The holidays are a busy time of year. It’s hard to find a minute to relax between work, holiday gatherings, the kids’ school programs, shopping for gifts, etc. The good news? There is something out there that could make your online marketing efforts a bit easier: marketing automation. The following marketing automation tools allow you to schedule content, emails, and ads, giving you peace of mind and more time to actually enjoy the holidays.
Schedule campaign content
Are you running a contest that is supposed to end at a time that is outside of your normal 9 to 5 workday? Don’t force yourself to stay up until midnight or excuse yourself from your daughter’s Christmas concert; instead, schedule the content on your campaign to stop showing automatically. I often suggest folks schedule their contest entry forms and discounts (Black Friday, anyone?) to start and stop showing at specific times. Time-based visibility is also helpful when running contests where voting should be turned on or off at a specific time.Time-based visibility settings, used to start and stop showing widgets, are easy to set up within your ShortStack campaign. Simply click the pencil icon to edit the widget you wish to schedule, then click Visibility on the left side. From there, enter the date and time you wish to start or stop showing the widget (oh, and don’t forget to set the time zone).Looking to schedule a bunch of widgets to start or stop showing at the same time? Add these widgets to a Container Widget, then schedule the start or stop showing times for the Container Widget. This will automatically apply all of the Container Widget settings to the widgets within the container.
Apply a schedule to a group of widgets by applying your visibility settings to a container
Schedule social media posts
As an online marketer, you know certain times of the day are better than others for posting to your social media profiles. While these times might occur during your workday, it isn’t always easy to drop what you’re doing to post to social media.Social media management tools like AgoraPulse allow you to write posts for a variety of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, then schedule your posts for the days and times you choose. These tools allow you to see all of the posts you have set to publish, helping you see your social media content calendar at a glance.Social media management tools are also handy for monitoring your social media engagement. You can easily reply to folks who send you messages and monitor relevant conversations online. Better yet, having all of your social media streams in one place will save you time logging into each and inevitably becoming distracted scrolling through your Newsfeed.
Schedule online ads
Much like scheduling posts, scheduling ads will save you a lot of time. Once you figure out where you wish to publish your ads, you can schedule them for specific dates and times. But why is it so important to schedule your ads? They require a lot of manual management. You might be running several ads for different target markets advertising different things, contests, discounts or products, all at the same time. If you schedule out your ads, you are less likely to miss something important.Most online advertising platforms give you the opportunity to schedule your ads.
Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads give you the ability to schedule posts for specific dates, or you can set them for specific days of the week and times if you have a lifetime budget.
TIP: Before you get started writing your posts, it’s a good idea to create an advertising calendar where you map out what specific ads should say, and when those ads should run.
Schedule email marketing
Emails are an essential way to keep your customers informed about your company, whether you are trying to share discounts and deals, share new products or announce contests. Two types of email scheduling include scheduling individual emails and creating email drip campaigns.ShortStack allows you to create both scheduled and follow-up emails. With scheduled emails, you schedule a specific date and time for the email you create to send to the list that you choose. Scheduled emails are great for sending emails that include discounts, new product announcements, or limited-time-only flash sales to your entire list.ShortStack also gives you the ability to create follow-up emails. Follow-up emails, also known as drip campaigns, are sent at a specific interval after someone signs up for your list. Follow-up emails are useful for welcoming customers to your list, educating customers about your business, and nurturing your leads and engaging with customers over time.
Schedule blog content
Does your company have a blog? If so, I’m guessing your content team isn’t posting over the holidays (nobody wants to take time out from devouring turkey to write a blog post). Keep your blog content fresh over the holidays by scheduling posts in advance.It’s pretty easy to schedule posts with a content management system like WordPress. All you need to do is choose “Edit” beside Publish Immediately in the Publish section of the WordPress post you want to schedule, set a date and time, then click Ok. When you are finished adding the post content, just click Schedule and your posts will be scheduled.
Scheduling a blog post publish in WordPressDon’t forget: The hard part with scheduling posts is having the content ready to post. Give your content team plenty of time and firm deadlines well in advance of the holidays. This way you aren’t scrambling to post hours before heading out on vacation.
Schedule reminders to pop up on your phone
Although scheduling reminders to display on your phone’s lock screen isn’t “marketing automation,” it is a type of automation that you can use to save time and keep yourself organized during the hectic holiday season. I schedule reminders for everything from upcoming meetings to buying birthday gifts and taking medicines when I’m sick. As for marketing, you can use reminders for important deadlines. For example, set a reminder to display when you need to finishIf you’re on an ecommerce platform, you might consider scheduling reminders for shipping deadlines. Scheduling shipping deadline reminders helps you to be sure your customers’ packages arrive in time for Christmas. Check out BigCommerce’s article, How to Make Holiday Shipping Anxiety a Thing of the Past for You and Your Customers: Tips, Strategies & 2018 Shipping Deadlines, for more common sense suggestions for holiday shipping.If you haven’t already, check out The Essential Interactive Marketing Guide for the Holidays. The guide includes helpful tips for planning your holiday interactive marketing campaigns, plus suggestions for campaigns to fit each holiday.
Jane has over a decade of martech experience, with an emphasis in content marketing, UX, and customer success. Her combined skillset and years of hands-on experience make her a valuable player in the industry. In her free time, Jane loves quiet family dinners at home and a good book.