Sure, you get to be your own boss, and decide how to organise your own schedule, but the single biggest investment you make into your own business isn’t money – it’s actually your time.
Ever looked at a hamster on a wheel and felt like you could strangely relate? You’re not the only one…
As a small business owner, you know that the benefits of running your own business far outweigh working for someone else, however it doesn’t always feel that way. Sure, you get to be your own boss, and decide how to organise your own schedule and priorities, but the single biggest investment you make into your own business isn’t money – it’s actually your time.
How do you free up your time to focus on growing and developing your business… and even make time for a holiday?! Marketing automation could be just the answer you’re looking for.
Here are some tips for systems you can use to get you started:
1. Social media
Hootsuite: You can automate your social media using Hootsuite which can work across more than 35 social networks globally, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Hootsuite can help with identifying social media influencers in your market and automates social marketing strategies. You can sign your business up for Hootsuite’s free plan which supports up to three social profiles and two campaigns for single users.
Crowdfire: Automating multiple social media channels has never been easier! This cloud based software follows, likes and messages your demographic to engage them and increase brand awareness across social platforms. Start with a free trial to see if this product is right for you and your client base. This is a cheap and easy alternative to manually responding to each follow request or notification individually.
HubSpot: HubSpot leverages real-time marketing data to provide you with targeted information needed to cultivate leads and generate sales. Through HubSpot you can create workflows that focus on the channels and notifications that may be important to your business. You are able to predefine multiple newsfeeds, automate your marketing campaigns through the website, and track your growth with predefined goals and lead segments. Hubspot is an invaluable tool if your company sees social media as a sales or marketing tool.
3. Email marketing
MailChimp: This is one of the most cost-efficient tools for sending mass emails and newsletters. You can use its marketing automation features to target customers based on specific data, including behaviour, preference and past sales. You can also use application program interfaces (APIs) to create custom workflows with scheduling and segmentation tools.
Cheat note: If you’re ever worried about how your email will appear in someone’s inbox, Putsmail is your bestfriend. It lets you enter your HTML, subject line and desired recipient addresses (up to 10) to see a fully functional preview of your email marketing campaigns.
4. Sales and e-commerce
Salesforce: This is the big player for automation and CRM. Salesforce offers powerful marketing and sales automation tools to increase your digital presence and marketing campaigns. You could be looking at spending thousands per month on its subscription though, so before you jump into it, be sure you do your research to check it’s right for your business.
Most marketing automation technologies will offer you a free trial period which we strongly recommend you use: it gives you time to work out if the technology in question is a good fit for your business and its goals before you invest.
5. Target market segmentation
Social media analytics: most social media channels have a form of comprehensive analytical breakdowns, including who your demographic is. No need for surveys and one-on-ones with clients, simply access your client’s preferred version of social media to get a breakdown of the people following you, and their behaviours. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all now feature these tools as part of their media channels.
Once you move from manual processing to marketing automation, you’ll find yourself with extra free hours, so you can focus your attention on the important stuff – like growing your business!