We all love a clever email from our favorite store, especially when that email includes a discount code (thank you!). But we also all have those stores that we went to one time that still somehow got our email addresses. Now, the entire inbox and spam section is filled to the brim with automated emails! They’re clearly sent to every one of the stores’ customers, no matter their demographic or interest.
Clearly, there is a wrong way to do marketing automation, and then there is a right way to do marketing automation.
In this blog, you’ll learn everything you need to know about what marketing automation is, how you can use automated marketing to both your and your customers’ advantage, and the different marketing automation tools that enable you to get a higher return on investment (ROI). So, let’s get started!
What Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation definition: Marketing automation is software and technology that you can use to run and optimize your digital marketing campaign. Marketing automation is a workflow that covers different components of your marketing. Thanks to the marketing automation software’s workflow process, your marketing tasks can be synergetic, consistent, and relevant to your customers’ needs.
Marketing automation makes “doing marketing” less time-consuming and better optimized. Using a software tool such as HubSpot, Active Campaign, etc, you can create personalized marketing campaigns that nurture your customer relationships. All in all, this efficient way of “doing marketing” can help your business and customers alike.
Marketing automation lets technology help you effectively and efficiently nurture leads to become brand loyal customers.
Why Invest in a Marketing Automation System?
There are many ways that marketing automation can help your business and customers. Let’s break down a few of them here to better understand the benefits of marketing automation.
Marketing automation helps with the menial tasks that would otherwise take hours of manual labor. Of course, the intricacies of automated marketing systems are much more complex than just time efficiency, but it is one of the major perks.
With marketing automation services and software, you can directly respond to mass amounts of people, all individually. This can be in the form of automated chatbots, emails, messaging, phone services, and more.
Keywords and information can be stored in CRMs—or customer relationship management software—which use the data to help employees deliver answers quickly or automatically deliver answers to customers.
In addition to providing information, automation services can collect and store data about leads. This helps you get to know your customers; or rather, the software gets to know your customers. It can also create individualized experiences for them instead of you having to come up with original ideas for every single one of your customers.
This can be helpful whether you are a small business or large corporation. With this categorization, the marketing software can create consistent messages across marketing platforms.
For example, if a certain customer contacts you on Instagram, the idea is that they will get the same messages they would if they had messaged you through your website. In this way, your customers can get an individualized experience instead of a blanket response.
Allows for Complexity in Your Marketing Strategy
Part of a strong marketing strategy is guiding your customers through a buyer’s experience, starting with lead generation. This means getting your buyer personas to become a qualified marketing lead to a qualified sales lead to a customer, and then repeating the cycle.
When you know how to use an automated marketing software effectively, you can go beyond just sending those automated emails. Instead, you can guide a customer through their entire buyer’s experience while tracking their consumer touchpoints along the way. You can integrate more complex automation throughout the buyer’s journey, which can improve their experience since they will get immediate results.
Saves You Time
Instead of focusing on repetitive tasks, like daily social media posting, you can let marketing automation manage those tasks so you can spend your time focusing on cultivating other ideas. You can use your time to advance and strategize your automated digital marketing plan as a whole or focus on developing your goals.
The Complexities of Online Marketing Automation: Creating an Automated Workflow
While managing marketing automation software, you can create a streamlined process to increase engagement with your customers, communicate better with internal teams, and grow your business.
For example, marketing automation software can help to bridge the gap between your marketing and sales teams, creating a more comprehensive and efficient workflow for your company as a whole. With all data centralized in one digital space, the transitions through the customer journey can run smoothly and efficiently.
What Are Marketing Automation Tools?
Many marketing automation systems offer different features that allow you to meet your marketing goals. Some features you may see in most marketing automation software include:
Social media scheduling
Sales process automation
Inbound marketing process
Each of these elements can help further your relationship with your customers. When all of these elements are curated for your different and specific target audience members, then their interactions with you will make a positive impact on their buyer experience.
Automation in digital marketing is a growing field. Typically, software has different levels for businesses of different sizes that offer a variety of features to implement into your automated digital marketing strategy. If you have any questions about how to run marketing automation, contact the team at Metric Marketing today!
