5 Features You’d Expect in Your Perfect Marketing Automation Software Solution

You are probably on a path to choose the best marketing automation software for your business. In our latest post, we've covered all you need to know about marketing automation when you are a small business owner. Automation is a trend. And every small business can embrace this – it's not just a game for the big players. In order to choose the right tool, there are some things to keep in mind. There is not just one category of automation tools. Some help enterprises with their robust database and multi-channel campaign orchestration, others help small businesses get rid of the daily marketing routine. Let's dig into the 5 features you'd expect to find in your perfect marketing automation software solution.

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Unlimited options for segmentation

You read that correctly, the options are unlimited. If you have your database of (even) a few contacts, you may want to segment them according to a criteria that makes sense for you/ your business or industry and communicate with them in a personalised way. Personalisation is crucial to get the best out of every message you send. If your audience does not identify with the problem and solution you bring, no one will buy from you. Understanding your audience comes first. Segmentation is something that helps you distinguish one segment from another. Technically platforms that automate your marketing efforts have to allow you to segment your audience based on many criteria – be it past purchase activity, website behaviour, demographics or firmographics.


Segments are groups of audiences that are internally the same, but externally different from each other. Segmentation in marketing is crucial as it allows you to differentiate between desires, problems, perspectives, characteristics and habits of your customers. Your overall marketing strategy – your content, marketing channels, budgeting etcetera – needs to come hand in hand with having your segments recognized.


Tools like EngageBay, Hubspot or Keap offer you CRM as well as an automation engine. This gives you the ability to collect contacts from more sources and segment them for further marketing communication.

Real-time behaviour monitoring

This term might seem quite complex, but trust me, there is nothing complicated about it. People visit your website, fill out forms, interact with you on social media and answer (or don't answer) your emails. Say you have more than 1,000 contacts (leads) and you try to be as responsive as possible. Monitoring and reacting to all these touchpoints would be impossible – knowing you don't have 100 sales reps or marketing specialists at hand. These actions represent triggers in automation platforms that allow you to start any kind of action you desire – send an email after a purchase is completed, add a user to your remarketing list after she visits the website, send an SMS after a form is filled, send an alert to your colleague once your potential customer visits a website. These are all marketing activities that can be fully automated. You obviously want to have a solution that allows you to monitor those touchpoints and react to them accordingly. 


There is nothing worse than not being responsive. Triggered emails (to name one of the channels) generate 24x more revenue per send than batch campaigns. The reason is that this approach works with the perfect timing to deliver your message.

Multi-channel campaign management at your disposal

I know, this one is obvious. The fact is, that not every tool has all channels covered for you. We continuously put stress on the 360° customer view & customer-centric approach. What we mean by that is simple: “Be where your customers are”. Does your audience use Instagram? Be there with them! Are they searching for something on Google or Bing? Be there too. Are they Messenger lovers? Engage with them there. And guess what, your customers are probably on all of them (+ many others)… We've spoken about the importance of a multi-channel approach in our latest blog. Make sure to check that out.


In order to be present on multiple channels, you need the right tools in place. Many tools, nowadays, use integration with major advertising platforms. Some go beyond and offer you SMS, Messenger or Whatsapp messages. Make sure to choose the channels wisely before you pick an automation tool. And make sure to pick a tool that improves with time – new marketing channels show up almost on a daily basis and users adapt pretty quickly. Look at Tik Tok, which launched in 2017, and now has more than 800 million people! Insane? Not at all – welcome to the 21st century. ActiveCampaign understands this well, offering you SMS, social, website messaging, etc. 


Be where your customers are.


Content creation

This really needs to be pointed out: content is, at the end of the day, what the users see and interact with. If you're backed up with best-in-breed tools, embrace the newest technologies and have everything technically covered, your message won't be successful if the content does not resonate. "Content is King." I know you've probably heard this Bill Gates quotes a thousand times, but it simply is true. Automation tools allow you to create emails (that's where these tools come from – email marketing), but do they allow you to create converting landing pages, forms or dynamic content that changes on your website according to your channel? It definitely should. Pay attention to the creative part of your messaging. If you fail here, nothing will help. A perfect marketing automation tool will back you not only on the technical side of things, but also the creative.


Having mentioned website personalisation, take a look at how Exponea does it. Even though it's a tool focused on bigger companies, there is some inspiration to be found...

