Marketers are busy people. Marketers in a startup are arguably even busier. Even if you have a good workflow, understand your tasks, and have a clear goal in mind, it’s not always easy to keep up. That’s where automating marketing tasks for your startup comes into play, and that’s exactly what this article is about.
In a startup environment, you have a lot to keep track of. It’s not just the marketing aspect of the business, it’s everything. Although automation can only go so far, there are definitely some things that you can do right now to make your job as a marketer in a startup a lot easier.
What is marketing automation?
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of marketing automation, don’t worry. In order to have everyone on the same page, let’s talk about the exact definition of marketing automation.
Marketing automation refers to software and technologies that allow companies to more effectively market across multiple channels online and automate repetitive tasks.
What does that look like in a startup? Truthfully, it’s not much different than any other company, but it is equally, if not more important to get right. Here are some of the key elements that you can automate right off the bat in your startup:
Email marketing campaigns
No matter what stage your business is in, email marketing is vital. As one of the biggest mediums for marketing, and there are loads of statistics out there proving this to be true. For example, did you know that by 2023, there are expected to be over 4.3 billion email users on the planet? Talk about massive marketing potential!
Email marketing campaigns such as newsletters, behaviorally triggered emails, and much more are all something that you should look into automating. We will get into some of the tools that will help you get this job done a little later on. But for now, keep this in mind.
Further reading: What is Email Marketing Automation? The Complete Guide
A drip campaign is a series of automated emails designed to slowly “drip” content to the user. Each drip will be triggered by a specific action, such as visiting a certain webpage, or maybe not logging onto an account for a certain amount of time.
In the case of a drip campaign, each action can release any given amount of emails. These emails could be time-based, sent after a follow-up action is made, or simply sent in sequence. The idea is to keep the user thinking about your brand, because let’s be honest, there are a lot of other things to think about for consumers nowadays. Any reminder you can send to them, within reason, can mean the difference between a conversion and a hard bounce. If you’re not currently implementing drip campaigns of some sort, my advice would be to look into it as soon as possible.
Further reading: 15 Drip Campaign Examples That Help Engage & Nurture Lead
Cart abandonment emails
Abandoned carts, although seemingly harmless, are a big deal. This means that a user took the time to go through your website, pick out the things that they wanted, go all the way to the cart, and then leave. There is some sort of disconnect there, but you may never know unless you send an automated cart abandonment email.
Picture this scenario: A user puts $300 worth of products into their digital cart. They type in their email, their shipping details, and even put in a coupon code, and then never hit the purchase button. This triggers an email to be sent about 48 hours. In this email, you tell them as nicely as possible that they seem to have left their cart in the digital aisle, and they can finish checking out now if they want to.
With this scenario, some might come back to convert, some might ignore it completely. The ones that are ignoring it completely have a reason for doing so. This could mean another store is running a better sale, your shipping costs are too high, or any number of reasons. It’s up to you to investigate, find out who is following through with their purchases, and who isn’t. But then again, none of this would be possible without an automated cart abandonment email.
Email follow-ups are vital in some situations. One of the best that I can think of is something like a Doctor’s appointment that was scheduled online. Think of it as a receipt, letting you know the date, time, and location of the appointment. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve filled out an online form like this only to realize I hit the wrong time.
But more than this, email follow-ups are great for anyone selling anything. In the email, you can detail the product that the customer bought, the payment information, and the shipping estimates. This digital reminder is almost a standard nowadays, so if you’re not doing it yet, it’s better late than never!
Lead qualification is the process of pre-qualifying a lead to have higher conversion potential. The basic idea is that you don’t want to waste time (and therefore, money) on a lead that has no intention of converting at all.
How can this be done? Adding more detailed questions in your lead forms, waiting until leads provide more info through progress profiling, setting up triggers for actions that you know quality leads take, and so on. The fact of the matter is that there will need to be collective effort across the board to make this possible, from both marketing and sales.
Just to give you a better idea of how important lead generation is as a whole for companies, take a look at this infographic below.
Invespcro asked marketers what their most important goal for their marketing automation efforts was, and more than half at 61% said lead generation. This reason is simple. If you’re not generating leads (and quality ones, at that), then your ROI is going to suffer.
Lead scoring is the process of assigning a “score” to leads that reflects their potential to convert. This score can then be used to determine what actions need to be taken next to help the lead to convert. This is a process of lead qualification, but it’s an entirely different strategy.
The best way to automate lead scoring is to create a lead scoring workflow. What does that look like? Well, think of it as a game. You send an email to a user and they follow the link? +10 score. Do they visit a certain webpage more than once? +15. The higher the score, the higher the conversion potential.
Further reading: 10 Must-Know Lead Scoring Best Practices to Win Your Leads in 2022
Chatbots are a great way to help the customer service team out, regardless of whether you’re a startup or not. Granted, they aren’t for everyone, as they can be one of the more pricey options, but they certainly do bring value.
Let’s think about the application of a chatbot in a startup a little more logically. As a startup, you’re probably going to have mostly new customers, as you haven’t had much time to gather a customer base yet. Those new customers are going to have a lot of questions. Some of those questions can be answered without having to talk directly to the customer.
For example, you might have a help center article, a YouTube video, or a blog article that already answers their question. Instead of having a customer wait to get their answer from a customer service representative, a chatbot can sense keywords or use a series of questions to direct the customer to an answer. Scenarios like this really make a difference when it comes to the level of support customers are expecting. Of course, you always want to give them the option to talk directly to a representative, too.
Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Google Search Console are a must if you plan on making any sort of content based on keywords. For a startup looking to make its way onto the scene, proper keyword research can really make a difference.
Content that isn’t SEO optimized is doomed to fail. You could have the most brilliant idea in the world, but if people aren’t looking for the phrase, and search engines don’t recognize your content as a viable answer to search queries, then your article, YouTube video, and/or landing page is going to sink to the depths of the web, and very few people, if any, will see it.
Tools like the ones I mentioned above make short work of finding keywords for your niche. They let you know how many people are actually looking for what you want to create content for, and how hard it will be for you to pull a proper rank for it. Of course, these tools do much, much more than that, but you get the idea. If you’re a startup and you need to create content of any kind, make sure you do your keyword research.
Website audit automation is essential. There’s really no way around it. A website audit lets you know what is and what isn’t working on your website and various web pages. This gives you insight into what you need to optimize in order to make the website perform better, load faster, and overall be more appealing to navigate.
A website audit is also a full analysis of all the elements that affect your website’s ability to be seen in search engines. Again, using some of the tools I mentioned just above (SEMrush, Ahrefs, GSC), you can break down your website to get to the bottom of what’s holding you back, or, on the other side, what you’re doing right. Insights like these help startups go from, well, startups, to full-blown companies.
Now, bear in mind that these are only a few examples of tasks that you can automate as a startup. Depending on your needs, there could be a number of tasks that you need to automate that aren’t on this list. You should definitely evaluate your stress points, weaknesses, and even strengths as a startup, and then decide what needs to be automated. With your budget in mind at all times, of course.
The best marketing automation tools for startups
Now it’s time to talk about some important and valuable tools that you can use as a startup to help automate your marketing tasks. We’ve already mentioned a few above, so be sure to check those out. But here, we’re going to break down some more and talk about why these tools specifically will help you in your marketing efforts.
Encharge is a marketing automation platform that helps you go beyond email and automate the most repetitive tasks in your startup.
Much of what we talked about above revolves around email marketing. It makes sense when you think about just how many people are using emails for consumer-based activities nowadays. Like we mentioned before, it’s in the billions.
But that’s not all…
Encharge helps you get your email marketing campaigns on track, but it can also help you automate the sales process in your CRM, sending automated SMS messages, Slack notifications, and a whole lot more.
For automation in marketing for startups specifically, there are a number of features that you might find extremely useful for automating the customer journey and those important behavior emails we were talking about:
The Flow Builder feature allows you to visually map the user’s journey so that you can see exactly what stage of the marketing funnel they’re in, and what the next step will be in their journey.
Behavior triggered emails
Email marketing is all about being at the right place at the right time. Encharge provides you with an easy way to know what email you need to send, and when it needs to be sent. With Behavior Emails, you can send out emails based on a predetermined action taken by the user.
A/B testing is super important for all businesses, but especially startups. Simply put, you haven’t had the time to understand what works best for your customers. With an A/B email testing feature like this one, you can test what subject lines, headlines, and email body content that works for your customers specifically.
Zapier is a super useful application if you have multiple apps that need to work together. Zapier integrates your marketing stack together, helping you collect important data and send it all to one place. As you can imagine, this is extremely helpful for avoiding confusion and unnecessary headaches.
The biggest benefit to a tool like Zapier is that you don’t need any developer skills. This is a huge plus for startups looking for a solution without having to hire a developer of their own.
With Zapier, it really is as simple as that. The entire tool is dedicated to taking data from one place and sending it to another in a safe and secure fashion. Not only can you connect all your favorite tools together, but you can protect your data and lead data, too.
Integromat is another tool that allows you to connect your marketing tools and automate tasks. Their biggest selling point is that their tool, much like Zapier, allows the user to automate workflow.
The platform gives you everything you need to visualize, design, and automate your work, all at the click of a button. A good example of this would be connecting your various ad platforms like Facebook Lead Ads, LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, and so on, to your CRM. Again, this is just an example, but you can see how tools like this can be useful for startups that already have so much to worry about.
For a startup, managing your social media is important. Meeting the customer where they’re at on their preferred platforms is vital nowadays, but it’s not always easy. With dozens of potential outlets that you need to manage, this can get overwhelming. Unless, of course, you have Hootsuite and their intuitive dashboard.
Hootsuite automates all the time-consuming tasks that go along with social media marketing. Think of it like an all-in-one platform that allows you to manage, schedule, create, and post on social media. On top of that, you get all your engagement stats and messages in one dashboard, not spread across multiple.
Conclusions and takeaway
Marketing automation for startups is unavoidable. It’s as plain and simple as that. For some tasks, you might even spend more time trying to find and manage a solution outside of a tool that will automate it for you. Never mind the fact that you will save a lot of time, effort, and potentially sanity when you go with a tool that was designed specifically for such an occasion.
According to this study from Walker Sands, A staggering 56% of marketers think that their company can’t keep up with all the new marketing tech. Investing in an automation tool now will ensure that you, as well as your company stay ahead.
And with that, we will bring it back to the fact that Encharge is an all-in-one solution for email and customer journey automation. With so many tedious tasks revolving around email and email campaigns, it would be such a pain to manage everything manually. Unnecessary, in fact.
With just a few clicks, you can set your customer journey campaigns on autopilot. And right now, you can even try Encharge for free. Or, if you’d like, you can request a demo so that you can see the true potential. Check it out today, and let us know what you think.