Marketing Automation for Customers
The customer journey is the path that people take from the very beginning of getting to know your business to completing a purchase. Marketing automation is all about optimizing a customer’s buyer journey, all the way to nurturing the relationship so they become a loyal customer and even a brand ambassador, meaning they market your brand by word of mouth and more.
To get the most out of your automated marketing software, start by identifying consumer touchpoints. These are the direct points of contact that your audience member has with your website. Each time an audience member comes in contact with you, the interaction will encourage or discourage them from moving to the next step in the customer journey.
Consumer Touchpoint Automation
When you can identify consumer touchpoints, you can build automated marketing campaigns to build upon them.
For example, if you know that a certain group of target audience members are popular on Facebook, you can promote automated targeted advertisements as one of their first consumer touchpoints to guide them to your website. Instead of handcrafting every single ad, you can set up automated paid advertising. For those that click on the ad, you can collect data points to better understand if you effectively reached your target audience.
Then, as they go through their buying process, another consumer touchpoint may be access to a promotion which encourages them to move to a point-of-sell. Emailing a promotion to those who are already familiar with your brand means they will be more inclined to make a purchase. The email can be personalized to create the best customer experience possible so you can get close to a sale and retain a customer.
These examples are just small ways in which marketing automation can guide consumers through their buyer’s journey.
In addition to automated consumer touchpoints making the journey more enjoyable for your customers, the touchpoints benefit you as well. Each time a consumer clicks on an automated touchpoint, you can see those interactions. That way, the entire journey is documented. Marketing automation analytics reports allow you to map out a customer’s buyer journey by looking at the data across all touchpoints. So instead of looking at each touchpoint individually—which is still good data to have—you can view them more holistically.
Having a comprehensive map that enables you to literally see all its data can help you continue to nurture and build that specific customer’s relationship with your company. It also provides a fully comprehensive view of that target persona.
Attract Your Customers With Relevant Ads and Content
You can also make those touchpoints and all automated marketing campaigns relevant to your customers’ needs. As a business, you want multiple buyer personas. Before we discuss relevance, let’s review the term buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional character representing part of your target audience. You can make characters that reflect income, gender, age, race, typical social media platform use, interests, dislikes, and so much more. These buyer personas help you to create ads and content that meet the needs of your target audience. By having a “character,” you can create more personalized strategies. Meeting the needs of your consumers is a primary goal of marketing, and buyer personas give you a better idea of how to interact with those consumers.
Now back to marketing automation! When you know your customers’ interests, you can create content in the software to automatically generate for those customers. The goal is to maintain brand consistency while communicating your brand in ways that multiple audience members can understand.
One of the simplest ways of doing this is through social media ads. You do not want your Facebook ads to copy-paste to Instagram because, most likely, you have different audience members using either Facebook or Instagram. Instead, you can have automated ads going to your customer base that uses Facebook and automated ads going to your customers on Instagram.
By using the automated marketing software, you can spend less time working on all of these ads and reach a broader audience in ways that adhere to their communication platforms. This same strategy can be applied to really any aspect of consumer touchpoints.
Getting the Right Answers Efficiently and Effectively
As the data grows in your automated marketing software, the reaction to customer questions becomes more efficient. More data means more specific answers to these questions. Plus, with automated marketing, the customers can get answers as soon as possible.
Make the Buying Process Easier
Have you ever filled up an online shopping cart, walked away for a moment, and returned to your computer only to find the shopping cart empty? Yeah, we have too. It’s never a great time.
With marketing automation, you can send abandoned cart emails or reminders. If a cart was abonded, you can send your customer a quick check-in about the product(s) they were thinking about purchasing. Pretty nifty, if we say so ourselves!
Why Use Marketing Automation? To Increase Your ROI
Increased ROI is one of the biggest advantages of investing in marketing automation. The organization enabled by marketing automation programs leads to savings on time and money. Resources can be allocated more directly because of the data collected. Thus, revenue grows due to more concise budgeting.
Marketing Automation Analytics
Always, always, always track your data. Data-based decision making is your best friend when it comes to making informed decisions about your business. This means tracking your analytics in comparison with your goals. Are your objectives being met? Can you quantify those objectives and results?
