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Listen to your customers

If you’re a professional — whether an entrepreneur or an executive — you need proven, high-level strategies to really make your business grow, and it all starts with understanding the needs of your customers.

To sustain a relationship with a customer, you’ve got to think like a customer. Every time you visit, call, or send an invoice to your customer, consciously or unconsciously, your customers are asking themselves questions like: Why did I hire this company or purchase this product? Do I still need them? Is this worth what I’m paying? Am I making progress? Am I seeing the results they promised? Is this the best company to purchase from?

You must make it a priority to hear your customers’ wants and concerns. Focus on what they like, want more of, and what they want less of.

— For more lessons like this, purchase your copy of Act Like a Business: Think Like a Customer by Dr. Elijah Clark from all major bookstores. —

Using social media automation

Social media automation is the process of using automated tools to improve your social media presence through content curation and scheduling social media posts in advance. Automation tools can help reduce the amount of time spent gathering posts last minute so you can spend more time growing your account by engaging with your audience.

Automation can be a little addicting. Once you unlock efficiencies in one area, it is tempting to keep going until you’ve mastered your entire workflow. With social media, it’s important to resist the temptation—not everything is meant to be automated. Even big brands have struggled with understanding when and how to walk the fine line of automation and engagement. Progressive famously failed at automation by sending automatic responses to users trying to engage the company on a controversial topic.

Automating your social media can be useful for developing a content plan, so you’re always prepared.

However, it’s important to note that social media automation tools shouldn’t be used in any dishonest or unethical way. For example, automation tools shouldn’t be used to write your social media posts — they should just be used for scheduling, reporting, and content ideas.

Should you use text message marketing?

Text message marketing makes it easy to communicate directly with customers and send out newsletters, coupons, special deals or announcements with just a few clicks.

Text message marketing is the use of SMS (short message service) or text messages to deliver promotional messages to customers and other subscribers. Businesses use text message marketing to increase brand awareness, generate sales, provide news to subscribers, increase web traffic or promote something about the business.

The terms text message marketing and SMS are interchangeable, and can be used to refer to the same thing. Text message marketing works by allowing customers or subscribers to opt in to receiving texts from your business, then using a service to draft and send messages to those subscribers.

According to the Pew Research Center, 92% of adult Americans have a cell phone capable of receiving text messages. As time spent on phones continues to increase, it’s no surprise that businesses are looking to implement text message marketing campaigns.

Text message marketing is a great way to connect with your customers on a personal level and provide customized messaging. Texting is also faster than other communication methods, and you can resolve issues and connect with customers without a long wait.

Marketing automation using a CRM

Implementing a CRM software is a clear indication that you are prioritizing scaling and growth for your business. For businesses of all sizes, spreadsheets and manual record keeping gets old quickly. Using a CRM makes your life much easier and helps your business grow.

However, things get complicated as your contact list expand. The more information you’re tracking in your CRM, and the more you rely on the information stored in it, the more complicated tracking your prospect information can get.

CRM Automation makes the impossible possible when it comes to handling your customer relationships.

CRM automation refers to the system’s ability to automate repetitive, manual tasks to streamline work and improve productivity. Automation of a CRM can encompass a range of functions across marketing, sales and service activities.

Incorporating marketing automation with a CRM allows you to access information about your sales pipeline, so you can create content and collateral that will attract the right leads in alignment with sales priorities.

Organizing your business online

Your time is one of your most precious commodities as a small business owner, so make sure it’s organized with time tracking and scheduling.

You should look to reduce your tasks by improving your email workflow, managing your reading list, and keeping your notes, passwords, and desktop organized.

This is easier for a large business and a huge budget — and hundreds (or thousands) of employees — plus plenty of time to dedicate to staying organized.

But even as a small business strapped for cash and with no or only a few employees, you have to find a way to stay organized to remain productive and successful.

I know the pain of fighting desperately against the disorganization that affects every small business.

And I know that even if you’re using the best tools to grow your business, success can lag if you aren’t putting the right things in place to make sure you’re growing.

If you’re running a social media marketing campaign on a budget, you need to reduce the time you’re spending keeping things online.

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