A robust digital marketing strategy is vital to the success of any business, but sometimes digital marketing particularly in the context of social media takes over your life, and you find yourself living life in reaction to social media notifications… if this sounds familiar, it’s time to take a step back, and put things on autopilot.
In an ideal world, perhaps you could do with a virtual assistant in order to lighten your load, but if that’s not financially viable there are a number of ways you can automate your online marketing processes to lighten your load and free your time up for the important things… such as living your life!
The digitally connected world we live in, can be incredibly harmful to living a balanced life. One of the best ways to lighten your load is to create a network of automated process, systems, and apps to automatically take care of marketing tasks such as following up on emails, posting to facebook, and so on.
This will not only free up physical time, it will give you peace of mind, and a sense of certainty that things are being taken care of – without you having to always be in an alert state of reaction. Essentially, it will allow you the time you need to be calm, focused, and responsive rather than reactive.
If we think about a bricks and mortar business for a moment, a type of business that is less able to automate their processes – even a traditional store or restaurant will make use of a point of sale system in order to automate their accounting processes, and save time with tasks such as stock taking.
The point is, no matter what your business, there are ways to automate processes so that tasks are more streamlined and require less of your time. The less time you are working in the business (i.e. on functional tasks like an employee) the more time you will have to work on the business (i.e. at a strategic level like a business leader).
Tim Ferris in his New York Times Bestselling Book, The Four Hour Workweek talks about the importance of automation in our work lives so that we can focus on managing our business in the sense of working ‘on’ the business rather than working ‘in’ the business. Whilst Tim, along with several other millennial productivity experts urge us to go one step further and outsource our tasks to a virtual assistant; ideally someone living in India or Asia on the basis of cost – this article looks at automation as it relates to technological systems.
In this article we’re going to look at automating a number of the most time consuming digital marketing tasks the majority of business owners contend with; things such as being inundated by emails, following up on sales leads, and managing our social media presence.
There are plenty of time-starved business owners frantically sending out an email to a customer thanking them for their order and letting them know when it will be shipped. The key point with automation is that it frees your time to be working ‘on’ the business at a strategic level rather than ‘in’ the business where you are wasting your time doing the same job as a low-level employee. You could use something like Mailchimp in order to start automating your emails at very low cost.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Managing your social media marketing campaigns can be extremely time consuming, particularly if you are personally responding to each comment, in order to keep the conversation alive.
Many business owners consider hiring a virtual assistant in order to manage this time consuming task though there there are several free apps such as Hootsuite and Buffer that can help you automate this task.
Indeed, there is a legitimate need to automate on the basis that you’ll want to optimise your posts with regard to conversion, and if you have an international audience, this means sending multiple messages at different times depending on the time zone of your end-user.
Your marketing funnel is made up of several stages through which browsers (who will hopefully go on to become customers) move from initial awareness of your brand or website through to making a purchase. They are often brought into the ‘funnel’ by a lead magnet (e.g. offer of a free trial, free course, or book giveaway) which leads to a specific landing page.
You can easily create landing pages using a drag and drop landing page builder which means you don’t need to fiddle with code – you can design everything visually and let the magical technology behind the scenes take care of functionality.
In summary, a marketing funnel is essentially the process of converting a visitor or browser into a paying customer; the sequence starts with an offer (lead magnet) that leads to a landing page or a squeeze page that gathers contact information – at which point, the user is automatically added to your email list and can receive targeted emails in perpetuity.
On the topic of marketing funnels, one of the most important and powerful strategies is to use affiliates to generate leads; meaning an affiliate will promote your product or service on their website or in an email mailshot, then they will receive a commission on each purchase that was referred by them.
An affiliate marketing sales funnel usually consists of a lead magnet (an advert that attracts users to click and provide their details – often in the context of receiving something free) but it doesn’t end there, as it takes sophisticated technology to keep track of who is referring who and making payments on this basis. It’s therefore, vital you use an automated process such as Commission Junction.
Finally, if you’ve ever accidentally spilled a glass of water on your laptop, lost your phone, or had the despair of hard drive failure you’ll have most likely heard the words “did you back-up your files” and if you didn’t, this is the point where you begin to feel overwhelmed by a sense of frustration and kicking yourself.
That said, keeping on track of backing up your files can be time consuming, which is why automating your file transfer can make your life a lot easier and offer a sense of security and certainty that allows you to relax. It pays to get to grips with an automated backup tool that backs up every few minutes, hours or days to the cloud.