Everything is being automated to reduce overhead so why not your marketing efforts too?
All companies need to be agile to remain competitive. Automation has a strong potential to greatly increase agility because computers can be much faster than manual human actions in defined tasks. Marketing operations can be one of those defined tasks.
Companies are involved in marketing in some manner such as SEM/SEO or pay-per-click advertising. E-commerce sites routinely add and archive products. Automation has allowed those platforms to instantly create new pages for those products without requiring a webmaster to manually copy a template or create a new page thus marketing the product. But what about advertising?
Some platforms may have an integration with advertisers like Google Shopping. That’s a largely automated platform to take a list of products that the platform produces a feed for and effectively creates ads for them. A marketer doesn’t have to manually create a new ad for every new product and remove ads for archived products. Minor edits included.
Your business might need a custom tailored solution
However, not all e-commerce platforms have such an integration out of the box. Also, not all sites are exactly B2C e-commerce, may instead of have a stronger focus on B2B, or use multiple advertising platforms like LinkedIn. Automated platforms like Google Shopping may not be a potential fit and thus something more custom must be built.
Advertising might also be part of the naturally longer sales cycle for B2B. When receiving a lead, say via a sales contact form, that lead can be automatically integrated into several forms of automation. A common form is email automation, such as sending them a few case studies, to keep them engaged in your brand. Retargeting is another common form of marketing automation.
Another possibility is to collect their postal code and automatically create a branding display ad campaign targeting a radius around it to remain top of mind to them and other potential stakeholders as they move towards a decision. Maybe they included a company name, which can be automatically found on LinkedIn even if not exactly matched, then update your existing advertising campaign to include them in your LinkedIn account-based marketing.
Automation next steps depend on marketing targets
By now your creativity might be flowing with an idea or step in the funnel that would be a good point to automate marketing in some manner. So what’s the next step? That depends on which platforms and what kind of automation idea you have.
For example, say you want to run the postal code radius idea. That can be as simple as using a location targeting data feed in Google AdWords that’s already tied to an existing campaign. All the automation part has to do is update that feed file and AdWords can now automatically import the new feed file and in turn the existing campaigns using it. In 30 days or however long the usual sales cycle is, have it then remove that postal code from the feed file so it’s no longer targeted. Minimal custom programming required. Nice!
Sometimes the simplest method isn’t the best
What if you want to automatically adjust the bids for each of those postal codes depending on how long it’s been since their initial contact? Say $1.00/click for the first week, $0.80/click for the second week, and so on. That will require a bit more custom programming but depending on the volume and targeting could be worth it.
In that particular case you’ll likely need to use the ad network’s API. Google AdWords has an API and a simpler AdWords Scripts that allows you to run custom tasks on Google’s servers instead of having to host and maintain it yourself. However, if you’re looking to repeat the similar action on other platforms such as Facebook, you might be better off using the API integration to centralize the operation and maintenance.
More examples of marketing automation
The sky’s the limit when it comes to what can be done with automation. Here are a few more examples:
- Weather-dependent products, such as umbrellas could have their bids increased when it’s raining in different areas and decreased when it’s not
- Automatically posting new products in your e-commerce platform on social media platforms. Let’s say it takes 10 minutes per social media platform per new product. That’s a decent amount of extra time
- Attire for specific occasions, such as Hawaiian shirts, can utilize other public event APIs like Facebook’s Graph API or Eventbrite’s API to routinely search for events matching keywords like “hawaiian” or “luau”. Automatically create search and display ads for a radius around the event’s location and stop the ads when the event is finished.
- Stay on top of things and remain agile by having a simple aggregate report of different PPC channels emailed to you. Avoid having to manually log in and navigate each network and without having to task someone to manually create a report.
- Some B2B companies might have sub-groups of customers they sell to like they’re B2C. You can automatically create a private Facebook Group when a new sub-group is created and invite those customers to join. When new products are added for that sub-group automatically post an update in the private Facebook Group. Exclusivity can have a significant role in marketing.
- If using other offline marketing and advertising, compile a standardized schedule and automate online advertising to work in tandem with offline. This reduces overhead and also human-error from manually managing and keeping online campaigns in sync.
- Utilize USPS API to automatically send a sales lead a mailer creative that thanks them for their interest. Combine that with a service that hand writes letters to produce the thank you note. Physical mail can be much more persistent in exposure than an email.
Start small: Build to assist then incrementally automate to replace
To some allowing a system to automatically run ads might feel daunting due to the potential to run up advertising spend in unforeseen ways. A middle ground approach could be instead to have the system assist the marketing team by automatically creating ads, targeting, etc. that the marketing team then manually enables or disables the generated ads.
Instead of taking action automation can help ensure that existing teams don’t miss certain areas that should be paid attention to. Automation doesn’t have to be fully autonomous but can still increase agility by being assistive. However, once that task becomes routine with enough experience consider allowing that task to be completely automated. Repeat for each task and eventually a majority of it is now automated.
We at Endertech have integrated with numerous APIs, including Google AdWords API, as well as proposing numerous ideas to our clients to assist with automation and reduce overhead. Contact us and let us propose an idea that could take your business to a new level with automation.