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.
The world around us has become digital. More than half of the people living on Earth are connected to the internet. That's almost 4.5 billion people. The interesting thing is that this all happened in only 28 years. Yes, 1991 was the year, when the World Wide Web, today's internet, was publicly launched.
But the biggest internet usage increase came with the arrival of social media platforms. 80% of internet users (January 2019, Hootsuite) are also active social media users. The leading platform, with 32% market share is Facebook. Combined with ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp, it makes 66% market share. Globally. In any case, YouTube, with 27% market share can be considered the second largest platform.
Facebook's market capitalization was 632.43B USD as of January 16th, 2020. This number makes Facebook the 5th biggest company in the world by the market cap. Even bigger, is the Alphabet (Google). It took 3rd place with a 1000.7 USD market cap.
You might ask, why are these companies so big, when their products are mostly free to use? The answer is advertising. Google and Facebook are the world's biggest advertising platforms. Companies spent around 170 billion dollars on Facebook and Google Ads in 2019 alone, and this number is still growing.
The fundamental difference between traditional and digital media is given by data that these platforms are generating. They capture every interaction of its users, so they know every user in detail. It allows targeting ads with many options, such as gender, age, location, relationship, income, home, interests, connections, generation, life events, ethnic affinity and much more.
You and your business can take advantage of it and use this platform to advertise your services or products to a very specific audience for a reasonable price. Usually a lower price (compared with traditional “offline” ads media) brings digital advertising closer to small businesses and freelancers.
Unlike traditional media, advertisers only pay for interactions. There are many cost structures digital advertising platforms are using and these are based on marketing objectives and overall campaign goals.
Cost Per Click is the most common cost model used by almost all digital advertising platforms. It charges you, as an advertiser, for every single click completed by a user. It means that your ad contains an external link that redirects users to your website. The average CPC on Facebook is 1.72USD, but it varies across industries.
Cost Per View is a model built for video ads. You, as an advertiser, are charged every time a Facebook user sees your video. Keep in mind that Facebook considers a video as “viewed” after only 3 seconds.
The average CPV price is relatively low, somewhere between 1c to 15c, but it varies across industries. Price per view should always be compared with other metrics, like CTR, to see if it is effective.
Cost Per Mille is a pricing model, where you are charged per 1,000 impressions. An impression is when an ad is delivered to a user’s feed. If you are looking for an increase in brand awareness, this is how you will be charged.
Cost Per Action (Acquisition) is similar to CPC. You are not charged per single click, but for a specific action a user completes on your website. It can be form filling, an app install, event registration or for scheduling a meeting.
The average cost per acquisition on Facebook is 18.68 USD.
Cost Per Like is a cost model used for gaining business page likes. It is good for building brand awareness. It is usually low cost, so this could be a cheap way to promote your business page. Keep in mind, that this is effective only when your page is active and publishing content consistently.
At first glance, it might look complicated and confusing. But at the end of the day, this is what you and your business needs. It is a groundbreaking feature, because you can focus on reaching your target audience and through that, you can make your campaigns more cost-effective.
I mentioned several times that ad cost varies across industries and platforms. There is no fixed price per click/action, it is the subject of many conditions. Now, I will explain to you how it works, so you can create better and cheaper ads.
Google's advertising platform, Google Ads, is a keyword-based PPC platform. It shows ads in a search based on the keyword the user is searching. It means, that if a user is searching “family car”, Google will show ads related to this keyword. If you're selling family cars, your ad shows up right in front of the user’s eyes.
Unfortunately, it's not that simple, because you are probably far from being the only one who is selling family cars and advertising it. Google needs to decide whose ad to show. This process is called Ad Ranking. It takes your maximum CPC bid and multiplies it with the quality score.
Ad Rank = CPC bid * Quality Score
A maximum price you are willing to pay per a single click. This setting is completely in your hands.
Google's rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads. It depends on multiple factors…
The higher the Quality Score is, the better price per click you will get.
CPC = (Ad Rank of ad below you / Quality Score) + 0.01USD
Facebook and Instagram ads, unlike Google's Search ads, aren't based on keywords, as these social media platforms work on slightly different principles.
Factors, that influence the cost of Facebook Ads are:
An ad objective is a clear and specific aim of an ad. It determines who Facebook shows your ad to. This can have an extreme affect on its cost. There are 3 main objective types that are divided into specific actions.
Ads with the Awareness objective lead to increasing brand and local awareness, as well as gaining a higher reach and interest in your product or service.
If your goal is to get people thinking about your product, drive more traffic to your web or generate leads, you should focus on this category.
If your goal is to convert Facebook users to customers, then these types of objectives are for you.
