Marketing automation strategy has changed the way businesses function, deliver and grow. Automating marketing activities is not only empowering employees by streamlining their workflow and saving time but pacing up marketing processes to enhance customer satisfaction and retention.
Marketing automation dates back to 1992. But, it started taking shape in the middle of the 2000s. The impact of marketing automation can be best understood via these insightful facts by Invespro:
- Marketing automation software helped nearly 80% of marketers increase their leads.
- Sales productivity rose by 14.5% after marketing automation was introduced in the company with a 12.2% reduction in marketing overload.
- Time-saving was the biggest benefit of automation, as stated by 74% of respondents.
If you also wish to utilize a marketing automation strategy and shift the business dynamics, you need to do some groundwork. You’ll need to rethink what you are aiming at and what assets you currently hold.
In this article, we will cover the following topics:
- What is marketing automation?
- What is marketing automation software?
- How can automation fit into a marketing strategy?
- 10 Steps to prepare your organization for marketing automation success
- Top 5 marketing automation tools
Just follow along and discover how you can introduce marketing automation in your existing business strategy.
Let’s get started.
Marketing automation is the process of automating repetitive tasks using various marketing automation platforms. Using technology, you can personalize marketing messages, reach out to more customers, and nurture sales lead in the fastest and most efficient manner possible.
A marketing automation software is a platform that helps marketers manage marketing campaigns across several channels. These advanced platforms are designed to accelerate and scale a company’s marketing efforts while personalizing every customer interaction.
Here are 10 best-selling marketing automation software features that help to manage end-to-end internal processes and streamline business activities across sales, marketing, IT, and operations departments:
- Email designing and scheduling
- Lead generation and nurturing
- Customer relationship management
- Real-time customer support
- Target audience segmentation
- Social media automation
- Internet marketing
- Workflow Automation
- Content Management
- Reporting and Analytics
Do you know that 90% of the employees are stressed by repetitive and manual tasks? According to a study by SnapLogic, repetitive tasks turn marketers into mindless zombies, which significantly stalls business productivity, growth, and revenue. The sad part is that these tasks can be easily automated.
Incorporating automation in your marketing strategy helps reduce problem resolution time, makes the teams more creative and efficient so that they can get more done in less time.
If you search online, you will find a number of marketing automation tools, which can seem very attractive and promising. It can be very tempting to pick up tools for email marketing, social media marketing, etc.
Do know that just by having a marketing automation tool, one cannot nurture prospects and convert them into delighted customers.
You have to know how marketing automation works while understanding the components and nuances of marketing automation first.
The best marketing automation strategy has customers at the core. Marketing automation is best implemented in the context of a flywheel and not a funnel, where you don’t solely focus on moving the lead from marketing to sales and customer service, but follow the same path repeatedly.
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- Have Clear Goals
Are you thinking of creating a marketing automation plan? Great. But, here are a few questions that you must answer first:
- Why do you want to automate marketing processes?
- What results do you want to achieve?
- What are your long-term business goals?
Automated marketing campaigns are excellent for businesses. But sadly, it is not meant for every business.
Without clarity, you might only be following a herd, without knowing whether you should be a part of it or not.
2. Involve Key Stakeholders
There are several decision-makers or stakeholders in any organization who make sure a project is implemented correctly.
The stakeholders can include business analysts, executives, people from sales & marketing teams, and IT departments.
Schedule a meeting with your stakeholders or get them in the loop through email to get inputs on the automation campaign and redefine business goals if needed.
3. Decide KPI’s for Your Goals
Key performance indicators (KPIs)- You might find them fancy and daunting. But they are as important as having marketing automation technology in the first place.
Do you know why?
KPIs help you know if your marketing automation efforts are paying or not. It gets you valuable feedback on how you can improve your business.
Your KPIs for the automation campaign should include metrics like funnel conversion, customer satisfaction, revenue, profitability, and other strategic business goals.
4. Build a Marketing Automation Team
At first, hiring full-time employees for marketing automation can seem expensive, or assigning a couple of team members from within the department can appear daunting.
No matter how you do it, it would be helpful if you have marketing automation experts who can act as a bridge between the sales team and the target audience. They can follow a sound marketing strategy and use the automation tools to ace the game with foolproof internal coordination and smart tactics.
