Anyone who thinks that running a startup is easy has clearly never done it. But, it’s not for the reasons you might think.
It’s more than difficult–it’s wearing. Thrilling at the same time, of course, but enough to swallow up every fragment of free time before you can spend it on anything else. If you want to make it a success, you need to give it absolutely everything you have.
The biggest problem with this isn’t even the likelihood of burnout: it’s the simple truth that there are only so many hours in the day, and there’s only so much you can get done within a given period. This is a particular problem for marketing — something that’s not immediately essential, but still has to be done, and can soak up as many hours as you throw at it.
That’s where automation becomes an absolute must. Instead of handling all your marketing manually, you can set much of it to run without your direct input, leaving you to focus on other things. So if you’re growing your startup, you need to be automating wherever possible. Here are five ways in which marketing automation software can help you thrive:
1. Represent you online 24/7
Now that we’re all connected by the internet, there’s little to stop us from talking (and selling) to people who live thousands of miles away from us, but this also means a great deal of variety in time zones. When you’re reaching the end of your working day, it might be late morning for one of your customers — and the more success you have, the more people will need assistance.
A marketing chatbot won’t get tired or need a break. It won’t snap at a customer. It can carry on effortlessly at all hours, helping you earn sales while you’re sleeping.
2. Smoothly identify traffic attribution
Where is your online traffic coming from? After all, if you don’t know what’s driving your leads, you can’t know which tactics are flourishing and which are underperforming, making it impossible to make meaningful overall improvements.
Marketing automation, though, can seamlessly sort through all the visits to your website and calls to your phone line, identifying the point of origin and the route taken for each one. That information allows you to make tweaks: lowering PPC budget if it isn’t producing enough conversions, for instance, or investing more heavily in email marketing.
3. Assign value to different audiences
A lesson that all startups need to learn is that not all customers are of equal value. If you go above and beyond for a company that questions all your costs and doesn’t pay you much, you won’t have the time or resources to win over a better client.
Automation software is excellent for identifying which of your customers are actually making you money. It can factor in numerous metrics to suggest how you might tweak your marketing. Maybe you’re targeting one demographic that isn’t justifying the cost, and overlooking another demographic that provides excellent ROI.
4. Provide easy A/B testing
A/B testing — trying two versions of something to see which one performs better — is a core part of content optimization. There are so many things you can do differently in digital marketing that it’s massively useful to have the chance to find out which color of landing page button gets the most clicks (for example).
That way, instead of having to manually swap versions of your content and keep track of how well they perform, you can simply set the options and leave them to run. The more testing you do, the better-optimized your content will become, improving your online metrics across the board — and all for minimal effort and expenditure.
5. Help you keep track of workloads
Many modern professionals work remotely, or at odd hours. Knowing this, startups tend to embrace flexible operational models and schedules. This makes it tricky to keep everyone on the same page for campaigns, but automation can fix that.
An automated system can ensure that every new task is logged and tagged appropriately. This ensures total visibility at the top of the business. If you’re the head of the company, you can simply check the software and see immediately how specific projects are progressing.
Are you using automation wherever possible to help your startup grow? If not, why not? Marketing is a time-intensive task when done correctly, so you need all the help you can get. Start looking into some marketing automation suites immediately, choose one that suits your company, and see how far it can take you.
Patrick Foster is an ecommerce expert, coach and freelance writer. On his blog Ecommercetips.org you’ll find advice on ecommerce, marketing, SEO, and how to develop your business strategy in these areas.