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What is marketing automation? A beginner’s guide to marketing automation

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Marketing Automation
What is marketing automation? A beginner’s guide to marketing automation 1

“If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die” – Warren Buffett.

When it comes to making money while sleeping, creating a marketing automation system that can generate revenues automatically and repeatedly for your business, might be one of the best options for you.

We are in the age of marketing automation combining creative marketing strategies with advanced technologies. Even if you are a complete novice in the digital marketing field and don’t have any idea about marketing automation, this “beginner’s guide to marketing automation” will help you understand the whole game.

What is Marketing Automation?

The definition of marketing automation isn’t necessarily very easy to explain in few sentences. Marketing automation is a process used by marketing professionals, departments, agencies, organizations to automate repetitive marketing tasks to market businesses more effectively on multiple online channels by using several software tools and technologies.

Marketing automation tools or platforms help to replace repetitive manual marketing tasks on multiple marketing channels including emails, social media, websites, etc. Marketing automation software tools or web-based services specially designed for marketing purposes to automate marketing processes.

In simple words, marketing automation refers to using some software tools or platforms that can do your marketing tasks automatically.

Some examples of Marketing automation

  • Welcome messages
  • Product retargeting
  • Abandoned cart reminders
  • Personalized product recommendations
  • Personalized chat via chatbot
  • Automated Lead magnet & lead funnel (Via chatbot, Email, SMS, CRM)
  • Social proofs
  • Hyper-local mobile ad targeting
  • Workforce automation
  • Programmatic marketing & data driven marketing
  • Generating digital audit reports, proposals etc
  • AI based Auto-responders

Benefits of marketing automation

  • Simplifies analytics tracking & optimization
  • Better customer retention
  • Boosts productivity
  • Automates workflows
  • Saves cost
  • Improves ROI
  • Improves customer experience & customer journey (CJ)

Categories of Marketing Automation

Marketing automation technologies can be categorized basically into 3 categories:

1. Marketing Intelligence:

Marketing intelligence uses some tracking codes in several marketing channels like social media, emails, or websites to track customers’ interests and behaviors on the internet. Online behaviors of customers help marketing professionals to analyze and segment behavior-based marketing campaigns.

2. Automated Sales Process:

Automated sales process increases sales by nurturing leads from top to bottom sales funnel. This process moves a cold lead from the top of the sales funnels to a hot lead at the bottom of the sales funnel. It tracks the whole customer journey from interest to buy through lead scoring, lead nurturing, and specific targeted content marketing. The whole sales process can be segmented into 2 steps –

Identify the quality of leads

Develop an effective lead nurturing strategy

3. Workflow Automation:

Workflow automation involves the internal marketing processes. This system includes budgeting, planning, digital asset creating, managing marketing calendar, everything that supports internal operations. This system helps marketing professionals to deliver specific content to a targeted individual at a specific time.

How Does Marketing Automation Work?

Marketing automation basically works in 4 steps –

Step 1: Data Collection

The first step of marketing automation is data collection. You need to have enough data to create an automated sales process. It’s also known as lead capturing. You can collect customers’ data from different platforms like websites, social media. You can use marketing intelligence tools and tracking codes to collect the data. You can run ads on multiple search engine platforms or social media platforms to collect huge data faster.

Step 2: Data Segmentation

In the 2nd step, you need to segment your prospects’ data into several categories. You can score your prospects for proper segmentation based on their interests, activities, behaviors on the internet.

Step 3: Creating Workflow

Create a proper workflow for every segment of prospects. You need to have multiple types of contents according to segments of your target audience. Lead nurturing is the most time-consuming and repetitive task and workflow automation makes it easy and efficient.

Step 4: Deliver Relevant Contents

Automate the delivery of contents. You need to deliver relevant and personalized content to a relevant audience at relevant times to achieve maximum benefits.

Marketing Channels You Can Automate

Social Media

Posting new content every day on multiple social media channels is really a boring and time-consuming job. Scheduling social media posts for various social media platforms is one of the best uses of marketing automation.

You can spend some preferable time and create dozens of worthy social media posts for 10 days, 20 days, or a month as you wish and schedule them for specific days, times, and channels as per your needs. Now you are headache-free, simply monitor your social media accounts in your free time and engage with personal responses if necessary.

