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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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):
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Having a local business essentially means that there is a hyper-focus in your marketing activities. You can use greater precision to find your customers. When it comes to marketing, the key is to get the most out of any channel that gathers your customers. Today, we'll speak about Google search ads. And not only that. We'll introduce easy tactics to dominate a search engine for just as little as 6 bucks.
Yes, that's correct. Even a small marketing budget can be used for business growth. Online is not only for the big fish. Especially when it comes to search listings.
Say you have a local business, such as a yoga studio, barber shop, restaurant or a coffee shop. The odds are that people probably already search for businesses like yours. Let's look at what shows up when people search terms related to “yoga in New Orleans.”
If you have a yoga studio in New Orleans, guess what... You want your website or social media to pop up when people search for a term like this. Google search ads help display your website or social media page at the top of the search – with the “Ad” label.
Before we jump into concrete details of what you can achieve for such a small budget, let's summarise what has to be done first:
Say you run a bakery shop in London. After you check the data in the Google Keyword Planner, you'll find out that the term “bakery near me” is searched more than 12,000 times per month. That's pretty huge, right? Moreover, the competition is low, which positively influences the unit cost – cost per click – of your ad. Look at the results we got when we ran such a campaign.
In other words, we showed the ad to people who searched for “bakery near me” and were in London at that exact time.
What you see above is the Google Ads interface. The campaign spent less than $6 and ran throughout the whole month.
Here are some of the main metrics we got:
Interested in seeing another example of such an ad? Here you go.
In January 2020, we ran a campaign to promote a yoga studio that lies in the heart of Prague. The campaign ran for a whole month and got our client some astonishing results. Again, the investment was 910 CZK which is equal to around $36.
To sum it up, here is what our client got:
Your case might be slightly different according to your budget options, but one thing remains clear. You can easily promote your local business on Google without having to spend thousands of dollars on marketing.
💡 Such campaigns that promote your brand should run continuously, not only for a limited period of time. You can, of course, adjust them based on your timely limited offers.
The key is, of course, to inspire website or social media visitors to take a desired action: your store visit. That's closely related to what your website or social media profile looks like and is, therefore, a completely different story. But the fact that you showed your business name and outlined your unique selling propositions – things that make you better than others – to more than 1,000 people counts too and will, eventually, transfer into dollars in your pocket.
We introduced one of our Google campaigns that worked well for a local business. We found out that people already search for what our client offers and easily leveraged that fact through a Google ad. You can do the same. With as little as a few dollars a day and, thanks to our tool. And you can do this all with very little marketing knowledge. So what stops you from getting started now?
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!
With 400 new users every 60 seconds, Facebook is not only the biggest social media platform, but it is continuously growing. Today, there are more than 2,4 billion users which is roughly 60% of all internet users. Nonetheless, some say its audience is getting older as younger internet users are getting excited about platforms like Instagram, TikTok or Snapchat. In this post, we will dig into the most important Facebook demographics and stats, so that you can get a better idea of who to target while creating your marketing persona and your plan on how to reach him or her.
Having a clear picture of how a channel grows is a key component to starting your marketing plan – promotion and content distribution. If you offer sneakers and target youngsters, relying solely on Facebook may not be the best tactic… Why? This audience is more likely to be found using social media platforms, such as Instagram or Tik Tok. Knowing your audience and stats behind the channels you want to use is crucial.
Let's finally dig into the most important Facebook demographics and stats!