What is Marketing Automation and How Can I Use It?

Work smarter, not harder. It’s a mantra we all want to live up to, but figuring out how to work smart is often hard work. That’s where marketing automation comes in. When used correctly, marketing automation makes emails, social media, sales, and website maintenance easier.

What is marketing automation?

You know those repetitive tasks that are necessary for your business but also suck up your time?  Marketing automation is software that exists to do these basic marketing tasks for you, allowing you to prioritize your work more effectively.

Marketing automation tools do not take your role as a marketer away from you. Instead, they help you do your job better by freeing up your time to focus on the big picture and perfect the details.

Marketing automation programs typically assist users with:

  • Email Campaigns
  • Social Media
  • Lead Generation
  • Analytics
  • Management

Marketing automation is not just for big companies. In fact, small and mid-sized businesses are the largest-growing users of such tools. According to Nuclear Research, 95 percent of companies say they benefit from marketing automation. On average, their sales productivity increased by 4 percent, and their staff productivity increased up to 6.5 percent.

How can I use it?

Ultimately, marketing should help your business attract and retain customers. The marketing process is nuanced, but revenue should be a priority. Marketing automation tools help you convert potential customers and close the deals.

For example, an online store might send an automated email every time a user leaves the site with goods in their online shopping cart. Another company might invite website viewers to download an ebook and follow up with a thank you email.

Automated marketing should work for you, not against you. Here are a few ways to make sure it does:

  1. Think carefully about your content. Automated email and social media services should improve the quality of your content so that is more relevant to your audience.
  2. Make an effort to be personal. Write emails and social posts that demonstrate that a person created the content. Additionally, consider separating your contacts into lists. Tailor content to different groups.
  3. Consider your marketing and business goals carefully. Schedule times every season (or whenever is appropriate for your business) to reevaluate these goals and the tools you are using.
  4. If you work with a team of people, clearly communicate your goals and expectations.
  5. Be flexible. Figuring out what works for you will take time and experimentation. Embrace the challenge, and track what works.

Is marketing automation for you?

Marketing automation might not be right for your business. Ask yourself these questions before you purchase a platform:

  1. Do I have clear marketing and business goals?
  2. Am I comfortable enough with social media and email campaign techniques to spot problems that could arise with automation?
  3. Do I need a tool for my whole team or just one person?
  4. Do I have the budget to use marketing automation?
  5. Is my team on board and willing to learn? (Read more about choosing a trustworthy marketing team.)

Marketing automation is a great tool when used correctly. To improve your workflow and your relationships with customers, consider marketing automation tools.

At Your Imprint, we stick to deadlines, and we keep a careful eye on the small stuff. However, we do it with the big picture in mind. We never stop having fun! If you need marketing help, get a quote. Join the show! 

The Benefits of An Editorial Calendar (FREE TEMPLATE)

Free editorial calendar download!

Maintaining a blog has many clear benefits. Blogs connect you with your audience, they boost your site’s search engine optimization, and they establish you as an expert in your field. Unfortunately, blogging is hard.

We’ve already written about how to improve your blog. Today, we’re going to narrow in on one specific tip: the editorial calendar. An editorial, or blog, calendar is a tool used by publishers to control when they write and publish content across various platforms.

Editorial calendars keep from coming up with ideas at the last minute.

Think back to your days at school. Your scrambled, last minute assignments probably weren’t your best. That’s true for blogging, too. Planning out topics in advance helps you research and understand what might be a successful topic.

Plus, you can never use writer’s block as an excuse.

They help you write strategically.

Are you releasing a new product or hosting an event? What about industry trends or holidays? A blog calendar helps you write about events other time-sensitive topics at the right time.

Hint: If you are unsure what to write about, consider looking at a general calendar for national holidays, conferences, or other events that your audience might enjoy.

They keep you consistent.

If you’ve been around our site at all, you know we value consistent blogging. Without an editorial calendar, your blog is subject to the whims of your busy life. We all know life gets busy.

