A Salesforce State of Marketing report for 2017 pegs that over 67% of marketing leaders currently use a marketing automation platform (thank you Jordie Van Rijn of Email Monday for that). For many businesses that don’t, there’s at least a plan in place (or maybe just a gnawing thought) that it’s time to put marketing automation to use.
There are nearly 11 times more businesses that are dabbling with marketing automation today than they were in early 2011.
Agreed that marketing automation is hot. We know that it has the potential to alleviate your stress, make things easier on your business, and put some sophistication back into marketing.
Further, when you do marketing automation right, you also nudge your business that much closer to profitability.
But then, for too many businesses, marketing automation feels like that’s something only Amazon can afford to do. Or there are several more myths and other things that are probably stopping you in your tracks when it comes to marketing automation.
Here are a few myths that have the potential to hurt your business:
There are too many options
Drip is a fantastic email marketing automation tool. Mailchimp has always been around and is the popular kid on the block. GrowthFunnel, and Convertflow are new entrants to the mix. You then have the big daddys of the marketing automation world such as Marketo, Pardot, OntraPort, and InfusionSoft.
The problem? You have no freaking clue what you’d need to start with. Just spending time choosing between marketing automation tools feels like it’s a sin.
My suggestion? Just don’t sweat it. Start with Mailchimp. If and when you need slightly advanced automation (or if you have too many offers for lead generation plastered across your site), use Drip.
Read up about teardown between Mailchimp Vs Drip
Set it up & forget it
If your idea of marketing automation was to craft up a sales funnel and let software do all the heavy lifting for you, prepare to be disappointed.
Marketing automation does have the word “automation” in it but it won’t be “set it and forget”.
The basic setup and how your prospective customer or lead moves from the top of the funnel to the bottom might all be set up.
Your job then is to tweak it, test it, optimize it, and continue to work on it until it works for your business — and all of this is a single workflow.
Depending on your business, you could have multiple workflows, campaigns, offers, products, and services.
At that point, complexity tends to creep in. As Matt Burke writes on HuBSpot,
“Lazy marketing automation is easy, but the keyword here is “lazy.” Quality marketing automation on the other hand takes work, and it’s well worth your effort in the end. ”
Marketing automation brings in a flavor of “smart and sophisticated” to help you grow strong, sustainable systems.
I can do marketing automation myself
Maybe you can, but you won’t do it well enough for it to work. Marketing Automation is like a little motor that does something very well. The difference is that an actual motor (the machine) is built once and it continues to work and deliver what it’s meant to.
Marketing automation, on the other hand, needs to be built up, tweaked, and managed before and while it’s working.
Now, that takes work. You could do it but the trouble is that you have a business to run.
That’s why, it makes sense to hire an agency that can do this.
Marketing automation is complicated
In a day and age where you are just a few drags and clicks away from doing whatever you could ever want to do for your business, implementing marketing automation has never been this simple. Click this, click that, connect this, connect that — boom! You have marketing automation working for you.
If you are not implementing marketing automation today because if you thought it was complicated, you really didn’t spend a Sunday afternoon “tinkering” with the tools.
What are marketing automation myths hurting your business? Tell me about it.
I don’t need to tell you how important social media is for your business — there’s just way too much data out there to convince you and I don’t have to repeat myself.
But sadly, entrepreneurs don’t really use social media to its real potential. Facebook becomes the “idle joe’s channel”. Twitter becomes a way to quickly parse through some interesting content (whatever tickles you) or it also becomes a way to express your opinions on celebs or a chance for you to jump at trending news.
Meanwhile, LinkedIn is as passive as television is — you keep yourself abreast of who gets promoted where or what some of your professional contacts are up to.
Agreed that that’s how social media evolved, but there’s just so much more social media is capable of.
Here are a few important ways to use social media to help grow your business or provide some value to you:
Use social to bring in relevant traffic
You know this already, but it’s important. So, we’ll let it sink in. Use a combination of all your social accounts — putting up the kind of format that each network demands (meaning that images do well on Pinterest and Instagram; your blog posts get traction on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook) — to get some traffic back to your own website.
When a few members of your social networks click on those posts or other content you share, they come back to visit you.
Plus, you can also use tools like Snip.ly to get traffic to specific calls to action (using which you can send traffic to either pages of your website, landing pages with offers, or wherever you please).
Your social media accounts can be at work 24 x 7, with timed and regular updates going out throughout the day (hint: use Buffer or Hootsuite).
Small talk is profitable
All of that content on Social media isn’t meant to be consumed (like you’d with a newspaper or a magazine). You are supposed to consume content, yes. But you also supposed to dig a little deeper while casting the net ever so wide to find out who those real people are behind all the content.
Mentions, interactions, small talk, conversations that flow back and forth, acquaintances, friendships, and professional relationships — these bring value to your social presence (apart from the obvious traffic, which is again people).
Maintain those micro-interactions, acquaintances, friendships, and whatever happens on your social networks. This is your new-age ability to get as personal as you can get with a global network of existing customers, potential customers, evangelists, investors, vendors, and even future hires.
Influence. One Update at a time
Most followers and fans on your social networks are passive — meaning that they just sit there and let your content stream through their feeds. While you might have liked it if your social following was more active, but then, you ask for a lot.
Your social following has low attention span. This doesn’t mean “no attention” at all.
