If you’re running a startup, you’re a very, very busy person. You’re short on time and being stretched in a million different directions while you’re trying to grow your business.
You have limited manpower, and in many cases, limited funds. We get this. That’s why marketing automation can be so beneficial.
Your business can’t grow without significant investments into marketing, but marketing takes time. Automation tools can do everything from streamline your tasks to take them over completely, saving you a ton of time so you can focus on the parts of your business that need you. You know, the parts that you love?
In this post, we’re going to take a close look at everything startups need to know about marketing automation, including the best marketing automation tools I recommend using.
How to Choose Your Automation Tools
When you’re choosing your marketing automation tools, there are a few different things you can keep in mind.
One is cost.
Realistically, what can you afford to outsource, and how much can you afford to spend?
Consider your budget of course:
But specifically factor in the cost vs. the time it would take you to do the work without the automation. Never forget that time is money.
If, for example, you could close two sales calls and make an extra $1,000 per week by using marketing automation software that costs $400–that matters. It’s the same reason we hire assistants—our profit line grows when we can pay someone to do tasks that take us away from what can help us to grow our bottom line.
This is what we call marketing automation strategy:
There are also different levels of automation—some marketing tools increase productivity but still require a certain amount of personal effort, like social media scheduling software like Hootsuite. Others, like TribeBoost, require absolutely zero oversight from you–making them more valuable.
Typically, tools that take on full automation (and do it well) may cost a little more, but are often worth the extra cost.
The Best Marketing Automation Tools for Startups
There are several marketing tasks that all businesses need to tackle, regardless of size or industry—including startups. Every business, for example, needs a strong email campaign and the ability to build a social presence.
The tools on this list help with these essential tasks:
Your email marketing should be the very first thing that you automate, and I highly recommend MailChimp. MailChimp has fantastic autoresponder capabilities, automatically sending emails in response to actions triggered by specific users. This includes abandoned carts and visiting certain product pages.
They even have the option of win-back autoresponders, which aim to re-engage inactive customers or subscribers.
You’ll also get great analytics about your email open and engagement rates, helping you to create more effective campaigns moving forward.
Hubspot is an incredible marketing resource, so it’s no surprise they have fantastic marketing automation software. Their CRM system is a personal favorite for tracking and monitoring leads and the effectiveness of your landing pages.
They’ve got great, easy-to-build lead forms and landing pages, and they also have great features for social media, email marketing, blogging, and even SEO. This is a great all-in-one marketing automation tool.
Social media scheduling software isn’t total automation, but it helps streamline the process of social media marketing a heck of a lot. You can schedule posts months in advance and let the software take care of the posting for you.
Agorapulse is my software of choice, because it does everything all social media software does (scheduling, reporting, analytics, lots of platforms).
It also has one great feature though that, to date, no one else does that I know of: you can see every single comment made on your Facebook Ads, instead of just a few that is shown in ad managers.
Tired of growing your Twitter following manually? TribeBoost can take care of that very important but menial task for you. TribeBoost will automatically follow users that you’d likely choose to follow yourself, which in turn can encourage them to follow you back.
It’s simple and extremely effective, as proven with my own stats, shown below.
I’ve been using TribeBoost for about a month, and my following has already doubled. I’ve chronically neglected my own Twitter, and I’ve realized this is much to the detriment of my business, since 3 of the people who TribeBoost followed for me have inquired about hiring me.
As an added bonus, TribeBoost’s sister product ThoughtFlame is another one I highly recommend.
It automatically shares inspirational quotes in subjects of your choosing to your Twitter timeline, complete with hashtags and an engaging image. I have higher engagement on these tweets than anything I post manually, so I can safely recommend this one, too. Plus you can try it free with a two week trial offer.
Need help managing your marketing planning and budget?
It’s easy to spend more than you intended on marketing, especially with so many projects going all at once, and Allocadia is a tool I recommend to startups low on funds looking to make the most out of every dollar.
Don’t Try This At Home: Types of Automations to Never Use
You know how you call your insurance company or your internet provider (calling both of which has to be some weird task in Dante’s innermost levels of hell) and you get those excruciating awful automated message systems?
You don’t want to have the marketing equivalent to those automated message systems.
There are a few things in marketing that you should never, ever automate:
The first thing to never automate–your Twitter direct messages. If there’s one thing you take away from this post, please let it be to not use automated Twitter DM messages. They’re easy to spot, they’re annoying, and they come across more like spam.
It feels artificial in the worst possible way.
— Billy Hashtag (@Billy_Hashtag) July 8, 2017
The second is your ad campaigns. Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Snapchat geofilters, it doesn’t matter—none of it should be automated and left to run.
While you can schedule campaigns to end at certain times (or for them to run until the budget runs out), you should never just let the campaigns go. You could end up losing a lot of money on campaigns that aren’t quite cutting it, even if they’re only going without monitoring for a few weeks.
Your marketing automation should never sacrifice quality for convenience, because that gets you nowhere. Instead, choose software that helps you deliver relevant content to your target audience as efficiently as possible.
Marketing automation tools can completely change how you spend your days at work, increasing your productivity by taking essential-but-not-essential-to-you tasks off your plate.
Your marketing will become more streamlined, and you’ll be able to focus on things that need your attention, benefiting both you and your startup in the long run.