From Zapier, LinkedIn Helper to Web Scraping
Do you work in marketing? How many hours do you spend each week doing repetitive tasks? Probably enough – but digitization has reached the point where marketing automation will free you from this burden.
What is Marketing Automation?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one of 2020’s hottest business topics: in fact, the industry’s turnover shot from US $100mn in turnover by 2012 to an expected US $5bn this year, according to Statista.com. Of course, this revolution doesn’t stop at the domains of marketing. In this short blog post, we will show you 3 simple automations digital and growth marketing managers can implement right away – without knowing how to code at all. This will not only help you save some of your valuable time, but also – if done well – to increase your marketing’s reach many-fold at no additional cost.
Use Zapier for Process Automation – No coding skills required
Recently, Robotic Process Automation has become increasingly viable for smaller businesses and startups. While most RPA software is effectively only affordable for larger corporations, Zapier is different: with its free version or prices starting at € 19.90 per month, it is the natural choice for most SMEs and startups.
Zapier works by simply connecting numerous services and enabling them to interact with their corresponding APIs. For example:
- A lead fills out a Google Form on your Website: this triggers a Workflow within Zapier
- Zapier takes the information from Google Forms, and sends it to an Excel sheet prepared by you, including a whole set of complex calculations.
- Zapier updates your customer database and CRM tools.
- A new task is created automatically in your project management tool, for example Jira or Asana.
- Your team receives a notification, including your Excel model’s results and a link to your CRM entry via Email, Slack, or whatever channel you prefer.
As Zapier supports more than 2.000 different applications from ActiveCampaign to Zendesk, this creates a myriad of possibilities – not only for marketing automation, but just about anything. Plus: if you know Python, add your own code, and create even more complex workflows.
2. The LinkedIn Helper
A tool for LinkedIn B2B Marketing Automation
LinkedIn Helper enables you to increase your reach on LinkedIn to personal profiles, for instance by automatically sending requests and messages, or inviting your contacts to like your page. Hence, this is a Tool primarily to be used by your sales staff. To begin with, simply download the tool from https://linkedhelper.com/download – the subscription starts at €8 per month.
I have put together a quick step-by-step guide for you. Follow these steps after the installation was done:
- Open your LinkedIn profile. On the right bottom corner open the LinkedIn Helper, and select “Collect, Select & Invite 2nd & 3rd party contacts”.
- Create a new list of people to reach out to. Go back to LinkedIn’s search page, set your search filter by entering keywords or companies plus the relevant location.
- On the LinkedIn Helper, click “Collect contacts for inviting”. Your new list will populate now automatically, which takes a while – don’t close the window. When its done, you can go through your invitation list, and exclude specific people manually.
- When your list is ready, switch to LinkedIn Helper’s message tab to enter your message – you can even personalize it by entering the variables of people’s names, positions and companies.
- LinkedIn doesn’t really like bots like this one (though it is legal to use them). Therefore, you can reconfigure LinkedIn Helper’s regular timeouts, which models human behavior, and makes the bot impossible to be detected. Here, you can also increase the invitation speed up to 100 invites per day.
- Hit “Start profiles inviting” – and there you go! You have to keep the tab selected and open, but can open additional new windows to keep working in while LinkedIn Helper does its job.
After sending your invitations, you can also export your invitee list as a .csv file. For more detailed information, you can check out this tutorial.
Web Crawling and Web Scraping: A special tip for Startups with Platform Business Models
A final tip especially for startups building platform business models: As you are facing the hen-and-egg dilemma when simultaneously building demand, while there is not even enough supply on your platform yet, try to emulate the supply right away. Your solution to do so? Web Scraping!
Imagine you build a platform to book holidays on farms (very Austrian, I know), but you don’t get any farms to sign up because you don’t have sufficient users. And your users don’t like your platform – because there are not enough farms around.
Then save yourself half the hassle and solve one side of your equation by crawling the web for farms offering rooms to rent. Scrape the information and put it onto your platform too. The farms won’t be mad about their additional coverage, and you will offer plenty of options to your users.
A great open-source and free-to-use tool for web crawling is Scrapy. Or simply use Python’s Beautiful Soup library as a web scraping tool pulling out website data using the pages’ document object model (DOM). Your developer (or one of ours) will be happy to set it up.
Pretty neat what automation can do for you, right? Now that you have a brief overview, it’s probably time to dig deeper into your favourites with some tutorials. In case you would like us to support you with automating some of your tasks for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.