When you get data from marketing automation software, you can evaluate those data points to see what’s going right, and where you need to improve.
With the influx of information you receive from your customers, tracking their buying behavior one by one is a nearly impossible task. If it’s not actually impossible, then it is extremely time consuming—to the point where your ROI will likely take a hit. Automation marketing software optimizes the ability to track customer data and behavior.
With that information comes great responsibility. Even though marketing automation is, well, automated, you have the power to take that data and make requests to better your customers’ experience.
When Marketing Automation Doesn’t Work
Remember the beginning of this blog when we mentioned those pesky emails that jam up your inbox? Let’s dive a bit deeper into that.
Often, people will get marketing software and then focus on gathering data like what is the click through rate of an email blast. Although that information is good to know, it doesn’t necessarily help you answer questions about your customers. Instead, you need marketing software to provide insights and context about your leads so that not everything is based on the open or CTR rate, but rather identity and stages in the sales funnel.
Email is really the best example. Automatic email marketing is an effective tool if done correctly. Instead of sending out one giant mass email, focusing on your inbound marketing strategy can help get the right information to the right people while not wasting time, energy, and money on those who will not benefit from a blanket message. For example, you can set up a 90-day email drip campaign to nurture a lead from downloading a free lead magnet on your website to purchasing from your company.
At its core, marketing automation is about nurturing your qualified leads. You need to have a solid foundation to build upon before you can benefit from marketing automation. If not, then you risk marketing blindly to people who are not yet familiar with your company and can ultimately be dissuaded from becoming customers.
When to Invest in Marketing Automation
Usually, marketing automation should be implemented once you’ve established your brand and have the time to focus on automation. When you first start out in the digital marketing world, it’s best to focus your efforts on building.
You can build your brand and your qualified leads by investing in SEO and other digital marketing services. It’s important to have a good foundation to build your website on in addition to consistent content to publish.
The time for marketing automation comes when you’re ready to deepen your digital marketing. Before investing in marketing automation, you should have a good grasp on your goals and how best to achieve them. Additionally, you should already have an idea of who your target audience is and be actively generating qualified leads. Having a lead nurturing foundation will really help you out when transitioning to marketing qualified leads.
Once you have a basic understanding of SEO and are working towards advancing your SEO efforts—and see progress happening—it may be time to focus your efforts.
Your digital marketing needs to be built on a firm foundation. However, that foundation must be maintained. Marketing automation can do that while generating more leads so that you can focus your efforts on the details and expansion of your digital marketing strategies.
Want to learn more about building your digital marketing and the importance of SEO? Read our Digital Marketing blog for more insight into building your brand so you can transition to marketing automation.
Choosing Marketing Automation for Your Business
Choosing the right marketing automation company is definitely an investment. Here at Metric Marketing, we can help you choose the right tools and take the reins of those tools so you can focus on your business. Additionally, if you choose, we can teach you how to run the marketing automation platform of your choice.
When choosing a marketing automation platform that will work best for your business, there are several elements to consider.
The right features to meet your goals: There are many different platforms offering many different features. That’s why it’s important to talk with a marketing agency like Metric Marketing before making the investment. Additionally, there are different payment plans based on how advanced the features you choose are. All in all, you want a marketing automation platform that is best fit to meet your goals. Here at Metric Marketing, we’re partial to HubSpot, but we can also walk you through different options, such as Mailchimp, Salesforce, Merketo, Active Campaign, Pardot, and more.
How do you like their customer support? When you invest in a marketing automation business, you are becoming one of their customers. Before making a purchase, make sure that you like the customer support they offer. When it comes to marketing automation, if there is something that goes awry, you want the problem fixed fast. Therefore, you want responsive, helpful customer support. When your automated marketing company provides support, you can provide better support for your customers, too!
Is there training offered? Marketing automation systems can be simple, yet they can also be very complicated. When you start out with a marketing system, it’s nice to have some training. If there is training offered, it’s a great resource to take advantage of. A company may offer videos or in-person training.
