Save Time with Automation: Guide to Tasks You Can Automate in 2018
Marketing is essential for businesses of all sizes. But as you probably know, it takes up a lot of time. If you are trying to do it on your own, perhaps for your small business, you may find that you simply don’t have the time to commit to it.
You could outsource, which is a good idea, so you can spend more time on other tasks. But you don’t have to outsource everything. Before you start outsourcing, look at the tasks that you can automate.
There are many marketing tasks that you can set on auto to save time and money. Here are some to consider:
Promote Your Content
Content promotion is one of the most time-consuming marketing tasks for any business. Creating it in the first place is hard enough work, but with the general rule being that you should spend 20 per cent of your time on content creation and 80 per cent on content promotion, it’s easy to see how promoting your content can suck up a lot of your time.
So automate it. You cannot automate all of your promotion (successful promotion relies on making relationships and encouraging influencers to share your content), but you can certainly automate a good part of it.
When it comes to promoting your newly published blog post on social media, this is very easy to automate. You can achieve this by using a tool like IFTT, which stands for If This Then That. This is one of the internet’s great automating tools, and you can use a simple ‘recipe’ to promote your new content to your social channels as soon as they are published. Zapier is another tool that lets you do the same thing.
You can even send out email notifications to your list when you publish a blog. There are plugins available that do this, or you can send auto emails via MailChimp.
Brainstorm Content Ideas
Coming up with ideas in the first place can be difficult. If you add up all the time you spend thinking up ideas for your posts, you may be shocked. But generating a constant stream of good ideas on auto is easier than you think.
Simply use an RSS reader tool like Feedly. Plug in a load of blogs that publish content on your topic (this is the only time-consuming part). When you need to think of some ideas, check out the latest blog posts – you’ll have dozens of ideas in minutes.
If you want to get involved a little bit more, scan the topics once a day. Create a board in Feedly called ‘Interesting Topics’, and add any blogs that look interesting to it. Next time you need to come up with an idea, you’ll have a whole list of relevant blogs waiting for you – and it takes no more than a couple of minutes a day.
Keeping your social accounts active looks like it should be easy, but actually, it can take a lot of time. And then you end up forgetting all about it. Social media can be a time drain as well, especially when you go onto Twitter to post an update and you end up spending half an hour lost in celebrity gossip.
Avoid it completely by using a tool like Buffer. With this, you can spend an hour or so once a month setting up your social posts for all the platforms you use, then schedule them in. You can add as many or as few as you want and then leave it to do its work. You won’t have to think about it again until you set up your next batch.
Obviously, this won’t work if your aim is to get social and answer questions and engage with your customers. But you can always do that too if you have time. And if you have no time to spend on social, at least your social accounts are still showing activity.
Generating leads can be time-consuming or it can be very quick. It depends on how you go about it. If you want to automate the process as much as possible, follow this basic process:
- Set up a landing page
- Create a lead magnet
- Set up an email autoresponder
- Set up a Facebook Advertising campaign to drive traffic
There you go. It takes a while to set all this up, but once you are ready, you can leave it on auto.
Of course, the best lead generation campaigns involve constant testing and tweaking to find out what is working or not. But a lot of the process can be automated, so you can get on with other tasks while the leads roll in.
Even if you are not using a landing page and you are just building your list via blog signups, you should still use an autoresponder sequence. This is one of the best forms of marketing automation in existence. Simply set up a series of emails, make it as long as you want, and then forget about it.
Another type of email that is perfect for automating is the trigger email. These are automatic emails that you set up to send when a website user makes a certain action such as looking at a product, which triggers the email.
You could set up your trigger email to inform the customer about a 15 per cent discount on that particular product, helping you to get a sale where before they would have left.
This kind of personalised email can be highly effective, and it all happens in the background without you having to think about it.
You can do the same with your abandoned carts. If a customer adds a product to their cart but does not complete the purchase, send them a reminder and potentially make an extra sale without doing anything.
If you use cold email prospecting as part of your process to find customers, you’ll know how time-consuming it can be. This process can never be fully automated, but you can certainly save a lot of time by automating some of it.
A tool like Pitchbox can be excellent for this. If you want to send out 100 emails to different contacts, you can set up a template, upload their names and email addresses, and click ‘Send’.
The tool will send the ‘personal’ emails to each person. And you can even set it up to send follow-up emails to those that do not respond. This can save hours of your time.
Pitchbox is targeted at content promoters, but it can be used for any outreach purpose. Other similar tools include Close.io and Reply, so try them all out, but be sure to follow autoresponder best practices.
Start Automating and Save Time
Don’t waste time when marketing – it takes long enough as it is. You can easily save time and improve your results by successfully automating various tasks like the ones above
But before you start automating every possible task in your business, be careful. Some tasks will need more human interaction than others, and sometimes automation can come across as impersonal. While it can save you a lot of time, automation must be done with care. So use it in the right way to save time on your marketing and increase your productivity.