Marketing automation is a term that is used a lot by people online.
However, many still don’t know exactly what it is, as well as how they can leverage it in their online business. By having automation systems within your business, you will be able to increase your revenue without increasing your workload.
If you think that you may be leaving money on the table due to a lack of marketing automation, read on to find out everything you need to know about how to make use of it to grow and scale your business.
Marketing Automation Defined
The term ‘marketing automation’ simply refers to the category of software used to streamline, automate, and measure marketing workflows and tasks so that businesses can increase their operational efficiency and bring in revenue faster.
In simpler words, marketing automation involves using software or web-based services to automate all the different marketing processes like campaign management, customer data integration, customer segmentation, and so on.
By using marketing automation, you’ll be able to break down and simplify processes that would otherwise have been performed manually, allowing them to be a lot more efficient.
This type of automation also makes new processes possible in your marketing.
As you well know, marketing is the basis of every relationship between brands and customers or prospects, and the field of marketing is heavily integrated with that of sales.
What Are the Benefits of Marketing Automation?
A lot of marketers think that marketing automation is the same as email marketing.
However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Email marketing is simply one of the components of marketing automation, but marketing automation combines separate, contrasting channels for acquiring and retaining customers to conform to your business’s conversion funnel.
Confused? Don’t be. Here’s what I mean:
Any business’s buy cycle spends multiple touch points. You may find that, for example, one of your customers finds your business through a Google search.
She might decide to like your Facebook page, after which she might come back to your website and spend some time reading a blog post you recently shared. By the end of the blog post, she might be convinced by a compelling call to action to sign up as an email subscriber.
Each path to conversion is unique. And as a marketer, you cannot even begin to attempt to chase down hundreds or even thousands of them (which will be the case as your business grows).
That would be virtually impossible to do – and that’s where you need marketing automation.
Here’s what marketing automation will do for you:
Marketing automation will help to connect many different touch points in channels like email, social media, content marketing, and so on.
A major goal of marketing automation involves nurturing prospects over the long-term, and this can mean having a focus on goals that go beyond direct sales.
Contrary to what some people believe about marketing automation being cold, impersonal, and inhuman, this process actually makes it a lot easier for you to send personalized one-on-one targeted messages.
Instead of being a way to spam people, automating your marketing helps you focus more on the quality of your messaging and campaigns.
Marketing automation gives you the ability to add extra personal touches to each of your campaigns.
It allows you to collect data on the interests and goals of your prospects, which helps you to custom tailor any future offers to make them more relevant to those people.
When used right, marketing automation will empower your business to do the following:
- Add dynamic content to your website based on the specific user profiles of individuals.For example, you’ll be able to send targeted offers to visitors based on their behavior on your website.
- You’ll be able to categorize your audience according to their common interests, behaviors, and other demographic details. You can use these as dimensions to segment your customers.
- Marketing automation will allow you to develop optimal marketing tactics. You’ll be able to easily test variables such as subject headings, email sent times, and different ideas for personalization.
- Your business will be able to integrate different marketing channels to give your audience a comprehensive user experience across all platforms. It will allow you to ensure that each of your touch points is carefully designed for optimal conversion optimization.
So as you can see, contrary to being spam, marketing automation is actually a user-friendly marketing channel that is tailored around personalizing and improving the user experience.
This means that you’re not going to be blasting your audience with ad messages, but instead you will be nurturing your leads and helping to guide prospects through your sales conversion funnel.
What Does Marketing Automation Look Like?
There are many different platforms for marketing automation, each of which is designed to suit a different type of business.
Examples of solutions include Act-On, HubSpot, Marketo, and so on.
Your job is to research the different options available for marketing automation, and then decide which one best fits your particular business.
The majority of marketing automation companies offer free trials and this is great because it allows you to try the platform out before you commit.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to marketing automation. You have to choose a solution that has the exact targeting features that you want, as well as the relevant analytics capabilities that you need.
Other features that you may want to pay attention to include:
- CRM integration
- Customer data import or export features
- Level of customization
Ideally, the platform you choose will come with:
- Lead management
- Website visitor tracking
- Social media
- And analytics
The core value proposition of such a company is that it allows business owners to execute all the marketing from one convenient platform.
It also helps them generate high-quality leads and makes it a lot easier to transform those leads to sales.
Marketing Automation Includes A Lot More Than Just Software
Although a lot of time has been spent emphasizing the massive value of marketing channels, tactics, and software, it’s important to keep in mind that marketing automation is a lot more than just that.
The main thought leaders when it comes to marketing automation are actually the software companies themselves, like HubSpot, MailChimp, Marketo, and others.
These are all great companies but it’s important to emphasize that while the software is definitely a major part of that dialogue, you must also recognize the importance of strategic dimensions with regards to this marketing practice.
