Marketing virtual assistant vs. automation: What you should consider
Hiring remote workers, including virtual assistants, have boomed alongside the rise of the digital economy. Hiring freelancers help businesses save on costs while the internet keeps them connected. Outsourcing, especially business process outsourcing, now opens its doors to SMEs and startups for their business needs and expansions locally and internationally. In return, these two models help developing countries generate more job opportunities for their citizens and grow their economies. It continues to be a win-win situation for the outsourcing country, freelancers, and businesses.
As technology advances, another method paves its way through the transformation of businesses: automation. A Forrester survey showed that 93% of the businesses consider intelligent technology as the key to digital transformation. Nowadays, automation is slowly transforming the way businesses operate, especially the workplace.
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AI has been used now in different roles in business, especially marketing. Companies now use automated emails for their newsletters, customer onboarding, and customer recommendations. Marketing analysis on user engagements and potential leads are now generated through different marketing tools on the internet. What has been done by human labor before can be done now through automation.
However, it is said that automation may be a threat to jobs worldwide, especially outsourcing and freelancing. As businesses turn to artificial intelligence in the coming years, human labor will be replaced with automation and some jobs may become obsolete. This includes human virtual assistants and call centers.
Hiring Virtual Assistants in the Age of Automation
Big companies see marketing automation as the future of advertising. As businesses move towards digital innovation, they now also focus on having a more personalized customer experience than ever before. Research shows that 76% of customers expect businesses to know their needs and expectations and that most of the companies who do this generate more customer retention and leads, which make the business more successful.
However, many businesses still hire virtual assistants to do the job, especially SMEs and startups. They still find hiring a VA cheaper than hiring an in-house marketing assistant or marketing automation. While automation is an advantage to streamline processes in sales and marketing including lead generation, customer profiling, and personalization, only a few small businesses use this and 90% of small businesses don’t invest in automation due to expenses.
Benefits of VA and Automation
Hiring a marketing VA still has its benefits to this day, whatever the size of the business. So is marketing automation. Whatever marketing needs your business has, either of these two can do the job.
Marketing VAs deal more with the website and content approach. They are the ones that usually think of a way to manually generate leads and satisfy customers through researching on different trends. Some of marketing VA tasks include:
- Website content moderation. Marketing VAs update and maintain website content. They also think of new content to publish, modify, and apply search engine keywords to. Marketing VAs can also be graphic designers when it comes to designing the web site’s logo, landing page, and different features to attract the customers through its interface.
- Social media moderation. They also use social media pages of the website as one of the tools to attract leads and improve customer engagements. They publish, schedule, and modify catchy and relevant posts, research trends, and manage campaigns and analytics. Nowadays, marketing VAs usually handle multiple social media accounts for a single website and analyze which generates more traffic to the website.
- Customer satisfaction and lead generation. Marketing VAs usually handle queries and interactions done through a business’s social media accounts. Since customer interactions from social media are also measured by analytics, they need to reply to every negative or positive comment and chat inquiries quickly.
- Email marketing. Studies show that almost half of the customers still use email to reach out to websites, so email marketing still gains the biggest ROI in business. Though many now use email automation, marketing VAs still deal with scheduling newsletters, writing copies for email, and designing email content.
- Competitor analysis. Marketing VAs don’t just deal with customer leads and interactions. They also deal with studying the competitors’ strategies. This gives businesses an insight into how they can market their website more effectively and get ahead of the competition.
Marketing automation, however, deals more with customer-centric ways of marketing and advertising. It improves customer experience through customer profiling and product recommendations.
- Customer profiling. Research says that most customers prefer patronizing a business that already has their customer profile and previous purchase history. Customer profiling gives businesses an edge on this since customer data is already recorded and encrypted in their system. Pulling up this record may help them in improving customer experience in the future.
- Personalization. Customers expect businesses to understand them fully with their needs. Personalization through marketing automation gives businesses insight and prediction on customer behavior such as in purchase patterns. This may help them give better product recommendations for their customers.
- Better marketing data. Marketing automation gives a more accurate pattern of customer engagement and retention through social media accounts. You can use this data to strategize how they can target more customers and attract traffic through the website.
- Better lead generation and nurturing. Most marketing automation systems give you suggestions on how to generate and maintain your lead more.
- Automated campaign marketing. Alongside the newsletters that your marketing VAs send through email, marketing automation systems also send push notifications through different channels. Some platforms send these through in-app notifications, push messages, and automated emails. Others generate it through targeted ads and SMS, whatever channels your customers prefer.
What You Should Consider
In the end, it’s up to you, the business, on which you will use for your marketing strategies. As mentioned earlier in the articles, most small businesses still choose to hire marketing VAs over marketing automation due to their expenses. Hiring a call center for your marketing VA needs can even help you save a lot since the company will take care of the dedicated team for you. However, if you want to step ahead of the game and catch up with the trend of the future, marketing automation is for you.
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Why not combine both?
For a better marketing strategy, why not hire a marketing VA and undergo automation at the same time? Marketing VAs can do well with designs for the website and campaigns while they use automation for a better gathering of data. Besides, not everything can be done through AI and not every task can be accomplished by your marketing VA.
Maximizing the two may lead to better traffic on your website and social media, which can bring more success to your business. After all, technology and outsourcing are there to help you build and expand your business better.