A Beginners Guide to Marketing Automation – The Tools
Marketing automation for the person wearing all the hats
It’s the end of a tough week. You’ve done some great work for your clients, had a great sales meeting, and sent out a couple of proposals. But you can’t shake that nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something.
As you look back over your to-do list that prickling in your head turns to dread in your stomach. You’ve not touched your marketing tasks. You’ve not sent out content to your email list, nor have you posted on social media, and you haven’t even so much as peeked at your website analytics.
You feel like you’ve let yourself down.
But there is a solution.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is what you’d expect it to be. It automates your marketing tasks. Simply put, this means you can queue up all your tasks in one go for the week, month (or longer) and get on with running your business whilst your marketing works for you in the background. All you need to do is take care of the responsive bits (stuff like replying to comments and time-sensitive posts).
Why is it important?
Without automation, marketing takes so much longer. Task switching is a major drain on productivity. Think about it, if you have to stop to post on LinkedIn or work on a blog post partway through some client work both tasks are going to take longer than they should. Never discount the time you lose shutting down one task and picking up another. Marketing automation (done properly) eliminates this lost time entirely.
It improves the quality of your marketing too. You won’t need to rush a load out at the end of a busy week, nor will you be trying to cram it in between all the other essential tasks that make up your working day. Instead, marketing automation allows you to set aside the time your marketing deserves to do it right and do it well.
A well-planned marketing activity calendar, supported by as much automation as possible turns an hour a day, every day into a couple of hours once a month. This means more time to focus on driving new business through other channels, zooming potential clients and, well, running your business.
Useful marketing automation tools
Here are a few automation tools you can use to get the most out of your marketing that I personally use:
Schedule social media posts with Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a powerful marketing automation tool that lets you schedule social media posts in advanced. All you need to do is create the content and set a time and date for it to go out. Then all you need to do is monitor the reactions you get and keep an eye on the data (which Hootsuite allows you to do, too!).
There’s even a free plan that lets you schedule up to 30 posts across up to 3 social accounts. A pretty solid option if you’re on a budget.
If Hootsuite isn’t your thing, you could try Buffer for general day to day management. Or, if your offering is more of a visual nature, platforms like Later will maximise your efficiency AND let you schedule Instagram stories.
WARNING: LinkedIn automated posting is a bit of a no-no, their algorithm will pick this up and throttle your content. So it probably won’t do as well as the same content posted organically. If you want to post via automation here; Postfity is a great alternative and doesn’t get penalised as much and supports all the major platforms.
Gather data with Phantom Buster
Phantom Buster cuts down on the time you spend searching for valuable data. Imagine what you could do with that time you spend hunting for information to support your marketing efforts on social media or the web at large. Phantom Buster automates the entire process and turns every social media site and web page into a buffet of delicious data at the click of a button.
You can take advantage of automating everything from liking content to managing your following using this tool.
Phantom Buster has tools (Phantoms) for pretty much every major site, from the usual suspects like Facebook and LinkedIn, to niche and potentially untapped platforms like Reddit and Craigslist.
WARNING: Do not breach the terms and conditions of the platform you’re using. LinkedIn, for example, says no to automated bots.
Generate leads with Dux-Soup
Dux-Soup identifies and engages with your target market on LinkedIn, so you don’t have to. It’ll do everything from viewing profiles and sending out connection requests right through to sending out customised messages (that remove the troublesome emojis people shove before, after, or in the middle of their names). You can even set up ‘drip’ messaging campaigns that stop the moment your prospect responds so you can pick up the conversation. This also means that you’re only going to spend time messaging people who are at least potentially interested, so you can kiss those hours hitting ctrl+c/ctrl+v goodbye.
For us, the best bit about Dux-Soup is the ability to auto-view people’s profiles, build a list of interesting characters through Phantombuster, feed it back into Dux-Soup and let it run.
The starter plan is free forever. It’s feature-light, but plenty to get you started. The mid-tier plan is only £11.99 +VAT per user per month, hardly a sum that’s going to break the bank and well worth a look.
WARNING: As with Phantom Buster, Dux-Soup uses automated bots and so breaks the terms and conditions that you agree to when registering with LinkedIn.
Automate your email nurture sequences with HubSpot
Having an email list and not using it is criminal. With the advent of the social media banhammer swinging left and right, your email list is your safe haven. No matter what, it’ll always be there, and you can always reach out to your contacts, whether you’re in the good graces of our big tech overlords or not. The most systematic and productive way to do this is with automated nurture sequences.
Not convinced? You could see up to 3800% RoI on your email marketing if you use automated nurture sequences (1)
HubSpot makes this easy with their free automation software (provided you’re also using the HubSpot CRM). This software allows you to send personalised campaigns automatically to select sections of your database. All you need to do is choose your audience, create the content, set the intervals and wait for the leads to roll in.
By using automation to handle this, new subscribers won’t receive the same content as your existing subscribers. Instead, they’ll be in a separate automation that will take them through an initial nurturing phase. Educate and entertain with special content right at the start when they’re most likely to buy.
Trigger marketing automations on your landing pages with JumpLead
Your landing pages can do so much more than harvest email addresses. Set them up right, and you can get that data working for you, whilst you work on your business. It goes without saying that you’re more likely to get something out of fresh data that you are out of some 7-year-old email addresses in the dusty depths of your CRM. Jumplead has the tools you need to reach out to these new prospects with automated, tailored email sequences.
Using Jumplead is straightforward, and it comes with a page builder to help you create landing pages and automations that nurture and track the contacts you generate. The starter plan comes in at $99/month so, whilst it’s far from free, it shouldn’t be too difficult to make a significant return on your investment.
Automate your marketing. Make more money. Enjoy more free time.
If you want to get the most out of your marketing, automation is the way to go.
That said, there is a dizzying array of tools out there, and if you want to get the most out of them, you really need to know what you’re doing.
- Most of these tools cost money, and if you don’t pick the right ones for your business, that’s money down the drain.
- Automation will save you time. But if you’re not confident using the software (and fixing any issues that pop up) you’ll spend the time you’ve ‘saved’ fiddling with your automation tools.
Let me manage your marketing automation instead.
We’ll help you determine the most effective automation tools, and make sure they’re all set up and running smoothly.
Forsey, C. (2020). The Ultimate List of Email Marketing Stats for 2020. HubSpot. Available (online) from: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-stats#:~:text=You%20might%20be%20wondering%20if%20email%20is%20still%20a%20worthwhile%20marketing%20strategy.&text=In%20fact%2C%20email%20generates%20%2438,the%20most%20effective%20options%20available.). [Last accessed 18/11/2020]