So basically all that means is although there are some people who call themselves ‘marketing automation experts’, they aren’t really experts in marketing automation per-se, they’re just exceptional when it comes to using the software.
To really excel at marketing automation, you need to understand the major differences between tactics and strategies.
These are marketing frameworks that are creative but structured.
They start with the bigger picture, after which marketers then reverse engineer various solutions according to the business goals.
These have to do with implementing specific marketing techniques, such as crafting the subject line of your email in deciding if the heading should contain action words.
A healthy mix of strategies and tactics is vital for success in marketing automation.
What Is the Role of Inbound Marketing in Marketing Automation?
Inbound marketing is a term you’re likely to hear a lot when discussing marketing automation.
The two work together in tandem, but it’s important to understand each of them individually so that you know how to make use of them together.
Inbound marketing refers to the practice of acquiring customers based on human-to-human relationships. Content marketing is a term that is typically used interchangeably with inbound marketing. The two concepts are similar, and they have both risen vastly in popularity over the past few years.
Inbound marketing is central to the digital era and is arguably the best marketing method when it comes to doing business online.
Rather than having to rely on buying ads, renting email lists, and aggressive outbound marketing tactics of trying to push your audience into becoming leads, the practice of inbound marketing helps you to attract users by using high-quality content to pull those people naturally toward your business and products.
Being able to closely align your content and various marketing materials with the interests of your customers will allow you to easily attract, please, and engage customers in the long term.
Listed below are some of the biggest forces that drive inbound marketing:
Develop targeted content to directly address the demands of your customers. Make sure that it is of high quality and that it’s engaging, entertaining, and shareable.
Conversion Funnel Targeting:
As a marketer, it’s important that you realize the fact that visitors go through different stages in their interactions with your business. Each of these stages has different marketing needs.
For instance, a visitor who is learning about your product for the first time is unlikely to respond as well to an aggressive CTA to buy as a visitor who’s gone through multiple touch points.
As you develop your strategies for inbound marketing as well as marketing automation, you’ll be able to learn a lot more about your business’s leads.
This is a process that will allow you to reinvest the information you learn into helping you refine your marketing strategy.
You’ll be able to streamline this process using marketing automation software, and you’ll also be able to build one-on-one connections with countless users.
A multichannel marketing strategy connects all the different touch points in your customer’s journey.
These days it’s common for users to connect with businesses across all different channels before deciding to make a purchase, from email and social media to content and so on.
Analytics is vital to the success of this framework and that’s why it’s important to make sure that you’re acquainted with your web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics.
Your marketing software and analytics software must communicate effectively with one another.
This type of integration helps to ensure that your marketing is delivering the right messages to the right people at the right stage of their customer journies.
This makes sense when you consider the four vital marketing actions:
1. Attraction and Engagement
Part of the marketing equation involves traffic acquisition. You need to attract qualified, targeted traffic for your marketing to be successful.
You need an audience that will ultimately become satisfied, happy, loyal customers who will then refer others to your products or services.
Marketing activities that can help attract audiences to your site include blogging, social media, search engine optimization, and so on. Marketing automation is a great way of connecting and simplifying all these disparate actions.
2. Progression and Conversions throughout the Funnel
When you get visitors to your website, your next step has to do with converting them, or at the very least, collecting their contact details – which, in most cases, is their email address.
By building an organic email list you will be able to start reaching out to re-engage your prospects and customers through valuable content such as e-books, checklists, reports, white papers, and so on.
Some of the more important components involved in conversion optimization include compelling calls to action, well-designed landing pages, sign-up forms, and so on.
Now that you’re collecting leads, it’s time to send the marketing messages that will inspire your audience to take action so you can seal the deal.
You need to integrate techniques into your marketing automation that will allow you to turn leads into customers and your current customers to repeat buyers.
Some of the elements that are crucial to the closing stage of your marketing efforts include Lead Scoring Analysis (it helps you determine how likely your leads are to become customers), Automated Email Follow-up (using personalized messages that are based on specific user triggers), and Reporting (so you’re not throwing darts in the dark).
4. Delight Them!
The final stage has to do with delighting your customers. Just because you made the sale doesn’t mean that is the end of your business’s relationship with your customer. In fact, many would say it’s just the beginning.
But for most marketers, this is the customer acquisition channel they ignore the most.
Being able to excel in delighting your customers will help you enhance your upselling skills. At this stage, marketing automation and social media are among the most crucial actions to help you keep your customers happy.
The Final Word
The bottom line is that there’s a lot involved with marketing automation than just a piece of software.
Use this article as your resource to help you get started choosing the right marketing automation to propel your business toward your goals.
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