How We Use Marketing Automation to Solve Growth Obstacles

This is part 2 in a series about how we’re hacking fast growth here at Socedo. Check out the first post, Small Steps to Large Growth #1: How We Doubled Our Conversion Rates with a Mobile Optimized Landing Page.

At Socedo, we know a thing or two about automating lead generation, but as a startup business, we also know the importance about automating our sales and marketing processes, in order to scale our growth. This week, small business professionals are gathering in Phoenix for the 2015 ICON conference, discussing the tools and strategies needed to reach the next level of success, and we wanted to share some of our own experiences as well.

According to a recent report by Act-On, companies using marketing automation see 53% higher conversion rates than non-users, and marketers who implement marketing automation increase their sales-pipeline contribution by 10%. However, only 18% of small companies use marketing automation. Why this disparity?

Automation can be expensive, confusing, or difficult to implement, but at the end of the day, it’s really about replicating the way we already work. Here are four areas of our business in which we use automation to help us work smarter and grow faster.

Content

One process that can quickly become time-consuming is sourcing content to share or write about on our own channels. Twitter lists and curated streams are helpful, but they still require a lot of manual checking on a daily basis, as well as a lot of assumptions about which content is truly interesting to our readers. Recently, we’ve started using Buzzsumo to find and analyze which content is the most popular in our space, by following topics, influencers, and competitors.

We have Buzzsumo set up to send us automatic updates when certain domains or writers publish new content, and by searching keywords, we can instantly see which posts have the most exposure. The Reports feature also allows us to analyze our own content, so we can optimize our posts, taking the guess work out of the content marketing game. By automating the research and analysis processes, we can spend more time actually writing content that matters.

A/B Testing

We test multiple pages at a time with different variables. Optimizely allows us to easily create A/B tests for each element on our webpages and track which sample drives the highest click-through, engagement, and conversion rates. These metrics can be tracked manually, but Optimizely automatically sets up these campaigns to show us results based on the goals we are trying to achieve. And since Optimizely is always running, we’re constantly testing elements and improving conversion rates on our landing page, one little bit at a time.

Communications

Even though we’re still a fairly small team, we communicate between our different functional roles at Socedo daily, whether it’s to solve a customer’s problem or to brainstorm a new product feature. Intercom allows us to work collaboratively, with each other and when communicating with people outside the company. No more back-and-forth email chains with a sprawl of cc’d individuals, and by storing conversation histories in one place, our sales team has the information they need to engage with customers. We also use MailChimp for automated emails, which has allowed us to retarget old leads.

Social Media Publishing

At Socedo, we have several of our team members’ accounts across multiple platforms on our social media editorial calendar. Scheduling these individually and writing out every tweet or post would be impossible. We use Oktopost to scale our social media publishing. We still manually tweet as well, but automation allows us to cover all the basis, hitting each of our accounts at different times of the day and making sure that everyone on our team is sharing the most relevant content.

If there’s one trend you’re noticing on this list, it’s that automation and tools go hand-in-hand. No one tool is going to solve all of your business needs, but identify your key obstacle to growth—too many conversations on social media, landing pages take too long to build, not enough ideas for content—and find the tool that can best solve that obstacle, within your current daily process. Don’t reinvent the way you do business. Take it to the next level.

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