Marketers are expected to perform with less and less resources. As a result, marketers are turning toward automation to meet the stringent requirements demanded of them. A study by Social Media Today reports that almost 75% of marketers rely on at least one automating tool to carry out their marketing tasks. It is estimated that the global marketing automation industry will surpass $25 billion by 2023.
While automation has become something of a buzzword in the digital marketing space, not everyone knows what is and what sort of contribution it can make to a business. Therefore, companies are spending valuable resources in automating their work without reaping sufficient benefits.
Small businesses stand to gain the most from marketing automation because the method gives them an equal opportunity to compete against the big players. Reports show that over 50% of small companies claim that one of the biggest hurdles to their growth is the inability to carry out various jobs. This is why marketing automation, when properly executed, can give small businesses the needed boost to increase their size and reach.
Marketing automation can do the heavy lifting of generating and nurturing high-quality leads while your team focuses on other important aspects of the business. If we look at email marketing, so many processes are automated that you won’t have to think about manually nurturing leads and leading them down the customer value journey.
The time you invested setting up the automation process will more than pay off once you get the ball rolling and leads streaming in.
According to Martech Advisor, small companies can save up to $300 a day by using marketing automation.
There are 3 main goals of marketing automation – generate leads, increase sales and improve customer retention.
Automation is typically used in email marketing, lead nurturing, in customer relationship management platforms, and social media. By automating these activities, businesses are increasing sales by up to 14% while lowering overhead by 12.2%.
With automation, marketing is becoming easier and more efficient than ever before.
This is why we will discuss in more depth what marketing automation is, and how you can use it grow your business.
Understanding Marketing Automation
As businesses expand, so do their marketing operations which can become difficult to manage. Instead of adding more people to the marketing department to keep their marketing strategies up and running, companies resort to automated processes that carry out various tasks. This is why marketing automation is so useful. Marketing automation, broadly understood, refers to using software tools to perform marketing tasks. Many of these tasks are mundane, such as writing emails to prospects or running social media campaigns.
This why marketers are turning to automation in large numbers – they can automate their funnels without overusing resources. Every business – regardless of size and budget – can use automation to streamline their marketing outreach, and help grow the company.
Let’s take a look at all the different aspects of digital marketing that can be effectively automated for maximum benefits.
Remember the phrase, “survival of the fittest”? Well, it’s wrong. It’s all about the survival of the best adapted and marketing automation does precisely that – it gives your business flexibility and versatility.
Still reigning as one of the most successful tools available to a marketer, email marketing will easily fit into an automated process. It is a proven way of generating and nurturing leads and spreading your brand’s offer to potential customers. Keep in mind that there’s more to email marketing than simply writing an email and sending it hundreds or thousands of subscribers with a single click.
Automated marketing will help you write emails that are specially crafted for a particular segment of your target audience with the help of a targeted list. Also, another powerful feature of automation is that you can look at detailed statistics which gauge the performance of your emails.
Additionally, you have the ability to monitor the way your subscribers engage with the emails they receive – this will help you to send more pertinent emails that match their needs and interests in the future. This is a great way of not only raising customer engagement, but also of increasing your conversion rates.
Automated email marketing lets you hit the sweet spot with your prospects or existing customers. You can program the process to send lead nurturing emails at the right times, so that your leads are getting valuable emails when they need it. As a result, you will increase brand awareness and since your emails will be sent at the right pace, they won’t overwhelm or annoy the recipients.
These features can be used on visitors to your webpage as well. Follow their actions, and then put them on email lists that provide content that addresses the topics and problems they were researching on your site.
These are some of the powerful ways that automated email marketing can improve your marketing endeavors.
In fact there many different types of emails that can help you based on your company’s needs. In other words, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model when it comes to automating emails.
Here’s a list of some of the ways you can use email automation as a part of your overall marketing strategy:
- Thank your new subscribers and introduce them to some of your offers
- Ask for feedback on an offer
- Send new blogs or articles to your subscribers or follower
- Follow-up with new subscribers
- Use a drip campaign with pre-written emails that will send them down the sales/marketing funnel
- Reminding customers to complete their purchase when they’ve abandoned their shopping cart
These types of emails are sent as a result of a trigger, which are conditions that put automations into action. You determine what these conditions will be. For instance, when a visitor clicks on a service, an email with special offers for similar services will automatically be sent to them.
