Running a business can be a rewarding experience. Complete freedom to do what you want, take holidays whenever you want, start the working day when you’re ready, you can even give yourself a pay rise when you deserve it… yep, running your own business can be sweet.
Okaaaay, life isn’t all rainbows and ponies. There are a ton of hurdles and challenges to running your own business. But hey, where would the fun be if it wasn’t challenging?
So out of all the challenges a big one is that ‘M word’. It needs time and money, and it’s essential to helping you grow your business.
And that little ‘M word’ is… Marketing!
Marketing doesn’t need to be that time consuming… so it’s time to fight and get your free time back!
Marketing is an essential component of running a business. Originally, marketing tasks was something you’d have to constantly look at every single day if you want to get most out of it.
Thankfully, it is the year 2013. And although we don’t have super marketing robots to do our evil bidding (I’m working on it though!) the one thing we DO have is automatic marketing systems.
You’re going to love these time saving auto-marketing solutions!
So what are these ‘auto-marketing’ solutions?
Basically, instead of having to find 5 minutes every day to do a small marketing task (and trust me… those 5 minutes add up VERY quickly), you can set up a system that willautomatically manage your marketing throughout the year.
This means you have more time to focus on other aspects of your company, and even (shock, horror!) enjoy something that resembles a social life!
So in today’s blog I’m going to share with you my favourite ways to eliminate those time chomping tasks that can suck up every working day, so you can have time to improve andenjoy running your business.
1) Automate your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn)
Social media has made reaching your ideal customer really easy. Never before have you had the ability to drill down and reach such specific demographics, for example if you wanted to target women who liked tai chi between the ages of 40 and 45… you could! (check our ‘social media’ blog post here to see how) And then you could interact with them via your Facebook and Twitter pages.
Now the success to excelling with your Facebook and Twitter is to post often and post at SPECIFIC times of day… and RIGHT THERE is also the biggest drawback of social media.
Will you be able to post a Facebook or Tweet at 2pm every Friday, EVERY Friday for the rest of time? No? Didn’t think so. So how do you get around it?
How do I automate my social media?
Thankfully, the internet is FULL of solutions that allows you to schedule your social media posts in advance. So when you’re suppose to be making your Thursday 5pm Tweet about your business, you can be sitting by a pool drinking a cocktail instead. Pretty cool, huh?
We recommend (and use) SproutSocial. With SproutSocial you can:
- Manage your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin accounts.
- Schedule an entire years worth of tweets and posts in one evening. Then chill out.
- Say what day and what time you interact with your fans and followers.
- Analytics so you can easily see which posts work best and make changes as your see fit.
Neat huh? You can literally sit down and plan out every single post one day of every month, and spend the rest of the month safe in the knowledge that your social media accounts are in the best hands… yours.
2) Automate your marketing research.
Okay… there are two potential scenarios that could be happening RIGHT NOW that you are not aware of. So listen up… because I’m about to blow your mind:
- There are people who are talking about you online and others who are asking questions about you out there in the internet.
- There are people out there who are talking about your industry and/or your type of service, but you’re not there to tell them you exist.
Okay, maybe it’s not that earth shattering BUT are you doing anything about this? Do you regularly search for key terms about yourself and your industry in case there’s something you need to know about?
Years ago, I used to have a quick manual search every Saturday to see what people were saying about my business. Unfortunately by the time I was aware of someone talking about Web123, it was too late to respond. Sadly, as much as I’d love to, I was too busy to check it EVERY DAY.
How do I automate my marketing research?
Thankfully those guys over at a Google have got your back, with a little known program called Google Alerts.
Google Alerts is a automated program that allows you setup alerts whenever key terms pop up on websites, blogs, forums and more. It’s a massive time saver. Instead of having to hunt for mentions yourself, you can have Google send you an email whenever something pops up that you should be aware of.
Google Alerts will:
- Email you whenever certain keywords (like your company name) appear online.
- Target websites, news sites, blogs, forums, discussions, videos and more.
- Let you set daily or weekly alerts, depending on the urgency of the keyword.
- Identify when your company name pops up so you can respond quickly.
- Tell you about key updates on your industry so you’re up to date.
Use Google Alerts like we do and you’ll always be ahead of the game and be quick as lightning when you need to reply and engage with someone.
