Secrets of Marketers: Can you automate your marketing?

I’m in a bit of a crazy situation here, people. I’m working feverishly on my second WordPress plugin to try to release it at the end of the month.

Lately I’ve put hours and hours into coding this thing only to neglect pretty much everything else.

So while I’m coding away on this new product, what is happening with my existing product, ThirstyAffiliates?

Well, to be fair it’s pretty much running itself.

But here’s the pickle: Sales are slowing down because I don’t have the time to keep making contact with people.

It’s still making a couple of sales here and there, but at this point, I’m pretty concerned about my end of month report card.

How do I launch a second product while still marketing my current product?

Where the hell do I find the time to do everything?!

I’m wracking my brain because if I’m coding new products constantly – as I’ll need to do if I am to meet my goal of launching 6 new WordPress plugins this year – then I’ll eventually need to find a way to take my hands off the wheel when it comes to marketing everything.

And if you’re not able to read between the lines there, I desperately need to automate my marketing for my current product so I can focus on other things, and I need to get started on it now!

Where my traffic comes from now

At the moment my traffic for ThirstyAffiliates is largely coming from reviews of the product on other people’s websites. Which is great, and I’m totally thankful to everyone who has reviewed it so far.

It was this reason that my first thought was to just pay for advertising on sites like these and that will provide my with the traffic stream I require to make sales.

But this doesn’t really make sense to me.

Text and banner advertising on the net is sort of like making a bet

You’re betting the advertising placed on specific websites is going to drive enough traffic that there will be sales resulting from it that will at least cover the cost of the ads and hopefully make you some profits.

So my problem with this method is:

  1. The sites available for me to advertise on are more expensive than I wish to pay per month (I’d have to drop a grand at least to see any real traffic based on my experiments with ads in the past); and
  2. There’s no guarantee on the quality of the traffic and whether the visitors will be pre-qualified enough to actually buy my product. It’s really hard to find sites that are 100% exactly the kind of audience I want.

From what I can tell the only two ways pre-qualified traffic comes to your website is from either:

  1. People in your target market actively searching for information in the niche you’re trying to attract; or
  2. A recommendation from someone to check something out

I’m super happy to be proven wrong on that – let me know if I’m missing something important in the comments.

What I’ve been doing works

So far I’ve been employing the recommendation method and it’s been going great.

Lots of the sales I’ve had have come from recommendations, in fact I’d say a majority of sales are from the direct recommendation of other people.

But it’s too hard to maintain

It’s become apparent to me that I can’t rely on recommendations alone because I need to make new connections every month in order for the effect to keep going.

Recommendations seem to have an expiry date, so they are good for short term boosts.

So now I’m thinking there is two ways I can continue:

The first is to try to get listed in as many “tools” or “resources” pages as I can. This way I have a permanent link from someone’s site to mine and it will likely extend the same effect I’ve experienced from reviews.

The second is to capture people who are actively searching for information in my niche. That’s what has turned me back to SEO.

In the past I’ve thought of SEO as a bit of an inconvenience and something you setup and do once, then forget about as you go about doing your real business.

But thanks to watching a few Mixergy premium videos on traffic generation I’m starting to see why you would want to consider doing something more meaningful here.

SEO activities can save you a serious amount of money with the only downside being that it takes a long time to rank for the keywords you are targeting.

It also seems to pay dividends to look to the long tail. They say something like 70% of traffic comes from long tail keywords which is pretty crazy.

I think I’ll probably try to do both, and for now I’m poo pooing the idea of advertising unless someone here can put me onto a reason why I should do it.

Can you automate your marketing?

So what do you reckon? Can you actually automate something like marketing?

For me it’s a bit of a numbers game at the moment. I need eyeballs, dammit. And there’s two ways to do that, advertising, or working on your SEO. Both of which take time (that I don’t have, argh!), but it’s something that I need to sort out now because I can’t continue doing what I’m doing.

Would be really interested in hearing about what crazy things people have found worked for them trying to get traffic. Oh, and I’ll get into my SEO strategy at some point in the future here on the blog, stay tuned.

Josh Kohlbach

Josh is a software entrepreneur from Brisbane, Australia. He spends most of his time helping e-commerce store owners. This is his personal blog where he shares his thoughts and other tidbits on online business and life in general.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Dave Doolin

    Your recommendation is in draft for WiaW, forgive my tardiness.

    I think you can automate some of it, but seeing how some of the really big time internet marketers appear to have exited the field, maybe not as much now as a few years ago. One person I know sends out daily emails, but I am sure those are scheduled in advance, possibly a long way in advance (he has a lot of experience).

