This article describes marketing automation and how it may be used (in a nut shell).
However, in the opinion of this writer it only has very limited uses. That is why this article starts with my opinions on why marketing automation is flawed and has limited uses, and then goes on to explain what it is and how it may be used.
Before getting into the details about marketing automation, all you need to know is that it sounds like what it is. It does your marketing for you automatically using software or services, but you are the one that controls its content and frequency.
The flaw with marketing automation
This comes from the fact that anything automated in this sort of area is going to quickly become stale.
Ideally, if you are going to use it then it will need to remain under your control, you supervision, direction and will need updating and changing very often.
Think about its use as you would with cruise control in your car. If you do not and you start to rely on it then your marketing will become bland, predictable and pointless.
The limited uses of marketing automation
Even if it came up with the adverts for you and posted them in the most optimal places, it is still not as packed with features as you may think because it needs your constant maintenance.
If anything it should be thought of as a convenience tool in the same way that cruise control is on a car. You do not set out on a journey with the aim of cruise controlling the car all the way. You use it when it is convenient and it saves you a little bit on aggravation.
How marketing automation may be done
The first way you may want to use it is with your email marketing. This is because your email marketing is the easiest to automate. You can go into it on a deeper level and make it very complex, but the fact is that you can do quite a bit with email marketing.
Photo Credit: copiancestral
You can start by having the tool post out your emails on your behalf. It can go down your mail list and send an email one at a time to help keep you out of the junk folders. You can also schedule the posts so that it can come out every week at the same time and it means you can plan ahead and upload your emails ready.
You can go a little deeper and have your marketing automation send out emails to certain people so that each email you design may go out to the people whom are most recipient to its contents. You may also have them go out at different times so that it works more in your favor if there is a sale on your website.
You can also use the very common solution of having it email people after they do a certain action.
Most people have an automated sale confirmation and item dispatch confirmation, but you can also use your marketing automation to create specific follow-up emails that may sell add-ons and upgrades for the items a person already has. This is a very clever use of marketing automation if you can do it correctly (effectively).
Why big business has the upper hand because they don’t use it
They have teams of people who can concentrate on the marketing all day long. They can give it the attention it deserves in order to make it dynamic and alive enough to appeal to a changing consumer market. You on the other hand have a small team of marketers (at best) which means that any time using marketing automation is making you stagnate behind the companies that are able to use “people”.
Advice for using marketing automation
Use it to do the tasks that you simply do not have the time for.
Things such as Twitter schedulers, Facebook and Google+ schedulers, blog post schedulers and RSS feed schedulers are gold for a small business such as you. They allow you to add things in advance and allow you to post routinely without having to be there at the time.
You may consider such as thing for your email marketing, and that is okay, but it can only be used for the coming week.
If you have an email scheduler and you have programmed 2 months of emails to be sent out giving a different marketing email every week, then you are making your marketing stale. A week in advance is okay, more than that and you are creating marketing copy that is already out of date.
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