What is Marketing Automation?

Automation is a hot topic. And nowhere does it seem to thrive more than in marketing automation. Marketing tasks are often tedious and require careful tracking. That’s why marketing automation just might be your saving grace.

So What Exactly is Marketing Automation?

The simplest definition is a process that automates your marketing activities. With a high-quality tracking system like HubSpot or Salesforce CRM, you can keep track of contacts, interactions, and performance.

Using that information, which you only need to enter into the system once, 
you can create targeted campaigns and nurture existing leads. The scope of what marketing automation can do is enormous; you only need to know how to use it.

marketing-automationImage source: Maven

 

How Can You Use Marketing Automation?

Most people think of marketing automation as a spam email. And while automation done badly can look a lot like spam, email is only a fraction of what you can do.

 

Email Marketing

Let’s begin with the most obvious. Despite all the talk about email becoming obsolete, people use email more than ever and businesses use it as a valuable lead generation tool. Instead of getting bogged down with all the emails you need to send, you should be automating.

Marketing automation can automatically send mass promotions to your email list. But don’t do that. Instead, use a software that allows you to segment your lists. You should segment individual emails according to their stage in the buyer’s journey, whether they’re only leads in the awareness stage or already repeat customers.

You can also segment a list by interests. Unless your business has a very narrow focus, chances are, leads interested in one of your products won’t necessarily want to purchase all of your products. A strong CRM will create segments for you based on customer behavior, shopping habits, and even demographics.

Specific emails you can send include holiday events and specials, welcome emails to new subscribers, reminder emails for abandoned shopping carts, and even “we miss you” emails to customers at risk of churning, or leaving your business entirely.

 

Social Media Management

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Image source: LYFE 

All businesses should be on some form of social media. But that doesn’t mean you enjoy it. Social media can be tedious or fun, but most people agree that it’s a big time suck. Wasting too much time creating social media posts that seem to have low ROI is a typical marketer struggle. But marketing automation helps you post consistently and engage with your followers without wasting time.

Look for a system that allows you to write and schedule social media posts in advance or share content across your platforms with one click. You can also track brand mentions to keep up with what users are saying about your business and respond if needed.

Social media platforms often keep track of how long businesses take to respond to inquiries, so try using marketing automation to set up automated messages letting customers know you’ve received their message and when they can expect to hear a reply from you or your team.

While you can’t have a robot create your content yet, you can apply marketing automation to do most of your promotion for you. As discussed above, automation allows you to send content to email or share it across social media platforms.

 

Analytics and ROI

One of the most important features available through marketing automation is analytics and the ability calculate a more accurate ROI. HubSpot and Salesforce CRMs record your customer data, interactions, and any actions taken automatically.

Using this information, you can then view metrics such as the percentage of marketing qualified leads that generated sales, which campaigns resulted in the most engagement online, or which lead generation strategies produced the most customers.

 

Marketing and Sales Alignment

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Image source: Datawatch

Most people have accepted that marketing and sales departments need to collaborate to achieve the best results. But putting this into practice isn’t as easy as it sounds. With different standards, methods, and even measurements, sales and marketing often find themselves at odds with one another. But applying consistent marketing automation can also improve relations and alignment with sales.

The clear analytics provided by an automated system reveal successes and areas for improvement. Marketing automation can improve productivity, increase efficiency, and track all your efforts in one clean system. But it won’t be helpful if used blindly. Just like any marketing activity, take the time to craft a strategy and set goals. Then use automation to meet those goals.

For help crafting a successful marketing plan and making the most of marketing automation software, contact us today.

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