Product Suggestion by Exponea
Personalised Product Suggestion by Exponea

With content creation comes hand in hand AB testing. You never know what will resonate the most, so you should constantly be testing. Let your customers decide what works best – and make sure to get the important data back to your tool so that you can constantly improve. If you're not sure what price the sweatshirt should be sold at, test it. Launch the website with two prices – showing the higher price to 50% of your website traffic and the lower price to the other 50% – and see the result. If you're not sure if a question works better over a simple sentence in your email subject, test it. If you're not sure, put your thoughts and best estimations away and let the users decide – it's them who buys your product, not you. 


Overall, a good automation tool – and most of them do – needs to offer you AB testing on every channel and piece of content.

Analytics

Numbers, right. Without analyzing your efforts, no improvement can happen. Metrics like email open rates, click rates, or cost per acquisition, might sound overly complicated, but once you understand them, they can help you continuously improve. Every software company that develops a marketing automation platform knows this and gives you some great analytical features in hand. Nonetheless, one thing that you should keep in mind is that less is sometimes more. Dashboards and cohorts tend to be complicated. You end up looking at 100 numbers without getting the context. That is not right. Choose a tool that interprets data clearly and in an organised way. 


We've focused on campaign management across multiple channels and wanted to make numbers (the boring part) as easy as it gets. See the dashboard below that displays how easy it can be if you focus on a few key metrics (which you should):

Key marketing metrics
Focus on the Key Marketing Metrics

We have covered 5 features you’d expect in your perfect marketing automation software solution. There is a plethora of tools that allow you to automate your marketing efforts, so choose carefully. It takes some time to set everything up and, believe me, you don't want to change your mind after your money and time were invested into the onboarding. Focus on these 5 factors and you'll cover the majority of what's most important. Remember, there are thousands of features, tools and channels. Zoom in on what brings you results – 20% of your effort brings you 80% of the desired results - said by Pareto as we all know.

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Why Should Every Realtor Use Instagram?

Are you using Instagram to attract qualified real estate leads? Or are you merely relying on Facebook?


Things changed in the last years and social media platforms as well. Instagram is one of the platforms that has grown dramatically in the last decade. In the beginning of 2012 it started with “just” 15 million users. After 8 years the user base grew to over 1 billion in 2020. Not just these numbers is a reason to consider using Instagram in your business.

37% of American adults use Instagram

In most of 2019, almost forty percent of adults were on Instagram. This number will grow rapidly in the next few years, so it makes IG a great place to reach your potential clients.

Direct communication

Instagram is based on connecting people. It is therefore, very easy to communicate directly with your followers or even potential customers, whether publicly in comments or in private messages. In addition, the Instagram application is very well optimised, so it is comfortable and easy for the person on the other side of your communication.

It's visual

Instagram is based on visual content. People like it and spend a lot of their time looking at a variety of photos, pictures and videos. Embrace it when you have something to show. Photos of houses are very popular on Instagram and this is a huge opportunity for you! Show the properties you are currently offering. 

More engaging than Facebook

Instagram is an engagement powerhouse. Brands see 10x higher engagement here than they do on Facebook. It's because the interaction with the content on instagram is much more natural and convenient for users.

You don't have to compete with Zillow

When you offer your services on Zillow, Realtor, or Trulia, you compete with almost all real estate agents. On the other hand, according to FitSmallBusiness.com, only 14% of agents are on Instagram. It gives you a big advantage. Up to 83% of buyers want to see pictures of properties online.

Precise Ads targeting

Instagram is a part of Facebook. It brings great advantages. Via Facebook Business Manager, you can publish ads on Instagram with very precise targeting. This allows you to reach potential customers using a number of parameters, such as where they live or even whether they are considering buying property. If you are not sure about the Business Manager, try our groost app, that simplifies the whole process to just 7 steps. 

Reach right audience with hashtags

Essentially, hashtags are an SEO on Instagram. It is a tag in the description of your post and it allows users who are not following you, to find your content and, hopefully, follow you. Basically, you have two types of hashtags, global and local. Local hashtags are best if you are running a business account or have a physical location and want to promote locally.

Publishing content is easy and quick

From the very beginning, Instagram was designed to publish visual content. With the official mobile app, it's very easy and fast. You have a variety of tools to edit your photos and videos on the go.

Live streaming

Live streams are becoming more and more popular. It turns out, according to this study, that up to 82% percent of people prefer live videos compared to social media posts. And 80% of users would rather watch live videos from a brand than read a blog. Because it is honest and authentic. Take this opportunity to present the property you are currently selling.

Insights into a business profile

On Instagram, you have basically 2 types of profiles. Personal and Business. The business one offers you more features that are essential for your business. One of the features is called Insights. You can see several charts and numbers here and use this to analyse your audience to find out what is and isn't working.

