To get leads, free trial users, and prospects for your SaaS
product, you need to use social media. So far, so good. There’s just one
problem. You’re probably terribly inefficient in your social marketing. That’s
costing you time that could be
Why Your Bad Social Media Habits Undermine Your Marketing Success
You publish a new blog post to promote a new feature like
your Salesforce integration. To get traffic, you post that link to Twitter,
LinkedIn, and Facebook. Your vague intention is to publish the update and move
on with your day. However, that “quick update” quickly becomes a half hour or
longer social media session. You see all the updates from your friends and
Yikes! When a fifteen-minute marketing task becomes a 60
minute aimless wandering, you have a problem.
It’s Not Your Fault – These Are Habit Forming Products
If you find it difficult to tear yourself away from social media platforms, you’re far from alone. These products have been crafted by engineers and marketers to engaging. That’s a bit strange when you think about it. How can use a computer or mobile device become habit forming? That’s a big question best answered in the book – Read Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal for more insight.
You cannot change the design of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter,
and other platforms yourself. However, you can change your habits.
How To Optimize Your Social Media Marketing Habits
You cannot ignore social media platforms when it comes to
promoting your business. That’s no solution! There are simply too many leads on
those platforms to ignore. Instead, you need to use systems and rules to
optimize your process. Use these rules to guide your process
1 Write your social media to do list in advance
When I was growing my project management website, I had a
standard social media promotion procedure. With every new post, I would publish
updates to Twitter, LinkedIn, and specific LinkedIn groups. Once updates were
published to those specific places, my job was done.
2 Write your social media updates off the platform
Writing your social media updates directly on the platform
is not a good idea. Instead, I recommend creating those updates in Word or
Google Docs. Compared to social media, these apps are distraction-free, so you
will be able to write your updates much faster.
3 Set a timer for direct social media use
I’m a huge fan of using count down timers as a productivity
tool. For example, set a timer on your phone for 15 or 20 minutes. As the clock
counts down, you need to go through each part of your social media update list
from step 1. If you’re not sure how long to set the timer for, I recommend 20
minutes as a starting point.
4 Publish the updates
Copy and paste the updates onto each platform. Next, add in
the other needed elements such as links, images, emojis, and the like.
5 Return in 1-2 hours for a 15-minute engagement session
After you publish your content to social platforms, you job
is not done. When people engage with your content, you need to return to platform
to engage. Scheduling a reminder to check and respond to comments and likes in
15 minutes is enough in most cases. If you happen across a prospect who appears
particularly excited about your product, introduce them to your sales team.
Last year, I reviewed more than 100 software company (SaaS) websites to
better understand the market. The result was a mixed picture. Some companies
were doing well in using inbound marketing effectively. Many others were
failing. Let’s take a closer look at one of the most common problems.
The “All About Us” Mistake On SaaS Company Blogs
Look at your last twenty blog posts.
How many of them are company news like feature announcements, personnel
announcements, and other insider information? If you answered more than 50%,
you just committed the “all about us” mistake. When you talk about your new
feature release or other company news too often, it is a turn off to new
prospects. Sure, a tiny percentage of customers are interested in your product
roadmap and engineering. However, most prospects have no time for that.
They are silently asking themselves, “what’s in it for me?” when they
view your website, your social media updates, and emails. If you make them
guess or work to find that answer, you are going to lose them. That means fewer
leads, higher customer acquisition cost, and greater difficulty in hitting your
Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Reframe how you view your blog!
What Is The Job of Your Company’s Blog?
Copyhackers pioneered a great concept on applying Jobs
To Be Done To Copywriting. In essence, look at your copy – and
that includes your company blog, email newsletter, and social media – as
performing a job. In that way, your copy can perform well on the job, or it can
fail. What’s the job of your company’s blog? Depending on your mix of marketing
strategies, it will probably be one of the following:
Attract qualified leads. Without relevant leads, no sale can happen.
Convert website visitors to your email list. For products like enterprise marketing automation, few people are ready to buy immediately after they discover a new product. Therefore, your company blog and online channels can offer an alternative: encourage customers to sign up for your email list so you can follow up with them,
Increase customer lifetime value (Moz found that customers who consumed their content before buying tended to have higher LTV than customers who have not consumed content.