Don’t keep moving your blog to the last bullet on your to-do list. Instead, create an editorial calendar that is non-negotiable.

Multiple writers? An editorial calendar is a must.

If you’re the only writer for your blog, you might be able to keep a mental editorial calendar. Although we don’t recommend this, it is doable. However, you cannot expect other people to do this too. Blogs with more than one writer absolutely need an editorial calendar to ensure that the job gets done.

Editorial calendars help writers distinguish who is writing what and when they are writing. They help prevent overlapping content.

Your editorial calendar should be fluid.

An editorial calendar is a tool for you. You’re the boss, so use the calendar for whatever you need. We use a blog calendar because it keeps us on task. However, we also know that any system is limiting. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your calendar.

  1. Stick to the calendar, but don’t be controlled by it. Did you region experience a natural disaster? Ditch the plan and write about it. Did a major breakthrough happen in your industry? Again, write about it. You can go back to the calendar next time.
  2. Communicate the importance of the calendar. If you introduce a blog calendar to a group that isn’t used to using one, you might not have success at first. Communicate that the calendar is the new expectation, and explain why you have chosen to use it. After all, they only work if everybody is on board.
  3. Experiment with how far in advance you want to plan. Obviously, plans change, and planning out a blog calendar for future months might not be the best use of your time. See what works for you, and adjust from there.

Guess what? You don’t have to blog. You should have one, but you don’t have to write it. Your Imprint offers blogging services. We’ll plan, research, and write your blog for you! Interested? Get a quote.

blog-editorial-template
Every blog needs to be organized. This template will help!

5 Tips To Write Killer Blog Posts and Avoid the Dreaded Writer’s Block

blogging-tips

Ah, blogging. It’s supposed to be great, right? Blogging helps boost your keywords, it’s a great form of digital marketing, and it helps you connect with your audience. At the same time, blogging is hard. You don’t know what topics to write, work gets busy and the blog takes second place, and writing just might not be your forte.

That’s okay. Don’t be discouraged. Still, you can be a great blogger. Use these simple tips to improve your blogging without losing your mind.

1. Set realistic expectations.

Don’t tell yourself you’ll blog daily if you can only blog once a week. Missed expectations often lead to quitting altogether. A monthly blog is better than no blog at all.

Take time to evaluate your blogging schedule. Seriously ask yourself the following questions, and adjust your blogging expectations.

  1. Do I regularly miss blogging deadlines?
  2. Do I have clear, measurable goals for your blog?
  3. Am I helping my audience?
  4. How can I make my writing more readable?
  5. How long can I sustain my current schedule?

Feel free to ask yourself more questions, too. We won’t tell you what to do based off of your answers. Instead, we encourage you to make changes to your blog that will help you keep to a schedule, help your audience, and achieve your blogging goals.

2. Create an editorial calendar for your blog posts.

Blogging consistently matters. Blogs that are posted at the same time every day, week, or month tend to be higher quality. Your audience knows when to expect them, and that builds trust. Additionally, you know what to expect from yourself.

Keep to a consistent schedule with an editorial calendar. In addition to helping you stay on track, an editorial calendar saves you time. Instead of racking your brain for blog topic ideas every time you sit down to write, you have a pre-planned topic to dissect. Spend a few minutes once a week or even every month to plan out your calendar.

3. Ask your audience.

Not sure what to write? Ask the people who read your blog, or ask the people you want to read your blog. This doesn’t have to be weird. In fact, you can do this on your social media channels, via email, or in person with your customers.

Take note of the things they are confused about, and remember common questions. Use your blog, and your expertise, to answer their questions.

 4. Write about what you know and love.

You’re the expert. Hopefully, you’ve chosen your field because you are knowledgeable and passionate about it. Let that shine through in your blog. Go through the following questions, and answer them using your knowledge, experiences, and passion.

