One of the buzzwords and a key trend in marketing is automation. Even though it may sound complicated and unaffordable for small businesses, the opposite is true – you only have to know where to begin. If you know what to focus on, choose the right software and analyze your efforts, marketing automation can truly get your business to the next level.
Marketing automation is, as the name suggests, a category of technology that streamlines your marketing activities. It gives you the power to focus on customers with the highest potential and saves your time by triggering messages (campaigns) across multiple channels without you having to start them manually. A miracle, I know.
There is always a buzz around new technologies. We recommend reading our article about the difference between Hype & Trend. Marketing automation, we believe, is a trend to stay. Jump on the train as soon as you can. No matter how big your business is. If you choose an affordable solution, your business can never be too small for this.
There are more arguments to start using a marketing automation tool:
Stop. Doing. Manual. Work. Period. Let technology help you automate. It's not as hard as it looks. You will find out soon, just bear with us…
Let us guide you through the very first steps to start using marketing automation that will take your business to the next level.
Be clear about what you want to achieve and how you'll track it. This is a prerequisite to get started. If you don't clearly set your expectations, you won't know where to go and you won't recognize when you get there.
Do you want to save time? Great! Are you more interested in increasing your response rate? That's cool too. Would you like to generate more leads? That counts as well. Goals and expectations should come out of your status quo - no one will help you here, just you, so start by defining your goals.
Know the journey of your customer. You can only optimize if you know what leads your customers to purchase. We are fans of marketing funnels that help you (in a simplified way) understand the customer journey. Draw one for your business – you will get a better idea of where your customers get stuck.
Let us give an example here. Say you run your real estate business. Your primary selling point is your website with all the listings and offers. You run Google, Bing and social media ads to generate traffic. You might send some newsletters too.
Your primary goal is to generate leads and close them, right? There are multiple touchpoints throughout the customer journey (before you close the deal). Here is what a customer journey may look like:
Now that you know how your customers behave – you've identified the touchpoints, let's slowly start automating. Or better said, let's find out what can be automated. Tools like Hubspot, ActiveCampaign or Keap are mostly focused on email marketing, social media ads, search & display ads, SMS, widgets and pop ups on the website. These represent the channels that you can use to get in touch with your audience. Let us expand on our example above. The touchpoints where the communication can be fully automated are now marked in red:
There are plenty of tools to choose from. Going back to your potential question: “Are these tools affordable for small businesses?”, note that you don't have to pick Marketo or Hubspot to automate your efforts. These are tools mainly for enterprises that operate with big marketing budgets. Not in our case. We go small. But effectively…
Let's list some of the tools you can use to start automating your communication:
ActiveCampaign gives you not just marketing automation software, but CRM on top. Its pricing starts at 9 USD (if paid annually) and offers not just email marketing, but also SMS, Facebook targeting, subscription forms and personalised content on your website. It's a great tool.
You will have to go deeper into your pocket here. Plans start at 49 USD, but they offer you a sales pipeline plus invoices & payment management on top of what ActiveCampaign gives you. If you lead a sales team, this can be a great choice.
As well as other automation tools, Drip focuses on campaign orchestration – creating a single view across multiple channels. We worship the 360°customer view and so does Drip. Their focus is ecommerce and they offer great features, like personalised product recommendations.
It started solely as an email marketing tool, and is now moving into the automation platform. Mailchimp offers features like landing page creation, social media ads and soon-to-be-launched marketing CRM. Pricing starts at 9,99 USD plus they offer a freemium to play with the tool and use basic features.
We love Zapier – the glue of the internet. It allows you to connect two platforms that, by themselves, do not communicate with each other. Say you generate leads on your Wix website and need to send them to your Drip account. Zapier helps you do that – automatically of course. With more than 1,500 platforms, they are the real glue of the internet...
