Building a Startup Marketing Department… No Humans Need Apply

Building a Startup Marketing Department… No Humans Need Apply

If you’re like most startup founders I know, you probably wish you could somehow market your product 24/7… while working on your other equally important jobs in parallel!


Thanks to advances in “marketing automation,” this dream is closer now than ever before. I’m going to highlight a strategy today that can help you achieve significant leverage from the time you devote to your marketing efforts.


Clone Yourself – Over and Over Again


“If only I could clone myself!” is a popular cry amongst startup founders. Imagine all the biz dev you could get done if there were two of you!


When it comes to marketing follow up, I have some good news to share. You can actually do better than cloning yourself when it comes to scheduling email follow-ups.


You do this by setting up an autoresponder sequence in your email marketing software, which is an email or series of emails that you write once (and only once — this is the key). Then you schedule it to be sent automatically to new leads based on a timeline you set — and they are sent out over and over again on your behalf without your having to lift a finger.


For example, say you have a “Contact Us” or “Free Trial” sign-up form on your website. You probably make an effort to reply to inquiries sent in via this form as soon as possible. But, since the form is visible on the internet and is accessible 24/7, it’s not always possible for you, or someone in your company, to send an immediate reply.


Instead, you set up your autoresponder to send an email back immediately under your name, which contains the basic points of your normal lead follow-up. The advantage is that your prospect has an email immediately, with useful information, along with your contact information. They are one step farther along in the sales process.


If you have a sequence of emails available, you can stagger the subsequent emails to deliver at regular intervals. For example, I have an autoresponder sequence setup for free trial users of Chrometa, so that they receive tips and tricks for using our software regularly throughout our 14-day free trial period.


Step 1 – Write the Emails (or Use Old Ones)


Pull up some old emails that you’ve written previously as a starting point. They could be emails you sent directly to a prospective or current customer. It’d be a shame to let the knowledge you shared fade away right there – let’s get that expertise into an autoresponder sequence.


Be sure to also check previously written email newsletters, so that you can repurpose the expertise you shared previously into the autoresponder. This way, you can continue to impress new prospective customers.


Step 2 – How to Setup the Autoresponder Sequence


Most email marketing software with some level of sophistication have autoresponder capabilities. If you’re in the market for a new product, I’d start with MailChimp, InfusionSoft, or LeadDyno (in no particular order — I use all three myself).


Once you have your emails written into these programs, it just becomes a matter of setting up the new autoresponder within the application and specifying the criteria that will trigger a response.


Step 3 – Onwards With Your New Automation


As you march on with your new marketing assistant, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:


  1. When you write a detailed email back to a prospective or current customer, be on the lookout for general advice that would be well served in your autoresponder follow up.
  2. Every customer newsletter you write should be reused in an autoresponder sequence. Turn your hard work into a lead follow up gift that keeps on giving!


The rewards of a simple, yet well thought out, autoresponder program can be quite significant. Once properly setup, you can have tens or hundreds of emails being sent out on your startup’s behalf every day, weekends included. This leaves you free to sit back and field replies from well qualified, pre-sold leads… as you handle your many other founder priorities!

Brett Owens


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