Why do you need to employ marketing automation? As a business owner, you probably have no shortage of tasks on your daily to-do list. You likely do a bit of everything – from managing staff to paying invoices, dealing with clients, and marketing your business.
These tasks take time. Time away from actually working on your business.
So instead of putting out fires here and there, you need to focus on what really matters – growing your business. One of those ways is to start automating specific tasks.
Marketing is a common area of a business to automate, and for a good reason. Also marketing automation is the best way to keep up with your customer’s demands. And doing so will boost sales and increase revenue.
If you haven’t started using any marketing automation tools in your business, now is an excellent time to start.
This blog post is here to show you what areas of your marketing you can start automating. We’ll start with defining marketing automation.
What is marketing automation?
Basically, marketing automation is the process of putting various marketing tasks on an automated schedule. Instead of doing tasks manually, automation tools do them for you according to your plan, leaving you free to carry on with other essential business tasks.
Automated marketing can refer to anything from scheduling your social media posts ahead of time to complex sales funnels. How deep you want to automate your marketing efforts depends on you, your business, and your needs.
Before diving in too deep, it’s crucial to understand the benefits of automation and the struggles you may face.
Benefits and challenges of automating your marketing
When done correctly, marketing automation streamlines your marketing strategies, improves efficiency, and scales your business. Besides, it makes marketing easier (and more consistent).
A few more benefits of marketing automation include:
- Improved productivity.
- Saving time.
- Personalize your customer experience.
- Reduce marketing costs with a high ROI.
- Optimize your purchase funnel and boost your sales.
- Stronger analytics, reporting, and customer insights.
- Consistent communications.
- Reducing churn through customer retention and focusing on building customer loyalty.
What not to like here? But beware.
Before implementing automation, you need to know what to expect. Otherwise, it could create more problems for your business and customers.
There’s a few possible challenges of marketing automation to be aware of.
Usually, a successful marketing automation requires a significant amount of data, which comes with managing that data.
The first challenge of data is gathering enough of it that accurately reflects your target audience. The second challenge is knowing how to use this data effectively (e.g., getting audience segmentation right). Third, to establish strong data usage policies that don’t infringe on your customers’ data.
Some parts of the world (including most of the US) still allow implicit consent because the customer chose to complete your form. However, it’s best practice to gather full consent that explicitly describes your marketing intentions when possible. Of course, doing so will future-proof your data and increase the trust between you and your customers.
With these benefits and challenges in mind, is marketing automation for you?
How to know if you need marketing automation (and when you don’t need it)
Quick adoption of new marketing automation tools is becoming the norm among businesses. Especially amid a global pandemic as companies adapt their strategies.
Grand View Research predicts the global marketing automation market to reach $8.42 billion by 2027, growing at a compounded rate of almost 10% per year. This growth is due to the rising significance of automation in marketing to increase revenue by targeting customers across multiple channels.
But does that mean you have to jump on board?
Here are five signs that your business needs marketing automation:
- Your marketing efforts aren’t working as well as you’d like.
- Your sales cycle is too long.
- You don’t have enough data to segment your leads.
- Your leads are falling through the cracks.
- Your list of leads is too small.
While many aspects of your business can benefit from automation, we strongly believe in only automating what works for you. If you don’t see immense benefits in automating a particular task, then don’t do it. Not all companies will reap the same rewards from automation.
You can’t automate what you don’t know, so let’s dive into a few marketing automation use cases that could benefit your business.
10 Marketing automation use cases
Here are a few common use-cases for automation available.
Automated email marketing uses predefined rules to trigger personalized email messages based on specific actions customers take (or don’t take).
For example, you can send your customer an automated welcome email after signing up for your newsletter. A few popular automated email marketing tools include Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Hubspot, and MailerLite.
Social media automation uses automation tools to help you curate content and schedule posts in advance. You can also use chatbots on your social channels to provide customer support and improve the customer experience.
Social media automation tools allow you to engage with your audience across several platforms in one place. This way you can monitor all brand mentions, replies, and messages quickly. Some of the great social media automation tools include Buffer, HootSuite, Buzzsumo (which includes great content discovery features), CoSchedule, and SocialPilot.
Customer Relationship Management
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) automation involves automating sales and customer service functions. Using a CRM makes it easier to manage the engagement with current and prospective customers.
Critical functions of CRM automation include contact management, lead management, document management, integration, reports, and analytics. A few of the most popular CRM software include Hubspot, Salesforce, and Dubsado.
Customer journey automation involves setting up workflows that automatically send out email messages or queues specific tasks and actions that a prospect’s actions will trigger.
You can automate your marketing messaging depending on where the prospect is in their customer journey. You’re able to give them the right messaging at the right time.
Most of the email marketing and CRM tools that we’ve already mentioned allow you to set up automated customer journeys. Hubspot is an excellent example of a CRM that allows you to automate different actions in each stage of your buyer’s journey.
Automated pricing automatically determines your pricing using a software system based on a predetermined set of rules or constraints.
Automated pricing can get quite complex. A simple use case uses it to automatically discount items over specific periods (e.g., Black Friday sale).
Amazon, for example, offers Automate Pricing to sellers on the platform. This feature allows sellers to automatically adjust prices on SKUs (stock-keeping units) in their catalog in response to events such as the Featured Offer (Buy Box) price.
If you’re using Shopify other e-commerce platforms, automated pricing plugins are available, including Dynamic Pricing.
You can fully automate your ads with advertising automation tools, including automated ad creation and optimization of your ad campaigns. Automated advertising runs your entire ad campaign for you.
Advertising automation takes the guesswork out of advertising and creates personalized ads based on your key objectives and target audience.
Facebook offers its own Automated Ads feature for those advertising on Facebook. Automated Ads recommends personalized ads for you based on your business goals. Over time, it learns what performs best and makes improvements and suggestions.
Marketing automation helps you personalize the customer experience. It is an essential step in building customer loyalty. But, you can take it a step further by automating your loyalty marketing.
For example, automatically inviting customers to your loyalty program after making their first purchase. You can also keep automating different messaging to them. You can send onboarding emails, loyalty points reminders, and abandoned cart emails among others.
Check out Poket as an example of software focused on increasing customer loyalty.
Data collection and analytics
Business owners can’t measure the success of any marketing efforts without analytics and metrics.
Automated analytics is the process of using software to handle analytical tasks instead of solely relying on people. Using automated analytics means that data collection and analysis are faster and more efficient.
Most of the automation tools that we’ve mentioned will include some form of data collection and analytics. There are others, however, that focus solely on automated analytics, including Outlier and Stitch.
Landing page automation is the process of setting up a landing page. So when a visitor completes the landing page form, it sends their information straight to your CRM.
Automating your landing pages eliminates manual tasks like contact and data entry, sending manual emails, adding contacts to specific workflows, and segmenting contacts. If you’re using a CRM, or even most of the email marketing tools, you’ll be able to use their automated landing page feature.
Workflow and marketing ops
Automating your workflow and marketing ops keeps you organized. It also improves your company’s ability to scale. How? It does so by reinforcing your marketing strategy with budgeting, analysis, metrics, workflows, and infrastructure. So, in the end, it covers everything that you need to manage your marketing, all in one place.