As much as we love Zapier, we adore our own solution – groost. The name itself says that it'll grow & boost your business. We do it by automating and simplifying your campaign management. If you need to generate more leads, increase website traffic or get more post engagement on your social media profile, you probably run paid campaigns – knowing that organic reach is constantly decreasing – which can be overwhelming. Learning how Google Ads, Facebook Business Manager, LinkedIn Campaign Manager or Bing Ads work takes ages. Not with groost – a single platform for all your marketing efforts. We do offer freemium too to show your business on both Facebook and Instagram – try it out!
Make sure to come back and analyze your efforts. As Peter Drucker said, if you can't measure it, you can't improve it. Analyzing what works and what doesn't is crucial. We recommend running continual AB testing to optimise every step of your funnel and every touchpoint with your customers. All tools that have been listed above allow you to do so easily.
These are the 5 easy steps to get started with marketing automation. Some of them might seem obvious, but believe me, there is no shortcut. Set your priorities first, define the customer journey and touchpoints, find out what can be automated, choose the right tool(s) and after some period of time, come back, analyze and improve.
It is well-known that visual content is the basis of success on social networks. It’s easier for users to consume pictures and videos, than text. It’s also more visible in a mess of other content. According to some studies, tweets with pictures receive up to 150% more retweets than plain text posts without pictures. So, it is clear that the importance of visual content is steadily increasing and you definitely shouldn't ignore it.
You don't have to worry, you don't need to hire expensive agencies right away. You don't even have to learn to work with complicated and expensive tools, like Photoshop. Fortunately, today there are plenty of free online and mobile apps available to create visual content in just a few clicks.
In this article we will introduce you to 40+ tools that are available on the internet for free. We use these tools on a daily basis, so we can highly recommend them.
By far the most famous online tool for creating all kinds of visuals, and not just for social media. Canva allows you to create literally everything you can think of — from nice Facebook covers to Instagram Stories to beautiful Infographics. You can choose from dozens of templates and it all works for web browsers or mobile apps.
Whether you need a simple pie chart or a complex business graphic, Vizzlo's portfolio offers you a broad range of different visualization choices. It works for browsers and it is easy to use. You can enter your data using the simple sidebar, and then choose to import spreadsheets from Excel or Google Sheets. Add the result to your slides and documents or directly share it on all your social media channels.
An endless collection of various templates, fonts, logos, flyers and much more. Graphicriver is where you can find ready-made graphic designs for almost any digital content. You don't need to hire an expensive agency and create all visuals and graphics from scratch. It is often enough to modify existing templates. This saves you not only a bunch of time, but also money, because the prices of the templates are very low.
Tip: If you are not familiar with editing graphics, try to outsource it via Fivver.
Size matters! At least when it comes to social media. Landscape has hundreds of recommended dimensions, sizes and ratios across different platforms and devices. It is easy to get lost in these constantly changing numbers. So try to use Landscape by Sprout, it helps you resize multiple images for your profiles automatically.
Weird. Your page likes or followers remain the same, but you no longer reach as many of them as you did in the past, right? The reason is obvious – algorithms change as does the business strategy of social media networks. Let me explain what I mean by that.
In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would reduce the organic reach of branded content and will focus more on “meaningful connections”. What is a meaningful connection you may wonder… Facebook no longer aims to keep you on their feed as long as it can, but instead focuses on quality time. Thus, users should be much more in touch with their friends, communities and groups than they are part of and, most importantly, truly interested in when it comes to content.
What is the result of this change? A 34% decline in organic reach on average. But that hasn't been the first time we faced such a drop in organic reach...
In other words, those who were building their community and follower base on Facebook in the “early days” of Facebook leveraged the opportunity to reach almost everyone for free. Today it's totally different.
This strategy applies for more platforms, of course. Instagram (being owned by Facebook) follow the same rules. So do the others… And it makes (economically) completely sense for them.
How to get out of it?
