“It is human nature to make things convenient for ourselves, it’s why we invented indoor plumbing. Automating rote, repeatable tasks can save you a lot of time and aggravation. Today’s tools are very good at helping you do exactly that, however, I would be careful to balance those tools with a healthy amount of interaction. It’s this interaction that plants the seeds of success, and it can’t be automated. You need smart people who will devise the right strategy for you, and help you with the execution.”
— Dino Dogan, Founder, Triberr
I’ll be honest. When I started marketing my first business (Materia Medica, a yoga, Ayurveda, and holistic massage business), guerrilla marketing sounded great. It was all about low-cost ideas like slipping fliers into books about massage at your local bookstore.
Times have changed and so have I.
Now that guerrilla marketing has gone tech savvy, beginners have a whole lot to understand and not very much time to understand it before our friends at Stanford (Silicon Valley’s talent incubator) University come up with the next bright idea.
What to do?
I can’t solve all of your problems, but I can at least help you understand what they are — and help you figure out the steps you need to take to make your (guerrilla) marketing happen new style.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is not exactly guerrilla marketing (I think the big boys call this bootstrapping now — which can be abbreviated with BS because it’s either time or money, and if you aren’t tech savvy, it’s a whole lotta time, but that’s another story). In the right hands, though, it can allow you to scale your business and manage your leads in a bigger way than you can if you have to do everything by hand.
Definition. Marketing automation is, according to our friends over at Wikipedia, “software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.”
Sounds good, especially if your marketing department is made up of one person who also does sales, production, and admin!
What Can Be Automated?
Here’s a short list of tasks, programs, and areas that can be automated to greater and lesser extents:
- Nurture emails
- Triggered emails
- Drip emails
- List management
- List segmentation
- Lead generation
- Lead scoring
- Dynamic content
- Text messages
- Landing pages
- A/B testing
- Benchmarking and
- Measuring ROI
Now I know you’re mad at me because the above list is pretty flippin’ overwhelming. I know!
Don’t Believe the Hype
Your first exercise is to Google every word or phrase in the above list that you didn’t understand. The reason? While marketing automation can be great for small businesses and solopreneurs in the long run, in the short run it’s best to understand what you’re getting into before you get into it.
Where Do I Go?
Here is an (extremely partial) list of marketing automation providers:
- eMarketeer (full disclosure: I am an affiliate and use their product)
- Hubspot (the hands-down most popular)
- Eloquoa (Oracle’s answer) and
- Marketo (Also popular)
While each of these providers caters to a slightly different market, my affiliate, eMarketeer, is the best fit for guerrilla marketing lovers. It’s not a big name — yet — in the US, and it’s a little more hands-on then some of the other names on the list. On the upside, if you have questions you’ll always know where to find me.
Here’s what you should know: While marketing automation providers provide email automation, Email Service Providers (ESPs) such as MailChimp, do not offer the full range of marketing automation functions.
What Do You Want?
If you just want to send out an email to your subscriber list a couple times a month, marketing automation probably isn’t for you.
If you are looking to grow and scale your business long-term, automating your marketing is an excellent choice.
What You Need to Know
I started this post off with a quote from Dino Dogan. Dino knows a lot about marketing, and his words of wisdom (echoed by Wikipedia) are, well, wise.
Take home. Marketing automation is great for guerrilla marketers who want to automate rote and repetitive tasks, but don’t expect it to do miracles.
Instead, expect a learning curve and to to spend time doing some research. Figure out which provider is best for you and at which price point, and evaluate which parts of your marketing can be automated and which parts of your marketing need to remain personal and high touch.
Ask me or leave a comment, below.
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