Why freelancers should learn to love automation

Jul 16, 2020

Automation is one of the hot fields in the business world right now, and marketing automation in particular is taking the marketing world by storm.

You might see term “automation” and think Skynet is coming for your job. But there’s no reason to be concerned! Automation will not replace us freelancers. In fact, it’s going to make our jobs better than ever before and provide new opportunities for freelancers to provide valuable services.

Thoughtful implementation of automation allows marketers to:

Build relationships and engage on a personal level with clients in an infinitely scalable way.

● Focus on the tasks only the human mind can handle, like strategy, detailed analysis, and content creation, by taking care of repeatable and rules-based tasks.

● Collect data and apply detailed analytics to provide insights to marketing teams, enabling hyperpersonalization of marketing efforts in unprecedented ways.

Marketing automation has enormous potential, but it takes knowledge and experience to implement. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to plug in — every organization has its own needs. This means there’s an opportunity for independent consultants and specialists to step in and guide businesses in establishing their automation processes, or even manage those processes in an ongoing manner.

You may already have the skills to be an automation specialist and not even realize it. If you don’t, they’re likely to be skills you can easily pick up. Here’s how to get started:

Understand the Playing Field

Let’s look at some high-demand focus areas within marketing automation. Whether you want to specialize in one particular field or become a generalist, these are areas where you can really shine.

Email Automation

It’s highly likely you’ve already done this one. If you’ve managed e-newsletters, built marketing campaigns, or even used an email follow-up tool, you’ve built skills in marketing automation.

As an example, let’s look at follow-up emails. The average office worker receives 121 emails per day. They’re juggling reading and responding to them with all their other duties, so it’s an unfortunate truth that follow-up emails are critical to actually getting a response. As a knowledgeable email automation specialist, you can advise your client on deploying a tool that automatically follows up on emails until a response is received, and provides analytics such as open rate and click through rate to see if the recipient is engaging with your client’s emails.

Another email marketing automation example is tools like Mailchimp or Constant Contact that deploy trigger-based emails (such as emails that automatically go out to clients that take actions on your website, or that haven’t interacted with you in a certain amount of time) or use segmentation to provide tailored and personalized marketing via email to customers.

Customer Relationship Management Automation

CRM software is key to the hyperpersonalized experience that is a main selling point of automation. Many small to medium businesses may have been convinced to invest in a CRM suite such as Salesforce or HubSpot, but might not actually be using it to its potential, or they may not know which of the thousands of tools and platforms would work best for them. While every CRM suite works differently, the general concepts and skills do transfer, so if you become a master at one, those skills translate to others.

Whether you’re helping businesses integrate their CRM with other tools, implement a new CRM system, or simply train their personnel on how to get the most out of the tools at their disposal, specializing in CRM software within marketing automation means limitless opportunities to stay busy.

E-Commerce Automation

The explosion in e-commerce isn’t going away any time soon, and many store operators have no idea how much marketing automation can help them. There are a plethora of great tools and integrations optimized for use with major e-commerce platforms like Magento and Shopify, and it’s a challenge for entrepreneurs to know which ones work for them, or how to get the most out of them. That’s where you come in!

E-commerce is key to provide the personalized and seamless experience customers expect. Providing customized recommendations, trigger-based emails for abandoned shopping carts or customer reactivation, and content delivery to customers at the right time for where they are in the buyer’s journey are huge opportunities for store runners, and there’s plenty of data there to make it an easy sell. You can generalize or specialize in a specific platform and build a great freelance niche by helping clients get the most out of the tools available to them.

Make Your Mark

How do you establish yourself as a black belt in marketing automation? First, take a good hard look at your experience and skill set and determine how they fit into your narrative. You might be surprised at how much experience you can prove by emphasizing the automation aspects of your existing skills.

Read up on platforms, tools, and best practices. Make sure you deploy the right keywords to show mastery of the field. LinkedIn SEO is critical to helping potential clients find you; using marketing automation keywords will make sure new clients discover you. Don’t forget to use your headline, include relevant projects, and ask for endorsements!

Many automation tools and platforms offer certifications and training that you can take and then include on your resume. HubSpot, a popular CRM platform, offers training, as do email marketing suite GetResponse and Adobe’s Marketo marketing automation software.

Join the Vanguard

At this point, it’s almost a mantra for successful freelancers: be adaptable, embrace changing trends, and technologies, and go where the need is. Marketing automation is a field where ambitious freelancers can get in on the ground floor and grow with the industry — it’s always easiest to become a rock star in a field before it fully matures.

If you want to make an impact and do some valuable work while making sure you are always busy, marketing automation just might be the field for you.

Michael Habiger

Michael Habiger is self-made marketing enthusiast and content marketing expert, currently working at FollowUpFred.