Marketing automation software can track your social media metrics like engagements, impressions and deliver the reports to your inbox directly. Hence, you can optimize your social media performances and plan your social media campaigns accordingly.

Though almost all automation tools give a feature to automate social media responses, I personally don’t recommend it as it looks robotic and non-human. Your responses on social media must have a human touch so that you can build a real relationship with your audience.

Email

Email is the most popular channel for marketing automation. Hence, it’s a myth for some people that marketing automation means only email automation. However, email automation is really a marriage of email marketing coupled with a systematic sales process.

Perfect automation tools give you the feature to segment your audience and reach them with a personalized drip email campaign. You can send targeted emails to nurture your leads based on their responses to your emails. These automatically triggered conditional emails are called Autoresponders.

Whenever you automate your email campaign, always use effective email marketing strategies to get maximum results for your business.

SMS or Text Message

If your subscribers are highly interested in your products or services, then automated SMS or text messaging might be your best solution for keeping your customers in touch.

Before sending any text SMS automatically, make sure you have permission from your audience so that your SMS doesn’t look spammy.

Websites

Dynamic contents on the website is one of the most powerful aspects of marketing automation. Your website can automatically personalize and adjust its contents to display relevant content to relevant visitors.

For example, if a visitor entered your site by searching digital marketing books, your website will automatically adjust contents and show only digital marketing books-related contents on your homepage.

Tools for Marketing Automation

Marketing automation solely depends on automation software tools or platforms or AI-based web services. There’re huge numbers of automation tools available in the market. Almost every tool gives you a trial period to understand if its features meet your business needs.

Here’re some popular marketing automation platforms:

  1. HubSpot
  2. Marketo
  3. ActiveCampaign
  4. Pardot
  5. Constant Contact
  6. Adroll
  7. Dialog Tech Voice based marketing automation
  8. Customer.io
  9. Oracle Eloqua
  10. Bizible
  11. Act on
  12. LeadSquared
  13. Infusionsoft
  14. Genoo
  15. Salesfusion
  16. Buzzportal
  17. iContact
  18. Buzz Builder Pro
  19. Net-Results
  20. GreenRope
  21. Mailchimp
  22. Gliffy
  23. Jumplead
  24. DataForSeo
  25. Google Workspace / G Suite

Artificial Intelligence powered content automation tools

Best Practices for Marketing Automation

1. Set a Marketing Goal

Nothing can be started without any goal. Always set your marketing goal before starting any automated marketing campaign. A goal keeps your marketing automation on track and helps you evaluate your progress. You need a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bounded) goal and a proper marketing strategy.

2. Send Proper and Specific Content

After segmenting your customers’ data and scoring your leads, you will need to send specifically targeted content to relevant prospects at relevant times through marketing automation. You need to develop an effective content marketing strategy for your marketing automation.

3. Re-Engage with Value

Your marketing automation shouldn’t look promotional or spammy. Don’t always send content with a marketing pitch. Re-engage with your customers by sending valuable content without promotional pitch to solve customers’ problems.

The rule of thumb for sending re-engaging contents is – value, value, value, pitch, value, value, value, pitch, and so on.

4. Build a Personal Connection

Try to engage with your customers personally with the help of AI (Artificial Intelligence). Marketing automation often looks robotic and loses customer’s interest to engage. You should engage your customers on a deeper level and more humanly.

5. Optimize Your Journey

Track your progress and evaluate your marketing automation strategies from time to time. If you find your marketing automation is performing less than your prediction, then you should obviously reconsider your strategies. Make some changes in your marketing automation strategies if necessary. Remember, be fixed on your marketing goal but flexible on marketing automation strategies.

Related reading: AI powered digital marketing tools

However, marketing automation is the future of the entire marketing industry. Marketing automation helps marketers to market businesses more efficiently, easily, and quickly. It saves a lot of energy, time, as well as marketing budget.

To set up effective marketing automation in your business, contact us.

Debajyoti Banerjee is the Founder, Director & CEO of Seven Boats - A leading digital marketing agency & digital marketing training institute in India since 2011. He is a Google & LinkedIn Certified Digital Marketer & Trainer, Brand Strategist, Consultant & Entrepreneur. Debajyoti has 17+ years of domain expertise & successful track records in Digital Marketing & emerging technologies. Learn more Schedule an appointment with Debajyoti Banerjee

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