‘Should we or should we not automate?’ It’s a question that many organizations across the board are asking. Well, in case you were wondering too, here is a list of three sales and marketing activities you can stop doing manually today.
Automate content curation
According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, 68% of content marketers use articles from websites other than their own as part of their strategy. As a content marketer myself, I can tell you that knowing where to look for content is can be a challenge. Which resources are useful? What is currently trending?
In these instances, I rely on the content mothership herself- Google. You can use Google Alerts so that weekly or daily alerts are sent straight to your inbox, selecting the best content from the web around keywords you’ve selected in advance. If it’s good enough for Google, you can trust that the content is good enough for you! This is a great tool to help you post trending content without having to look around for it.
Automate social media updates
We all know and understand the importance of having an established and engaged social media presence. With that, of course, comes the task of daily posts and updates. As if we didn’t have enough on our plates already! Not everyone has the time to log into each individual social networking site and post an update.
But don’t worry, you can now automate that. Automating some of the more repetitive and manual tasks related to social media can help you be more productive and efficient with the execution of your other marketing and business tasks.
But what exactly can you automate with regards to social media?
Automate publishing of selected content to your social media accounts based on a predetermined schedule. With the help of tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, you can easily schedule posts days, and even weeks, in advance. Simply take some interesting content from Google Alerts and schedule it to be posted on your social media accounts at the days and times you know your followers are most engaged.
Automate your follow-up and nurture leads
Did you know that most sales deals only get closed after the 7th or 8th interaction with a prospect, and most sales people never follow up in the first place?
There are many reasons why people don’t follow up: They’re too busy (aren’t we all?), don’t want to appear too pushy, don’t know how to, or simply forget.
There are not one, but two, easy solutions to this problem:
- Set yourself a reminder
After a meeting, add a note to your calendar (iCalendar, Google calendar, sales app calendar, etc.) to follow up with the person after three or four days.
- Automate your follow-up
Create a campaign using a marketing automation app and simply add your lead to it after a meeting. Moving forward, all of the follow-up content that you think is relevant to that prospect will be sent to them automatically.
When thinking about follow-up content, consider your sales funnel and what possible questions your leads will be asking along the way. These may be “Why do I need this product/service?” at the beginning, and “What extras do I get if I purchase from you?” towards the end of the cycle.
Automated follow-up is first about communicating at the right time and under the right triggers, and then about sending the right content. Make sure you know who your customer is, but also what the stage in the purchasing cycle that they are at entails. Having a deep understanding of the activities and questions associated with each stage of the sales process is vital for the success of your lead nurturing strategy.
Follow-up emails are all about routine. If you get used to following up, you will find it impossible to do business without a courtesy email a few days after a meeting with a potential client. You will create a better bond with the client, which will pay off in the long-term by creating not a one-off customer, but a loyal client. Don’t forget that missing a follow-up is like leaving money on the table.
Let’s say that every time a new visitor comes to your website, they fill in a ‘Contact Us’ or a ‘Sign Up for Our Newsletter’ form. Your sales and marketing teams receive a notification of the form completion; then what? Currently, someone on the team has to check who completed that form and then manually send out a generic email, but they can only do this when they’re in the office or have free time. This means that leads will often fill in the form hours before their information is checked, portraying your company as slow and unresponsive.
With marketing automation, all of this can be taken care of. With the proper automation software, like InTouch CRM, Infusionsoft, and HubSpot, for example, as soon as a visitor completes the form, they are added to a nurturing campaign.
They will receive a welcome email and then regular emails at certain intervals of time, prompting them to take a certain action or offering them interesting and valuable information; but most importantly, building on a relationship.
The beauty of using automation for your lead nurturing program is that you will only have to write the emails once and then set them on autopilot. The nurturing will be taken care of and it will work, even when you’re sleeping.
Hopefully these automation tips will help you set your marketing free. Work smarter, not harder!
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