In may seem daunting to think of developing a marketing automation program for your brand, but automation is all around us and most of us are already living with some form of it without even knowing it. Think of your calendar, with reminders and cross-device syncing, or direct debit payments from your chequing account. In simple terms, these automated tasks required you to commit to a plan, input the content and monitor the outcomes. The reasons we use automation are equally comparable: to simplify tasks, meet objectives and save time.
After all, what’s the greatest and rarest commodity to any marketer? Time. We all have the same amount of time in a day; it’s what we do with that time that determines how effective and efficient we are. That’s the fundamental objective of marketing automation: to be a more efficient marketer by investing in planning and strategy up front to save time later.
There are tremendous opportunities to unlock with marketing and social media automation, but one big question remains: “How do you automate your social media presence and stay in the conversation with your audience?” We’ve helped some of today’s top brands develop leading social and marketing strategies, and we’re always looking at the most effective strategies to achieve social media automation that’s both efficient and engaging. Below are four insights that can help any marketer begin to move from reactive to automated marketing strategies.
1) Social media marketing automation isn’t automatic
Unlike a crockpot, you can’t simply throw everything into one big pot then “set it and forget it.” Social media automation is more like baking an apple pie. You carefully prepare the ingredients, separating then combining at key stages. When the pie goes in the oven your work isn’t over—you check on the progress, and if you have more than one dinner guest (the consumer), you begin to prepare a different pie—maybe mixed berry. You remain engaged from beginning to end. The same should be the case for your social media accounts.
2) Automate what you can while still remaining engaged
Marketing automation doesn’t remove work entirely, but rather to helps you work more efficiently. Effective social automation strategies can take your daily social media work from a few hours to 30 minutes—saving you valuable time.
3) Build the mix that works best for your business
Although each business has a unique set of goals, there’s a base set of functions and features that make up marketing automation. These include email marketing, landing pages and forms, campaign management, engagement marketing, prediction and scoring, customer lifecycle management, CRM integration, social marketing capabilities, mobile marketing capabilities and marketing analytics.
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4) Understand what marketing automation is and isn’t
Marketing and social media automation should always be developed and delivered with the intention to build long lasting engagement not a one hit wonder. Below is how one of the leading platforms defines what marketing automation is not:
An email marketing tool: It does encompass email, but within marketing campaigns across all channels—from direct mail to online, social and mobile initiatives. Marketing automation combines robust, insight-focused capabilities from CRM, lead management, web analytics and other systems to create something that’s more than simply email or social.
A marketing-only solution: It definitely helps the marketer’s life, but sales will benefit equally through lead generation and constant engagement with customers, which ultimately increases revenue for the organization.
A load-and-go solution: If you’ve been told marketing automation is easy or self-managed, you’ve been misinformed. The results don’t create themselves; it requires an effective strategy that integrates the right processes, people, content, data and more.
With 91% of the most successful marketing automation users agreeing that it’s “very important” to the overall success of their marketing across channels, and 63% of companies outsourcing all or part of their marketing automation strategy, it’s clear that today’s most successful marketers aren’t waiting until they can find more time. They’re creating valuable time by automating what would otherwise consume it.