What’s Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is a term used to define software packages that automate manual marketing tasks.
In business, marketing reps. spend hours processing information about their leads.
They have to fill forms manually and move leads from one stage of marketing to another. According to a survey of information workers by Smartsheet, over 40% of workers spend at least a quarter of their work week on repetitive tasks.
With marketing automation, these manual tasks can be eliminated. Your marketing team can then focus on their most important task, which is to interact with leads and convince them to become customers.
According to a study by SharpSpring, 89% of marketing agency executives claim they have achieved success with marketing automation.
But before marketing automation will work for your business, you need a system to generate hot leads.
Let’s be clear, without leads to work with, your marketing automation software can only achieve so much.
The first step to making marketing automation successful for your business is to have a system to generate regular and marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
How to Use Marketing Automation to Power Your Business
As stated earlier, an effective marketing system can dramatically improve your business. But make no mistake, marketing automation will not run your marketing for you. It’s just there to eliminate time wastage and make your actions faster.
In short, marketing automation will benefit your business as well as your execution of the software. It works either way.
How do you use marketing automation in your business? There are many applications of marketing automation that can improve your business operations. Some of them are:
- Welcome Automation
- Automated Email Campaigns
- Upselling/Cross-selling campaigns
- Customer retention campaigns
- Event reminders
- Multi-channel campaign automation
- Customer personalization
- Retargeting campaigns
- Social media automation
These are some ways that businesses can benefit from the use of marketing automation software.
3 Ways to Get Started for Better Results
If you've never used marketing automation software before, it can be a daunting task to you. There are many functions marketing automation can serve and this can pose a problem of making a choice.
Where do you start? How do you get the most benefits from executing it?
Here are 3 major tasks to get started with marketing automation:
1. Select the Right Marketing Automation Software
There are many marketing automation software packages to pick from today. The good thing is that there are many good options to pick from.
This is a major decision to make as it’d have an impact on your business’ results in the nearest future. It's also an investment you want to make the most of.
Even though there are many wonderful options while picking a marketing automation software, the best option for your business will depend on your specific business needs.
A few factors to consider while selecting a marketing automation software are:
a). Business Needs: What are your most important needs? Are you trying to gain more customers and getting your current customers to buy more from you? How strong is your marketing and sales team?
You don't need to spend extra on a tool to have redundant functions you don't need.
b). Cost: If you run a small business, you're probably not ready to invest thousands of dollars in a marketing automation software except it's worth it.
To make a choice, you have to ensure that you can get a healthy return on investment (ROI) for your money.
c). Integrations: In most cases, a marketing automation platform doesn't offer every tool you need. With the right integrations, you can combine more tools together. This is an example of an integration by Smartsheet for Salesforce.
d). Customer Support: If you're just getting started, you'll get stuck many times. Having a reliable customer support means you can resolve these issues without negative consequences on your business.
e). Opportunities for Scaling: When your leads or customers increase, will your marketing automation software allow you to scale easily?
f). Ease of Use: No one wants to study a software for weeks before they run basic campaigns. In fact, this was one of the reasons Pat Flynn moved his email subscribers from Infusionsoft to ConvertKit.
In the study by SharpSpring, 53% of executives claim the most important evaluation criteria for selecting a marketing automation software is ease of implementation.
When Acteva, an online registration service needed to improve its campaigns’ targeting, it decided to use Marketo as its marketing automation software. With this, they were able to create personalized messages and lead nurturing campaigns for their segmented audiences.
This led to a 350% marketing ROI and 100% annual growth in areas where marketing automation was implemented. This also led to a $2 million increase in gross revenue.
2. Run Your First Campaign
After picking a software for your marketing automation, the next step is to run your first campaign. But how do you go about it? Your first campaign should be a simple campaign as you're just getting used to the platform.
This is an example of a simple campaign on HubSpot showing the actions to be taken when a condition has been met.
This is a campaign on Pardot for re-engagement of a cold lead. The key is, to begin with simple campaigns before graduating to the complex ones.
3. Measure Your Results
Your aim of using a marketing automation software is to improve your business results.
For 45% of marketing agency executives, their most important objective for a marketing automation strategy is to increase marketing ROI.
Without a way to measure results, it's very difficult to judge the effectiveness of your software. Before measuring results, you have to define your key performance indicators (KPI) to avoid glorifying vanity metrics.
Some KPIs to consider are:
- Increase in the number of customers
- Increase in sales
- Increase in customer satisfaction
- Increase in the number of sales qualified leads (SQLs)
When Managed Maintenance, Inc. (MMI), a provider of professional management services, decided to revamp its marketing automation and CRM software, their aim was to improve their lead scoring and lead nurturing to get better leads to convert to customers.
By measuring this KPI after implementation of their new technology, they found that lead generation increased by 75%.
Examples of Email Marketing Done Right
Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing you can engage in. This is for many reasons.
You control your email list compared to social media platforms or other marketing platforms where you're not in total control. Added to that, email marketing is more profitable than most marketing channels.
A study in the UK shows that email marketing has a return on investment (ROI) of £38 for every pound spent. That's about $44 for a bit above $1 spent.
Some brands have been getting their email marketing right and I'll show some examples here.
For every business, it's common to have customers who have stopped using your product for a period of time. Dropbox has an email it uses for user re-engagement. It makes the email simple to read and brings the product to a customer's awareness.
This is another example by Dropbox that encourages user engagement. For users who sign up for their service, they can only take advantage of the service when they install Dropbox on the computer or mobile device.
For users who fail to do this, Dropbox sends a timely reminder and a link to help them get the best out of Dropbox.
Another example is a product renewal campaign by Warby Parker, a store for prescription glasses.
To make it easy for people who bought prescription glasses from the company, they send a reminder before their prescription expires. The email subject for this is a light-hearted “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring.”
People love to celebrate special days and one of them is Mother's day. Paperless Post used this opportunity to set up an email campaign to remind users of buying a card for their mom.
And other moms they love. Clicking on any of the images will take the user to a purchase page.
Getting started on a marketing automation software may be a daunting task, but the potential benefits are worth the investment.
When you follow these steps, it becomes easier to increase the number of leads and loyal customers through your marketing automation software.