I have a co-worker who is known to say "work smarter, not harder." He's always looking for ways to make the work we do quicker and more efficient. If there is an app, website or other tool out there meant to help with digital marketing processes, I can almost guarantee he's tried it.
One of his favorite ways to "work smarter" is by utilizing automation for our own marketing efforts, our client work and our internal project management processes.
Before I dive right in, let me take a step back and highlight a few things that fall under the umbrella of automation for digital marketing:
- sending email campaigns
- scheduling social media posts
- segmenting contacts to lists
- updating contact info and properties
- nurturing leads/managing sales opportunities
- creating workflows
As you might have guessed, there are a ton of automation tools out there, so you might have to do some investigating to find out the best one for your organization's needs (including your budget, as not all of them are free). But to help make your research a little easier, check out these automation tools that are favorites here at MINDSCAPE.
If you are looking for a tool that will help make your email marketing efforts more efficient, check out MailChimp. While this tool only does one thing, managing emails, it does an absolutely fantastic job of it. You can send automated email campaigns based on contact behavior, preferences, and previous purchases. While their website makes it seem like MailChimp is only for e-commerce businesses, that is not the case. We have clients across a wide variety of industries that use their services.
Speaking of services, it's important to note that MailChimp does offer a free plan that has basic features and allows you to contact up to 2,000 subscribers a month and send up to 12,000 emails. If you need more than that, you will have to invest in one of their paid plans.
If you've ever wanted a tool that allows you to schedule all of your organization's social media posts ahead of time from one easy to use dashboard, then Hootsuite is the tool for you. It connects with 35 different social media channels, which is perfect if you are looking to launch a large social campaign. Hootsuite even provides basic analytics, so after you bulk schedule your posts you can easily look back and see which ones were the best performing.
If you have ever wanted a single platform where you can automate and manage all of the things I mention in the list at the beginning of this post then check out HubSpot. The platform's automation options fall into two main camps: content scheduling and workflows.
HubSpot has tools that allow you to schedule the distribution of pretty much all of your digital marketing content; emails, blog posts, social media posts, etc.
One of the best features of the platform is the ability to create workflows. HubSpot defines workflows as, “a series of automated actions that you can trigger to occur based on a person’s behaviors or contact information.” If you want to learn more about this handy, time-saving tool, check out this blog post.
This is kind of the grand-daddy of all automation tools (and one of our personal favorites). Zapier describes their services as "Easy automation for busy people." The graphic below (taken from their website) pretty much sums up what Zapier is all about:
Sounds pretty terrific right? It certainly is! Zapier can be integrated with 750 different apps and do SO MANY different things. One of my favorite Zaps (what Zapier calls their workflows) that I have set up links our Instagram and Twitter accounts (these 2 channels don't offer an easy integration within the platforms). The Zap is set up so that whenever an image gets posted to our Instagram account, it also gets posted to our Twitter.
This is a very, very basic Zap. My co-worker has some very complex ones set up that you practically need a step-by-step tutorial to decipher.
Hopefully some of these tools can help you automate some of your digital marketing efforts and "work smarter, not harder". If you have other questions tactics that can help you get the most out of your digital marketing, we would love to help!