The various roles can include:
- Project managers
- Content writers/developers
- Web designers
- Email/ lead nurturing specialists
- Analytics specialists
To build a sustainable marketing automation team, consider certain variables, like your company size, goals, budget, and resources.
5. Identify What Can Be Automated
Every business has a set of routine, recurring marketing tasks that need to be taken off from the to-do lists daily.
Such time-consuming tasks can include activities like:
- Tracking the progress of marketing campaigns and assigning tasks to team members.
- Writing social media posts in batches and disbursing them on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
- Planning meetings, file sharing, and communication with the team members about project status updates.
- Sending emails to the customers on birthdays or anniversaries or responding to their queries
Automation is the only way your team can save time and achieve more in a day. Create a list of your individual needs, and look for marketing automation tools accordingly.
6. Have Engaging Content
When you are trying to capture customers’ attention, you need content that connects with the users at various lead generation and nurturing stages.
If you already have content, do a content audit and get the answer to certain questions like:
- How is your existing content performing?
- Which pages are working better than others?
- Is your content taking you closer to your goals?
- What is missing in your content?
With such an insight, you can fill the gaps where the content is not touching a specific aspect of the user experience. You can go ahead and repurpose all your existing content into a graphical format with a tool like Visme or Picmaker. Finally, you can use the power of automation to repurpose the content for whitepapers, guides, email marketing, or SlideShare.
7. Identify Your Target Audience
Understand that marketing automation aims at reaching out to the right audience at the right time with the right message.
Before putting out content and automating marketing, work on creating customer personas.
This way, you can personalize the content for different target audiences, map it to their different decision-making stages till purchase, or create new content altogether (if needed).
The more they are engaged, the easier they’ll take action, and share the experience with others to encourage them to buy.
8. Create a Smart Content Calendar
A content calendar is the best way your content, sales, and marketing teams can stay organized and on top of their games.
For an automation software application to work best, have a content library ready all the time. Choose your social media channels to establish content flow.
Find out what needs to be tracked. Get your team to review the content and give feedback to improve the social media posts further.
9. Choose Automation Tools
The beauty of having marketing campaign automation software is that only a few people can achieve results that may take hundreds of people to accomplish manually.
Analyze your sales funnel and see which part can be improved with automation, depending on your goals and content assessment.
To begin with, jot down a list of tools you find good. Next, visit their website to learn about the features and pricing. Go through the best review sites like Capterra to better learn about the products through positive and negative user reviews.
10. Analyze Automation Deployment Success
Time saved followed by money saved is probably the best metrics to analyze automation deployment success.
Many testing methods include automated tests for mundane tasks ranked from low risk to high risk or low priority to high priority.
Many experts have suggested that automation is successful if it can save anywhere from 2 hours in a day or 4 days in a month.
Another metric is to track the number of marketing risks and see automation mitigates how many of them.
Offered by Oracle, Eloqua is a software as a service (SaaS) platform designed for marketing automation, and sales lead generation.
With this tool, marketers can monitor customer’s buying cycles and build targeted campaigns through multiple channels like email, web, social media, etc.
ProProfs Help Desk
ProProfs Help Desk is a feature-rich tool that helps the marketing teams access all the product-related queries through a shared inbox. They can discuss leads internally using internal comments and respond to customers faster using canned responses.
With this tool, the agents can collaborate and be in sync with other teams to gather the best results for their marketing activities.
Marketo is a well-established marketing automation software that offers impressive capabilities to automate marketing programs, develop personalized communications, build strong customer relationships, and measure marketing ROI for business success.
The behavior tracking feature helps marketers engage the right customers at the right time.
Constant Contact is a popular tool for email marketing planning and automation to meet business goals.
Through this platform, segment contacts, send targeted emails to new leads, nurture leads with personalized emails, and get new contacts through sign-up forms and social media ads.
Any automation list will be incomplete without a social media automation tool. Buffer is a market-leading tool that lets you schedule and publishes posts across your social media accounts.
Its robust analytics helps you measure content performance and develop successful marketing and social media strategies.
Automate Marketing Efforts & Grow Your Business
When you make automation work for your company and nurture customers with constant support and relevant content, you build long-term relationships and increase revenue generation opportunities.
But, before choosing any automation tool, make sure you know your business goals and identify areas that can be significantly improved by automation. Review the tools for their features, prices, and any hidden costs.
Ready to gain complete control over your marketing?