It looks like a huge problem, right? But what if you can use this to your advantage? Focus on great content, optimize according to the data that you get and leverage the latest Facebook formats and you may overcome your competitor pretty soon… Not everyone is able to follow the trend and change the processes accordingly.
Here are some tips to follow to increase your reach:
Have you ever wondered if the journey of your customer is trackable or even viewable? I have good news for you – it is. You can – in many cases – track how many people know about your business, how many of them consider purchasing your goods and, of course, how many already bought and referred your product to a friend. Being able to view the customer journey, optimise its steps and analyze your efforts is crucial for any kind of business. Trust me, the size does not matter (in this case). Every business should do it.
Marketing funnel is a term that resonates with the majority of marketers. They tend to use this model to illustrate the customer journey – from brand discovery to purchase. As stated, measuring every step of the funnel brings you a much better overview of your efforts and, thus, a higher return on investment, which is your goal, isn't it? The more you can get out of every stage of your customer's journey, the better the results are in terms of number count or revenue.
Let's say your customer journey has three main phases:
Please note that in this case we don't cover the scenarios that happen after the purchase is made (retention funnel).
Each stage represents a different behaviour stage of your potential customer. Say she has a problem which she is able to name. She begins to search for a solution – which you offer with your product or service. As soon as she discovers your business – among others – offers the solution she is already in the awareness stage.
Your presentation, product, its price and other factors determine whether she will move further on the journey. The consideration stage, needless to say, is a phase in which a potential customer already considers your product, is comparing it to your competitors and is aware of its pros and cons.
Decision. That's the phase we aim for. We want her to buy our product, right? That's when a decision is made. In this stage, your potential customer has already conducted the research, has chosen you over your competitors and is happy to buy what you have to offer.
We just described (in a very simple way) what a customer journey can look like. Sometimes it takes weeks to guide her through all stages of the journey, sometimes it is a matter of minutes. Imagine yourself buying a coffee in the city center. You probably don't do any thorough research, but you certainly look for coffee quality and price. You don't spend days comparing the product to other cafés or bars. You make the decision according to a few key factors. Your journey is fast and your decision is made pretty quickly. But it does not mean the café owner should not pay attention to the key factors, like what the café window looks like, or if their prices are reasonable, as it influences the customer's journey.
The customer journey can easily be viewed as a funnel. Therefore, marketers use it to analyze their efforts. To explain the basic idea behind the marketing funnel, let's use the widely-known model AIDA which stands for attention, interest, desire and action. Each of these phases represent a stage in which you might find your customers.
Obviously, your ultimate goal is to guide them through the stages without friction and in the shortest time possible.
Let us look at an example of a basic marketing funnel:
People obviously start at the top – marketers call it the top funnel. This represents the awareness stage. As customers move further in the funnel, they know more about you and your offer and start, as well as continue to consider it more and more.
Here is what a perfect marketing funnel would look like:
This would mean that everyone who discovers your product will decide to purchase. Going back to our example, 100% of the people who enter your café will buy a coffee. Of course, that's a seller's utopia. In an ideal world, this would work, not in the real one.
Your task is to carefully measure your funnel and optimize its steps.
Let's finally give a more concrete example of what a marketing funnel can look like in your case. Say you run a real estate business, and aim to attract potential house buyers with your website. That's also where you generate leads that you can then convert. Your main channels would be:
You would try to attract as many people as possible with your marketing budget and lead them to your website to show all the products or services you have. After they land on the website, ideally you want them to fill out a form, in case, they are interested in a particular offer. As soon as they do so, you connect with them via phone or email and find out whether their interest can lead to a conversion.
This is what your funnel would look like:
Let's do some math now. Say your marketing efforts help you reach 10,000 people with your ad. 3% of them interact with your ad and visit your website. That would mean you have 300 people on your website, right?
How many of these people are you able to convert into leads? That depends on how your website attracts its users and how juicy your offer is, doesn't it? Let's say you have a 10% conversion rate (10% of website visitors convert into leads). In this case, you would have 30 leads waiting to be contacted.
