Marketing automation is all the rage in our high tech, data-driven world. Platform after platform tempts us with advanced capabilities for click funnels, drip campaigns, and other automated capabilities. There are entire platforms, such as Zapier, that exist simply to integrate one automated platform with another. The capabilities are astounding, but also confusing and can easily become overwhelming.
You Can Ignore 90% of This Noise
Fortunately, as a creative entrepreneur, you can largely ignore most of these platforms and techniques. Marketing your creative practice, like marketing any professional service, does not require high-octane, high-volume, or complex marketing techniques. In a nutshell, you just have to build a list of targeted and qualified prospects, and start reaching out—personally, and individually.
Using automated, high-volume approaches is not only unnecessary for personalized outreach, they are likely to backfire by making stiff and unwelcome first impressions. For the creative entrepreneur, like the tortoise, slow and steady will win the race.
Efficiency Tools vs. Marketing Automation
That said, there are tools available that can help reduce some of the drudgery in certain necessary steps involved in the basic mechanics of marketing—even at low volume.
For example, it can take quite a bit of time to simply do the research to build your prospect list. In my early days of marketing for my first company, I had to purchase phonebook-sized industry directories, and scan through page after page of companies in order to identify potential prospects. Then I had to type all that information into a FileMaker Pro database.
LinkedIn Transforms List Building Research
Today, you can easily build a refined list of prospects using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator. But once you have that list you’ll need to move those contacts into another system (because LinkedIn is notoriously bad at providing contact management tools). And so you may need to exert some elbow grease as you copy and paste some of the basic information from each contact into a Google sheet or Airtable. But that’s still a heck of a lot easier than raw data entry from a printed directory!
Automating Contact Information Gathering
But I’ll tell you a secret. You can automate that! Before I tell you how, I would encourage you not to use this tool when you’re just beginning your list building process. While going from profile to profile, copying and pasting contact info into a spreadsheet, is drudgery, it’s not without its subtle benefits. The information you can glean by viewing many profiles within your target market can be invaluable. Spending a little time individually reviewing each profile as you copy and paste can teach many things about your audience: what groups they participate in, connections they have, events they attend, titles they use, content they create, and concerns that they have. Spending just 60 seconds per profile as you move their data into a Google Doc is enough to deepen your understanding of your audience in so many ways.
Help When You Hit Diminishing Returns
But such efforts, while important at first, do have diminishing returns. And eventually you will want to speed this process up. When that time comes take a look at Phantom Buster. I’ve had varying degrees of success over the years exploring ways to automate the process of moving Sales Navigator search results into a spreadsheet. But Phantom buster has pre-built automatations to do exactly this. It’s literally as easy as copying and pasting a search URL into their system and running the tool. You can then also add a simple one line function into a Google Sheet and get the results from the Phantom automatically imported into your spreadsheet.
Message Automation—Handle With Care!
Another automation tool that you might look into (after you’ve squeezed every last drop of experience out of manually engaging with prospects) is OctopusCRM. Octopus allows you to batch message your 1st degree connections on LinkedIn. But be even more cautious in using this tool than Phantom Buster. Using Phantom Buster too soon might minimize opportunities for you to gain insights, but using Octopus too soon, or too much, can potentially turn off your audience, and even get your LinkedIn account suspended!
But if you use Octopus sparingly, and appropriately, it can be a real time saver when you want to make announcements via messaging sets of your first degree connections.
Bulk Profile Viewing
One last tool that can help speed your marketing along is a Chrome browser extension called Multiple URL Opener. If you take my course, Marketing Mastery for Creative Entrepreneurs, you’ll learn about how to run a LinkedIn “View Back” campaign. One of the neat features of LinkedIn is that people are notified when others view their profile. And many people, out of curiosity, will view the profiles of those who viewed them. When they do you likewise will be notified of their returned profile view. These are the warmest moments to send a connection request.
In order to engage in this campaign you have to open up a lot of profiles, perhaps 50-100 per day. That can be a lot of clicking. Instead you can copy and paste a set of LinkedIn URLs into Multiple URL Opener and click “Open.” It will then start opening these profiles while you do other things. (Just be sure to set a pause between opens of at least 6 seconds, otherwise you might trigger LinkedIn’s usage limits.) Of course you won’t be able to use Chrome while this is running. But you can use Edge for this rather than Chrome or vica versa since Edge supports Chrome extensions. That allows one browser to open profiles in the background while you continue to work in the other.
These simple automation tools can speed up your daily marketing processes while not undermining your personalized efforts to reach out to prospects. What tools do you use that you’ve found to help with your marketing? Reach out and let me know!