It’s free

In the end, Instagram is a free platform. Anyone can use its features for free and that is the reason why Instagram has over 111 million active users in the U.S. alone.


What to say at the end? Instagram is apparently a platform that you shouldn't ignore in 2020. It has many benefits for your business and its influence will grow.

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Hype vs. Trend – What Really Matters for Your Business?

AI, Chatbots, Blockchain, self-driving cars, cloud-computing... You have probably heard of all of those, right? Do these terms represent trend or a hype? What is the actual difference between those two words? And are they important for you, as an entrepreneur who's just getting started? These are probably the questions that jump to your mind when hearing these buzzwords.


There is a HUGE difference between what stays and what doesn't. In other words, not everything will stick and change our behaviour. This is how we can define our keyword, trend: as a change in the behaviour, habits or ways in which things work. It is a constant change. Let me explain trend in a graph, as I am a visual learner and a numbers freak…

Trend Line
Trend Line

On the contrary, hype is something that simply occurs and fades away… without any lasting impact. If I spoke in graphs, hype would look like this:

Hype Line
Hype Line

When the terms are clarified, let us look at the history and point out some of the trends and hypes we, as humans on this earth, have been through…


  1. 1950 – Year when the first credit card was introduced

Presented by Diner's Club, the very first universal credit card came to use and was accepted by some establishments. Had it been just a hype, no one would be using credit cards today… Non-cash payment instruments play a huge role in our lives today – this trend changed our behaviour for good.


Now, imagine a bank not issuing a credit or debit card after opening an account – a business that did not catch the trend. This bank would for sure not survive in today's world…


  1. 2008 – The word shared economy was loudly spoken for the first time

… and changed the way we travel, transport ourselves and purchase goods. Startups like AirBnB or Uber have shown us there is a new way of ordering a taxi or renting a flat for a few nights. Have classic taxi companies had to react to this change? You bet they have!


You can probably guess where this is heading. There are a plethora of examples of trends that have changed our lives. These are real changes that – if businesses ignored them – could be very harmful... 


  1. Now – Podcasts, home voice assistants and voice orders

Here we go. 2019 and podcasts, home voice assistants, voice search, voice order and – you nailed it – everything that has something to do with voice is slowly changing the way we behave. Is this something you should keep an eye on? I believe so. Is this something that is about to change / threaten / boost your business? That truly depends on your business industry and approach.


On the contrary, hype can calmly be ignored (or shortly leveraged). Do you remember the Bitcoin bubble in late 2017? 


If not, let me briefly explain. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that was invented in January 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto. Its price has been slowly rising since then, and in 2017, one Bitcoin was worth around 20,000 USD. With no real value behind it! In other words, so much money was invested in this currency that the price rose rapidly. An easy economic rule: when the demand rises (while the offer is limited), the price goes up. But what is crucial, is the value behind it. There was no value at all. And in January 2018...BOOM!

Bitcoin Chart (2018)

Identifying hype and trend can be crucial for the survival of your business. But no one really tells you how to get started. Well… saying that there is a manual would mean there is a way to predict the future.


But there are some ways to prepare yourself. As Gartner puts it: “Three key factors will ultimately enable you to identify the potential impact of a particular technology trend on people, business, IT and the technology market:

  1. New value. Identify clear business opportunities that this technology trend could help exploit, or challenges that it could help solve to produce better business outcomes.

  2. Level of digital disruption. Decide whether adopting this trend would mean changing your organization’s business model or inventing a new one. Could this new trend replace existing technologies or ways of doing business? How could this trend disrupt the technology market? Although, there will probably be opportunities for new providers, new trends can disrupt the services and performance of existing providers on which your organization may rely.

  3. Type of impact. Investigate whether the trend’s impact will be felt only within your organization, or whether it will have an external impact on your organization." 


Yes, you have to know your business and industry perfectly in order to answer those questions. If you decide to simply ignore everything that goes around you, you may get kicked out of business soon… But if you learn, build on your knowledge and keep an eye on the current trends & hypes (as you may not recognize them at the beginning), your chances will rise.


Build on your knowledge. Do not pay attention to what does not affect your business, but be aware of something that does…

We at groost.com are leveraging online advertising for small businesses, which has shown to be a strong trend that is here to change many industries. In 2018, for the very first time, 50 % of the world's population was online. Never before has the percentage of people with access to the internet been so high. And guess what… The number is rising. Is this a trend or a hype? You are now able to answer the question for yourself.


