Make your life easier and marketing more efficient by taking advantage of a few standalone services with low (or no) cost. These are not a replacement for a marketing automation suite like Marketo, but these are a great place to start if you’ve been thinking about automation but aren’t sure what you need. All of the tasks below are standalone things — meaning you can do as many or as few as you want.
1. Setup a Thank You email for your contact form submissions
I’m amazed how many companies still only have an on-page message when someone submits a contact request. Take the time to setup an email that goes out to contacts. It gives you a chance to reinforce your message, offer them additional information, show your commitment and keep them engaged. Most form software offers this option out of the box.
2. Add a subject line to mailto links on your website
HTML allows you to set a subject line on email links, so that the subject lines of emails are pre-populated for someone that clicks an email address and opens it in their email client.
Example: <a href=”mailto:email@example.com?subject=using subject lines”>Email Chris</a>
Adding the subject parameter will allow you to filter your email. This sets you up to create autoresponders and workflows (like automatically forwarding emails to specific sales people).
3. Automate content sharing
Social media takes time and attention. Both of these are often in short supply. Fortunately, there are several tools that let you automate sharing of new blog posts, white papers, and other objects across the web. If you are using WordPress, then you can use it’s built-in sharing tool (via JetPack) to automatically share posts to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+ & Linkedin. You can also look at HootSuite, which allows you setup RSS feeds for automatic sharing on a schedule. Another option is IFTTT which allows you to create recipes (e.g. share to tumblr whenever my RSS feed publishes something new).
Check out Make Twitter Your Research Librarian for some more social-related automation ideas.
4. Create a new customer email series
This is another easy one that companies still miss. After someone signs-up or buys, have an automated chain of emails that bring them back to the site. In ecommerce, you see these a lot around related products or categories. But publishers and other vendors can use these as well. Create 5-7 emails with the first one going out 3 days after the initial conversion. Then send one a week for the next 3 weeks, then send 1 every 2 weeks until the chain is done.
You can use these to offer free tips, products, news, advice or anything else you think your contact will benefit from.
Checkout 4.5 Way to Optimize Your Marketing with Geographic Data to get some ideas for segmentation and targeting.
5. Use the Linkedin Contacts tool
The Linkedin Contacts tool makes staying in touch and aware of changes in your network much easier. You’ll get emails whenever contacts change jobs or have work anniversaries. You’re also able to see when you last met them and can add notes about your interactions. It’s free and especially handy if you are working a long sales-cycle within a company.
The steps described here are all ways of automating parts of your marketing. However you are missing out on some of the synergies of using a tool like Marketo or HubSpot. There is a value all your lead and marketing data in one place, there are things like progressive profiling, automated segmentation and intensive personalization that you can’t do well without some investment in tools.
After trying these steps, I suggest looking more closely at the CRM, email and other tools you have in-house. There are probably integrations or apps that you can use to tie them together and get even further with automation. Beyond, that you’ll want to look at some of the suites out there.
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