There are only so many hours in a day.
24, to be exact.
And if you’re like me, you have a list of seemingly never-ending tasks to fill those hours.
Social media posts, blog posts, SEO, PPC, financials, processes – you name it.
But when you’re scaling and growing your small business, you need to start cutting time from as many tedious tasks as possible.
You don’t have time to run the business and still email every single customer after they purchase your product.
You don’t have time to nurture prospects and leads with personalized messaging.
The thing is, it still needs to be done if you want your business to survive (and you do).
Thankfully, to continue nurturing your relationships with your customers and maintain your business, there’s marketing automation.
Instead of wasting time on menial processes, you can automate digital marketing tasks and save loads of hours and frustration.
And you won’t be alone.
In fact, more than 50% of companies are using marketing automation.
Almost half of B2B companies are planning to adopt it.
67% of the industry leaders in marketing are using automation to improve and grow their companies.
And they use marketing automation for a variety of objectives, from increasing ROI to getting more customers.
This means that the top marketers in the business are using this innovative technology to save time.
So, if you want to make your business more efficient, you need to be running these marketing-automation campaigns, too.
But, first, let’s jump into exactly what marketing automation is.
What Is Marketing Automation?
So, what exactly is marketing automation?
Here’s my definition:
Automating marketing processes that otherwise are tedious and take up too much time.
Yes, it’s simple, because it’s sort of a simple concept.
It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like, but I know most people love specific definitions.
So, here is Google’s take on it:
The last part is crucial here: automating repetitive tasks.
The goal of marketing automation is to cut down on time, improve efficiency, and run processes automatically that would otherwise suck your time and kill efficiency.
HubSpot defines marketing automation like this:
Marketing automation uses software to automate monotonous marketing work. Marketing departments can automate repetitive tasks such as email marketing, social media posting, and even ad campaigns.
They further describe it as taking repetitive tasks like email and social media and automating them to save time and money. It’s more than efficiency – it’s about a more personalized experience as a customer.
The point is to automate tedious digital marketing tasks that take you away from other things that need your attention.
And it’s safe to say that the adoption of marketing automation is growing fast.
Heavy adoption of marketing automation started in 2014, and the growth since then has been trending upwards.
The majority of marketers believe that marketing automation is worth the cost and setup:
Meaning that most marketers are benefiting from the implementation and seeing positive ROIs.
On top of that, most marketers believe that they are successful at achieving important objectives through the use of marketing automation techniques.
But, tons of marketers still don’t have integrated systems and aren’t taking advantage of marketing automation.
And they should be.
I use tons of marketing automation techniques every day.
From scheduling social posts to automated emails and nurturing tactics, the options are nearly limitless.
I can even set up automations based on traffic or new leads.
Marketing automation has saved me countless hours that I would have spent on email and social media.
And today, I’m going to share some of my favorite marketing automation campaigns that you need to implement ASAP.
Let’s get started.
Add Facebook Leads Into CRM or Email and Welcome Them to Your List
One of my favorite tools for collecting leads is using Meta(formerly Facebook) Lead Ads.
These lead ads are one of the best ways to collect leads and build your email list.
Why? Because they integrate so well into Facebook and are one of the least-boring lead forms I’ve ever used.
Here’s an example of what they look like. The first step in this multi-level form is:
And once they hit your CTA, they have a basic information screen to fill out:
Here’s a better, full example of the entire process that Facebook users will see when they click on and fill out your lead-generation forms:
With that said, where do the leads go once someone fills out the form?
That’s one of my main concerns (and many marketers I’ve worked with) with Facebook Lead Ads.
It turns out that the leads simply go to Facebook’s own Forms Library on your Business Manager account:
Personally, I don’t want to waste my time going to the forms library and sorting the data myself.
And isn’t the point of automation all about saving time?
After you check out the new leads, you have to tediously upload them to your CRM or email management software to start running campaigns.
Again, I don’t have time for that.
Then, you have to take your newly-uploaded email list and start setting up campaigns.
What if you could automatically do that, though?
What if you could just set up your Lead Ads and have someone a lead imported into your CRM or email platform once they submit the form?
Then they’ll be automatically placed into an email campaign.
Luckily, this is a possibility.
