Marketing automation software is an investment. A very worthy one, but investments cost money. What if you aren’t ready to invest hard cash in third party software to handle all your automated marketing campaigns? You may have the desire but not the people to manage such a thing.
There are some things you can do to introduce some marketing automation into your business for a one-off cost, or even free of charge.
Think about your website as a member of your staff, working 24 hours a day without complaint and without asking for overtime or free coffee. Josephine Public may want to transact with you at midnight but your receptionist and your sales team have gone home. The website can fill both roles if you have it set up correctly.
Setting up the website to be able to handle enquiries and sell products means it can work for you while you are in bed dreaming about your next team building away day. You can even program the website, or associated scripts, to communicate with customers on your behalf.
Organic marketing automation refers to the processes you create within your web operation, as a core function of how your website or your email architecture works.
Using a contact form instead of an email link offers some key advantages. It is easier to track, for a start, and it allows you more control over the sales message. For example, after someone completes your enquiry form, you can display a follow up message, or even bounce them to a thank you page that contains further calls to action.
So many websites don’t send an auto-response to an enquiry. I know these are often pointless because they only prove that a server is responding and not a human. However, a well-crafted response email could include summary prices, another link with a call to action to read some sales info, or further information about a specific product. It could also include company contact info.
If you run an ecommerce website, there are several opportunities to automate your marketing when people buy products. Each receipt is a valuable piece of communication where you could not only provide a receipt but also additional calls to action and advertisements. EasyJet is fantastic at cross-selling and up-selling its other services on boarding tickets, receipts and other communication.
Amazon has become the master at the post-sale follow-up. For example, you buy a piece of technology and then, a couple of weeks later, you see an email from Amazon asking if you like it and inviting you to write a review on the website.
This is another one for ecommerce sites, as well as property companies, holiday companies or other sales-focused websites. A wish list that allows a user to save some items for later means you have another excuse to send them an email – how about, for example, sending them an auto email after a month to invite them to check out their wish list, or when one of their items is reduced in price?
You could set up an incentive on your Facebook page to offer a free discount to everyone who likes the page. This is a good way to get more Facebook likes but also a method of marketing automation that automatically sends out vouchers which may result in sales.
Don’t forget that sharing buttons on your content also qualify as automated marketing. Just putting the buttons in the right place on your page, encouraging people to use them, means you will have readers promoting you to others. The same is true of ‘tell a friend’ referral forms, although these are less popular nowadays.
If you missed my previous article about marketing automation, you can read it here: What is marketing automation?
Steve (RIP) was Services Director for Vertical Leap. He started professional life as a magazine journalist, working on music magazines and women's titles before becoming a web editor in 1997, then joining MSN to work purely in online publishing. Since 1999 he has worked for and consulted to a broad range of businesses about their digital marketing.
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