Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida Business
These tools can help automate your marketing efforts, boost sales
It was a mechanical marvel in 1912, and automated! The Automat in New York City served up fresh food that was hardly touched by human hands.
The idea was revolutionary at the time -- just feed a dime or two into a machine and in a few seconds simple, pre-made sandwiches popped out. A minimum of human intervention, that saved time and money, for the restaurant and the diner.
Isn’t automation wonderful!
Today, we have robo-advisors that are quickly replacing active money managers and aircraft flying on autopilot. Cars, too. although I’m not sure autonomous automobiles are quite ready for prime time.
How about marketing and selling automation? Not long ago I wrote that innovative technology should help your business, not burden it. That goes for automation too.
Yet, this may seem counterintuitive. Doesn’t it make sense that if we could just program our marketing and selling with the right parameters and slap that into autopilot mode we’d be set? Not entirely.
The right marketing and selling automation solution can indeed offer an advantage to a resource-strapped company. Using automation tools will enforce lead follow-up and increase conversions. And they can help a startup sell like a big brand.
The missing ingredient is often the human element. Because automation can’t do anything on its own. We’ll, it can -- however the results of pure autopilot mode will sound robotic and won’t be pretty.
Here’s how to improve your automation process with a human touch.
Focus on simple automation processes and initiatives. It all too easy to assume your business needs to get a subscription to a big name automation platform that “does it all” or ultra focused on a specific task. Aside from the crushing monthly costs, these are complex platforms that require in-depth training, as well as considerable skill to manage and use. Keep it simple by concentrating on a few major thrusts -- such as remarketing to current customers, nurturing new leads, and referral optimization -- while personalizing for your audience.
As an example, Ocoos helps smaller companies automate and customize their most important core online marketing processes. They have managed to provide small and mid-sized companies with an easy to use marketing and selling automation tool in a cost-effective web platform, with a touch of Fortune 500 sophistication. Ocoos has integrated customer relationship management functions into their website builder with a twist; true data mining capability. This, plus their concierge service make sure that humans are involved, providing the right perspective and focus.
Link social media context and interaction with automation. Automated twitter messages and replies are a recipe for disaster. Worse is when something is awkwardly taken out of context because there wasn’t a human checking on the other side. But, that doesn’t mean there is no level automation possible -- you just have to be smart. The key is to curate and schedule. One of my favorite tools is Quuu, an “interactive automation” marketing platform that hand-curates content suggestions. Subscribers get to choose relevant topic areas and then Quuu takes over -- with your business in full control at all times. Every morning I get suggested content delivered via email for Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Then it takes only a few minutes to reject or accept each, quickly alter the message, and add a touch of my personality. Their integration with Buffer gives you the ability to simply schedule, publish, and analyze all your posts in one place with humans involved all the way. I call it semi-autopilot. The importance of personalized content and posts can never be overstated.
Marketing and selling automation rules to live by. Sharing your message and distribution of your content has never been as easy. It’s also easy to sound like a robot. Automation works only when the buyer’s context is considered. That’s why you, a human, need to be involved early in the automation process and during the customer’s buying journey. Deliver lead magnets and post messages based on your ideal customer persona. Otherwise it’s like yelling in the vacuum of deep space -- nobody hears what you’re saying. Your company has a persona too and it needs to shine along with a little emotion. If not, automated Tweets and emails will come across as forced, maybe even phony. Don’t just push out content solely to push out content, because automation makes it easy to do. Engage by checking for comments, questions, and replies often. Analyze your audience and understand their engagement preferences and how often they want information. Curate and post third-party content of interest to your audience at least 80% of the time. Test frequency, posting times, content types, and tone of voice -- then use the results to adjust and update your online marketing and selling automation strategy.
Putting your social media marketing and sales follow-up on semi-autopilot will leave you more time for other areas of your business -- while increasing engagement and making real connections.
Smart context and content automation makes it much easier to use your customer database to deliver the right message to the right audience. That’s how you’ll get future buyers interested in what you have to say.
Just remember to keep your hands on the wheel with human involvement.
Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com) and the author of the Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook. As a speaker, coach, and consultant he works with small business owners helping them to accelerate the path between their vision and the actions needed to reach, win, and keep customers. Ron is the creator of the FastPath to More Customers Now! 7-step marketing system based on more than twenty years as a successful business owner, corporate CEO, business development executive, and salesman. He is also a mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.