It’s no secret marketing automation is becoming increasingly popular in the business and marketing industry. On average, 51% of companies are currently using marketing automation, and more than half of B2B companies plan to adopt these strategies. Learning how to implement marketing automation can help your business capture and nurture qualified leads.
Knowing what marketing automation is and including it in your business will ensure your company doesn’t lose its competitive edge. In this blog, we’ll explain why marketing automation is beneficial, and how you can start putting it into practice.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is the process of using tools and technology to automate repetitive marketing tasks. However, it also can be beneficial in tracking and measuring campaign performance, improving productivity, and driving efficiency by minimizing manual actions.
While marketing automation has proved to improve business growth, it’s important to remember that customers appreciate timeliness as much as thoughtfulness.
You don’t want your automations to replace the human touch behind your business. They should be used to complement your other marketing strategies.
Understanding Your Customer’s Journey
One of the main ways you can ensure your company is staying thoughtful in your marketing automation is to understand your customer’s journey. This refers to the experience a customer has while communicating with a company.
In its simplest form, the customer journey can be broken down into 3 stages:
- Awareness. Spreading general information about your products and services to your target audience.
- Consideration. Focusing on promoting why your product or service is more beneficial to the customer than any competitors.
- Conversion. Keeping the customer’s attention and prompting them to take action.
Understanding your buyer’s persona and what stage they’re in will help you better direct the priorities of your automated message. Doing this will not only bring your customers’ satisfaction with timeliness, but it will also build trust and strengthen your relationship with the buyer.
5 Key Marketing Automation Objectives
Before you learn how to implement marketing automation, you may be wondering why you should. Below, we’ve outlined the 5 key objectives and advantages of marketing automation, which will help to persuade you to put these tactics into practice.
1. Boost Marketing Productivity
Tasks such as creating marketing strategies, calendar planning, customer experience mapping, or campaign performance monitoring and reporting are all critical to any marketing team. Statistics prove that businesses that use marketing automation are 20% more productive.
Deciding to use marketing automation can give your team the time they need to put their efforts where they matter most, resulting in a boost in productivity overall.
2. Improve Marketing Efficiency and ROI
One of the most important elements in a marketing campaign is evaluating its performance, impact, and profit. However, as organizations expand, it becomes less efficient and less cost-effective to manually keep track of your ROI and engage individual prospects and customers.
Automation allows teams to do certain tasks that will improve the efficiency in delivering outcomes as well as improve their ROI since it gives the team more time to engage in creative and strategic tasks. Marketing automation can take care of scheduling bulk emails, identifying and segmenting prospects, nurturing qualified leads, triggering engagements, and other tedious tasks.
3. Enable and Deliver Campaign Personalization
Connecting with your customer is critical when it comes to nurturing leads, which is why you should consider marketing automation to help you personalize your messaging. The more data you gather, the better you know your audience. This allows you to deliver the right content, to the right prospect, at the right time.
Including automation with your customer relationship management (CRM), will allow you to get better insights into your audience and eventually define more relevant segments.
4. Provide Real-Time Performance Measurement
What’s the point of creating a marketing campaign if you can’t see its performance? Measuring performance is imperative when it comes to assessing your success because it allows you to see and understand what’s working and what isn’t.
Studying certain analytics such as click-through rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, open rate, list growth, overall ROI, click-to-open rate, and many other important email marketing metrics will give your team new insights. These details will help show you what subscribers responded to or what wasn’t effective. This gives you the opportunity to change or optimize elements of your campaigns over time.
One of the main reasons marketing teams adopt marketing automation is for its reputation to improve engagement. For example, a study showed that triggered emails have a higher open rate and higher click-through rate than a regular email blast.
5. Enhance Customer Acquisition and Retention
As we said before, prospects are attracted and customers stay when a company uses personalized marketing throughout the customer’s journey. These are messages that are relevant to their buying preferences. A recent report stated that 70% of companies believe the most important benefit of automation is better-targeted customer communication.
Learning how to implement marketing automation takes care of regular campaign management, follow-ups, and customer interactions. This means your team will have more time to focus on strategizing customer acquisition and retention
Email Marketing Automation Services & Softwares
There is a lot of automation software available for marketers. However, the most common way to incorporate automation into your marketing strategy is through email. Understanding how each of this type of automation works is essential to know before narrowing down how you’re going to implement it.
