In this article we are going to define the term Marketing Automation. We are going to look at different strategies to implement this tactic in different areas of digital website promotion. We are going to give marketing automation examples and we are also going to look at the best marketing automation software for small businesses.
What Is Marketing Automation?
Simply put Marketing Automation is the process of automating tasks with software that would normally be done by humans as it pertains to marketing initiatives. Here is an example. Let’s say you want to set up a system for email marketing automation. You have visitors coming to your website who subscribe to your email list. Once they have subscribed you could manually send them each a welcome email saying “Thank you for subscribing” or you could automate this process.
Now this is one of the most basic examples we could come up with. There are so many different types with varying complexities it can make anyone feel overwhelmed. For that reason we are going to break down some of the most necessary operations and software small businesses should consider implementing.
1. Email Marketing
We already took a brief look at a very simple example above. Let’s dive deeper. With email marketing automation you can set up a series of emails to be sent out to new subscribers each at a different time interval.
Really good email marketing campaigns optimize which emails are sent, at what point in the day, which day of the week, how many days between each email and so on. The email marketer does not stop there. They continue to optimize based on the data they are seeing which includes click through rates and open rates.
Another example would be sending emails when a subscriber re-visits your website. Have you ever visited a website and received an email from them a day or so later? No they are not psychic. They have email marketing software in which has been set up to accomplish this very task.
You can even get so granular as to send out certain emails depending on what page of your website has been visited. The ultimate masters of this would have to be Amazon.
Recommended Software: We recommend ActiveCampaign. They have by far the most capabilities we have seen when it comes to running and automating email campaigns. They also have a light CRM that does things like rank your subscribers based off of criteria you set. Examples of criteria are how many times the subscriber has visited your website, clicked on an email link and purchased from you.
How to set up a simple Marketing Automation in ActiveCampaign – Tutorial
2. Push Notifications
If you browse the internet with any kind of regularity you are sure to see more and more pop ups that ask you something like “XYZ.com would like to notify you of newly published blog posts” and you can either click Yes or No.
On many websites these are taking the place of email subscribe pop ups. The reason for this is the opt-in rate is much higher than the email subscribe rate. We have seen a 15% to 20% opt-in rate with push notifications which is huge compared to email popups which tend to be less than 1%.
The marketing automation for push notifications works much in the same way. After a visitor has subscribed to your push notifications you can tell the software which messages you want to send the user through their browser or smart device, at what time of day, and on which days of the week.
The entire process works almost identically to email marketing. We have seen the click through rates be much better with this form of marketing as well. The major downside is that if the user gets a new computer or smart phone they will drop off your list.
Recommended Software: We have used LetReach extensively and find it to have all the automation features you will need in addition to a robust support staff and user community.
LetReach Product Tour Overview
3. Search engine Optimization
When it comes to SEO there are an incredible number of tedious tasks that would take hours to complete if done manually. A good example would be on-page optimization. If you had to manually check every facet of every page on your website you would probably give up half way through. You would also probably miss a lot of areas that needed to be fixed.
Luckily for all of us there is software that will take care of the crawling and identifying of issues for us. In less that ten minutes a Small Business website can be crawled and a report generated showing all the areas that need optimization like title tags, meta description, broken links, missing alt tags, ect.
Recommended Software: There are so many different choices for SEO Software out there it is ridiculous and we have probably used most of them. For this particular category we recommend WebCEO. It has a huge suite of tools which include on-page SEO, rank tracking, social media monitoring and link building tools, just to name a few.
WebCEO Walk Through Playlist
4. Business Reviews
Now to our bread and butter. We left it until #4 because we did not want to be to shameless in our plug, but if we did not believe our Review Management Software was the best in our niche there would be no reason for us to continue to keep our doors open.
When it comes to business review requests and review management you almost have to automate the process. What is the alternative? Are you going to check your reviews on all the major sites every day to make sure there are no negative ones? Are you going to manually email your customers one by one asking them to review your products and/or services. We don’t think so.
Reviews are one of if not the most important part of your business marketing efforts. Positive reviews will get you more customers and get those customers spending more with you. Negative ones can cripple your business and spread like wildfire.
The strategy for automation is very simple. Upload your customer list or use your own email marketing platform. You can use the automation techniques we have discussed for your own email software or you can use the options build into our platform, available in your dashboard. Send your customers a request to give you an honest review. When they hit your review page they will either select to leave a positive or negative rating. The positive selection will go to their review website of choice and the negative selection will go to a form that is submitted to you.
Now you can sit back and further automate the process of review monitoring. You will be notified of all positive reviews across all the major platforms and you can share them on your social networks with one click. You will be notified whether the review was left via your custom page or if it was left by an individual who was not even part of your outreach campaign.
Similarly, you will no longer have to worry about individuals who take it upon themselves to leave a negative review for some arbitrary reason and you not knowing about it. You will get an email notification and can correct the issue immediately, contact the reviewer and ask them to modify their comments and rating.
Review Management Software Overview
5. Paid Search Advertising
If you are a small business who has decided to run your own campaigns you will almost assuredly need a software that automates some of the data analysis. Most seasoned professionals use software automation for pay per click campaigns and we would be suspicious of any that don’t.
Areas that can be automated are identifying low performing keywords, keywords with high average cost per conversion, new potential keywords and so on. Google Adwords itself has many tools that help you in this way.
Recommended Software: For this category we recommend WordStream. It is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to PPC management. A word of caution though, it is expensive. There are many alternatives out there that are good and will not come with such a high price tag.
WordStream 20 Minute Work Week
After reading this article we hope you have a better understanding about what is possible, what will help you free up more time for other essential operations and what tools are available to be successful in your automation endeavors. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below and we will answer them promptly. If you want to do us a huge solid please share this post on your favorite social network.