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.
To someone who’s already run a local business for some time or someone who doesn’t need the know-how of online marketing yet, it might seem it’s not important to get involved with internet advertising, but that’s not entirely true anymore. Approximately 6 out of 10 people search for local businesses online at least once per week. Search engines have a vast database and almost every business is promoted online. There isn’t a simple answer to the question of what’s the best way to promote a local business online. It largely depends on the kind of business. Not every online channel will help every business thrive.
It’s important to focus on the ideal customer. Who is your business targeting? Is your product valuable for women, men or both? Are teenagers more likely to visit your facility than elderly people? Knowing your customers is the first step to choosing the best online channels to utilize for your business’s promotion.
LinkedIn connects more than 630 million professionals. Its main focus is to build strong and long-lasting career connections and quality content. The platform is definitely on the rise and there are plenty of ways you can leverage it for your business or personal brand.
Knowing the fact that the organic reaches for business pages for Facebook and Instagram are decreasing, LinkedIn offers a chance to reach your audience more effectively.
So, how can you get the most out of the biggest social network for professionals? First of all, know the basics. LinkedIn (and any other advertising platform) can be overwhelming, which makes it easy to get lost. Don't try to understand everything. Choose to learn what matters to your business the most.
We have prepared content that will help you get to know the very basic idea behind advertising on LinkedIn. We call it the Beginner's Guide to LinkedIn Advertising and within it we cover the following topics:
Dig into the LinkedIn advertising by downloading the e-book below and let us know how it helped you boost your business.
Marketing strategy is probably the most abused word in the marketing industry. Everyone talks about strategies, but few know what it really represents. It has nothing to do with curating your presence on Facebook nor developing a Chatbot for your website. Trust me, strategy is something completely different.
Being an entrepreneur who is running a small business is already tough itself. Marketing, in most cases, is a process that slows you down as you have to learn it, hire people to execute your vision or deal with an agency (and their high fees). Luckily, with tools like groost life gets a bit better. Prepare a good strategy and automate your marketing efforts. Let's find out how.
Luckily, some tools can guide and educate you without you having to learn. Automation platforms are built to cover the majority of your marketing tasks. Having said this, they search for ways to guide you through the process of a successful onboarding in a simple way.
Before we get started, let's clarify what a marketing strategy means.
A strategy sets a target of where it is we want to be within a certain period of time. Now we are at point A, so where is the point B we want to reach. Marketing strategy, to narrow it down, answers these three core questions:
First, we need to clarify who we're aiming for – our target audience. Our target audience represents our potential customers. Getting to know them as thoroughly as possible will be crucial for the next steps. Secondly, we must focus on positioning – the way our customer sees us, what he thinks of us, what jumps to her mind immediately after the name of our brand or product is pronounced. If you think of Volvo, what jumps to your mind? Is it safety? This is not by mistake. Volvo wants to be considered the safest car, and they do everything they can to be perceived this way. That's positioning. Lastly, we ask ourselves, what goals we want to achieve. Knowing where you want to go and being able to quantify it helps you stay on track at all times!
Of course, you may want to conduct in-depth research on both internal and external factors (SWOT analysis works for internal factors, PESTLE for external) to find out how your business gets both positively and negatively influenced. While analysing, keep an eye on your competitors to know how well they do (and why). These points are, nonetheless, tied to your overall business, not solely marketing. Let's just focus on marketing for now.
Did you answer the three core questions? Great! Now see how automation tools can guide you to not just create, but also execute your strategy – complete the tactical steps.
1. They encourage you to focus on your customer
All tools from the most complicated to the easiest ones focus on a customer. Look at how Hubspot does it – they offer you a CRM to store all your customer data, track the website activity of your customers and segment them for email marketing and social ads. Customers are at the very center of their product features. So that should be the case in all of your marketing activities. In our latest post, we've covered the importance of being where your customers are – be customer-centric. Marketing automation platforms guide you without your assistance, so you can use your energy elsewhere.
We've built a tool for an easy and efficient campaign management. It is so easy that non-marketers run their campaign within minutes. We focus, needless to say, on a customer- first approach. We encourage you to create your marketing persona and center your campaign around this. See how we do this below:
2. They offer you many ways to create content
Content – be it emails, social media ads, website forms or blog posts – is what should give a real value to your customer. There are many types of content (educational, comedic, aesthetically pleasing…), but all of it should be easily recognisable. What I mean by that is that every piece of content shows it's YOU and your business, and does not belong to anybody else. Using your logo in the header of an email or a social media creative helps easily identify your business. Your claim in headlines shows it's you, your brand colors signify it's you, the tone that plays at the beginning of each of your podcasts says it's you… With every piece of content you build the complete picture that pops into a customer's head when someone says the name of your brand or product. Presenting your unique attributes over your competitors and repeatedly identifying yourself with a certain market category helps your target audience discover who you really are – and what makes you unique. Automation platforms not only allow you to create content you need for your business to be successfully present online, but also guide you through these steps, so that you don't do it wrong.
