices are often based on how many leads you have in the system so check to ensure your initial quota of leads is enough for the size of your organisation.

Here are some of the different marketing automation platforms out there today:

For Small and Medium Sized Businesses/Organisations (in no particular order)

Hubspot – from £140 a month. http://www.saxonis.co.uk/hubspot.com

Act On – From £380 a month. http://www.saxonis.co.uk/acton

Ontraport – From $297 a month. http://www.saxonis.co,uk/ontraport

Wishpond – From Free. http://www.saxonis.co.uk/wishpond

Infusionsoft – From $199 (£129) a month http://www.saxonis.co.uk/infusionsoft

Active Campaign – From $9 a month – Free 14 day trial (no credit card required!) http://www.saxonis.co.uk/activecampaign.com

 

For larger organisations (in no particular order)

Sales Fusion – From $950 (£614) a month. http://www.saxonis.co.uk/salesfusion

Pardot – From £680 a month. http://www.saxonis.co.uk/pardot

Silverpop – Pricing info not availaable. http://www.saxonis.co.uk/silverpop

Marketo – From £799 a month. http://www.saxonis.co.uk/marketo

Oracle’s Eloqua (MarketingCloud) – Pricing info not available. http://www.saxonis.co.uk/eloqua

 

Compare Marketing Automation Software

When choosing which supplier to go with, and deciding which is the best marketing automation platform, consider how the different platforms will integrate with your existing software and apps. Ideally you want one that integrates with your CRM (Customer Relations Management) system so that it can pass client data.  Ensure it integrates with your other systems as well. Make sure you have the opportunity to try out the software and take it for a trial run first.

86% marketers consider ‘ease of use’ as the most important criterion when evaluating automation tools.
– Regalix “The State of Marketing Automation” (2014) – 
http://www.regalix.com/by_regalix/research/reports/state-of-marketing-automation-2014/

When comparing the different platforms make sure that it can grow as your business / organisation grows.

[tweetthis]What marketing automation can do for your business. Compare platforms. #contentmarketing[/tweetthis]

 

Download our free “21 Ways to Automate your Marketing” report. This professional report will help you to start automating your business and free up your valuable time.

Seven Mistakes Small Business Owners Make With Their Website

As experienced web designers we see time and time again the same mistakes that people make with their web sites. We have therefore put together this presentation on some of the mistakes that we witness most often.

To be successful it is often not just about remembering all those things we should be doing but also the things we shouldn’t!

“It’s often not about remembering the things we should be doing, but the things we shouldn’t!”

Social Media Business Plan

How to create a social media marketing plan in 10 easy steps

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Successful social media marketing comes from building strong and long-lasting relationships with customers and professional contacts over many months and years and giving them the type of content that they will want to share with their family, friends and colleagues.

Creating Your Social Media Marketing Plan in 10 Easy Steps

Building strong and long-lasting relationships will help you to attract and keep loyal customers and connections, and get them to sell your business for you, not the other way around.

While this approach is a world away from the way that most traditional marketing works, this open, two-way communication is now what billions of consumers around the world expect from the businesses and brands to whom they invest time and money.

This article will help you make get the most from your social media marketing with a ten-step process for creating a successful social media marketing plan.

 

1. Determine Your Goals

Social Media Business Plan

What do you want to achieve from your social media marketing?

Determining the goals of any marketing strategy is absolutely vital. This is probably the most important step because if you aren’t clear about what you want to achieve, or why you are doing a specific task you won’t be motivated to do it correctly and eventually, you are going to stop doing it.

It is like kicking a ball in the middle of a football pitch in a championship game and not knowing that the idea was to get to the end of the field and kick the ball into the goal. You wouldn’t stand a chance against the pros and you would walk off the pitch in shame.

To help you to determine your goals, ask yourself these questions about what you want to achieve when using social media for your business:

  • What do you want to get out of your social media marketing efforts? Do you want more customers/leads? If so, how many?
  • Do you want greater brand awareness? If so, you need to clarify exactly what this means for your business.
  • Do you want more visitors to your website?
  • Why exactly are you doing social media marketing?

The goals are endless and vary from business to business. They key is to determine what your goals are and to make them doable and measurable. Write them down and then move on to the next step so that you can work through creating the foundation of your social media-marketing plan.

2. Decide who will manage your social media networks

social media team

Build your team – who is going to handle your social media?

Again, this is a very important step. Why? Because social media requires interaction, and if you are going to use social networking as one of the tools you need to know who is going to maintain that and where the content that is going to be used is coming from. It is crucial because this is your online reputation that we are talking about. If you ignore this, your strategy will suffer and you could cause lots of problems for your business in the future.
To help you, answer these questions:

  • Who is going to create the social media content? (Blogs, articles, videos, images, status updates etc.)
  • Who will maintain the social media accounts?
  • Who will be the voice(s) of your business, the one responding to questions on your company’s behalf?
  • Do you have an in-house technical expert to be part of the online conversation and look after your social media accounts? If not, are you or a member of your staff willing to learn or are you able to outsource the work?
  • Can you, or someone you have on your team, write well?

Knowing if you have the right people in place is vital. Without the right people your social media marketing campaign will fail, regardless of how incredible your plan is. If you don’t currently have these key people, talk to us and we will help you.