How many of them can you convert into sales? Again, factors like your response time, will play their role now. If you made it to 50%, you just made 15 sales. Now go back and think about what can be improved...
You can see that there are more factors that influence the efficiency of your funnel (and your efforts). One bit of advice would be: measure each step of the funnel, focus on the customer and do your best to improve the areas where it falters!
Going back to our example, simply by making your ad more appealing, you can increase your outcome from 3% to 6% which (if other metrics don't change) make 30 sales at the end of the day! Improve your website from 10% conversion rate to 15% and you almost hit the sky… You know where I am heading, right?
You may be wondering where you can get all of this data? Tools like Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Business Manager or our own app that simplifies the process of ad management, can give you great insights into how many people you reached, how many of them interacted with your content, how many made it to the website and finally, how many were converted into leads. There is a plethora of ways to measure your marketing funnel – the customer journey. Even a piece of paper and good data sources can create miracles…
One thing is for sure: if you don't measure your efforts carefully, you may be investing money and energy into something which does not bring you results at all.
This is a short guidance on how to create your business page. As mentioned in the article about facebook formats, the business page is sort of a profile of your business. Once it is set up, you can post any promotion, funny story, new opening hours or whatever you find relevant there.
Creating the page itself is not difficult. You only need your Facebook profile. In the upper bar on your profile, find the button “Create” and select “Page”. Choose “business or brand” and then enter all the needed info.
You will be asked for the page name, your business address (it does not have to be shown to anyone), your profile picture, as well as the cover picture. As you can see in the picture below.
When you enter all the information, you can start building the content of the page and then start inviting people. In the upper bar you can go, for example, to your inbox to check your messages, in the Insights section you can see how posts and the page perform overall, and in the publishing tools, you can schedule your posts as we explained in the previous article about community management.
If there is a specific action you want the visitors of your page to make, you can add a button for “Shop now”, “Contact us”, “Download game/app”, and plenty of other options. It is handy and makes the page look professional.
It is very easy to add any piece of content to your business page, but sometimes it is confusing to switch between your profile and the page. Lots of entrepreneurs struggle with posting personal things on their business page and vice versa :). Don’t forget to switch between profile and page! On your mobile phone you can find your page on your hamburger menu. On the desktop, you can switch to it in the upper bar by clicking the little arrow.
Creating a page is not a big deal, right? To use the whole potential of Facebook for businesses, you should create a business manager account, as well as, an ad account to be able to run your paid ad campaigns. Regarding Facebook advertising, you can find complex info in our e-book!
Facebook is the biggest social media platform in the world with over 2.4 billion monthly active users and still increasing every year. As more and more people and companies adopt online advertising it is easy to see why social media has become a key tool to help different businesses grow and reach new potential clients. It is impossible for up and coming businesses to ignore the importance of Facebook in this day and age. With a variety of different types of ads at your disposal from pictures to videos and many more which will help you reach new people and increase your online presence. The fact is being on Facebook can make your life much easier when it comes to online advertising. You just need to setup the right marketing plan and with the help of Facebook start growing your business.
So, if you are interested in advertising your business online. Follow these 3 steps to start advertising on Facebook.
If you are reading this then you have probably heard of Instagram. It is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. With over 1 billion monthly active users and more than 500 million daily users.Nowadays more and more businesses are using Instagram as a key marketing tool when it comes to online marketing.
But it is important to do your research and learn the ins and outs about marketing on Instagram. So you can enjoy all the benefits it has to offer and create the best possible marketing strategy to ensure great results.
Your main objective is to find your target audience and engage with them in the best way possible. This is achievable by using a number of key tactics and data which are all available to you via Instagram. Studying this information will help you come up with the best marketing strategy for your business. Which will help you reach your targeted audience to ensure you are offering your product or services to the right people.
Sound interesting. Here are the key methods to finding and engaging with your targeted audience on Instagram.