3. They encourage you to analyze results
I can not emphasize this any more – if you can't measure something, you can't improve it. Tools like Keap, Hubspot or Mailchimp give you an in-depth analysis of your campaigns and efforts. They truly show you what's important to track and what isn't. When it comes to measuring results, things can get pretty complicated. Don't look at hundreds of metrics, unless it makes sense to you and you see the dependencies between them. If you run campaigns for 200 USD a month, focus on a few things (key metrics) that are tied to your goal and nothing else. Make sure to update your dashboard and, ideally, let the tools send you regular emails with the metrics you are most interested in. It'll save you a bit of time.
To codify the results of any campaign, it is crucial to tie them to your goals. Any campaign needs to be set up with goal(s). Say you want to increase the engagement for your Facebook post and lead people to your website. The number of people reached and the number of people that interacted with your content is what you'll be looking for –the click through rate will show you the difference between those two (number of people who interacted / number of people reached). Simply put, this metric shows how good and juicy your content is. Did you get a 5% click through rate? Good job! Do you think 5% is too low? I suggest you check the (industry) standards and judge this afterwards. Some metrics seem to be low, but if you dig deeper, you may realize that your campaign rocks.
To wrap it up, focus on three important questions, choose the right tools to help you execute your strategy and always measure your efforts. Being a small business owner is tough itself, don't put in more work. Let automation platforms help you get rid of the routine tasks and, thus, deliver better results. We've mentioned some of the tools here, so make sure to check it out.
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!
If you run a social media profile, you've probably thought of what to put on your content calendar. You want to create and publish something that truly brings value to your audience and resonates within them, right? User generated content can help you not just fill your content calendar, but truly bring something that gives a new perspective to your business.
User generated content, as the name suggests, is content that is voluntarily created by your best customers – brand advocates – and shared so that their audience can see it. It is basically the best thing your customers can do for you – refer their friends to you/ share your product(s) or speak about your service(s)!
Imagine you are an owner of a gym that is visited by dozens of customers daily. What if some of them posted a photo to their social profile, exercising in your gym and saying something nice about your place. Wouldn't that be great? Could that bring you new customers? Absolutely.
79% of users say user generated content has a high impact on their purchasing behaviour. That simply underlines what we've stated earlier.
In 2014, Starbucks came up with a White Cup Contest which, guess what, is focused on user generated content… You can read more about the contest here. The only thing we will say is that they collected over 4,000 pieces of content! That just goes to show the true power of brand advocates. Your business can do that too – probably on a smaller scale, but you can. Remember that every one of your best customers can bring you another one. Your brand advocates grow as your business grows…
If you say your product is the best, some people might believe you straightaway. But isn't that statement much stronger when made by someone who is already a loyal customer and has no other interest in regards to promoting your brand? User generated content brings true authenticity into your content and, thus, gives others another perspective of your business.
People love seeing the product they aim to buy has great reviews! It gives them proof that their purchase won't be a mistake. Social proof – proof by someone other than the business itself – is a strong weapon and we encourage you to use it in your content calendar. Look at Amazon. Their products have thousands of reviews, which makes it far more valuable and far more worth it to buy for new customers.
Let us look at some other examples of great user generated content shared mainly on Instagram:
Get your audience on board. Talk to your best customers and motivate them to create a good product review, unboxing video or simply a happy picture while using your product or being at your cosy place (café, gym, etc…). Those who love your product will happily help you get it in front of other customers, trust me.
The use of influencers is a trend that has been here for some period of time. Brands work with people who gather an audience that fits their plan. Simple as that. They often collaborate with celebrities who are followed and trusted by millions of people, experts in a given industry, or gamers that record their gaming sessions. If you can find someone who has your target audience, team up!
The fact is that you don't have to work with widely known influencers, pop stars or famous athletes. Find so-called micro influencers who help you reach a smaller audience, but with higher precision. The cooperation won't cost you a fortune and results will follow, as well!
Micro influencers, in most cases, generate higher engagement with their audience and are more passionate about increasing their audience. If you start cooperating with them at the beginning of their journey, your business relationship can grow into something that constantly helps you achieve your business goals and to build a wider (and more relevant) audience.
The best collaborations, nonetheless, are the ones that are natural and not “too obvious”. Give some micro influencers in your surroundings your product, let them play with it and tell you whether they like it or not. Those who do are your best fit. They will happily (and naturally) promote your product within their audience.
In this post we've stressed the strength of your customer base and your audience – motivate them to tell the world about your stuff and let them bring you new business. Find new alliances with micro influencers, let them fall in love with your product and enjoy the fruits of your (hard) work!
Today's online services have one major advantage. They track users and collect information about them and segment it accurately. This is a huge advantage for advertisers because they can specify their target audience precisely, so that an ad is shown only to a relevant people.
Surely, you come across such ads daily. On Facebook, Google Search… lots of you have probably tried to publish similar types of ads on these platforms.
Facebook and Google are obviously dominants of the PPC ads market. But did you know that there are a number of other platforms where you can advertise in a similar way?
You may think that this is unnecessary, when most internet users are using Facebook or Google and their services. Yes, it is true, but it doesn't mean your ad will be effective on these platforms.
Each user behaves differently on different platforms, which means that he can be immune to your Facebook advertising, for example, because he only goes there in the evenings to watch some funny videos, so advertising for selling real estate is not relevant to him. Maybe, in the morning, when he opens Linkedin, he is in a completely different state of mind and is ready to see the ad and take action.
The goal of this article is to list relevant platforms where you can advertise your services. To find out which platform is most effective for you, read this article.