Marketing automation is a term being tossed around by digital marketers. While you certainly want to have a qualified professional supercharge your marketing, there are some things you can do to get things rolling and streamline the process to make it easier to hit the ground running.
I'm often asked about my opinion on search engine optimization (SEO) and paid online advertising (usually pay-per-click or PPC ad campaigns). The short answer is that it can certainly help, but ultimately you should make the decision based on what your business needs are.
This week, we'll be holding our first training workshop to help small business owners entrepreneurs with their email marketing. During the rise of social media, you may have heard "email marketing is dead". Well, I assure you it's not - and many experts agree with me.
As someone in the industry, I know that content is king. I hear it daily. I also know that I don't have an enterprise-level marketing budget, but need to routinely take care of some menial marketing tasks - tasks which take time, but really don't have to. Email newsletters and social media are two marketing channels which integrate well with your Web site, drive traffic, and keeps your business in front of your customers.
It takes time to create content once and there's no reason you can't grab that content from your site and send it out. But you certainly don't want to copy and paste it all yourself when there are tools in MailChimp which can take care of it automatically.
1. RSS-DRIVEN CAMPAIGNS.
RSS, short for Really Simple Syndication, serves up a list of content on demand. Most of the time these go into some RSS reader (either Web-based or App-based - I like Feedly), but you can also create RSS-Driven Campaigns in MailChimp. It checks the RSS feed you set up for the campaign automatically, you just have to set the schedule. When there are new blog posts, an email campaign is sent out to your list. It's important to coordinate the email marketing schedule with your publishing schedule, but it provides an easy way to send out your blog posts automatically. RSS feeds can be created for Joomlaarticles, but if you're using a blogging component extension, such as EasyBlog, it's built in. You can even set up separate campaigns for individual bloggers by creating an RSS-Driven Campaign pointing at the feed for that blogger's posts.
When I'm out networking, people always tell me they aren't sure how to use social media for marketing. It can be intimidating and involves a great deal of experimentation to find the right mix of content, not to mention the fact that every business is different. I've found two questions need to be answered to point marketers in the right direction. First, what is important to you? Second, who are you trying to reach?
It sounds simple enough, but those two basic questions have led to long conversations. In the end, you need to choose the "voice" of your social media channels and know the audience you want to reach.
1. CHOOSE A VOICE
This probably sounds much easier than it really is, but asking yourself what's important to you is a great starting point. Each response that comes to mind can be qualified against how it compliments your business culture, your own ethics, and whether or not it's something you feel your customers will be passionate about.
I've always been something of a privacy nut and I bring that as part of the culture of the company. Not many people think about it at great length, though that's changed some recently. Sure, I could post every news story about hackers stealing personal information, passwords, or defacing sites, but it's really about what people can do to protect their online accounts so that, when a popular site is compromised, their information isn't as vulnerable.