  1. What are my readers afraid of? How can I ease their fears?
  2. What makes my readers excited? How can I tap into that?
  3. What goals do my readers want to reach? Do I have the tools to help them succeed?
  4. What is something my readers should know or understand? How can I explain it to them?

5. Don’t be afraid to research.

Yes, you’re the expert, but you can’t know everything. Well, most of us can’t. Doing research for blog topics isn’t cheating. It makes you a better professional and a better blogger. Research when writing blogs to ensure accuracy, but also research your audience and blog topics. Research helps you:

  • Write about more topics with accuracy.
  • Stay in the loop with your industry.
  • Network with other industry professionals.
  • Come up with new blog topics.

Blogging can be challenging, and it’s easy to burn out. However, sticking to a realistic schedule as an expert in your field will help you write with confidence.

Guess what? You don’t have to blog. You should have one, but you don’t have to write it. Your Imprint offers blogging services. We’ll plan, research, and write your blog for you! Interested? Get a quote.

 

blog-editorial-template
Every blog needs to be organized. This template will help!

Responsive web design is an integral part of your ranking (popularity)

responsive-web-design-ranking

Hopefully, you understand the importance of quality website design. People judge your website based off of its design and how well it works, and they make decisions about your company based on their experience on your website.

Responsive web design makes the browsing experience better for customers. We’ve written about why (and how you can improve your web design) here. However, responsive web design isn’t just good for the sake of your users. It also helps your SEO and general ranking. In other words, it attracts more people to your site and retains them.

A brief overview of responsive web design

The opposite of a responsive website is a “fixed” website. A fixed website might look great on your standard computer screen, and it is probably easy to read. However, when a user tries to open the site on their phone, they must awkwardly zoom in and scroll to read the content.

As opposed to this, a responsive website automatically adjusts to whatever screen it is on so that the viewer can easily read the information. For example, a responsive website changes photo sizes and converts multiple columns into one long column.

Responsive web design is nuanced, and we’ve written more about how it will improve your business.

Responsive web design and Google’s preference

There’s no doubt about it: Google prefers responsive web design to fixed design. In fact, they explain why in their Developer Guides. They write many reasons, including, “(Responsive web design) helps Google’s algorithms accurately assign indexing properties to the page rather than needing to signal the existence of corresponding desktop/mobile pages.”

Despite this, preference doesn’t automatically mean higher SEO. Google executives have claimed that they don’t use responsive web design in their ranking system directly. However, such design is easier for Google’s algorithms to navigate, which could have an impact on SEO.

Finally, Google does give preference to mobile-friendly sites when users are searching on mobile. Users are using mobile more now than ever before. Make sure you aren’t missing out on these views.

Responsive web design avoids common mobile design mistakes

Mobile design mistakes can impact your user’s online experience and hurt your ranking. For example, mistakes can:

  • make your site load slowly.
  • display unplayable content.
  • cause duplicate content.
  • show text that is too small or too large.
  • place elements too close together on a page.
  • cause high bounce rates.
  • create irrelevant cross-links.

These mistakes hurt your SEO ranking, but — guess what — responsive web design often helps you avoid these pitfalls automatically.

Social media and responsive web design

Users are more like to share content on social media when they are on a phone or tablet. Sites that are easier to use on mobile are thus more likely to be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.

Social media is an important way to build relationships with your audience and your industry. It can also help you generate new leads, and become an established expert in your field. In fact, a bigger social audience often means more website views. It can also create a higher demand for your services and products.

Social media isn’t a direct factor in SEO. However, it can improve your ranking indirectly. For example, social media:

  • creates the potential for more links.
  • helps generate higher click-through-rates.
  • gives you a known brand, which users can then search.

You might be just starting out, or perhaps your current website needs some work. Either way, responsive web design should be one of your top web priorities.

At Your Imprint, we never stop having fun. Web design is one of the best parts of our jobs. If you need help building a stunning, functional website, get a quote. We’ll help you put on a show!