Zapier is probably my favorite tool to use for developing incredibly fast, easy integrations and automations.
It connects to hundreds (if not thousands) of applications that you likely are using.
For example, you can connect your calendar to Slack, your social media to a workflow, or even import your Lead Ads data into your favorite email program.
The options are nearly limitless, and the ease of use blows other products away.
For this automation campaign, we obviously want to import our Facebook Lead Ads data into a CRM or email platform to save time and automate digital marketing for the process of new campaigns.
To get started, select Facebook Lead Ads from the “Workflow Ideas” section:
Next, click “Make A Zap!” to get started:
Now your selection of Facebook Lead Ads should show up as a “Trigger” on your new Zap:
A trigger is simple:
It basically means that when someone fills out your lead form, it will trigger the following actions that you set.
It’s the spark or catalyst to your automation campaign.
Whenever an action happens on your lead form, the reaction you set will occur.
Next, be sure to connect your Facebook account information to get started:
Then you’re going to want to select the specific Facebook Page that you will be using for advertising.
On top of that, you need to select the specific form that you want to use for this automation campaign:
Next, you need to move on to the action step:
This is where you will determine what happens with the lead-form data from your Facebook Ads.
Simply use the search bar to find the application you want to use:
For this example, we can use MailChimp since it’s likely to be the most common platform for emailing and nurturing leads.
Next, you need to select the action that will be triggered by the Facebook Lead Forms:
For this example, we want to select “Add/Update Subscriber” because this will automatically populate leads from Facebook into a new list.
You’re pretty much done after this, but you can further customize some of your options.
For example, I recommend using the “Send Welcome Email” option for new leads:
This will send your new leads an instant welcome email, automating the whole process even more.
Now instead of setting up Facebook Lead Ads, reviewing them in Facebook, downloading them, and uploading them into your platform to set up for a new campaign, you’ve automated it.
Your next step is to simply sit back and watch the leads come in and receive your emails without lifting a finger!
If you want to do this for your CRM (like Zoho, HubSpot, etc.), simply repeat the process but choose your own CRM instead of MailChimp as the “Action” step.
And if you want to use this for non-Facebook leads, you can set it up for tons of form applications on your website like Gravity Forms and more!
Pro tip: I also recommend putting these new leads into their own group. Make multiple automated processes on Zapier for each individual Facebook Lead Ad.
Automatically Share Curated Content on Social Media
Another one of my favorite unconventional marketing automation campaigns is to automate social media marketing for the process of sharing content.
Social media can quickly eat up your time throughout the week.
And most people spend way too much time on social media every single day:
And it’s not just your everyday social media user that can’t seem to put their favorite platforms down, either.
Marketers, on average, spend many hours every week on their social platforms of choice. If you want to know what’s getting done during these periods, they’re retargeting ads most of the time:
And if we’ve learned anything about social media from direct usage, it’s probably how utterly time-consuming and distracting it can be.
Be honest with me: how often do you get caught up on Twitter or Facebook and look at the clock to see that 25 or 30 minutes have gone by?
It happens to me more than I’d like to admit.
And that’s why I use this marketing automation tactic.
I used to spend way too much time on social media. It was taking me away from the business aspects that really needed my attention.
Now, instead of wasting my time on social, I’ve automated the process and can spend more time with clients, where real ROI is produced.
To do this for yourself, you’ll need to make a Feedly account.
Feedly is a great tool for curating content from your favorite industry blogs and thought leaders.
I use it every day to find the latest trending content!
I follow industry experts and get their content delivered via email daily:
And, like Zapier from before, you can automatically send that curated content to your social platforms.
So, instead of wasting time reading through the curated content and crafting a tweet, you can automatically do it.
Simply posting every new blog post on your Facebook won’t develop your status as a topic expert.
Sharing other topically-relevant pieces from experts will.
To get started, open up Zapier and search for the Feedly integration:
Next, select the Buffer integration that will show up below the “Explore Workflow Ideas” section:
If you’re not familiar with Buffer, you should get familiar with it.
It’s a tool that will allow you to schedule tons of social media posts in advance for every social platform you have.
Can you imagine not having to go to each platform and share the post individually?
