What is Marketing Automation and How Does It All Work?
Here at Airbase, we talk a lot about the specifics of marketing automation.
But in this article, we’re going to take a step back. We’ll look at what marketing automation is generally and what channels we can use. Plus, we’ll share the key things to remember when implementing automated marketing communications.
What is the Definition of Marketing Automation?
According to HubSpot:
‘Marketing automation is all about using software to automate marketing activities’.
It’s about making life easier for marketers, enhancing existing processes. It’s replacing repetitive tasks with automated processes, helping ensure activity happens reliably and consistently. It’s not about replacing marketers. And for the marketers who embrace technology, they have nothing to worry about.
How to Use Marketing Automation?
With software getting more advanced, we must remember the core principles of marketing. They still exist. The technologies and software should not determine our strategy, but allow us to better carry it out. As ever, the customer and marketing objectives should steer the strategy. And we must continue to deliver communications to the right people, in the right way and at the right time.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is bombarding customers with communications. It’s easier than ever for marketers to launch campaigns, so perhaps it’s no surprise people are making less effort.
Yet, marketing automation should make marketing processes simpler, more seamless, more efficient and more effective.
It’s not an excuse for marketers to get lazier.
Even though contacting your whole database is a click-of-a-button away, think more strategically. Instead, plan and build strategies that will nurture your audiences for longer-term success.
What Automation Channels Are Out There?
Here are some of the channels you may already be using that you can start automating.
Social Media Marketing
There are some intelligent social media management platforms out there. The majority will allow you to manage all your social media accounts from one place. Instead of manually posting yourself, you can schedule posts in advance using scheduling tools. You can also automate paid advertising on most social media platforms.
The most automated channel by far. Automated email campaigns allow you to have strategies that are always on. You can build journeys based on actions and tailor them to the customer touchpoints.
SMS and Messaging
As well as email, text messaging and (increasingly) other direct messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp can be valuable in an automated process. It’s early days with platforms like WhatsApp, and the options for using them are still deliberately restricted, but SMS remains a very flexible way of delivering personalised messages.
Web Content, Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing
The option to personalise content on your website based on a contact’s interests or behaviour can be a very powerful part of an automated campaign. Meanwhile, platforms like Leadpages and Instapage are ready-made solutions for building conversion-optimised landing pages. And post-conversion, you can follow up with automated email sequences.
Metrics and Analytics
No more need for best guesses. Most marketing automation software gives real-time data to allow you to track campaign performance. Marketing automation software can provide both the basics as well as more complex insights: anything from how many people clicked on a Google advert to the best time of day to send an email to each individual contact.
Marketing Automation: Things To Remember
There are many reasons why marketing automation fails, so here are our top tips on making a success of it:
- Remember that marketing automation is an effective mix of software and strategy.
- Check in with your goals and objectives and build activity that supports them.
- Does it improve your customer journey? If the customer experience is better using manual processes, then you may want to stick with them.
- Keep your communications feeling human-like and deliver value to your audience.
- Marketing automation is not only for acquiring new customers. So don’t forget your existing customers!
- Remember to keep testing and updating. Marketing automation tasks aren’t one-off tasks that can be left alone.
- Deliver multi-channel experiences. Your customers hang out in more than one place, so show up with consistent and integrated marketing messages.
- And above all, marketing automation isn’t lazy, but beware of becoming it yourself.
How Do I Choose a Marketing Automation Solution?
How and when is the right time to invest in marketing automation? There’s no simple answer.
However, you may wish to consider a marketing automation solution if:
- You find yourself slogging through manual but crucial tasks that get in the way of strategy.
- You’re generating a regular stream of new leads with no real strategy in place – and especially if you’ve no consistent follow-up process.
- You have a manual lead nurturing strategy that works, but you want to scale up.
- You use many channels and you want to identify and optimise the journeys your customers take.
- You have a large customer database, but you don’t know what to do with it.
If you feel like any of the above sounds like you, then you’re automation-ready. Here are our 7 things to consider when getting started with marketing automation.
Getting Started with Marketing Automation
There are so many proven marketing automation tools out there. And whatever your needs, there will be a solution to improve and speed up the way you currently do things. If you’d like more info on marketing automation software, then get in touch today.