Most marketers know that email marketing automation tools allow your team to schedule and send bulk emails. However, there are many other tasks it can help with, such as automating and creating audience segments based on data that’s collected. Email automation also aids in creating workflows for nurturing qualified leads, as well as creating delivery and bounce reports.
Many email marketing tools, like ActiveCampaign, include performance measurement dashboards that will show you metrics like delivery rate, opening rate, click-through rate, and other important details.
When it comes to email automation, there are lots of techniques and practices you can use to improve your email marketing. Some of the most common ways you can use email automation software include:
- Welcome series– These messages are triggered the first time a contact is added to the platform. For example, a general best practice in email marketing is to require a double-opt-in and to send a “Confirm your subscription” message to the customer or client.
- Automatic responses– These automations are triggered when a contact fills out a form online. For example, a message may read, “We’ll be in touch soon”, or “Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.”
- Website tracking– This requires adding tags by interest, adjusting a contact’s lead score, or sending an email automatically based on them visiting a specified web page. These tasks can also be updated if an email is sent to a contact and then forwarded, replied to, or shared on a social network.
- Last engagement emails– Email marketing platforms allow you to track the last time a contact opened an email or visited a website, this could trigger an automated re-engagement email being sent to a contact.
- Abandoned cart emails– These emails are used by eCommerce companies. You can connect your email platform to your website and send an automated email to someone who has abandoned their cart.
- Blog post notifications– These emails are triggered when a new blog post is updated on a company’s feed. Using RSS allows you to automatically send an email telling the contact that there is new content for them to read.
- Date-based emails– Sending an email or performing another action can be triggered after a specific amount of time has passed. This could be the time of day, as well as a day of the week, month, or year.
- Special deals– Email platforms often have built-in customer relationship management (CRM). This feature allows you to create automations that will be triggered and sent to customers. You can also set up internal notifications that are sent to sales representatives, as well as specific customer service messages based on what stage the contact is in the pipeline.
Depending on what you would like to incorporate into your automations, there are various email marketing platforms you can use, ranging from beginner to advanced. The more simple options offer basic automation functionality, as well as easy to use and access. While the more complex ones will require some learning to navigate but offer more robust functions.
How to Implement Marketing Automation in 3 Steps
There are three simple steps you can take to ensure you’re incorporating marketing automation in the most effective way. Following these steps will guide you through setting up the proper automations to achieve success.
1. Define Your Goal
The most important thing you need to figure out when learning how to implement marketing automation into your business is your goal. This is when you ask yourself, “what are my priorities?”
Evaluating which marketing activities are critical to your business will help you understand the best way to use marketing automation. You’ll also want to ask yourself which of those marketing activities involve enough repetitive tasks to allow the automations to work successfully.
2. Find the Right Platform
Choosing the right platform is essential for your marketing strategy. There are many options available (as listed above) but you want to ensure you’re selecting the platform that’s best suited for your business. Here are the questions you should ask before you choose:
- Does it offer the features you need?
- Is it accessible and user-friendly for my team?
- Will it be easy to integrate into your current marketing strategy?
- Are there any special requirements, modifications, or customizations you’ll require?
- How will it impact your marketing budget?
- Is there any post-implementation support from the platform?
Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, you’ll have a much clearer idea of which platform will be the most suitable for your marketing automations.
3. Create a Deployment Plan
Finally, you’ll want to make a plan. Ensuring your data is integrated from appropriate sources is essential to gathering the right results. Some important steps you should take when creating your deployment plan include:
- Setting up an account
- Add your assets or lists
- Organize your account
- Strategize automations alongside key stakeholders
- Build specific automations for your account
- Launch or schedule them
- Train your team
- Evaluate their success to make improvements
Make sure your team is trained in your marketing automation platforms or software and include a feedback mechanism. The launch phase is critical and should be planned accordingly, that way the work you put into creating your automations won’t go to waste.
Best Practices to Remember
It may be tempting to jump right in to using interesting and complex features in your marketing automations, but remember that starting with the essentials will be a safer road to success. Take time to experiment with different tools gradually, that way you can find the best approach that will guarantee the results you want.
Marketing automation success requires learning, analyzing, and improving your campaign through these evaluations. Setting clear lead stages, understanding the customer journey, and personalizing your messages are all great ways to build your marketing automation a strong foundation.
Lastly, remember that thoughtfulness matters. Automations are meant to complement your current marketing efforts, not replace them.