By Mark Brodsky

Do you feel like you’re spending way too much time marketing and not enough time on other aspects of your business? (Or your life?) One of the many benefits of using marketing tools like email and social media is the ability to automate. Once the systems are set up they work in the background and help nurture prospects through the sales funnel, leaving you more time to do more important things.

What should you automate? How? Where do you start?

The first place to start is with a great welcome email. This email gets sent out automatically to anybody you add to your database or who signs up online. Any decent email service provider (Constant Contact, MailChimp) has this feature. Send out a branded welcome email with information about the kind of emails you’re going to be sending out – and how often. This sets the tone for your marketing and makes it easier for people to recognize your email when it lands in their inbox. You can also use this email to point people towards your social media.

Nurturing new prospects:

The next questions to ask yourself are, Do you send out emails with the same information over and over again? Do you work with a lot of first-time buyers who need to be guided through the home buying process or are you dealing with seniors who are downsizing?

Put this information into a series of emails set to go out automatically to these prospects. The content isn’t time-sensitive, so these emails can work for you in the background, not to mention that you can include a call to action in each email encouraging them to get in touch with you.

Birthdays and anniversaries:

Everyone likes to be remembered on a birthday or anniversary of their purchase. Plug these dates into the system, set up an ecard (you can personalize it with their first name and other details) and you now have an additional touch for each person on your list that goes out automatically.

Social media:

Posting on Facebook and LinkedIn can’t be completely automated (unless you’ve hired someone to do it for you) but here are two free time savers.

First, sign up for a site like Feedly. Enter in all the websites you use to find content and Feedly will show you all the headlines without you having to visit all the sites. It’s an easy way to have plenty of content at your fingertips.

Second, consider using a tool like Hootsuite, which is free for up to three social media accounts. Rather than taking time every day to find and post content, do it once a week. Find five stories or photos you like and schedule them to go out on different days. Among its other capabilities, Hootsuite will also tell you how many people are clicking on your links, so you know what’s working and what isn’t.

Spending a little time up front to put these systems in place will save you a lot of time down the road – and help build stronger relationships with your prospects.


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