3. Know Your Audience

know your audience

Who is your target audience? Where do they go online?

We are going to assume for a moment that you know who your audience is. You may have already spent the time needed to establish the demographic you are after based on the products and services you offer. When it comes to social media marketing, understanding your audience is really what you need to do.

You also need to understand where your target audience is online. This isn’t the same as your demographic or running an ad in the newspaper or putting up a billboard somewhere to catch the attention of everyone, including your market. No, social media marketing is about getting to know your market on a more intimate level.

This is where a little research needs to be done. You have to determine the places that they frequent online. Everyone almost always assumes that Facebook is the first place, or even the only place to go. Whilst it is true that Facebook is an excellent start, it should only be part of your social media marketing plans. There are many more platforms that your target audience may be using instead, depending on their age and what they are interested in.

Each social media network has their own audience, and this is why Facebook can’t be the only social network that your business uses.

Beyond the social networks, there may be particular discussion forums or online communities that your audience prefers to visit. Think about where they would go and seek advice if they had a particular problem to solve relating to your niche.

Once you have established where your audience is you can figure out what type of information they want from you. You will need to know their likes and dislikes. Never forget that social media marketing is really about getting to know your market and catering for their needs. The selling and promotions come later.

All of your communication on social media needs to be helpful and engaging. Your aim is to find out their exact needs and start building a relationship based on trust and respect. You are giving them a reason to buy from/work with you and not your competitor.

4. Create Amazing Content

Amazing contentOnce you have figured out where your audience are online and you have spent time finding out what they want, take the time to create content that gives them what they want and makes them feel happy that they found you.

If you notice that your audience prefers videos or images and that really gets them excited and talking, it really wouldn’t make sense just creating a plain old text blog post.

This isn’t about reinventing the wheel. This is about making the wheel you are offering better than everyone else’s out there, so check out what is working with the other wheel makers and do it better or different (in a good way).

Look up some of your competitors and see the sort of content and information they are sharing.

5. Integrate your marketing efforts

All of your social media marketing efforts need to work together. This means that they need to feed off one another. Cross-promote your social media accounts to your audience. If your audience is on a social network and they tend to visit specific blogs and they like video, then you need to make sure that they can find more great content on your blog with integrated YouTube videos and on playlists on your YouTube channel by promoting this on your social media network page.

Your social media marketing and the traditional marketing you are doing also need to work together. You need to be promoting your online endeavours on your brochures, advertisements, letterheads, radio etc. These marketing efforts should all be working together to support one another. This is marketing synergy at its core.

6. Create a schedule

social media schedule calendar

Create a content calendar, a schedule of when, and what your going to share, where.

If you are an entrepreneur starting and running your own business, creating an effective social media schedule is very important. It is very easy to spend more time than is actually needed on a social network. If you are using multiple social media platforms you want to make sure that you are allocating enough time in your day to use them effectively.

Getting sucked into emails and social networks are two of the biggest productivity killers that a business person or an employee can get caught up with. From a marketing perspective, you don’t need more than 20 minutes on a social network.

7. The 80/20 rule

This is an important rule to remember regarding social media marketing. We have already stressed that social media isn’t really about you; it’s about your audience. We have also mentioned that social media isn’t really about where you sell your product or service right off the bat. So when you are online using your various social media tools, keep in mind that 80 per cent of your time should be spent on activities that are not self-promoting. Social marketing is all about helping your customers and clients. Only around 20 per cent of your social media posts should be about promotion.

8. Quality over quantity

On social media, time is twofold. It is far better to post content that is useful to your customer whether it is just once a day or a couple of times per week than to flood them with useful valueless posts. It is also better to have 1,000 loyal engaged followers than to have 10,000 followers that sign up to get something and then never interact with you again.

Quality goes a lot further than quantity. Less is most definitely more.

9. Control

It is your audience that will dictate the flow of any online conversation. The reason that you want them to do this is that you want your audience to feel as if the conversation is theirs. When someone is able to take ownership, and make something theirs, they develop an emotional connection to whatever that thing is. You want your current and potential customers to have an emotional connection to you, your company and your brand. They need to feel as though they are the most important thing to you and not their wallets.

10. Adapt your business and watch your profits soar

Social media marketing is exciting. As you use it, you will learn more about your audience and this knowledge will only grow the longer you do it. Who your audience is today may not be who they were 18 months ago or who they’ll be in a year’s time. Needs change, likes change, people grow and change. Social media is your inexpensive way to stay on top of and anticipate what your customers will need next.

You can use these changes to create and launch new products or services. Think about how compelling it is to the consumer that a new product or service was created just for them based on what they have said to you. Can you imagine anything more powerful than that? Over time, as you change and adapt your business providing exactly what your customers want, your business will be in a very powerful position and you will watch your profits soar.

You Don’t Need to do this Alone
We realise that social media marketing can seem daunting for some businesses. Although it will be hugely profitable for your business it requires patience, time and commitment in order to see results.

We are here to help and are happy to offer advice and assist you setting up a profitable social media campaign. We have helped many businesses just like yours to succeed online. Contact us today and watch your online business grow.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close