After a long day of running your business (or working to get your business off the ground!), what do you work on first?
- Email sequences?
- Landing pages?
- Analytics tracking?
- Lead nurturing?
- Blog topic curation?
- Web content writing?
- Community management?
Is your head spinning just thinking about it? I wouldn’t blame you! On top of the day-to-day tasks that business owners and entrepreneurs have to stay on top of, doing the bulk of your business’s digital marketing manually adds that much more stress to your day… not to mention the enormous time drain it is when you’re doing it right!
In fact, I once had a client whose work week was clocking in at just over 100 hours because of trying to do the entirety of his digital marketing by hand on top of running his business! React with me now:
As much as I’d love to work with you and have your social media marketing, email marketing, and content writing work be outsourced, sometimes budget just doesn’t permit it. Trust me, I get it! This isn’t going to be a lecture on how you have to work with me to see your digital marketing yield results. While it does make digital marketing easier (and more effective, both financially and time-wise) when you’re working with a professional, I understand first-hand that budget constraints make it so in-office distribution is sometimes the only way forward.
So what am I going to chat with you about today? Automating your digital marketing authentically— which means effectively, punctually, and, above all, in a way that prioritizes your connections. (After all, no one’s audience wants to feel like they’re dealing with automations!)
But First: A Debrief on What it Means to Automate Your Digital Marketing
Aptly described by Mopinion as “software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks”, digital marketing automation works to simplify multi-channel digital marketing via done-for-you tools, programs, and workflows.
Perfect for individuals and small businesses who just don’t have the budget to outsource, investing in automating your digital marketing is a non-negotiable when it comes to maximizing your work day every day.
Now, Onto the Benefits of Having Your Digital Marketing Automated
Not sold on automating your digital marketing quite yet? Well, I’m here to tell you that the reasons to switch to automation are virtually endless.
Automating your digital marketing endeavours means:
- Enhancing productivity: by simplifying and organizing repetitive tasks or repeating workflows, having your digital marketing automated means freeing up time for you (or your staff) to prioritize non-marketing tasks
- Offering yourself respite: similarly, everyone needs a break regardless of how much of a “workaholic” they self-identify as. Automating your digital marketing can mean that you have time to properly unplug (at least every once in a while!)
- Streamlining your workflows: whether you’re doing your digital marketing yourself or tasking it to your staff, the streamlining that automation provides prevents tasks from bottle-necking, removes the tedium of repetitive tasks, and provides a documentation of your processes for future staff members to draw from
- Centralizing your marketing: many automation softwares act as a central hub for your multi-channel marketing, meaning that some permit you to have your SEO, social media, and CRM tools all in one place
- Enhancing analytics-tracking potential: rather than forgetting to monitor your measurable data, automations can be set up to track vital analytics on a daily or periodic basis
- (Arguably) bolstering ROI: choosing to automate your digital marketing workflows can also lead to a potential increase in ROI. For example, a 2018 study by Campaign Monitor saw that automated emails got an 86% higher open rate and had the potential of generating 320% more revenue than non-automated promotional emails
When NOT to Use Automations For Your Digital Marketing
Despite the myriad benefits of automating your digital marketing, that doesn’t mean it’s a cut-and-paste solution for every aspect of your business’s marketing workflow.
The most important takeaway is to not automate everything. Instead, prioritize automating your most common and repetitious workflows. Why? It’s simple: your customer base can tell. Easily. If your automations are set up authentically (which we’ll get to shortly!) and are blended with manual workflows, they can check off all the boxes in the list above; if you choose to automate everything under the sun, however? Your customer base will quickly become disillusioned when they go to interact with your brand and are met with artificial responses every. Single. Time. Although automations are invaluable when done right, never underestimate the power of a human touch!
What other workflow or task examples do I recommend you avoid when automating your digital marketing?
- Design: some things just require that creative flair! Remember that you get when you pay for when it comes to design work
- Quality control: if a customer is attempting to report a problem the last thing they want is a series of automated responses!
- Low-ROI tasks: after all, why sink money into automating a process if you’re not seeing a corresponding financial benefit?
- Social media content creation and community engagement: after platforms like Instagram cracked down on the majority of automations (aside from content-posting) in 2018, skip the automation in this case to avoid having your accounts banned
- Tasks with numerous branching decisions on the client end: overcomplication equals failure when it comes to automated processes! Avoid tasks with oodles of variables to avoid headaches
- Phone trees: similarly to quality control workflows, opt out of automation when it comes to phone trees to save your customers the frustration of having to talk to bot after bot to get an answer to what’s likely a simple question
In fact, Zapier has a fantastic suggestion for entrepreneurs and business owners looking to automate their digital marketing. Zapier expert Andrew Davison requests that entrepreneurs and business owners ask themselves the following questions before making their decision:
- “Is this a task I do once per month?”
- “Does it involve the same steps every time?”
- “Do I wish I could be doing anything but this?”
If you answer “Yes” to each of the above questions, then start looking into automation tools for your processes ASAP!
“Which Digital Marketing Automation Tools Would You Recommend?”
You’ll find oodles of sponsored recommendations for digital marketing automation tools online, but below are the ones either I or my peers have enjoyed using and seen success with.
“Emma,” you may be thinking, “once I pick a workflow to automate and a tool to do it through, how do I ensure I’m automating ‘authentically’?” Great question!
The Key to Automating Authentically
Like I mentioned earlier, never underestimating the value of a human touch while automating your digital marketing is essential.
Tips and tricks to avoid lacking that personal touch in your automations include:
- Personalize your pre-scripted welcome emails, even just slightly: small things like incorporating the customer’s name, ensuring that your “From” line includes the name of a person (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org vs. just theweewriter), or introducing yourself and/or your team can make customer-facing sequences feel that much more homey to the reader in question
- Keep it consistent: ensuring that your brand’s tone and messaging is consistent across all workflows will help to retain the believability that your customers are dealing with you or your staff 100% of the time
- Analyze always: be sure to stay on top of your analytics to see what’s working and what could be improved in your automations
- Curate with your ideal customer in mind: curate everything (including your unsubscribe and thank-you screens) with your ideal customer in mind; no detail is too small when it comes to attracting your ideal customer. After all, there’s a reason why Amazon’s adorable 404 screens work so well for them!
- Toss in those freebies: take advantage of your automations to incorporate appropriate free downloads, video tutorials, blog how-tos, monthly specials, and discount opportunities to continue driving your customers towards their next action
The bottom line? Automating your digital marketing is a time-saver, sure, but that doesn’t mean it should be hastily put together; taking time to trial your automation will pay itself off every time.
Have More Questions or Comments for The Wee Writer?
As both an independent contractor and a subcontractor for individuals, small businesses, and agencies, I’ve handled a lot of digital marketing automation during my 5+ years in the industry. Whether you have any automation questions for me, any comments about how automation has panned out for you, or would just like to chat, drop me a line today; I’d be happy to hear from you.