By ProBlogger Marketing Expert Alita Harvey-Rodriguez.
Warning: This article has nothing to do with robots taking over your blog. If you’re after robots, click here.
If you’re looking for information about the impact that automation is having on blogging and your reader relationships, then you’re in the right place!
First of all you need to understand automation isn’t the future of all evil. It is a common part of everyday life.
With everything from simple things we take for granted like social media alerts across our devices or out of office replies to the soon to be released Amazon Echo competitor, Google ‘Chirp’: a voice-activated home assistant, which can order you an Uber, adjust your thermostat, turn on lights, or play you the perfect Spotify playlist for your mood.
On an average day you have your normal tasks to tick off, like getting the kids ready for school, getting yourself ready for the day, working, replying to emails, friends text messages, organising your weekend, looking after your home, pets, friends and family.
Then, somehow, you’re meant to put on your super boots and bash out some new amazing blog content, implement your ideas to improve traffic, contact your subscribers, reply to social media comments, post something new to all your top social media channels and still have time to look after what you love and your personal wellbeing.
Oh yeah, no worries. All in the day of the life of a passionate blogger, right?
The time to look at automation strategies for any blogger or business is when you’re finding your blog to be incredibly time consuming. If you’re thinking there must be a better way to get more done in the 24 hours given to your everyday, automation might just be the solution you’re looking for.
If your goals are increased blog traffic, better time management, more engaged readers and a bigger social or financial impact, automation is going to be a big part of your solution – it’s designed to enhance our lives so we can focus on the things that really matter.
Despite all this, there is a common concern that by automating your blog or business processes, you’ll lose touch with the heart of your fans, dilute your impact and systemise yourself beyond the reason you first started. However, automating your tasks is quite the contrary.
Isn’t automation totally impersonal?
Think of it like this: if you got just 10 emails or comments a day: are you going to wait till you have time to talk/respond to all them?
By the time you get to it, the likeliness of that person remembering who you are and caring about the topic has dwindled. This to me isn’t a good start to a reader relationship and is very limiting.
So how can automation help you build better relationships, increase traffic and find more time?
Put yourself in your readers shoes: they commented or subscribed because they like you. Why not strike when the iron is hot to strengthen that new relationship? A nice thought but almost impossible to do at 1am without automation.
Talking about striking whilst the iron is hot – if we’re just looking at emails, automated replies have a 119% higher click through over standard emails.
Simple basic automation with less important tasks, like thanking them for their comment or subscription instantly with a nice ‘personal’ message whilst giving them some more information about your blog or the topic they’re interested in can make a massive difference on your relationships, referrals, impact and loyalty.
At a basic level with those 10 emails a day, automation you can help you deepen your relationship with 3,650 readers a year, without you even lifting a finger. Hello Piña Coladas in Hawaii!
Example: Last year at ProBlogger Event I when I spoke, I mentioned sending at least three automated emails when someone first subscribes. 10 days after PBEvent finished, I got an email saying “Thank you for the advice, it worked! I got more traffic and more sales already”.
The quickest wins in automation for any business or blogger is simplifying traffic through social and your email marketing (email is known to be the biggest time killer yet the best tool to keep your readers in love and loyal).
Here are my three favourite things you can start to automate for traffic, sign-ups, engagement and loyalty.
There are plenty of social media scheduling tools, but Social Oomph goes above and beyond into automation.
Auto following, DM replies and this neat tool called “Queue Reservoir” that will easily keep your “evergreen” posts (You know the ones that never get old) sent out over period of time (days/minutes or hours) easily with different titles.
SumoMe will pop-up (hehe) a few times in my favourite tools to start automating.
It’s automating the sign up process and making it as relevant as possible to the readers point in time.
Plenty of sites have a single point of opt-in, or one generic pop-up. SumoMe’s free service allows you to simply create a pop-up email capture form and with one simple click can automatically send your new signups straight to mailchimp.
Goodbye manual uploads! Hello constantly updated lists!
The biggest mistake most bloggers and businesses make is not keeping in touch with their subscribers from the minute they join your list, except for the standard “confirm your subscription”. Hello BORING!
You’ve got them there, they have just said hey I trust you enough to let you into my inbox, why not capitalise on it right away and build more trust?!
The first step in automating your email marketing is running a series of nurture “Welcome” emails over 30 days from the point of subscribing. The open rates are often 200% higher than standard mailings. So don’t skip past this one!
It’ll make your life and trust with subscribers easier, and it’ll even improve the open rates of your standard mailing because they’ll already be used to receiving your emails.
You can use these emails to gather more information as your learn more about your subscribers over time, giving you a better chance of sending more relevant information by segmenting your emails. This you can also do automatically!
I’ll talk more about my top 7 email marketing life cycle automation strategies to increase blog traffic in my next post. So stay tuned!
To get you started, I usually start off with 4 to 5 emails over a series of 30 days.
This is just the beginning of a winning email marketing automation strategy, but one that works better than any other. So if you do anything today to make your life easier, install SumoMe and start working on your Welcome series!
Regardless of whether you’re new to blogging or if you’re successfully monetising your blog and have been for years automation should be put at the top of your must do list.
Alita Harvey-Rodriguez is known as one of Australia’s leading Digital Marketing Futurist and the brains behind Milk it Academy, a training platform to advance marketers skills into new school digital leadership roles. Alita is a regular contributor to Womens Agenda, SEMRush, internetretailer.com.au, 2015 ORIA Judge (Online Retailer Industry Awards) and the leading lecturer at the Digital Marketing Institute for Email Marketing and Marketing Automation.