In this era of Digital Darwinism, where digital technologies are disrupting marketing and business models faster than you can say ‘evolution’, it’s easy to see why businesses, and consequently marketers, are doing all they can to avoid being left behind.
The digital marketing industry has been growing at a phenomenal pace, from USD 161.77 billion in 2015 to USD 229.25 billion in 2017 to a projected USD 335.5 billion by 2020. Businesses are increasingly waking up to the fact that they must adapt or perish, and marketers are moved to constantly experiment and innovate to stay ahead of the curve. But to do this, they must also be able to occasionally step back and assess their strategies in light of the bigger picture. They must also realize that occupational burnout is a very real condition that does not take well to being ignored. So, if you’re eager to learn how you too can take the occasional week off but are worried about the impact your vacation will have on your campaign numbers, read on to learn about what you should be doing differently.
· Don’t hesitate to automate your PPC bidding
Not so long ago, manually managing bids was a digital marketer’s most important responsibility and took up the bulk of his/her time. Not anymore. Google was the first to change the game by integrating bid automation within its PPC engine, allowing marketers to automate their bids in keeping with their campaign goals and strategy – marketers seeking increased site visits can seek to ‘maximize clicks’, those seeking increased visibility can opt to ‘target search page location’, while those seeking increased conversions without exceeding their budget can seek to ‘maximize conversions’.
If you are a little skeptical about handing over your PPC bidding to the very search engine that is charging you for visibility and conversions, you could opt for third-party automated bidding tools that allow you an element of automation while requiring you to actively approve or reject each bid change. Popular third-party bid management software manufacturers include Marin Software, Kenshoo, Adobe, Ignition One and Acquisio. Third-party bidding tools have been used by several digital marketers for many years now, and those who have integrated these tools into their daily workflows swear by their efficacy. In June 2014, digital marketer John Cosley studied the aggregated campaign performance for 5,597 distinct accounts across the Yahoo Bing Network to find that advertisers leveraging third-party campaign and bid management platforms achieved 123 percent more clicks on average, 58 percent higher click-through rates and CPC efficiencies, over time, up to 7 percent lower.
However, third-party bid management systems can be expensive and are only worth the investment if you are managing multiple accounts and are spending a significant amount of money on PPC advertising; smaller and/or fewer accounts could do just as well with AdWords automated bidding, provided you pay attention to the details.
Regardless of which automation technique you choose, make sure to leave enough time to test before you leave for your vacation, especially if you have never automated your PPC bids before. Before you take off, make sure to take one last look at your keywords and ads, to trim off any surplus fat.
· Schedule your social media presence
Even if you weren’t planning a vacation anytime soon, you would still do well to automate your social media posting. A lot of the time you spend on routine, repetitive tasks would be much better invested in developing new campaigns and strategies, or on focusing on other aspects of your business. When it comes to your choice of tools, there is no dearth of options on offer. Some of the more popular social media automation tools include:
HootSuite: With more than 15 million users, HootSuite is one of the most popular automation tools for content marketers. In addition to allowing you to simultaneously manage multiple channels, it also lets you track when your brand has been mentioned, and check for both positive and negative mentions. Knowing what your customers are saying about your brand gives you enough time to react and the opportunity to build closer ties with them.
IFTTT: This tool allows you to create specific ‘recipes’ that are automated responses triggered by a single event. For instance, a new blog post triggers corresponding cross-posts across all social media channels. Based on the social media channels you currently use, you can choose from over 4,000 recipes or even create your own recipe.
Zapier: Setting up individual automated tasks or Zaps lets you create content-sharing workflows. This tool supports more than 250 services, including DropBox and YouTube. Zapier is especially useful if you are travelling for a work-cation, which can include attending seminars and/or conferences. Zapier can automatically pick up and upload YouTube videos on corresponding Vimeo channels, put the videos into DropBox to be picked up for transcription or for creating audio files and distribute the resulting content through a variety of channels such as Linkedin, Facebook and blogs.
SocialOomph: This is a web-based app that is most loved for its queue reservoir feature – this lets create a queue of content from where the app will pick out items on a regular basis, sending out updates at time intervals predefined by you. The tool also allows you to send updates to social media via email, which can be useful when you’re on the road and don’t have a lot of time to shuffle between social media platforms.
Content curation is an important part of building your brand’s online presence – the general consensus is that five of every ten updates you share on social media must include content from others. This is another process you can and should automate, and tools such as Scoop.it, Feedly, Storify, Swayy and Sniply can help you easily find relevant content to share with your audience.
Delegate tasks among your team members and make sure they are familiar with their roles and responsibilities while you are gone. If you plan to monitor campaigns while away, make sure that you receive updates from a single point of contact to avoid chaos and confusion. While smartphones will go a long way in helping you to stay connected, especially in areas where WiFi is available, try not to spend too much time obsessing about the minor things while you’re away. Many entrepreneurs recommend being available to your team within a predetermined window to avoid unwittingly working through your vacation. If you really must go the whole hog, web-based collaboration tools such as Trello, BaseCamp and Asana can be a good way to get a bird’s eye view of your organization while away from the office.
Using automation to your advantage and managing your team effectively are useful habits to inculcate as a marketer and an entrepreneur, especially if you want to experiment, evolve and grow. These tips will not only save time by streamlining processes, but will also make the process much easier and more manageable for you and your team in the long term.
Originally published at entrepreneur.com
Abhishek Shah is a digital evangelist & the co-founder of Bee Online & Ally Digital Media. He helps companies to increase their revenue via digital sales.