One of the most common complaints amongst owners of small businesses in Canada and the USA is that they are spending too much time on low ROI activities that keep them bound behind their computer screen and away from their core business needs. Namely, getting stuck on social media and answering emails all day long. The best way to get away from this is to set up automation for your digital marketing efforts so that you can get back to spending time on building your business.
For small businesses that do not have large teams or capital to spend on manpower, it can be difficult to pump out creative briefs, alluring content, and witty engagement when you’re spending all day responding to Tweets and DM’s on Instagram. These types of repetitive tasks can completely evaporate your creative energy and flow, because well…you’re stuck in the loop of mundane and boring tasks. The answer to this? Use automation software to do the work where marketing tasks are concerned, so that you can get back to running your business. After all, you don’t get paid to be on social media.
The majority of marketing automation platforms allow you to automate the marketing tasks that take up a lot of time. This includes emailing subscriber lists, generating leads, and creating content for social media profiles and blog columns.
We recommend that for small businesses, you additionally automate various sequences that get triggered by certain events. You know those auto-reply emails you get when you make a purchase through your favorite retailer? Those are what we are talking about. Set up an autoresponder to send out specific email sequences when an event occurs such as a download, new subscription, or purchase.
Beyond this, work with your email service provider to set up precise tags for certain subscribers, so that you can segment out your subscriber list. This will increase open rates, remove the manual work required to send out these emails, and it will make email marketing so much easier to handle!
Another way to use a social media scheduler is to set aside one day a week to allow your creative juices to flow and create all of your social media images, posts, and hashtags. Once you have all of them ready to go, schedule them for the next week to hit your feeds at precise times. Just make sure to have them go live when you know your audience will be engaged and watching.
Similar to your social media posts, you want to sit down and write out of your content ahead of time. But, unlike social media posts, it may take you longer to come up with creative and on-brand content, so make sure to set aside enough time during your most creative and productive time of the day. Once you’ve created a few pieces, schedule them to publish!
When creating content that will be automated through a scheduling tool, make sure that it is optimized to naturally lead visitors to your landing pages, newsletters, or homepage where their contact information can be collected. By getting their email, you can then place them into the automation queue for your email marketing, which we talked about above.
The easiest way to create an automation system that works for small businesses, is to focus on the design of how it works. All of the processes that go into making the automation work, such as the content creation, the tag system, and the auto response systems, must be well documented. Here is what to document.
Why? This allows anyone on the team to step in and take over the process for you if you need to step away.
Before jumping into the world of marketing and automation, you want to do thorough research on the right tools for the job. After all, having the right tools will make the job easier and it will help you implement the automation faster. So, what do you look for in the tools you find?
Consider, trying out some tools that have a freemium model, which allows you to try their product for a limited amount of time. This gives you the advantage of learning the product beforehand and testing it to its limits. If it works well for you, you have a better idea about the price vs. value.
Also, take geographic regions into mind. Small businesses operating in Canada or the USA will want to choose a platform that offers pricing in their local currency. This helps you keep the budget straight and removes currency exchange fees.
People Engagement! Look for a scheduler that allows you to engage with your audience right through the software. This saves you from having to log into every single social media account in order to interact and respond to your audience. Ideally, you want a scheduler that lets you respond to direct messages, comments, and notifications.
By automating your digital marketing efforts, you can ensure that your small business will not fall off in its online presence or lose ground to your competition. Automation allows you to schedule time-consuming tasks while giving you the ability to step away from the computer.