Marketing automation can be a very valuable tool for businesses seeking to grow their social media presence and their lead generation from their website. The term ?marketing automation? has been broadly adopted to refer to both scheduled social media content as well as automatic, personalized emails scheduled to send at certain points in the sales process.
Used correctly, marketing automation can be an effective tool for marketers looking to extend their reach and improve their conversion rate. Full automation will not work, and the best strategies will combine the use of automation with real customer interactions.
Marketing automation is the easiest to implement on social media. Numerous tools are available, some free, that allow marketers to schedule updates on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Coupled with a strong content marketing strategy, you can plan and schedule social media updates in advance, delivering a steady stream of content for your followers.
Marketing automation for social media can be a time-saver for many, as you can set aside time once a week to schedule content and to plan ahead. The key point to take away here is don?t become an automated robot. Your customers want to interact with a real person, and if your posts are generic and you do not reply to comments or questions, shares or retweets, your marketing efforts will be much less effective.
Being able to schedule content can be an advantage, as you are able to post content when your audience is most likely to see it. Test different posting times, lengths and formats to determine what type of content to share and when. And never share the same content at the same time across all your social media platforms. You can repeat content as long as the message isn?t identical and enough time has passed between similar updates.
Automated marketing emails can be a great way to funnel your sales prospects and target them with content that interests them, nurturing them until they are prepared to make a purchase. This is a much more complicated process that involves segmenting your list and creating triggered events that will occur after a goal has been reached. There are tools available that will automate the sales funnel process.
This type of marketing automation requires some implementation of inbound marketing. Leads are typically gathered through your website where a visitor will enter their information to sign up for your emails or to receive a free product or special offer. Different sales funnels will need to be created for each type of buyer persona based on where they are in the purchasing process.
Careful planning is necessary, but once the system is set up it is easy to maintain and can result in high rates of lead conversion. Remember not to come on too strong?share useful content that interests the potential customer, then slowly shift your messaging to how you can help them reach their goals.
Remember that regardless of the type of marketing automation you implement, it is important that you respond to your customers or potential customers on social media, via email and even over the phone. Several large companies have marketing automation down, but when it comes to addressing customer concerns on social media they are missing in action, leading to frustration and disappointed customers.
You should be careful too with scheduling content out too far in advance, and you don?t want to schedule content that will start a discussion without you being available to respond. The best practice is to be flexible?you can plan your content schedule out a month or two at a time, but review your plans each week and make any necessary adjustments. Experiment with frequency and types of content, and go with what fits best for your needs and your company?s goals.