Support your positioning. Want to feel scared about your company’s prospects? Open up one of the large categories on Capterra or G2 Crowd. At this moment, there are over 600+ customer relationship management (CRM) applications on Capterra. Yikes! Many of them offer similar features and have comparable pricing. What do you do about this? You need to position yourself as a distinct solution, and your blog can help. In the CRM market, karmaCRM comes to mind as a company with clear positioning: “CRM for professional speakers.” Your blog can support your positioning strategy by separating you from others.
Before you publish your next blog post, ask yourself these questions:
1) Is this post about our company or our customers?
2) Which marketing goal (e.g., attract leads, support positioning, or
convert visitors to subscribers) does the post contribute to?
To grow revenue in a marketing automation company,
there are two popular choices. Most companies use both. Whenever you feel
overwhelmed by all the marketing options available, it pays to return to first
principles. If your marketing efforts are not connected to one of these growth
methods, you may need to re-evaluate your growth strategy.
Option 1: Acquire new customers
Attracting more customers is the simplest way to grow.
Using inbound or outbound, you find a qualified lead for your product. They
complete the purchase, and you’re done! This process quickly starts to become
more complicated when you dive into the numbers.
In enterprise marketing automation software, a single
new customer could be worth $20,000 per year or more. To close that deal, you
have to spend significant time and resources. That’s way SaaS leaders have
become comfortable with a payback period of 12 months or longer on new customer
What’s the next option?
Option 2: Land and expand: sell more to your current
Ever heard the expression “loss leader”? I first heard
this concept in the world of retail sales. A retailer offers a discount on a
popular product like milk or eggs to bring you into the store. They may not
make any meaningful profit on that product. However, while you are in the
store, you are likely to make additional purchases. It happens every day of the
week at companies like Costco, Target, and even e-commerce firms like Amazon.
Salesforce.com uses the land and expand the strategy
to sell more software. Consider the company’s customer relationship management
(CRM) software. If the company sells 100 user licenses to the west coast sales
division of a Fortune 500 company and the rollout is successful, what will
happen next? Salesforce’s account executives are going to start looking at
other sales teams within the same company to expand.
Don’t assume that land and expand is limited to billion-dollar marketing automation companies either. ActiveDEMAND, a marketing automation company with 500-1000 customers, uses land and demand to grow. For example, the company often starts by selling a call tracking product to marketing agency clients. After that product delivers results, ActiveDEMAND can sell more products and increase the value of that customer.
Why Content Marketing Helps With Both Growth Options
With all the sales and marketing methods on the
market, why does content marketing make a difference? Consider the trust impact
of content marketing. Purchasing marketing automation software is a scary
decision! What if the product fails to deliver results and the company fails to
hit its revenue target this year? That’s the worry quietly going through the
mind of most buyers.
With content marketing, a buyer can discover your
company’s point of view in a low-pressure way. Russell Brunson, the co-founder
of ClickFunnels, does excellent work with content marketing across several
platforms: several podcasts, conferences, and books like Dot Com Secrets. By
using content marketing to build trust, you’re also forced to come up with new
ideas that set you apart from the competition.
This month, I started using the Pipedrive CRM. It’s been fantastic! You might assume that I’m excited because I’ve used it to close a deal. That hasn’t happened yet. In fact, the reason I like it comes down to process and habits.
Pipedrive advocates the “activity-based
sales” concept, which I find quite helpful. Instead of hoping and praying for a
sale to close, you view sales as a series of discrete steps. Once you have that
view, you can ask, “what happens at each stage of the sale?” Then you can
become much more confident in planning your daily and weekly activities.
In my case, I started with a simple
sales habit. I would listen to a podcast episode that involved someone from my
target market – marketing automation software companies. Next, I would send
then an introduction email and log this action through Pipedrive. In fact, I
can open up my email and send it directly from the Pipedrive app.
Unlike other CRMs I have used, Pipedrive
makes it easy to track activity for the individual user. I find that immensely
helpful because I can see how many deals I have started and plan the next activity
of the sales process. Too many other CRMs have reporting and analytics designed
for the needs of senior management rather than the end user.
Now that I have this daily habit established,
how else can use Pipedrive as a platform to grow sales habits? This is an area
that I’m still figuring out. Some initial thoughts include:
1) Weekly Habit: Pipeline Review – Determine Next Action.
Review the pipeline to ensure that every
deal has a next action assigned. Without an assigned next action, I’m
essentially relying on the other person to take action. That’s not good enough!
Estimated time required: 1 hour.