Remember, knowledge is power, and with this knowledge you’ll be able to keep ahead of your competitors and follow your customers all over the internet.
3) Automate your emails.
With social media becoming more prominent, there’s been a natural pull away from email marketing. That’s a big mistake. Emails are still a primary method of communicating with your customers, and that’s why you shouldn’t ignore it.
Just like with your social media accounts, there are ways to automate your email campaigns. In fact, the majority of email programs out there already have automated email features, so you’ve probably come across them before.
Here are the two key ways to automate your email campaign:
- Schedule your emails.
Why put aside one morning every week to setup and send your emails? Ultimately it depends on your business model, but if possible, I would recommend you sit down and, in one day, write and schedule your emails for every month / 3 months / 6 month period.
This way you can get it out of way and focus on other aspects of your business.
Autoresponders are when specific emails are automatically sent out as a result of some sort of action. Typically, you can send a customer a string of emails when they sign up to a mailing list, send you an initial contact or even purchase a product from your site.
It can be a great way to follow up with customers without having a lift a finger. So for example, if they sign-up for a informative eBook, you can have emails automatically go out a week down the line with a promotional offer, and then follow that up a month later reminding them to return to your site and buy.
Some companies will have emails go out for an entire year, all aimed at converting them into buying their product. And you know what…. it works!
How do I automate email marketing?
There are a number of email marketing programs out there (such as MailChimp, Aweber and ConstantContact), however If you have a Web123 site, then can you request to have email marketing setup for a nominal fee (give our Tech Support team a call if you want us to turn it on for you).
With a Web123 Email Marketing add-on you will get:
- Full support in setting up your email marketing campaign manager.
- The ability to schedule your email alerts for the entire year.
- Full analytics so you can see which emails brought in the moola for you.
- Customisable auto-responders are available too (get in touch if you want to set it up as this requires a bit of custom tweaking).
If you’re a Web123 site owner, and you aren’t using any other email marketing system then you really should be using our email services to make your life easier… and it should improve your income too!
4) Automate your Google Adwords (PPC)
You know all about Google Adwords (and if you don’t, I’ve got a Google Adwords blog post right here). Using their Pay-per-click (PPC) program, you can attract customers who are looking for specific keywords. It’s incredibly affordable, and often it’s one of the first marketing campaigns a new business will setup.
Now… I have a confession to make.
Google are always changing and updating their Google Adwords control panel. Frankly… it makes me want to scream sometimes. I hate having to relearn how to navigate around my Google Adwords account just when I get comfortable with it again.
As much as it makes me want to punch the monitor when an ‘update’ happens, deep down I am happy (honest!), because these changes are usually for the great good.
One of the best updates Google Adwords ever made was the ability to automate your PPC program. At first it takes a little time to get used to, but once you spend 30 minutes getting your head around it, you will begin to see the possibilities unfold.
How do I automate my Google Adwords?
This is just SOME of the automatic features Google PPC now has:
- Setup emails to go out every day, week or month.
- Choose specific times for your adverts. Want to promote an emergency service after 5pm? Well now you can.
- Setup seasonal adverts that only run during certain times of the year.
- Email alerts to let you know when changes do happen.
- Have your adverts automatically stop when they’re not making you a profit.
- Automatically change your ‘cost per click’ so that you’re always in the top 3 positions on Google’s paid results.
- And WAAAY more… trust me this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Imagine what a time saver this is! Instead of having to login and manually start or stop adverts, you can setup a number of automatic adverts for your entire year (and even have them stop automatically if they’re not working).
Right now you could LITERALLY setup your entire email marketing campaign for the whole year.
You really can setup an advert to turn on during the Christmas period whilst your busy having fun at a family BBQ AND know it will turn off automatically if it’s losing you money. How good is that?
So there you have it! 4 ways to help you focus on other areas of your business (and maybe get outdoors occasionally).
Winter is finally over, and you don’t want to be stuck indoors sending emails, writing Facebook posts and turning off your PPC adverts manually.
No you want to be outside, enjoying the sun, running your business like a pro and making the money you deserve to be making. Well these automated processes will help you towards these goals.
Do you have any other golden tips to automate your marketing? Share your thoughts and ideas below so everyone can hear about them!
Till next time!