The next factor that influences ad price is the maximum amount of money you are willing to pay. It's called bidding. You set a maximum price manually (or automatically, where Facebook calculates the best price for you) and then it competes with other advertisers in an auction. Take note that a higher price doesn't guarantee that your ad shows up. Facebook considers ad quality and user experience.
An audience, or target audience, is a group of people you aim your ad at. There are over 350 audience attributes to choose from, so you can be very specific.
Facebook is a visual platform and is considered to be a personal space for its users, where they are looking for creative and interesting content. So your ads should be, of course, creative and interesting. They should also be visually appealing, able to evoke emotions and they should match users' interests. This is what Facebook considers when scoring your ad.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, ad pricing varies across industries. Here is a table that you can use as a benchmark and with which you can compare your results.
Optimizing an ad price isn't an easy process. There are thousands and thousands of combinations and it can take years to find the right formula. You basically have 3 options to optimize your costs.
That's perfect advice, right? I know, this is probably not the best way to go for most people, because it takes a lot of time and energy to become a specialist. Being a social media specialist is a regular full time job, so if you are not ready to quit your current job, then this is probably not the way you want to go.
Hiring a freelance specialist or agency can be a way to effectively advertise. This option is usually more expensive, especially if you are a one-man-show and your marketing budget is tight.
There are dozens of marketing automation tools on the market. These tools simplify the whole campaign creation process for people, who have no time to learn everything necessary and don't have a sufficient budget. That's why we created app. It helps small businesses run their campaigns without extra knowledge needed. Try it here, it's free!
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.
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!
Well, that’s a tricky question – there are so many variables at play. Depending on your situation, the cost of your Facebook ads could be as much as $10 per click, or as little as 40 cents.
The most important factor is efficiency and performance. Your ads might be super cheap, but if they do not bring any results, it's a waste of money. Define the purpose (the goal) of the ad and what is your cost limit to label the ad as efficient. Many businesses measure success by the number of sold products, leads generated, or potential customers engaged.
There is no rule or benchmark for this, each business is different with different needs and circumstances. Someone might be satisfied with a new lead for $45 and another might not go over $10. One person might consider a $3 cost per click as successful and another would not want to pay more than $2. Calculate the revenue you can get from the lead and think about how much you want to spend per action, this way you can always check whether your ads perform well or not.
Before you spend a lot of money, try to set up your daily budget for $5 a day. (We will talk about how to set your budget later). Monitor your results. If the ad performance meets your ideas and you have money to raise the daily budget, do it. And do it again, if the ad is bringing you results.
Remember: If your ad is comical, visually appealing, engaging, or all of these combined, people will like, comment or share it more often than they would with some boring copy with a blurry image. If you really want the most from your paid ads, they have to be great to make the people share them and so the ads will be also spread organically. Deciding how much to spend is a good place to start, but always make sure each dollar goes as far as it possibly can. The key is the visual, the text, as well as targeting. Regarding your content creation, read my article about buyer personas, because you should tailor-make it for your ideal customers and you can also find more helpful info in this article about tools for creating visual content.
So, how can you get an idea of how much Facebook advertising costs before diving in?
There are over 7,000 marketing tools you can use today. And I'm going to name them all. No, just kidding, Scott Brinker already did. Actually, he updates the database every single year, so I don't have to. ;)
If you are new to marketing and want to learn about the 10 most useful tools for small businesses, keep reading!
Have you already come across social media posts tagged with “Sponsored”? Do you wonder what they mean and on which principle they work? Good question! An even better one would be, how can these posts help you reach way more people than you do with your organic posts – the ones that you publish on your social media timeline? In today's post, we will uncover not just that, but also concrete steps to get started!
Truth be told, you can use these types of posts to reach many more people than you do today…
But before we jump into what a sponsored post means, let's look at what it doesn't. Say that you run an Instagram profile and add posts to your profile. So do we. This is what it looks like:
These posts are the ones that appear on your social media profile and most importantly, on the feed of your followers and friends. The ratio between the number of people you reached with your posts and the total number of followers is your ORGANIC REACH. The more people who follow your profile, the more people you can reach with every one of your social media posts. Therefore, it is important to build your audience.
But what if you want to reach more people? What if you want to expand your reach to someone who hasn't liked your page yet? Both answers will be clarified, go ahead and continue reading...
In regards to the organic reach, we have to tell you the cruel truth. The organic reach is constantly decreasing. What that means for you, is that you no longer reach the same number of people as you did before.
We have covered this topic more thoroughly in this article, but to point out the importance of this decrease, see the graph below:
From 2012 to 2016, the organic reach on Facebook has sunk to almost zero…
Let's do some math to understand it perfectly. Say your page or profile has 10,000 followers. Due to the organic reach decline, your organic posts may reach between 300 and 800 people based on its performance – making your organic reach between 3% to 8%. Now the chance that some of these 300 to 800 people interact with your content is way lower than if you reached 3,000 to 8,000 people (call me captain obvious). It may sound logical and totally clear, but ignoring this fact and relying solely on your organic reach may cost you your share of voice or market share. In other words, you may lose your followers, fans and customers if you don't act.
