Good marketing is extraordinarily time-consuming. There are blog posts to write, social media posts to schedule, email blasts to send – and the more you read about marketing, the bigger your to-do list seems to get. Automating e-commerce marketing tasks might just be the solution.
But good marketing is also the key to running a successful e-commerce business. After all, if no one knows your product is available, how will they buy it?
The solution to your marketing time crunch isn’t to do less marketing – it’s to automate the more repetitive tasks so you can focus on the high-level things like creating stellar content and running your business.
Here are 3 ways you can start automating e-commerce marketing tasks today.
1. Promoting Your Content
You already know that even the most amazing piece of content set loose on the Internet without fanfare won’t garner any views. That’s why if you’re smart, you’re probably already promoting your blog posts on social media.
There are some really fantastic tools to help you do this better.
- CoSchedule: CoSchedule helps you schedule your social media across various platforms. It’s fantastic for planning campaigns (such as contests or building up hype for a new product launch) because you can schedule the entire thing out ahead of time. CoSchedule also connects with your WordPress blog to help you share old content, and schedule future social media posts to start promoting your new content as soon as you hit publish.
- MeetEdgar: Edgar is a nifty program that allows you to build up a library of evergreen content that Edgar will automatically share on social media. You can categorize the types of content, and then customize Edgar to treat different types at different times – say, something from your “inspirational quotes” category every afternoon at 1 PM. You can also use Edgar to schedule one-off social media updates, too.
- Hootsuite: Are you wasting time logging into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, G+, and ever other social media platform under the sun? Hootsuite is a great way to manage all of your social media networks from one place. As with CoSchedule and Edgar, you can schedule tweets ahead of time. Hootsuite also has robust analytic capabilities to help you know which of your posts are doing well, along with search features and also social media monitoring tools to help you keep on top of what your audience is saying.
2. Monitoring Social Media
In some ways, social media has become a branch of the customer service department. People take to Facebook and Twitter with complaints and issues (and – rarely – praises). You should definitely be monitoring social media for these kinds of customer service comments so you can address them as quickly as possible.
But you should also be monitoring for conversations about your company that aren’t necessarily directed to you. This can lead to great opportunities to make an impression in a fun and surprising way.
As an example, just a few days ago I tweeted jokingly about MapQuest. Within a few hours, they had tweeted back this hilarious gif.
You don’t have to spend countless hours of scrolling through social media looking for mentions of your company – which can be a total time suck. Instead, use IFTTT (If This, Then That), a free online tool that automates actions between websites, apps, gadgets, and more.
The way IFTTT works is that you create “recipes” consisting of a trigger and an action. To monitor social media, go to Twitter’s advanced search page and create a search with your business name or any keywords that you’d like.
Copy the URL and use Page2RSS to convert the search results into an RSS feed. Now you can create a custom IFTTT recipe with Feed as your trigger. You can have IFTTT send you an email with new tweets, add them to your Pocket, add them to a Google spreadsheet, or put them in Evernote notebook.
For this and other great IFTTT recipes to help automate your business, check out this blog post from Shopify.
3. Triggered Emails
Here are some stats to get you thinking:
- Triggered email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than standard marketing messages. (Epsilon Email Institute, Q4 2012 N. American Email Trends and Benchmarks, Feb 2013 and Q2 2013 N. American Email Trends and Benchmarks, Jul 2013)
- Automated personalized emails like cart abandonment programs or birthday emails can see conversion rates as high as 50%. (eMarketer, Email Marketing Benchmarks, Feb 2013)
Who wouldn’t want conversion rates like that?
The problem is, catching all these trigger moments and sending all these wonderful personalized emails takes a ton of time.
That’s why it’s time to start automating your email. You can do that in a variety of ways.
- Set your email program up with an autoresponder series taking inspiration from these five email strategies in order to build relationships with customers.
- Use plugins like this one to send out triggered emails when a customer abandons a shopping cart, or a few days after purchase to ask for reviews.
- Send an automatic email whenever someone fills out your contact form, letting them know you’ve received their info and will return shortly, in order to let them know they were heard.
Are you already automating e-commerce marketing tasks? We’d love to hear how. Leave us a comment below!