Social followers and fans might be passive (or active), but they are listening. They are tuned in. They see their tweets, log into LinkedIn, drift on Pinterest, and scroll through their Instagram feeds. Of course, they check their Facebook accounts too.
As they listen and while they stay tuned in, you have your chance to influence them. As a business or a brand, you are an influencer. You are supposed to be good at what you do, and you’ll do great when you are voice that your social following wants to hear when it comes to the topic that your business relates to.
See how each of these companies (each in a different industry) influence their respective social following with content, authority, and love.
Real-time networking: Go deep & wide
While you are on social media, don’t lose the opportunity of getting to know people. Go out there and click on those who follow you, talk to you, share your content, and mention you. Find out who they really are by clicking on their social handles and getting to really know them.
Handles are fine, but what are their names?
What’s their business? What do they do? What are they good at?
What do they write about? Why do they write about what they write about?
What kind of things are “they” passionate about? What tickles them?
Find out as much information as you possibly can, and then get in touch with them — not for a crappy link. Not because you want something from them, and certainly not because you want them to buy from you.
Do it because the world needs to listen to you, because you mean well for them, and because you care.
Social media isn’t the newspaper; it’s not a magazine. It’s an opportunity for you to connect.
The question is: are you connecting enough? Are you giving the world a tickle?
I work out of a shared office and so there are usually other entrepreneurs around me. For several years, I’ve actively avoided making any sort of small talk or active networking in shared office spaces because I meet many wantrepreneurs than entrepreneurs. The kind of people I meet – I am sorry to say – can only suck your life out of you. I have written about these specific types of wantrepreneurs on LinkedIn earlier.
On a random Saturday, I was on a course-taking mode doing nothing but taking all sorts of courses all day long. Facebook Blueprint, Convertkit’s Launch Your Own Business Masterclass, and many others.
One guy casually walked up to the spot where I usually sit and popped this question: “What do you do?”
Me: I run a digital marketing agency.
Him: Businesses don’t need a digital marketing agency, do they? We can do it everything ourselves.
Me: Yes, of course, you can.
Him: You have lots of competition too, don’t you?
Me: In a way, generally speaking, yes. But I don’t mind competition.
Me: What do you do?
Him: I am creating an app – an aggregator of sorts.
Me: Awesome. Good for you.
The talk was trash. There wasn’t any takeout at the end of it all. I hated every bit of that conversation. One point stood out: his vehement denial that a “business doesn’t need a digital marketing agency”.
Businesses need digital marketing agencies. Here’s why:
You know shit
So this guy, in the middle of the conversation, said everything I was hoping he wouldn’t.
We hire writers to write for our blog. We only pay $1 per blog post. It’s another thing that I’d have to sit down and edit or rewrite everything myself.
I have an in-house team of digital marketers. We run ads on Google and Facebook. We only do advertising for brand recall.
A/B testing? Bah, my business doesn’t need that. We have unlimited funding (Who is the jackass who is funding you asshole?)
The trouble with digital marketing is that absolutely everyone can claim to be an expert at it – knowing whatever they know and clinging on to it like God has spoken.
Sadly, you bring the same knowledge to your business. You throw money. You hire monkeys. You do shit all the time thinking you are doing the right thing.
How many wrongs will you do until you get a right?
You are an entrepreneur, not a marketer
You are in business and it’s your business to manage your business. Unless you are a digital marketing freelancer, SEO professional, founder/co-founder of a digital marketing agency, you wouldn’t deal with marketing on a daily basis. For instance, I am a digital marketing professional and I also have the responsibility to do all the marketing needed for my own agency. So, I have a dual role here.
For tax consultants, lawyers, salon owners, real estate consultants, and all other business owners out there, marketing is not what they are good at.
Some of you try to do it by yourself (and that’s your call) but that’s not what you are good at.
If you attempt DIY, you’ll fail
Even if you happen to “know a lot about digital marketing” it doesn’t imply that you should do it yourself simply because you just can’t.
If you did, you’d not have the patience to do it the right way – the kind of stuff you’d need to do on a consistent basis to ensure that you get the results you seek.
You don’t have to write like Stephen King but you’ll be just as good as him when it comes to the volume of writing (for blog posts, other content) you’d have to do. You won’t have the time to spend on social media. For many folks, the marketing technology stack – and to deal with it – is enough to make you give up.
Your time is better spent elsewhere
Digital marketing is a full-time thing. You’d have produce so much content that it never ends, technically. You’d then have to spend time (and do the work) for social media, setting up email marketing and marketing automation, build landing pages, manage ad campaigns, worry about conversion optimization, and more.
Do you have the time to do that? If you do, who the heck is going to run your business?
You are your biggest bottleneck
Good digital marketing depends on data. Decisions are made based on trials, experimentation, and a considerable amount of failure.
If it were left to you and I, we’d be making decisions based on emotions. Or based on what mom told us. Or perhaps you have a friend who knows someone who knows someone else who dabbles with digital marketing, and this friend told you something crappy.
In any way you look at it, you are truly a problem for your own good. You are a bottleneck when it comes to your business and digital marketing specifically.
Your opinions and mine, they don’t count.
What counts is how digital marketing helps your business grow. Do yourself a favor and let professionals and digital marketing agencies do what they are supposed to do.