Now that we've come through what organic posts mean, let's finally clarify what these “sponsored” posts are that serve you targeted content on your social media feed…
Refresh your Facebook or Instagram feed and scroll for a few seconds… Stop, there it is! A post that looks like any other one with one small difference. It is tagged with “Sponsored” in the upper part. Can you see it?
You will find plenty of these on your feed. And most of them will be perfectly targeted at you – based on your interests and preferences. Now the key is to leverage this feature for you and your business, isn't it?
Let's dive into how this sponsored content works. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tik Tok and other social media platforms allow you to run ads through their advertising interfaces. You sign up, learn how the platforms work and jump straight into promoting your content. These interfaces – let's call them the Campaign Manager Accounts for now – remain unknown to “ordinary” users. It's all the magic that “happens in the background”.
Let's take Facebook as an example. Say I want to promote our post that has been (organically) published on our timeline:
Organically we didn't reach as many people as we'd like to. Let's promote the post then…
Either in Facebook Business Manager or tools like our own app, you can follow a few steps and create your campaign – sponsor a post. By defining your goal, marketing persona, budget and message, you can expand your reach and speak to people that have never heard of your business before or show your content to followers you'd not have been able to reach organically.
Going back to our example, let's say that we want to target small business owners in California. According to data from Facebook, we could reach 290,000 people, respectively 277 to 800 people a day for less than $10 a day.
Yes, promoted posts are about investing something into expanding your reach. But as you see, you don't have to sit on millions of dollars in marketing budget to speak to more potential customers than you probably do today. You don't even have to sit on hundreds of dollars to achieve your goal of reaching more people…
Not to say that when they purchase from you, your investment is back – with interests (or margin:)
This is what the set up would look like...
With only a few clicks – in case you use tools that simplify this process – you are able to start your campaign (sponsored post).
The best thing is, that you target your posts solely at people who are relevant to your business. In other words, you tailor your content to people that can become your customers, followers or fans.
Say you run an eshop with accessories. You sell watches, necklaces, small pieces of clothes, rings and other goods. You have two types of products: those made for men and those made for women.
You manage your Instagram profile and post content about your customers’ satisfaction (reviews), newest pieces of clothes and inspiration as to how they fit with other outfits. This content can be interesting for both men and women. But what if you want to run a campaign targeted solely at men with the goal of selling all the men's watches that have been sitting in stock for a long time? That's when the sponsored post comes into play…
The process has already been described: you define your goal (sell more watches), marketing persona (men in California between 25 and 45 years old, interested in fashion), choose which channel you want this post to appear on (Instagram), set your budget and campaign length ($5 a day for 7 days) and finally, create your great content – the ad that your potential customer sees on his feed. Say your post looks something like this:
Thanks to this campaign (while using the setting in the brackets), you are able to reach more than 7,000 people. And you've invested $35 in total. Awesome, isn't it?
Is this the only option to increase your organic reach, you may ask? It's definitely not. Marketing is all about synergy. You may want to combine more tactics to achieve the best results.
Let's go through some tips & tricks that can work perfectly with (or without) promoting your posts.
Again, this may sound obvious, but is not always completely understood. Creating super engaging content comes first, along with understanding your audience! If you don't know who you're talking to, your speech can never really resonate, right?
It's like in life. Imagine you go on a date with a pretty and intelligent woman who is into fashion and yoga. You spend the whole time speaking about the Super Bowl! How would that date end? You probably know the answer...
The same applies to your social media profiles and any content that you publish. If you create something that no one's interested in, you decrease not just your reach, but also engagement.
Start with defining your marketing persona and create content that they find interesting, educating, funny or shocking – anything that goes with your brand.
If you do so, your followers will like, comment, share and recommend your content and products. Thus, you can leverage the real power of social media: the snowball effect that happens once people share your content.
Let me share one secret with you. Your followers are not only on Facebook or Instagram. They also use other platforms like Youtube, Pinterest, LInkedIn or Tik Tok. In fact, an average American Internet user has more than 7 social media accounts. That being said, you should definitely leverage the potential to reach your audience where they are (and where your competitors probably aren't… yet).
Platforms like LinkedIn or Tik Tok have a much higher organic reach now. They are where Facebook was a few years ago. That may change as they grow and decide to monetize their audience, but till then, you can build your follower base and successfully grow your business! Go for it...
Are you also suffering from a continuous decrease in organic reach? Do you reach less people than you'd like to? Try some of these tactics and let us know how it has helped :)