Monday, 7 July 2014

Partner Post: Bootstrapping Your Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a big industry these days – and for good reason. With each task you automate, the more human capital you can allocate to value-added activities. The problem is that these systems often come with big price tags. For many small businesses, the value proposition of implementing a marketing automation system simply doesn’t add up.

The good news is that Insightly users can reap many of the benefits that a marketing automation system provides by combining a few (budget-friendly) third party tools. In this article, I'll offer my tips for doing so and show you how to automate more aspects of your sales and marketing activities.

What is Marketing Automation?
At a high level marketing automation streamlines customer outreach and customer response by replacing high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated solutions.  Here's an example:  when someone self-identifies by filling out a form on your website, you most likely receive an email notification with his or her contact details. What happens next? If you’re like most business owners, you probably flag it in your inbox or forward it to your sales manager for follow up. Hours or perhaps even days go by before the prospect gets a phone call or follow up email from your organization, simply because your team is too busy. By then, the prospect has already contacted two or three of your competitors and long forgotten about your company.

Define Your Goals
I’ve been involved with several marketing automation launches. Unfortunately, many clients get excited and try to do too much at once instead of laying out a realistic timeline of priorities. When bootstrapping your marketing automation, you need to be particularly aware of your goals before moving forward. You’ll be piecing together several different third-party software applications, so it’s crucial you start with the end in mind.

Always remember that you won’t be completely automated overnight. It may take weeks, months, or even years of tweaking and building new campaigns (and even then you’ll still come up with more ideas).

Here are a few short-term goals that may make sense as a starting point for your automation:

•    Send nurture emails to new leads who meet certain criteria
•    Automatically tag certain leads based on pre-defined criteria
•    Automatically send new web leads to Insightly

Develop an Implementation Plan
So reviewing the example above, when someone completes a form on your website, make sure you have a place other than your inbox to capture the information.  You can use Insightly's web to contact capability to have that lead automatically captured in your online CRM.  Then you can you start your marketing automation process by fully exploring Insightly’s out-of-the-box integration with MailChimp (for paid Insightly users). As pointed out in this MailChimp video, with the click of a button you can instantly add Insightly contacts to any MailChimp list. This opens up many different doors for your organization, particularly with regard to lead nurturing. As you may know, MailChimp’s auto responder feature is quite useful for configuring effective drip email campaigns. Sending opt-in contacts to an autoresponder list can be a great way to get started with marketing automation.

Once you’ve implemented your first MailChimp campaign, you may also want to explore additional third party integrations. I am particularly fond of Zapier, which is an amazing service that simplifies the connectivity of various web applications. In fact, at last count you can connect over 250 web apps to achieve your goals. Want to automatically set appointments on your sales rep’s Google Calendar for new Insightly leads? Or how about automatically sending sales call notes from Google Drive to contact records in Insightly? No problem. With a free Zapier account, you can literally automate virtually every aspect of your sales and marketing – to and from Insightly.

One important note here – although Zapier is relatively intuitive to use, it may be wise to hire a consultant to help you successfully implement these integrations. Here are some additional free resources to help you with that process.

Bringing It All Together
Marketing automation is all about helping your organization win more business with less effort. Insightly offers your business a great opportunity to do exactly that. Start simple, stay focused, and in no time you’ll be on your way to becoming a highly automated company.

About the Author:  Matt Keener is a marketing professional, specializing in marketing strategy and efficient, cost effective outsourcing best practices. 

1 comment:

  1. Mailchimp is super expensive. I wish insightly would support other means of email. We use Sendy which is 100x cheaper than Mailchimp and uses Amazon SES