I can, and it’s amazing.
Instead, Buffer will share the same post to all of your channels at the times you provide.
Next, make sure Feedly is selected as your “Trigger:”
Now, simply connect your Feedly account to get started:
(Disclaimer: you need a Feedly Pro account to use this integration. Thankfully, it’s only $7 a month or $62 for an entire year)
And remember, sometimes you have to spend money to make money.
Look at the opportunity cost:
The average marketer spends five to six hours a week on social media.
That means you’re spending 260 hours a year on social media.
Multiply that by your current wage/salary, and that’s how much money you are spending on social media marketing (and that’s without even counting ad spend!).
Now, does $62 seem like a bargain? I bet it does.
Plus, it saves you from having to spend hundreds of hours.
Now that you’re convinced, let’s go back to the setup process.
Select the category from Feedly that you want to share content from.
To set up categories on Feedly, simply search for an industry publication to follow, then click “Create A Collection.”
This will create a new “category” for you to pull posts from for this automation.
Next, simply select “Add to Buffer” as your action!
And that’s it.
Now you don’t have to curate a single thing on your own. Feedly will automatically pull in new content based on your selected categories and who you follow.
Then, it will send those articles into Buffer and add them to your queue.
Just kick back and let the posts share themselves.
Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails Automation
Shopping cart abandonment emails should be the bread and butter of your marketing automation.
Want to drive more sales and close those deals that were left open?
You need to use cart-abandonment emails!
Almost 70% of e-commerce carts will be abandoned with products left in them.
That’s nearly 70% of your sales that you risk losing out on without automating for e-commerce via emails.
Someone took the time to peruse your product and place it in their cart. There is definite interest there.
Don’t let the sale slip away.
With simple Shopify settings, you can easily send cart-abandonment emails.
To get started, log in to your Shopify account and head to the admin section.
Click on your settings tab.
Then, click on “Checkout:”
Scroll down to the “Order processing” section and make sure to select the following option:
It’s that simple! Now you can automatically send these people emails that will directly take them back to their abandoned carts to hopefully get that conversion the second time around.
I love this one from Black Milk Clothing.
Who can resist a plea from a cute dog?
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find the best automation tool?
When you’re looking for automation tools, be sure to take your time and do your due diligence. Try to get reviews and impressions both from sources in your own network as well as industry experts you trust. If there’s an opportunity to take advantage of a trial, feel free to do so. However, in order to have the most success here, you need a clear picture of how you plan to use automation and what your tools are. This will help you find the best fit to manage your needs.
In marketing, what should I automate first?
This question is ultimately dependent on what marketing channels your company uses and what goals they have. If your goal is to try and use automation to scale your operations, you may want to start with one of your largest marketing areas, like email. If your goal is more about freeing up time for a limited marketing staff to work on essential tasks, choosing a smaller area of your marketing, like social media, may make more sense.
The difference between marketing automation and campaign management?
Marketing automation is the use of technology to streamline processes that are tedious or take up time to reach desired results. This is different from campaign management that focuses on the process of designing, tracking, executing, and analyzing marketing campaigns.
Why should small business owners should automate digital marketing?
Not only can you reach more prospects effectively, you can automate tasks like email marketing, social media, and website updates to focus on other business tasks and new ideas.
As marketers, we’re constantly stretched for time.
We’ve got things to do, people to see, and customers to convert.
There’s not always enough time in the day to complete everything on your list.
Rather, there’s not enough time in the day to complete everything on your list without a little help.
And that’s where marketing automation comes into play.
You just don’t have time to nurture prospects on your own, like you did in the startup stages.
But, you still need personalization and well-timed messaging.
You need to have a guide to marketing automation as a launchpad if you want to scale efficiently.
Start by automating your lead flows. When a form is completed, send those new leads into your CRM or email platform to automatically start new campaigns.
Then, automate your social media marketing strategy. Stop wasting precious hours on social media and start automating your sharing process with tools like Feedly and Buffer.
And remember, always use shopping cart abandonment emails to have a second shot at converting customers.
Finally, make sure to block out a few minutes in your schedule to pat yourself on the back for saving so much time.
Feels good, doesn’t it?
What marketing automation campaigns have you found success with?
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