The options are not mutually exclusive. Both can benefit you in different ways at different times.
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Effectively marketing your business requires time, skill and creativity. You have a number of options for adding an edge to your business to get back some time and increase your productivity. You may have looked into automation software, or automating parts of your business when considering whether to hire a new member. Which is better for your business?
Here are a few things to consider.
What are your objectives?
Before we take a deep dive into your options, a question needs to be answered. What do you hope to gain from either hiring a new team member or purchasing an automation tool? Take a moment to think about your objectives.
If you are seeking more creativity and a fresh perspective on your work, then a new hire can bring new ideas and skills and solve your problems. Automation tools can’t do those things, but do have advantages if you are looking to gain more time or strengthen lead generation.
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Seventy-four percent of marketers who responded to an Adestra survey said that the biggest benefit to marketing automation software is the time saved allows them to spend more time on messaging and higher level strategy.
More time is the most valuable benefit of automation tools. Just think of all of the manual processes that go into a social media campaign: scheduling, publishing and monitoring content and your community. These processes can be taken off your hands by an effective automation tool.
How does this compare to the new hire option? The hiring process, managing a new team member and then waiting for them to get up to scratch takes time. In the long term it might alleviate the pressures on your team, but short term it won’t do much to decrease your workload. If set up correctly, and by choosing the best tool for your team and objectives, then the long term impact on saving time with automation tools can be just as effective.
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It’s a common myth that automation is expensive. When you’re talking about large scale automation technologies sold to large corporations, it is certainly a more expensive proposition. However, teams looking to automate their marketing have a range of products available to choose from within their budget.
Since automation tools can help you to streamline your business and be more effective with your leads, down the line it can save you the cost of hiring a new team member.
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Adding a new member to the team certainly gives you control over your work. If you are looking for a solution during a particular campaign, you could find more benefits in hiring a team member whose work you can tailor to your needs.
However, automation does not mean relinquishing control. Automation tools let you control when and where certain messages go. Automation software also eliminates the issue of human error. Tired, distracted or overworked employees can post the wrong thing at the wrong time, set the wrong budget for an ad, or get their time-zones the wrong way around.
What do automation tools actually do?
The pros and cons of hiring a new team member are well known, but there are plenty of myths about automation tools. The most pernicious is that automation tools drain the creativity and spark from posts. It’s important to remember that automation tools are not there to replace the creative flare of your team.
Think of all of the time-consuming and manual processes, such as scheduling and posting, that go into a social media post after it’s been put together. The creativity comes first, then automation kicks in to help with time-saving.
Only around 51 percent of companies are currently using some form of marketing automation. Ninetyone percent of respondents to the SharpSpring The State of Marketing Automation for Agencies survey believe that marketing automation strategy is a success. Statistics like these show that marketing automation is growing in popularity, so learning what they can offer you is important in deciding whether to invest.
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So should you hire or automate? The question depends on your objectives and where you are right now in your business growth. The options are not mutually exclusive, and both can benefit you in different ways at different times. Whatever your final conclusion, there is a strong argument for automation as an integral part of any long term marketing plan, no matter what you decide in the here and now.
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