Automate Your Marketing For Efficiency and Effectiveness
Marketing automation. It’s one of those phrases we hear but may not know. In today’s fast-paced, always-on world, time can be wasted by doing everything manually. By putting some of your marketing on auto-pilot, you’ll realize more time saving and become more effective. Automate your marketing today to spend more time on relationships.
This is our fifth article in our series of 2016 Trends in Education Marketing.
The Term Paper
I attended college during the digital transition. I came as a freshman with my IBM electric typewriter. I left as a senior debating on whether to buy a car or a Macintosh (my father convinced me that a computer would be able to drive me to work). It was in my sophomore year that I began to write my papers on the mac and recognized the efficiency and effectiveness I could realize. I could draft my thoughts and use the word processor to edit and produce the final copy. The computer’s automation provided so much more than even the electric typewriter and a bottle of white out. It was my first experience with a type of automation.
Automate Your Marketing: Start Today!
Here are six marketing tasks you are probably doing that you need to assign to a computer. The tools we use to achieve these processes are typically free or they charge only a minimal monthly fee (around $10-30 per month). How much is your team’s time worth?
Don’t assemble a newsletter and send it out manually. Establish a WordPress blog for your articles and publish on a regular basis (which will help your Google search engine optimization). You can then utilize the RSS feed from that blog and create an automated email that will be sent out on a scheduled basis using a template you design once. I really like Mailchimp’s RSS to Email tool.
Set it up and forget it! The computer does the work of pulling the articles, formatting the email, and scheduling the email. You can even set it up to allow the users to self-manage their subscriptions. You focus on creating content.
BONUS: Download and use the free Yoast WordPress SEO plugin to write content that will attract both humans and robots to these blog posts before they become newsletters.
As you create content, you should not be posting it immediately. Schedule blocks of “content-creation time” and write several blog posts and curate social media shares for your audiences. Then use tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule the blog post publication time, promotion in social media, and times to share your curated content with your social media audiences. Schedule tweets, Facebook and Instagram updates, pins on Pinterest, shares on LinkedIn. The computer does the scheduling, pulls relevant content for your review, and automates promotion at your set times. You focus on creating and finding content to share.
BONUS: My favorite WordPress plugin for scheduling content: CoSchedule. Simple, effective, and gets the job done with driving traffic to your site.
Your marketing plan should include lead generation through your website. Offering gated content such as ebooks, quizzes, and white papers provides incentive for your prospects to register for your email updates. Once you have permission to email your users, let the computer run a pre-defined workflow to nurture your prospects to the next level of your funnel, all the while recording their responses, engagements, and assigning a lead score to help you better understand your prospect pool. The computer engages and nurtures while you build relationships at the right time.
BONUS: Read about how to most effectively produce an inbound marketing program.
Using tools like Google Analytics, Buffer, SumAll, and others allow you to create regular marketing performance reports. These tools also provide automation to have these reports sent to you on a regular basis, without a need to manually log in to review. You should set these on autopilot.
BONUS: Don’t settle for the standard reports, customize them based upon demographics so you can view how your are impacting students vs. parents or other segmented groups.
You should never cut and paste from an email into your Content Relationship Manager (CRM). There are a number of tools that will generate CSV files for each of your website form submissions. Our favorites includes Formstack and Unbounce. Both allow you to export .csv files from their systems and have open APIs allowing them to be extended with tools like online collaboration tools that provide you the ability automate a form entry directly into your CRM or a Google Spreadsheet through tools such as Zapier or IFTTT. The way you can move and process the data is nearly limitless.
What are some ways you automate your marketing? Post your comments below…I am sure there is a way to have the computer help your situation.