Is it in your budget? It’s important to work marketing automation software into your budget so that you know how much you want to spend on the software system. Affordability can be a determining factor when choosing which platform you are going to use. Watch out for hidden fees or price increases. Having all of the features and services available to you will only benefit you if you can pay the cost of the software itself.
What is the capacity? If one of your main goals is company growth,then finding a platform that has the capacity to facilitate that growth is necessary. This may mean getting an updated program when you are ready, so keep that in mind when reassessing your budget.
How easy is the transition? As a business, you’ve probably collected lots of information on your past and current clients. So having an automation platform that allows you to easily transfer your information is key! This is called integration, when the software you currently use can be integrated into a new software that can take action with the data you already have. If the new automation software cannot integrate the software you currently use, it may not be the right choice for you. Talk to Metric Marketing about the options you have for integration systems.
Choosing the right marketing automation platform is a big decision. The best marketing automation program is the one that best fits your needs. When considering, take your time to be confident in the system that you choose!
Using Automated Marketing Software
To best use your marketing automation program, you first need to have a solid grasp on your business goals. Knowing your goals will help you lay out a plan to start your marketing automation journey.
There is quite a lot that goes into marketing automation, but the good news is that it can be broken down into these steps:
Write Out Your Ideas on How to Meet Your Goals
The first part is the staging step. This happens when you map out your ideas in the direction you envision leading to you achieving your goals.
Brainstorming with your team to best lay out consumer touchpoints and transition points is a great way to work through this step. Your planning step is where you can lay out ideas to combine your sales and marketing automation.
Choose Your Marketing Automation Program
When you have your goals and plans laid out, you know what features to look for in a marketing automation software system. During this time, you can get acquainted with the software. Get to know the CRM and how it works.
You can also test the integration from your current software to your chosen marketing automation software. Once you feel comfortable using the software, it’s time to implement your plan!
Putting Your Marketing Automation Plan Into Action
This is the exciting part of marketing automation: seeing your plans come to life! You get to watch as your workflow comes together to gather qualified leads and introduce them to your company. Through automated marketing, those leads start trusting your brand.
The more exposure and positive interactions your audience experiences, the more you can cultivate that relationship. By exposure, we also mean helpful interactions that progress to a deeper relationship. If those positive interactions do not occur, customers may be driven away.
Congrats! You’ve run your automated marketing campaigns! Now, you get to see your results.
You can measure your key performance indicators (KPIs) that best fit your marketing goals. Since there are so many KPIs to track, make sure you are tracking the ones that will optimize your strategy. Measuring your progress will give you insight into what’s working and what you need to improve upon.
Did you find that some of your KPIs are going in the direction that you don’t want them to? You have the right insight on what did not work, so you can adjust your campaigns accordingly.
Optimizing your campaigns is important even if your campaigns are having a positive effect on your marketing. Because the world, marketing trends, and audience needs are constantly evolving, you will need to make adjustments to content and website updates.
The most important thing is that you can use your data to make informed decisions about next steps. Suppose your paid ad on a search engine results page (SERP) performed better than you thought it would, but the popup ads on Facebook didn’t do so well. You can adjust the Facebook ads, update your website copy, or maybe even reallocate funds to pay for more paid search ads. The options are endless, and when your decisions are backed by data, you can have a better understanding of the likely results of your decision.
Reach Out to a Marketing Automation Company
Understanding the subtleties and intricacies of automation marketing software takes a lot of work and understanding. Marketing automation can help your business thrive! However, it can also be a negative financial investment if done incorrectly. Thankfully, you have Metric Marketing!
Metric Marketing is a full service digital marketing company that implements marketing automation platforms into so many parts of our clients’ digital marketing strategies. We have a deep understanding of integrating automation into a marketing strategy. We use HubSpot as a go-to marketing automation platform, as it allows for great customization for our clients.
We are a digital marketing company that makes all of our decisions based on analytics, ensuring that each step we take is intentional to move your business in the right direction.
So if you have any questions about the marketing automation process, or about digital marketing as a whole, let us know! If you are interested in working with our team of marketing experts, give us a call at (734) 404-8714 or fill out an online form today. We look forward to hearing from you!
And if you want to learn more about digital marketing and aspects that affect it, like Google Analytics 4, check out our digital marketing blog!