Are you up to date with what's on trend for 2019? Check the Gartner's research here: https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/5-trends-appear-on-the-gartner-hype-cycle-for-emerging-technologies-2019

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5 Common Online Marketing Mistakes That Entrepreneurs Make

Do you want to squeeze more out of online marketing? That's always a good idea. Bear in mind these faults so your effort will not come in vain.

Avoid these 5 things that Entrepreneurs Make
Avoid these 5 things
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Find Your Customers Where They Truly Are

A  few months ago, I moved to a new flat. Before that, I had been doing thorough research on what part of the city is the most child-friendly in terms of security, what are the prices and how far the flats are from the public transportation. I took many things into consideration before even getting in touch with an agent.

Did I Google things? Of course! Was I keen on reading research on what parts of the city suit my needs? You bet I was! Did I spend some time scrolling on Pinterest for furniture inspiration? Yes, I did.


I was lucky to meet Josh, a real estate agent who has been in the business for some time. We got in touch after I visited his website and read his article about the prediction of real estate prices, plus went through some interesting content on his LinkedIn profile. 


I was astonished by the speed of his reaction. Within two days, I had 5 flats to choose from. And a few days after that, I went to see them all.


What I did, nonetheless, within those two days, was thorough research – again. This time, I examined Josh's Instagram profile and checked out the other flats he had to offer. I read the reviews on his Google listings and read more educating articles on LinkedIn. I am a social media freak and I probably use all of them. But Josh was always there… Offering me exactly what I was looking for. At the exact time I needed it.


What I just described, was a perfect user experience and great customer-centric approach. Josh knew his business would grow if he invested in these channels. He also knew what content to serve on each of them. And I engaged, liked, followed – was totally sold! – Successfully ended my buying journey – call it whatever you want. Josh won. So did I.


Do I live in one of these aforementioned flats today? I surely do and I am happy with my decision.


Reach your customers wherever they spend their time. This is a golden rule Josh and other successful businesses completely abide by. 


The fact that you are missing out on the chance to speak to your customer or potential customer on any channel can only be leveraged by your competitors… If you don't worship the customer-centric approach, they will.

And by customer-centric I mean going beyond on what YOU want to be doing to what a CUSTOMER wants to do – where she spends time, where she expects to get in touch with your business, where she takes out her wallet and pays for goods or services...

We are not talking solely about social media here. Customers visit your store – interact with you personally, get in touch with someone from support or sales, search for a cheaper substitute on Google or Bing and eventually visit your website. To gain trust, users tend to rely on reviews and customer feedback listed on your social media profiles. One customer – multiple channels. And you'd better be on all of them.


Customer Interact with Multiple Channels
Your Customer Interacting with Multiple Channels



Every touchpoint matters. Everyone builds the complete image of you through your customers' eyes. And everyone determines whether a customer chooses you instead of your competitors.


In 2018, the average time spent daily on social media was 136 minutes. That is more than 2 hours of one's precious time. And more than 2 hours for you to catch their attention with what you have to offer.


What you can count on, is the fact that they will search for products like yours. And if they don't find you, they will buy somewhere else…

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All You Need to Know About Facebook Asset Formats

Have you been wondering which format is the best to use for promoting your business news on Facebook? This article will briefly explain the difference between the main Facebook formats and what to use each of them for. You will find out how to create them, as well as, handy info to stay relevant and entertaining for your customers.

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How To Use Facebook Groups For Your Business

Facebook Groups are one of the basic components of Facebook. You are probably even a member of some of them.


It's a place where people with the same interests can connect online. The basic principle is that it is an online place for people to discuss, share experiences and express their opinions and attitudes. It also allows people to organize events, share photos, videos, or broadcast live videos.


Any Facebook user can create a group and its operation is completely free. Each user can be a member of up to 6,000 groups at the same time. 


Unlike FB Pages, groups can be closed, and while the Page serves primarily for brand presentation, groups are focused on users and their activity in the community.


There are 3 types of Facebook Groups:

Public groups are the ones anyone can find and join. On the other hand, Closed Groups can be found, but their content is hidden and the membership must be approved by its moderator or administrator. This is a great tool to control who wants to join the community and thus control the membership. The highest level of privacy is offered by the Secret group. You cannot view or search those on Facebook. Members of these groups are directly invited by administrators or other members.


Key takeaways

  • Anyone with a Facebook account can create and run a group for free
  • A user can be a member of up to 6,000 groups at the same time
  • Groups can be public, but also completely hidden and closed
  • You can create events, share content, and discuss, exclusively in a group, without showing content on your wall
  • As an administrator, you can delete a group at any time

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