As a result, you’ll quickly send more relevant emails and content because they will be based on actions your leads carried out when they visited you webpage.
There are several great tools that will easily automate your email marketing campaigns. In fact, your email service provider can get you started with this form of automation. Also, there are great tools, which work well with both small and large businesses.
MailChimp is a powerful automating tool which will help you send your blogs without hassle. The tool analyzes the blog’s RSS feed for new posts. If it detects any new posts, then all the information is placed into a formatted email and is sent to the people who’ve subscribed to be notified on blog updates.
Remarketing is another marketing tool that can be effectively automated with great results. This type of advertising relies on little pieces of code called tracking pixels that are embedded in a company’s website. When someone visits the website, the pixel tracks you across an entire network of ads.
This is why you sometimes see ads for businesses on different websites and platforms. For example, you visit website A, but as you’re scrolling through website B, you are shown ads for the offers of website A.
Automating your remarketing efforts will help you engage people who’ve already visited your website and have some knowledge about your product or service. These types of leads are labeled as pre-qualified because they were already exposed to some of your content.
You can use both Facebook and Google Ads to fully extend your brand’s reach because they let you track people anonymously throughout the World Wide Web. Their reach is so wide, that their tracking pixels can be found on virtually every website.
Use Google Tag Manager to install tracking pixels on your website and manage them with ease. Remarketing is effective because it displays the ads to the right people at the best time.
If someone visited your website, but didn’t perform an action like signup for a newsletter or make a purchase, then remarketing will show them your brand’s ads. This feature is easy to automate and takes very little of your time.
Automate Social Media
If your business has a presence on different social media platforms, then you should use a social media management tool to streamline the posts. Most management tools offer a host of powerful features to improve the efficiency of your social media strategy. For instance, you can schedule when to post your content, which saves you from having to constantly log in, write the content and then post.
All it takes is an hour or two a week to come up with a schedule for the entire upcoming week.
This is important for small businesses that have so much on their plates. By automating social media posts, you avoid the risk of social neglect. Your prospects and customers will not be particularly inspired by a sporadically updated social media page. And it won’t do you any favors in building trust in your brand.
There are several robust tools you can use to automate your social media posts. One of the most popular tools is HootSuite, which lets you manage your accounts on all the major social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook.
For more advanced marketers, IFTTT (If This Then That) can be a useful tool. It integrates social media with other facets of your content marketing strategy. So, for an example, you can use this tool to automatically notify your followers about a new article that’s been published on your company’s website.
Keep in mind that these tools come with a free trial, so definitely test them out and find out which one will best suit your business before you make a decision.
Add a Personal Touch
Nobody likes to receive generic messages that address you like a faceless consumer. Marketing automation will help you craft insightful and detailed customer profiles, which will in turn allow you segment your target audience and send them personalized content.
The messages you send will be to the right people using the best channels possible. You will get a better understanding of your prospects, and therefore you can make content that will speak to them on a more personal level. The automation process will continuously update the information on your customers, sparing you from having to analyze huge data sets.
Monitor Your Performance
Just like with any other approach, you have to track the success of your automated marketing strategy. Luckily, marketing automation can quickly help you to find out what’s working and what needs to improve.
Your marketing team will see which emails, posts, messages and content are performing best with your target audience. You’ll also know where, when and how to send content for maximum effect. This is done through constant testing of various content, subject lines and executions with the goal of optimizing the performance. Your business will produce better performing content with less money and time being spent.
Don’t Get Carried Away
While automation comes with a list of great benefits, you shouldn’t try to automate every single process in your overall marketing strategy. There are times when automation isn’t the best course of action. For instance, you can’t expect to schedule a social media post about a breaking news event in your industry. Instead, you should write and post on the day of the event. Automation is also not a good solution when announcing new hires, or last minute changes to an offer or event.
While automation may seem intimidating at first, it won’t take you long to get a feel for the process. What makes this solution so attractive to many small businesses is that you don’t need to hire a separate IT team to handle your automation needs. It’s simple and intuitive enough for you or your marketing team to start using immediately.
When it has collected all the relevant information about your leads, prospects and customers, then it can function automatically and give you necessary insight about on your target audience.
Implementing marketing automation at the right time and in the right way will contribute to your company’s fast growth.