What Is Marketing Automation?


What it isn’t

There are a few misconceptions around marketing automation. So, before we look at what it is, here are some things that marketing automation isn’t.

  • It isn't just another name for email marketing.
  • It's not a tool that is only for marketers.
  • It isn't only used by big companies with big marketing teams.
  • It's not a way to send lots of spam.
  • It definitely isn't a simple solution to all of your marketing problems.

What it is

Marketing automation is the use of software to automate marketing activities. It can help a business by taking on repetitive tasks such as email marketing, social media posting and even advertising. By using marketing automation, you’re not just making your marketing more efficient, you can make a more personalised experience for prospective and current clients.

An analogy is always good.

If you’ve ever started a garden, you’ll know that you need good soil and need seeds. Water and light are other important elements.

Marketing automation is no different. The soil is a good platform on which we nurture our leads (our seeds). With nurturing (water and light) we grow these leads into paying customers (plants). We want our plants to continue to grow. Maybe for years. (returning customers)

The right message to the right person at the right time.

Why is marketing automation SO important?

Companies that use marketing automation see more web traffic, more buyers, and spur greater retention and loyalty.

Coupled with personalization engines, marketing automation engages prospects and customers through highly relevant content that, in turn, converts them into loyal customers.

By streamlining this process, you’re able to build personalized, one-to-one connections with a seemingly endless number of customers, at scale.

Before we jump into the juicy details, let’s first look at some key stats related to marketing automation.

 

An analogy is always good.

If you’ve ever started a garden, you’ll know that you need good soil and need seeds. Water and light are other important elements.

Marketing automation is no different. The soil is a good platform on which we nurture our leads (our seeds). With nurturing (water and light) we grow these leads into paying customers (plants). We want our plants to continue to grow. Maybe for years. (returning customers)

Key benefits of marketing automation

For any business, you need more ways of getting your messages to the right consumers for higher conversion rates and increased revenue. But how exactly can marketing automation platforms help you do more with less?

Let’s look at some tangible benefits for a retailer

Reduce cart abandonment rates

For an ecommerce store, cart abandonment is a problem. The average abandoned cart rate in Australia is around 57% (SAP Consumer Propensity Study).

When you send a follow up email to people who have not completed their purchase, you can increase your sales by an estimated 20%.

Increase email open rates

There are many factors that can affect your email open rates. Poor subject lines, poor pre-header text, poor sending times, content seen as spam by service providers. Using techniques such as A/B (also known as split testing), you can fine tune your emails for optimal outcomes.

Boost revenue through up-sells

Upselling works but upselling based on the products your consumer has recently purchased is gold. Using marketing automation you can recommend products B and C to someone who purchase product A or product A and C for someone who purchased product B.

Automate loyalty programs

Marketing automation loyalty tracking, known as lead scoring, can help you identify your most engaged consumers. By capturing data on your fans behaviour, you can send real-time, customized offers through multiple channels. You don’t have to be an ecommerce store to do this, a brick-and-mortar store can get just as much value from this as any other type of business.

Trigger email offers

Behavioural marketing is the key to customer retention. For every action a consumer takes, you deliver a result.

Using behavioural marketing results in non-stop of engagement with your customers

How you can use marketing automation

Through marketing automation, your business can engage prospective and current customers using email, websites, social media, and SMS. Messages are sent automatically, according to one or more defined processes called workflows. Workflows can be designed in many ways including using and modifying existing templates, built from scratch, or even changed as your business needs change.

Marketing automation doesn’t work on its own. You must have a strategy that you’re going to implement. Creating overall marketing goals and then creating specific gaols that your automation is going to help you achieve.

If you have a sales team, and that could be just you, isn’t it better for them to spend time talking to customers who are genuinely interested in your products or services?

Get The Guide To Marketing and Business Automation for Small Business

How does it work?

It’s starts with you collecting data about your customers. Depending on your business, you may collect data through emails (sent and received), website visits, app usage, social media engagement, and so on. The more data you collect and use, the more accurate your view of you customer is going to be.

Once you have data, it’s here that we start to use it. Segmenting your customers is the first task. What do subsets have in common that meet our business needs? Is it age, gender, location, purchasing history? The list can go on.

When you segment your list, you can tailor messaging to each customer based on their profile. Creating relevant and personalised messaging across email, mobile, social, web experiences, and beyond with a few simple clicks. Delivering personalised experiences for your customers, whether you have 100 or 100 million, efficiently and effectively.

It’s not just about you

What does marketing automation mean for your customer?

A customer’s journey is their experience with your brand. Using marketing automation, you can customise every interaction with them based on what it is you know about them.

Marketing automation creates relevant content and messaging at scale across many channels. Send email messages with dynamic content that personalizes far beyond sticking a customer’s first name in the subject line. Integrate mobile messaging with your email and social campaigns through SMS/MMS, push notifications, and group messaging. Generate digital ads that appear for the right person at the right time. Plus, recommend the right products on your website for each individual user — automatically.

With marketing automation, you can reach customers along their journey no matter where they are in the customer lifecycle — from acquisition to advocacy. Deliver timely, relevant content that reaches customers when, where, and how they prefer — converting prospects into lifelong brand advocates.

How to start

Before you even start automating your marketing efforts, you need to understand what it is you want to achieve.

  1. Define your goals. Not just in terms of marketing automation, but in your marketing over.
  2. Visualise the customer journey. Create process diagrams of how you want your automations to ‘flow’.
  3. Prepare for segmentation. Can you create subsets of customers using groups or tags?
  4. Create a content strategy. What is it you’re going to send them? Consider your sales funnel and each stage of the customer journey.
  5. Plan for a slow rollout. Don’t try to get everything done at once. Focus on one flow and get that right.
  6. Analyse as you go. Look at what’s working and what’s not. Check your reports.
 

It’s estimated that 49% of companies currently use automation as part of their marketing strategy, with the percentage ticking up to 55% for B2Bs.

5 signs that you need marketing automation

Marketing automation is not the solution for all of your marketing problems. Ideally, you’ll be struggling with manual tasks now which can be automated to give you more time to spend on prospective clients further down the sales funnel and existing customers.

Long sales cycle

The longer your sales cycle is, the more touchpoints you will have. Keeping on top of each touchpoint can be frustrating, time consuming, and inefficient.

Your CRM can’t automate tasks

You have a CRM that simply reminds you when a task needs to be completed and can’t do anything for you. If you don’t have a CRM that can send reminders to prospects, send promotional emails to different groups of clients, or send a series of welcome emails to new clients you could need marketing automation.

You need more customer data

If you would like to segment your customers but don’t have the information you need to get more information about your customers. You need more than a first name, last name and email address.

Struggling to engage with prospects

You have enquiries but they don’t result in bookings because you need to be nurturing your prospects. Telling them about you and your business. Building trust. Doing this manually is time consuming.

Wasting time on tyre kickers

Are you spending unreasonable amounts of time on price shoppers? Using some of the tactics we’ve talked about, you can identify those people who are genuinely interested in your offer.

Wrap up

I hope this article has help you understand more about marketing automation. Remember that marketing automation isn’t the solution but it can be part of the solution. A big part.

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