2) Weekly Habit: Prepare For Value Added Follow Up
. Research value-added follow up. Instead
of sending boring “did you get my email?” style follow up messages, I want to
do something better. Ideally, I want to share valuable insight with each person
I contact. To do that, I need to read and consume a significant amount of industry
3) Monthly Activity: Sales Process Continuous Improvement.
Assess the sales process for continuous improvement.
What is working? What isn’t working? For example, I might review the email copy
I’m using and the what kind of replies I’ve received. An outside perspective
during this review might also be helpful.
Time Required: 1-2 hours
4) Quarterly Activity: Sales Pipeline Maintenance
Clean the pipeline! Seeing a pipeline with
hundreds of deals in it may give a false sense of security. During this
process, I would review each deal and assess whether it is worth keeping. In
some cases, using The Magic Email might make sense to get deals moving again.
Time Required: Varies depending on the
size of the pipeline
Be Mindful of The Habits Your Tools
In this case, I have found that the
Pipedrive CRM has encouraged productive sales habits. Other apps may encourage
habits that are good for the company (e.g. “habit forming” websites or social
media services that consume attention without much benefit). Ask yourself
whether you can use an app like a CRM to stimulate better habits in your
Tired of reading about Google Ads and Facebook Ads? Those two giants tend to dominate discussions about online marketing because they have the ability to deliver incredible traffic. However, there are other up and coming companies you need to know about.
To find them, let’s look at startups that investors are funding in 2019. It might sound scary to trust part of your company’s marketing strategy to an untested startup. Here’s a different way to look at it. You are going to seize the advantage of a new ways to increase marketing productivity before your competition finds them.
Total Funding: Over $255 million (per Crunchbase)
Employees: 301 Employees
How do you know if your online advertising budget is being wasted? That’s one of the problems that Adjust solves. According to their LinkedIn page, “Adjust is the industry leader in mobile measurement and fraud prevention.” To add to their capabilities, Adjust has acquired several other companies including Acquired.io (a data aggregation platform) and Unbotify (a cybersecurity startup).
With 25,000 apps already using Adjust’s platform, it looks like the company has found a successful niche. Preventing fraud and enhancing measurement are needs that are going away anytime soon.
Total Funding: Over $41 million (per Crunchbase)
Employees: 128 Employees
over 8000 brands on its platform, CleverTap is a marketing platform that uses
machine learning to support segmentation. On G2 Crowd, the company has attracted over 100 reviews with an average
rating of 4.6 Unlike other platforms that simply provide analytics data,
CleverTap makes it easy to bring those insights and apply them to campaigns.
Some of CleverTap’s key benefits for users focus on re-engagement and
evaluating customer acquisition activities.
extends its value by working with various partners such as AWS, Branch,
Mandrill, SendGrid, Mobincube, and AppsFlyer. I was somewhat surprised to see
that Zapier was not on their list, but perhaps that partnership will come in
of content marketing, CleverTap is exceeding expectations with the sheer
variety of resources on its websites. For example, the company offers a
Customer Lifetime Value Calculator (https://clevertap.com/cltv/) where users need to opt-in to receive the
results. Other content resources include case studies, podcasts, webinars, and
white papers. Well done, CleverTap!
Total Funding: Over $50 million (per Crunchbase)
Employees: 106 Employees
heard of the “no code” revolution? It’s a trend to make software and automation
techniques easier to implement. As the Tray homepage puts it: “Empower your
citizen automators to grow your company faster. No dev resources required.” At
first glance, Tray strikes me as an enterprise-level version of Zapier, a
popular automation and integration platform. From a marketing perspective, I
like that Tray combines content marketing (e.g., “Free Guide: Automate the Lead
Lifecycle”) and chat style services. If you already use Clearbit, G Sheets,
Intercom, Salesforce, and Asana, it’s worth looking into the Tray’s platform.
Crowd, Tray.io has 18 reviews with an average rating of 4.7 as of this writing.
One reviewer pointed out that Tray.io helps them to automate GDPR processes.
Other users have commented on the lack of some more advanced collaboration
features. However, it looks like Tray.io is making fast progress in adding new
features and working to take care of customers.
Total Funding: Over $3 million (per Crunchbase)
Employees: 22 Employees
spend all your time in front of a computer, it’s easy to forget how important
events are. Have you seen how many corporate events that Las Vegas alone holds
every month? The event marketing industry is vast. Yet, I also know from
personal experience that it is difficult to optimize. That’s where The Ticket
Fairy comes to play. Whether you are looking to increase ticket revenue or
improve marketing results, The Ticket Fairy is an interesting choice. Event
organizers will also appreciate the fact that fraud prevention is a key feature
for the platform.
