By Marion Selista
Implementing a digital marketing strategy can be hard work and difficult to schedule as there are so many channels and activities involved. Would it not be wonderful to have all the posting of content and sending emails automated? Some small businesses use email lists and blast customers from time to time with emails in a shot-gun approach, and post content to social media wondering why there is not much of a response. They end up spending more and more time trying to keep up with the latest tips for digital marketing. Marketing Automation is favored by many digital marketers to help solve this issue.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation software automates repetitive marketing tasks such as posting of content, social media posts, and emails. It was often seen as a part of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) but has now shifted to a more integrated marketing approach where Omni-channels are set up in a way to connect customer driven triggers and scenarios in automated workflows.
How to use Marketing Automation
Blasting customers and leads with frequent emails is not only a waste of time and money, as you are sending everyone the same content with no regard for the customer journey or preferences, you may also chase leads away by annoying them.
Marketing automation can be used in
- Social Media Marketing,
- Lead generation and nurturing,
- Email marketing,
- Metrics and analytics and
- Management actions.
Use Marketing Automation in a well-planned manner by personalizing messages based on where the customer is in the purchasing process, in a very targeted way that address their potential barriers to making a purchase. A well-thought-out and implemented automation campaign allows for
- targeting customers based on their browsing behavior,
- providing them with content that is relevant and personalized, and it
- allows for improved conversion rates.
Typical Marketing Automation Features:
Advanced Marketing Automation software will follow the full customer lifecycle and provide trigger points for interactions. It will connect marketing, sales and customer service in a single customer view to optimize the customer experience. It will feature most of these:
- Marketing campaign management that is fully integrated – from inception to execution to launch
- Lead generation – identifying potential customers for your business
- Lead management – using a set of methods that nurture a potential client through the purchasing process
- Marketing Resource management – ensuring that all your resources are used efficiently and optimally, from planning, budgeting to tracking activities and resources used and evaluation
- Advanced list management features – allowing you the manage from one central place
- Advanced features for segmentation, personalization, testing, and optimization – market segmentation based on metrics as determined by your strategy, allowing personalizing messages to each segment. An easy way to make improvements once tested and measured.
- Marketing analytics and intelligence – evaluation of results is of paramount importance and need to be easy to implement and change as required.
- Reporting features and dashboards – ability to save critical reports and coherently present them, with what-if scenarios and drill-down facilities on hand.
What makes Marketing Automation successful?
Picking the ‘right’ Marketing Automation software, or the most expensive one is not going to guarantee success. It is a tool to help you automate administrative tasks and set up links to touchpoints and will provide great analytics – but if you do not put the work in to set it up correctly and in line with your marketing strategies the technology will not deliver on its promise.
- Internal resources, your learning curve, and ease of use – implementations are often abandoned or get stuck at email campaigns only due to it being ‘too hard’ to set up and manage.
- How relevant your designed flows are to your customers’ experience and needs – and not your strategy. It requires your company to really understand your customers’ needs and thought processes or buying behaviors.
- Remaining customer-centric in all your planning and set up – it is all about building trust in your brand.
- Relevant, timely content and offers – one of the biggest challenges to overcome. Send the right content and the right interactions at the right time.
- The efficiency of internal processes – even when most activity is automated there are always personal actions involved in the follow-up. Constant review of flows is required too.
Marketing Automation Software:
There are many different levels of Marketing Automation software available on the market today, and the differences mainly concern:
- Focus – automated workflows or campaigns, or resource management, internal processes, etc.
- Features – from email marketing to integrated marketing solutions
- Target industry – SME’s, large organizations, B2B, niche marketing
- Integration – some integrate with many channels and related software, e.g., CRM’s
- Customer.io – integrates with your website or mobile app, allows personalized targeted messages in a simple manner, as well as customer profiles, conversion tracking, in-context conversations, and A/B testing.
- Bremy – multi-channel online publishing including database publishing, video proofing and email newsletters in customized digital packages.
- Infusionsoft – perfect for the blogger or small business owner it helps you get organized and automate tasks such as contact management, billing, payments, and follow-ups.
- BuzzPortal – going beyond digital only, this suite of fifteen different tools works for email, social, voice, and fax. It features a list manager, landing-page builder, autoresponder, online surveys, link-tracking tool, and an event manager.
- GetResponse – a very easy tool to use which allows you to build very intuitive workflows simply by arranging ready-to-use blocks – set conditions, actions, and filters to encourage purchases, provide lead nurturing strategy and also notify your sales representatives.
- iContact – the tool to use if you want to grow your business, they even provide experts to help with setup. Allows integrating of all aspects of your marketing campaign such as landing pages, workflows, behavior tracking, funnel tracking, email and social media and analytics
- GreenRope – has been labeled the ‘ultimate dashboard for your business’ and has a full suite of services such as automation, interaction tracking, event tracking, project management, SMS marketing, calendar bookings, video tracking, lead scoring, predictive analytics, and engagement. It includes full CRM and even operational management.
- Others include MailChimp, Gliffy, Jumplead, Bizible to name but a few.
Marketing Automation is not a panacea for a faulty or lazy digital marketing campaign, and it does not work for every single business, but it is absolutely worth the money and effort invested to set up and manage for almost all businesses. As with all technology, planning, setup and execution are the most important aspects of a successful tool integration into your marketing strategy.
About the Author
Marion Selista is a marketing consultant and a blogger, who specializes in life coaching for professional and personal empowerment. Her mission is to motivate and enlight people to live a successful, organized and fulfilling life. She is currently blogging for Smart Pill Wiki resource.