Cars aren’t the only things driving themselves these days. Marketing automation is giving businesses of all sizes and industries a chance to give marketing efforts a hands-free approach.
Marketing automation has been around for a few years, yet many companies are not taking advantage of it. The good news is that it continues to improve to give you bigger, better benefits. It almost sounds too good to be true: build a marketing plan, put it on autopilot, and watch the results flood your inbox. Yet that’s exactly what happens when you initiate an automated marketing strategy.
This short guide will show you everything you need to know to help you decide to start putting marketing automation to work for you.
What is Marketing Automation?
If you’re confused about what marketing automation actually is, you’re not alone. It’s surprising that many businesses believe that automating digital marketing is synonymous with email blasting every person in your address book.
Rather, marketing automation can be summed up in four simple words: software for hands-free marketing.
Email is only part of the equation. Automating your marketing for today also includes social media posts, blogs, and other website actions that used to require a whole heap of manual planning and repetition. It also centers on one of the biggest hot buttons for marketers: Personalization.
For example, if you received an email from Amazon right now, do you think it would look like the same email your colleague received?
The answer is no.
Amazon uses marketing automation to custom-tailor their emails to you based on what they think you’ll be interested in. And those emails won’t look the same for everyone.
In other words, think of it as a digital assistant. Right now, you likely have a real person who types out social media posts or sends email marketing in real time. Marketing automation replaces that person’s duties, to a degree, by allowing you to schedule activities to operate at certain times or when other actions are triggered – with no human involvement other than the initial setup (or tweaking, if you decide to make some changes).
Benefits of Marketing Automation
Marketing automation has several clear benefits, and some you might not have thought of.
For starters, it’s a huge time saver. Your marketing tools continue to work for you 24/7, every single day. Once you set up your processes, you don’t have to give another thought to it unless you want to switch up your strategy.
For example, you can set up automatic emails to customers when certain actions are triggered. This might look like a welcome email for a new customer or a confirmation email to someone who placed an order.
Marketing automation helps you create a cohesive strategy that ties together several areas: forms, landing pages, emails, and other assets can work together to create a smooth, consistent workflow without fail.
As a result, you get
- Increased worker productivity,
- Improved lead nurturing,
- Revenue boost,
- Higher conversions,
- Better tracking of campaigns, and
- More customer engagement…
…all without having to micromanage each communication.
Best Marketing Automation Tools
This technology is already promising and its future even more so, but only if you’re using the right tools to fuel your strategy. Take a look at our top picks for best marketing automation tools and why we love them:
When it comes to marketing automation, Hubspot does a little bit of everything. This tool is ideally suited for small businesses with big budgets.
HubSpot focuses on inbound marketing, helping you generate leads and handling all aspects of the customer lifecycle. It’s more than just marketing automation because businesses also lean on it to build relationships, manage contacts, and create and manage content.
Pardot is to marketing automation what Salesforce is to CRM (in fact, it’s owned by Salesforce, too!). Businesses rely on Pardot for automated lead nurturing campaigns that engage customers and prospects with offers or relevant products. Tracking and analytics are in-depth, plus it integrates with Salesforce (naturally).
Businesses love Pardot because of their user-friendly interface that makes it easy to leverage the platform to its fullest.
One of the best ways for small businesses to take advantage of Pardot is by partnering with an external marketing company who already has access to the platform and can help you implement it in your own strategy.
MailChimp is one of the industry leaders in email marketing automation. Their super-simple campaign-building tool lets you create automated workflows to send to your list. You can also incorporate other complementing elements, like sign-up forms or your e-commerce store via APIs.
If you don’t have a MailChimp account, you can sign up for one free. It costs nothing to send mail through this platform, but you will have to upgrade to a paid account to take advantage of automation features.
At Clear Business Group, we choose Campaign Monitor for our email marketing and automation. We use it to help grow our business with email newsletters, auto-replies (thank you, welcome).
Unleash the power of marketing automation with Campaign Monitor. Engage with your audience on a more personal level through customer journeys delivering timely and relevant emails that drive revenue.
Zapier is the tie that binds. Your favorite apps can work together by creating “zaps” that trigger certain actions. There’s no coding and no advanced software knowledge needed.
For example, you might create a zap that sends every new RSS item to your Facebook page. Or, you might push your TypeForm leads into your MailChimp list.
It’s an ideal way to make your favorite platforms work together so you don’t have to shell out for an all-in-one solution or pay for a custom program.
Ready to Build a Marketing Automation Strategy?
Now that you know a little more about marketing automation, you’re ready to get your feet wet with your own strategy. I’ve simplified the information above, but honestly, it’s not so easy to get started using this technology successfully.
While the potential benefits are great, launching a successful strategy can quickly become complex. That’s why many companies are not leveraging marketing automation today.
Feel free to get in touch to learn more about how you can start using marketing automation in your business. The sooner you begin, the longer you’ll be able to enjoy its benefits.