In the digital age, a company not tapping into automation is losing time and productivity. Relying on human contributors to produce content is still the best approach. However, for distributing this content, automated processes, tools and strategies are always more efficient. In marketing, efficiency means a better return on investment because it speeds up turnaround time and costs less than manual methodologies.
But how does a business automate its marketing? Some entrepreneurs think automation is complicated, requiring a long process to learn how to use new tools. Others fear it requires adding a specialized IT department to their company, which might be a considerable upfront cost. Neither of these beliefs is necessarily true. In fact, some of the best automation tools that you can use are both simple and cost-effective. Even those with a hefty price tag usually pay for themselves in the savings the business makes through the automation.
Automation doesn't have to be a scary, unknown landscape. We consulted 17 entrepreneurs from YEC about the marketing automation tools, strategies and processes they utilize to make life easier and increase their marketing ROI.
1. Automated email sequences
"Automated email sequences should be set up and properly tagged so the right audience receives the right emails. First, you should have something free for your ideal audience that they get in exchange for their email. Then, you have automated emails go out following that initial free value, and these emails offer more value, as well as an opportunity to buy." – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors
2. Social proof segmentation
"Automating empathy in the "will this work for me?" conversation your potential customers are having is key. We segment our social proof and case studies to target specific demographics that will view themselves and their problem very similar to social proof. This can be done with marketing automation tools or just with being very intentional with your advertising." – James Guldan, Vision Tech Team
3. Decision-making automation
"You shouldn't automate marketing tactics, but you should automate the decision-making process that selects tactics. Without a strategy, every option and every tactic to develop your book of business, good or bad, is on the table. A brand strategy centralizes and focuses goals, reduces waste and effort and increases ROI by automating the selection of marketing campaign tactics." – Magnus Simonarson, Consultwebs
4. Data analysis automation
"Data analysis is one of the biggest challenges to marketing – if not for automation. We no longer waste our time trying to gather all of the data and put it onto an Excel spreadsheet to calculate the effectiveness of our campaigns. Automated data analysis tools for marketing help us save a lot of time." – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
“HubSpot is an expensive but powerful tool that's best in class for marketing automation. Taking advantage of its tools helps me run a successful speaking business without a huge backend office. I've got automation around inbound leads, opportunities and deals that set up sequences, trigger email campaigns and help remind me of tasks that might otherwise fall through the cracks.” – Brittany Hodak, Keynote Speaker
6. Video upload automation
"One of the great value-add automations we have found is with our video production. Our firm films weekly videos. To get the full benefit from those videos, we've automated the upload process so that after the video is complete, it is simultaneously transcribed, uploaded to YouTube and published to our site with the transcript included. This gives us a great video and helps SEO." – Jason Khoo, Zupo
7. Online calendar and scheduler
"We leverage an online calendar and run paid traffic to it. If people don't schedule, there is a series of email and text automations that push them to schedule online. Once they schedule, there is a series of text messages and emails that include the Zoom login link, what to expect and reminder messages to maximize show rates. All this used to be done manually for every appointment." – Bryan Citrin, Chiropractic Advertising
8. Automated review requests
"I recommend sending automated customer follow-ups to leave a review. Social proof is a powerful tool for e-commerce businesses. The more reviews your product has, the likelier it is that new shoppers will trust your brand. It's a simple thing some businesses forget to do, which is prompting customers to share details about their purchasing experience, along with any feedback your team can use to improve processes." – Firas Kittaneh, Zoma Mattress
"Marketing automation can do wonders for your business. You can't be available 24/7 for consumers' needs and to give them the latest updates. But you can set up automatic updates to ensure your social media accounts stay active and you continue to grow your following. A tool like Edgar works great to automatically post on your accounts and keep them active." – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
10. Engineering as marketing
"Engineering as marketing is a very underrated marketing channel. Companies like Robinhood growth-hacked their way to a million sign-ups before even launching and without spending a dime on marketing because of a simple marketing tool that encouraged people to sign up, then rewarded them with a higher position on the waitlist by referring friends to sign up. The best marketing is usually free." – Andy Karuza, LitPic
11. Segmentation, analysis, personalization
"Segmentation, process analysis and customer personalization through emails are what have mostly favored my business environment in terms of marketing automation. This is because, in addition to reducing the costs required for each of these processes, they have made it possible to speed up different aspects within each of the phases involved, thanks to the automatic elements." – Kevin Leyes, Leyes Media & Team Leyes, by Leyes Enterprises
12. An email whitelist plugin
"Using an email whitelist plugin has helped us ensure that our domain name and emails aren't tagged as spam in inboxes. This means that we get more of our email marketing seen and we're able to nurture leads better. And of course, this automatically improves conversion rates and ROI by simply making us appear more trustworthy and visible." – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
"Leverage opt-in forms through a platform such as OptinMonster. For any marketing drip campaign or weekly newsletter to produce success, you need subscribers. One of the easy ways to grow your online customer base and subscriber list is through engaging and easy-to-manage landing pages." – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
"Affordable and easy to use, Tailwind has been a great social media tool in automating our Pinterest marketing (since the majority of our traffic and leads are generated through Pinterest). This tool enables us to schedule a week's full of Pins in about an hour a week." – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
"We are big fans of chatbots and how they can build rapport with customers from the moment they land on our page. There are plenty of customer service uses for chatbots, but we've found that marketing to new visitors is a great way to help people find what they are looking for. The best part is this system runs in the background so we can focus our energy on other tasks." – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
"ActiveCampaign has been a critical tool for our marketing automation. Setting up automated email funnels for trial users, people that cancel and other segments has been instrumental in marketing to our users." – Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff
"When people think marketing automation, they tend to think email. No wonder – it's incredibly effective. Like any modern business, I use it extensively. But my favorite new tool is Surfer. If you rely on content for digital marketing, you know it's an investment of time and money. Surfer helps optimize content as it's being written and I've seen great ROI from using it to optimize existing content.” – Matt Diggity, Diggity Marketing