We’ve looked at quite a few tips and lots information to help you get digital marketing running for your business over the last few months.  As small business owners and entrepreneurs you are focusing on any number of things necessary to run your business in each moment.  That’s why I especiallylove digital marketing for small businesses:  it can allow you to work smarter, not harder!  When you know where to focus your attention, you can use digital marketing tools to help your business grow immensely.

How Small Business Owners Can Work Smarter:

Automate Email

Many email tools, like Constant Contact, MailChimp (my favorite for those starting out), and MadMimi, to name a few, allow you to create a string of welcome automated emails.  Setting up a series of emails to new subscribers or people who downloaded certain offers is a great way to build customer interest, upsell other products, and increase brand exposure.  These can be relatively easy to set up and very cost-effective for small businesses.

Automate Social Media

Social media is a must for any business wanting to succeed in the 21st century.  That said, I know that it can feel daunting to tackle social media yourself.  Whether you’re ready to hire help, or you’re doing it yourself, there are a number of effective automation tools to help you reach your audience and drive awareness about your products!  By automating your social media marketing, you can focus on creating posts one or two times a month, and then sit back and watch the posts go live.  This takes the daily headache out of social media, and allows you to focus on your messaging in a strategic way.

My top 5 favorite social media automation tools:

•    Buffer (has a free version!)

•    Hootsuite (has a free version!)

•    Klout (has a free version!)

•    Sprout Social

•    IfTTT.com (wonderful free tools!)

Note: Be sure to pay attention to the news and keep what you scheduled in the back of your mind. You don’t want your 50% off sale post going out in the midst of a national tragedy or exciting event.

Automate Your Notifications

As a business owner, you may get hundreds, if not thousands of emails and notifications every week!  That can be overwhelming for anyone, especially for someone who cares about every single lead and opportunity for your business.  My best advice to business owners is to take time to check your notifications for all of your marketing tools, social media networks, and apps.  Turn off notifications that are not essential and unsubscribe from email lists that you don’t need.  Don’t worry, you won’t hurt anyone’s feelings!  Then, be strategic about what notifications you WANT to receive.  For example, you can set up Google alerts for notifications about people mentioning your business, competitors, and other industry topics.

Tune Your Sales Funnel

The ultimate goal is that you set yourself up for success by tuning your sales funnel to drive business for your company in a smart way.  The more you watch what is working, what isn’t working, and what is wasting your time, you’ll be able to discern how you need to adapt to attract new customers.  Sales is a process of drawing people into your funnel, whether that is through email, social media, paid ads, or other avenues.  As you observe the current sales funnel you walk prospective customers through, you need to be ruthless about enhancing what is driving sales and eliminating what isn’t.  You can work much smarter, and with less effort, by making strategic decisions to focus your efforts in digital channels that ARE driving real sales.  Just follow the money!

Now is a great time to think about how YOU are setting your business up for success with automation.  Take a few minutes today and think about where most of your leads come from.  Then, think about where you are focusing your energy.  Do the two align?  If not, it’s time to make some smart changes!

Photo Credit: mariawiesner, Twenty20