Automating your marketing activities using the latest software and services can be very powerful, not just to deliver your email campaigns, but to manage your lead nurturing processes, customer experience programmes and communications. An average of 51% of companies say they are currently using marketing automation.
This article aims to dispel the common marketing automation myths and provide simple strategies to implement within your business.
So, if you are on the fence about marketing automation, or looking at ways to optimise your activities, please continue to read to find out more, or get in touch with our inbound marketing team.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is the act of using technology and software to automate everyday marketing tasks such as email marketing, social media posting, monitoring, ad management, lead nurturing and much more to enable you to be more efficient and provide a higher level of service.
What are the benefits of marketing automation?
There are many ways marketing automation can support your business, including:
- Free up marketing resource – we know a marketers your job is never done. With limited time to focus on lead generation, revenue growth, and many other objectives, marketing automation can free up your precious time by automating those time-consuming tasks, leaving you free to focus on the most cost-effective tasks.
- Increase lead generation – by creating automation programmes such as lead nurturing workflows and customised landing pages; you can increase your lead generation potential by better supporting your sales funnel and delivering relevant content to prospects to move them down the funnel.
- Improved customer follow up – there are many mundane but crucial sales tasks that can be easily automated to free up sales resource and enable better follow up with customers. These include automated lead qualification, automated sales pipeline, and automated follow up workflows.
- Increase engagement with your target audience – by utilising automation for tasks such as social media management and relevant and timely email communication with valuable content, it can enable you to increase the engagement with your target audience and therefore increase your conversion rates.
Top strategies for marketing automation
Now you know what marketing automation is, and why you should use it, we are going to explore how you can use it with 6 simple strategies you can implement within your business.
Automate social media scheduling
We all know social media can be incredibly time consuming, but if done correctly, powerful. Utilising an automated social media scheduling tool such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social, is a great way of taking the stress and monotony out of social media management.
You can create posts ahead of time and schedule them for when it’s most effective to send to your audience. This allows you to create a block of posts at once and schedule them rather than having to jump into each platform at the time you want to send the post.
An added benefit of managing your social media through an automation platform, is you can also view the results from all your posts in one place saving even more time. This allows you to compare channels in one system to see which ones are performing best for your business.
Use automation to streamline your sales tasks
There are many areas of the sales process that are monotonous and rely on team members to remember to carry out those tasks, which can of course lead to them getting missed. By using sales automation, you can take the hassle out of tasks such as:
- Automate reoccurring follow up tasks
- Using saved snippets for content regularly used in communication
- Having a shareable calendar link so prospects can book directly in your calendar
- Assigning leads to sales reps
- Changing the status of a lead
- Alerts when a prospect carries out a pre-determined action
- Automate follow up reminders with current customers to increase relationships.
Marketing reporting automation
As any great marketer knows, clarity around the impact of your marketing is vital as it allows you to analyse what is working and what needs to be improved. But with most businesses taking a multi-channel approach to their marketing, this can often mean your marketing reporting is arduous and very time consuming.
However, by utilising a tool such as Google Data Studio you can create a custom dashboard focusing on the KPIs and metrics that are most important to you and your business. This will allow you to be more productive with your time as you have all the data you need in one place, allowing you to analyse and make decisions on marketing improvements in less time.
Here’s a quick demo report we’ve created to give you a little flavour for what is possible from Google Data Studio.
Automation to improve customer service
Customer service is an important element of any business and is key in the inbound methodology. Using automation to enhance and streamline your customer service might just help set your business apart from your competition. Here are some areas you could look at to incorporate automation within your customer service:
- Customer experience – you could create a workflow to provide new customers with a series of helpful content including internal reminders to key team members to contact the customer at 30, 60, and 90 days.
- FAQ bots – automated bots are a great way of serving relevant frequently asked question content to customers quickly and efficiently. These can then be followed up with automated emails, or internally assigning the case to a customer service rep to follow up. We have a helpful article on other types of self-service content that you could provide your customers.
- Loyalty programmes – these could include automating communication to customers with a birthday offer or birthday message, loyalty money off incentives and refer a friend programme details to increase customer retention.
- Continuous professional development details – if you provide CPD, you could use automation to provide summaries of your CPD, send reminders of key deadlines, and share relevant social content.
- Customer surveys – these can be used to measure customer satisfaction and can be automated to be sent to a customer after so many days of being a customer. Or you can automate pop up surveys once a purchase has been made to gain feedback on their experience.
Email marketing automation
This is the most well-known automation type, and if used correctly can greatly support lead acquisition, lead nurturing, and customer retention. There are many tools out there that offer email marketing automation such as Mail Chimp and Salesforce Pardot, and are most powerful if linked with your CRM.
There are many ways you can utilise email marketing automation to make your life easier and support your marketing goals. Here are a few of our top suggestions:
- Send abandoned cart reminders if you are an ecommerce business
- Send regular new product updates to customers and prospects
- Create an email automation workflow off the back of a website form completion
- Send follow up emails after a prospect has become a customer to onboard them
- Purchase confirmation emails followed by an email series with useful content.
Multi-channel workflow automation
We have covered the top areas we would use marketing automation for so far, so as our final strategy, we recommend connecting them all together in a multi-channel workflow automation.
This can be done in the larger automation systems such as HubSpot and Salesforce or by interlinking the individual systems to run in tandem.
The power here is that you can harness the multi-channel approach to target your audience in their preferred method and to ensure you are top of mind. An example of a sample multi-channel workflow automation process can be seen below.
An all-in-one marketing automation solution
Whilst it is possible to use several different systems to achieve your automation, it is far easier to use an all-in-one solution such as HubSpot or Marketo. These systems allow you to run and manage all your various types of automations from one system, simplifying the process, saving you time, and enabling you to have a holistic view of how they all work together.