    Very interested in seeing what you come up with. 6 commercial plugins in one year sounds crazy!

    1. Josh Kohlbach

      It’s batshit crazy, but that’s sort of why I’m doing it! I work best when I’m under the pump.

      Scheduling emails is good if you have a way to get people to sign up for the emails in the first place. This is something that I’ve always struggled with. Some changes that I’ve made to my approach over the last few months seems to be paying off with more email subscribers, but it’s still reliant on having the traffic in the first place.

      I can see where you’re coming from though.

      Can’t wait to read that review! Should be good.

  2. Motyar

    Hire someone for marketing, I think.

    1. Josh Kohlbach

      Haha! Yes, that would definitely automate things. But I’m hoping for a system where I don’t have to hire someone just yet, although that will be on the cards once I know it works.

      Basically, looking to test ideas until I find a system for marketing that I like and I know works, then I can hire and scale up.

  3. Adam W. Warner

    There are numerous ways to automate the social marketing aspect. This is just ONE piece of the marketing puzzle of course. Here’s a few things I do…

    Automate my Twitter (to a degree):
    I run software that auto-follows Twitter users with interest areas that I specify, unfollows them if they don’t follow back, allows me to specify a follower/being followed ratio, and also create automated replies and tweets.

    I have over 10k followers in my accounts and when I Tweet a link (like to ThirstyAffiliates) it gets an immediate click response.

    I also send any tweets to FB…automatically as well as other social platforms.

    So, it’s like I have a few wheels, and the hubs of each are the “source” where I actually create the content, then each hub sends it’s content to the spokes of it’s wheel.

    Now the catch with these methods is to provide REAL value. SEO is also important. I started concentrating on SEO about a year ago and at first it was overwhelming with everything I needed to focus on, but with the help of a couple of tools, I know write an article and get 100% SEO scores the first time I analyze it;)

    For you I would recommend creating a few funnels to drive people to ThirstyAffiliates.

    So your Tweets, FB, might be a series of helpful affiliate marketing type links to “other” sites or your own articles.

    Another funnel would be to do the same, but direct people to a landing page with a direct call for email optin (give them something free), then use Autoresponder messages to go out once a week that again…provide REAL value. Perhaps a short summary, then a link to your existing articles.

    The key, as you know, is to gain trust before making “the pitch”. So after you send 4 or 5 emails with no pitch, a user trust that you send value and will open that 6th email that invites them to learn more about ThirstyAffiliates and take action.

    I have been experimenting with these techniques on our site, and it’s a continual revision process of course, and there’s always something new to learn, however, this past year has been my most successful so far in terms of marketing my own (and other’s) products.

    I hope that helps;)

    1. Josh Kohlbach

      Hey Adam, another great comment from you!

      I like the idea of the automatic searching for followers by specifying the ratio of follow/followed and the subject area. I largely like to keep the people following me higher than the number I follow for good social proof, so I totally get you there. It’s pretty much this reason I am growing twitter so slowly (apart from unfollowing all the junk ones one day about a year ago). I’ll email you about what tool you use here, unless you don’t mind posting a reply!

      The concept of having a wheel and spoke pattern is pretty interesting. I’m going to be doing that to a certain extent, but at the moment I need to get the right hubs in place so the spokes are effective (if that makes sense).

      I get the real value thing as well and I’d probably add that in any of these methods providing real value is pretty much the whole point and the only thing that will build trust between you and a prospect. It’s that old “content is king” catch phrase bloggers like to use, but I’d modify it to be “great content is king”.

      Email marketing is something I really need to get a plan for ThirstyAffiliates. I do it alright elsewhere, I’m just a bit stuck as to what that lead magnet might be. It’s good to hear so many people having success with it though like yourself.

  4. Adam W. Warner

    I’d be happy to share the automated Tweet tool. It’s named TweetAdder and can be found here.

    It’s been one of those things that after using it for awhile, I said to myself “Ohhhhh…so THIS is what people are using to explode their Twitter followers!”

    I have some more tools, and I’m putting together a series of video tutorials that will likely turn into a product in the coming weeks;)

    In the meantime, I’ll keep promoting the BeeGeezus out of ThirstAffiliates as it’s a product I use myself and one I strongly believe in!

    1. Josh Kohlbach

      Awesome stuff Adam!

      Thanks for all your hard work with ThirstyAffiliates. Really appreciate it mate.

      I’ll be checking out TweetAdder for sure..

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