Total Funding: Over $82 million (per Crunchbase)
Employees: 224 Employees
marketing automation platform is designed to empower marketers without
involving engineering. Cross-channel engagement is the focus of Iterable. If
you want to market on the web, SMS or in-app, this platform can do it.
From a content perspective, it’s interesting to note that Iterable runs two blogs. There’s an engineering blog focused on topics like Scrum and feature announcements. There is also another more traditional company blog. The blog has dedicated themes covering areas such as growth marketing, cross-channel, company, and product. When I visited the website on June 14, it looks like the blog had not been updated in several weeks.
Iterable is currently hiring for two marketing roles in San Francisco: Field
Marketing Manager and Senior Demand Generation Marketing Manager.
What Can We Learn From These Growing Marketing Automation Companies?
are four themes we can see from these platforms.
there is still tremendous opportunity to integrate marketing across multiple
channels. The dream of “omnichannel marketing” where a customer or prospect has
a consistent experience regardless of location or media is still not quite
partnerships and integrations are becoming more important. Several of these
companies emphasize partnerships with companies like Zapier. That tells me that
marketing automation firms recognize they can’t think of everything. Therefore,
there’s a push to empower the user to connect their platform to
Third, we see the continued rise of “code less” marketing automation. In practical terms, that means that marketers will need to develop more technical skills. If your primary discipline is copywriting or design, you will need to develop more skills to enhance your value. I recommend looking into Zapier as an entry point into the world of automation. To give you a sense of what’s possible, I recommend Maria Myre’s post, “Turn Your Google Analytics Data into Actionable Tasks.”
all five of these companies received venture investment in 2019. There is still
investment pouring into marketing automation. Unlike other niches, marketing
automation has clear value: get more customers and retain current customers.
Increased regulatory controls on marketing like GDPR mean that companies need
to become more sophisticated in their marketing.
Yesterday, I bought new black dress shoes from a store in Toronto. I’ve bought shoes and boots from the same store a few years in a row. While the store is doing the fundamentals right, there’s a big piece missing in their CRM and use of customer data!
As I completed the checkout process, they asked me for my phone number. After I provided it, they pulled up my customer file on their terminal. Out of curiosity, I asked if they had a record of the last purchase I made. They did! In fact, they had three or four different purchases logged in their file. The problem? They were collecting detailed customer profiles and then doing nothing with it. I can’t recall receiving a single phone call from the store. If you’re never going to call the customer, why bother asking for the information? Likewise, they only send generic direct mail to me. Given the fact that they collect detailed purchase data, this seems like a major oversight.
What Could This Shoe Store Do Differently?
There are at least three different ways the company could make better use of their CRM data. My suggestions are partly inspired by one of the best sales books of all time: The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes.
Call the customer after purchase to check on satisfaction and offer an upsell The salesperson mentioned that the shoes could be returned in a certain amount of time. Why not use this guarantee to proactively reach out to me by day five or six after the purchase? If the customer is unhappy, you can work to address their problems. If they are content, you can offer an upsell (e.g., a replacement cleaning product to be sold in three months).
Contact the customer when the seasons change I’m based in Toronto, Canada. That means we have an intense winter season for several months each year. My wonderful new black dress shoes are not going to perform well in half a foot of snow. So, they could make a note in their CRM to contact me in late November. Perhaps let me know about a Christmas sale?
Send a customized card or offer in the mail A few years ago, I received a customized thank you card in the mail after buying some clothes at Brooks Brothers. They are the only retailer that has ever done that! Admittedly, not every retailer will have high enough customer lifetime value (CLV) to justify that effort. A decent shoe store that sells shows for $150, $200 or more? A customer for such a store is easily worth $500 or $1000 over several years. That means there is a good case to be made for sending a customized card.
What Does This Mean For Marketing Automation Companies?
Rethink the customer information you are gathering.
In a post GDPR world, simply gathering all the data you can in the hope that you can find a use for it later is not going to cut it. Your CRM data is only usable if you encourage staff to build habits and processes to do the following:
Thank them for their business. In the marketing automation industry, ClickFunnels is fantastic at this process.
Set out checkpoints for Customer Success.
In the first month as a customer, ask the customer success team to reach out to the customer. Don’t accept the “let us know if you have any questions” approach. Come prepared with one value-added tip that helps new users use the problem.