How to Get Started With Marketing Automation
How to Get Started With Marketing Automation
Whether you're just starting out or part or a Fortune 500 company, marketing is made so much easier with just a touch of automation. Or a bunch.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
You've been hearing a lot about agile software development, get started with the eBook: Agile Product Development from 321 Gang.
In this post, I'm going to debunk some wrongly held beliefs about marketing. I'm going to talk about a new popular thing called marketing automation, and I'm going to show you, a sole developer, how to start doing this marketing automation for your app yourself. I will also list a few services that do this for you.
When we, the developers, hear the word marketing our immediate reaction is all but positive. We form this image of a sleazy car salesman in our heads, and it just doesn't go away.
However, we need to face the facts - you can make the best app ever, but if no one gets to know about it, it's as if it doesn't exist.
I would go so far to say that that also holds true for you as the developer, but I'll cover that in some other post.
Sure, one could argue that you just need to build it and they will come. But, I would say that that happens in the minority of cases, as it's not everyday one builds a ground-breaking game-changing app.
Setting the Scene
You just created a new cool app, but you have no idea how to tell people about it. I mean, sure, you emailed your family, friends, and you posted on some forum.
But, are these people your target audience? Do you even know what that means? How many of them actually installed the app? What was their onboarding like? Did you send them a welcome email? How about a follow-up email in case you noticed they're not using the app anymore? Are you utilizing social media???
This can get overwhelming quickly, so what follows is a set of action steps that you can do to get the word 'out', with links to some additional resources in case you'll want to learn more.
This will just be a list of few really basic things that you can do, and if you see that there could be some value in this, I recommend you check out this resource page with some marketing automation best practices, and a really big list of additional reading material about marketing automation, organized in categories.
A Fair Warning
It almost should go without saying but, if you don't have a quality product, save yourself some time, money and frustrations by not trying to promote sub-par stuff.
Where to Start?
If you Google marketing automation, Wikipedia will tell you that:
Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.
These software platforms are quite a hot topic nowadays. Actually, in this post that I found when researching this topic, the author explains why marketing automation platforms are getting so much VC funding lately.
One of the interesting points from that article is that according to the recent research, 42 percent of firms now use marketing automation tools. The majority of those have adopted platforms that are household names such as HubSpot, Eloqua, and Marketo, and the rest of the market tries to differentiate themselves through targeting specific niches within the marketing software market.
Automations can run in the background, doing the repetitive tasks for you. You can welcome your new subscribers, reach out to people who abandon their online shopping carts, and win back lapsed customers.
But, here's the catch: you're a solo dev, with just an app, and not even a website. So, let's start from the beginning!
I still remember the words of our university dean: "If it's not on the internet, it doesn't exist."
One can't argue that statement, so you roll up your sleeves and get after it. Thankfully, among the app building skills, you also know how to make a decent website using the omnipresent Wordpress. So, you go and buy some hosting, domain, a theme, and spend a few hours putting it all together.
You make sure that you add some quality app screenshots, and possibly also a video trailer of your app in action.
If you made your app using the so-called hybrid approach, then you can use the benefit of that and create an accompanying web app as well, so that your users can enter the data while on their computers. One category of apps that comes to mind (and is popular at this time of year) is fitness tracking apps.
Finally, don't forget to put the links to the app stores on your website as well.
Now that you have your site up and running, I would strongly advise that you start writing a blog.
So, you sit down, and write a few blog posts, since you decided to write all of this content yourself.
If you get stuck, I wrote a long post about why I think you should blog and you can read it here: After writing 300 posts, this is why I think you should start blogging too:
Thus, my advice for writing more is nothing new, and you hear it probably all over the Internet. The problem is that it's hard, and people tend to run away from hard things these days. The sole ‘tool’ which you have to nurture, train and maintain is consistency.
You should create a profile on all major social media websites and share your content on each of them.
At this point, you start realizing that this is not going to be as easy as you thought. And, even though you may find that you enjoy it, you want to spend your time adding new features and improving the codebase of your app.
Finally, we come to some automation; you can automate the social media posting with tools like Hootsuite and Buffer.
When you get the ball rolling, and you turn your app into a 'real' business, you may want to look into solutions that are market leaders in the field of marketing automation nowadays:
I found an article listing 55 of them, and you can check it out here.
In this post, I pointed out why it's important to invest in marketing. I explained what is marketing automation, and mentioned just a few of its variations. I also gave few action steps on how to start with this marketing automation for your app yourself. Finally, I listed a few services that do this for you and gave links to additional reading.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.