Free Digital Automation - It Exists!


OK, don't freak out! I know its a little like the London Underground Map after a heavy night of drinking.

 You could view this as a type of art installation, give it a few finely tuned uhmms and look for the nearest exit. You could, but...but lets take a look at what it represents.

This is a process map for a "free" digital marketing automation setup. 

 Some sites are "bi," giving you the option of using them as transmitter (publisher) or receiver (storage).

In the top left corner of the infographic is your site, the operational keystone. Attached to your site is the email module provided by your vendor. My advice is to link that to Gmail, as indicated in this article. Use the brilliant features available through the Google productivity suite: G+, Analytics, Adwords, the 15gb of storage, shareable G Drive and all those juicy chrome extensions (I will stop there - you can oversell an idea too).

The next major advantage is that gmail works well with Mailchimp. Mailchimp in turn works well with Facebook advertising and Instagram ads, if you are running advertising campaigns. All this ties into Google Analytics, building you a feedback loop from day 1.

Google contacts is useful, being connected to G+, Google Business pages and Hangouts. You can add cool extensions like "Rapportive," "Email Qualifier," "Social Lead Machine" and "Linked Helper, "taking your data mining to the next level.

Gmail and Twitter have the handy function that they act as a login for other sites - a big bonus for power users (or forgetful people like yours truly :).

So we've done email, ads and analytics in two paragraphs.  I might be skipping something, but lets dash on to the main course, the social...

You know that BeBee allows you to post to the major sites. 

You may not know you can edit your subscriber feed HTML and put it into your Mailchimp newsletter. Subscribe to your own BeBee "Producer" feed and right click  view source. Copy/paste the code from the resulting emails into Mailchimp. See video here.

I don't know how copyrighty  that is, but it can be done easily enough. Your Mailchimp account can then rebroadcast your BeBee posts because it accepts, edits and exports HTML, directing readers back to your Producer page.

There are a few tricks of the trade to look at too. I have a Pinterest board for BeBee that is attached to IFTTT. 


@PaulCroubalian says,IFTTT is a key tool (after MyTweetPack of course). This allows long form posts to be reposted on two(or more), platforms simultaneously, while retaining the ability to repost the same material at a later date by simply moving it to another (synced) board. Or if posted on a shared board, be shared by multiple users, at any future time. 

Your post will also come up in Pinterest Search and Google search, depending on keywords.

Having distinct business and personal profiles on Twitter can multiply your marketing output quite quickly. Twitter will feed your Facebook account automatically (its in the settings). Facebook will accept shares from Instagram, automatically. Linkedin will feed your Twitter automatically.

If you have the feeling that Twitter is a hub for media sharing, you're not wrong - again @PaulCroubalian wrote an article to this effect a few weeks ago.

 I prefer Pinterest, but it's horses for courses. 

Some people use YouTube as their base. It has powerful editing, cropping, sharing and embed tools, plus it is Search Engine No.2 and a useful video hosting platform (which you knew already).

We're half way there, lets look at scheduling. I know that Tumblr allows me to run an RSS feed from my blog, simply by adding "/rss"after my blog URL (Blogger offers this option too). I can add this feed to and repost to "three for free" social platforms. works better with G+ than IFTTT, so it is a default option for me. It will also post to a Linkedin business page(or profile). The beauty of this tool is the excellent scheduling feature - its easy to use, giving you (if you want it) the potential to completely automate your output.

Two further tools, I use are Buffer and You probably know Buffer already, so I will not discuss it. is often overlooked, which is a pity. 

You can do lots of slick things with it in terms of curating content, topic research or branding. The scheduling feature is red hot. A feature I like is that you can add up to 10 Twitter feeds as inputs. 

 Lets say, I like  @ad360eu, I can add these tweets to my newspaper really easily as full scale articles. I can also add from URL, so a particularly interesting article can be easily transferred from another site. It tweets your top story by default, adds social mentions, and there seems to be no limit to the amount or frequency of papers you can publish.

The one thing you must be aware of is that has the propensity to pick up that awful Fox news type junk, both articles and videos, rebroadcasting it under your name. So weed out the default content sources as early as possible.

Time to stop, I think!

This is not an exhaustive list of the tools out there.  It is just a starting point into what can be done by automation - for free. Neither is it giving away the secrets of the "digital marketing" profession.  It takes a steady hand and some experience, before it all runs like clockwork.

Note: If this chart is useful, you can download a cleaner PDF version here. 

#Digital #Marketing #Automation