What is Marketing Automation, and Why You Should Be Using It

With so much going on in a Marketing team, you will often find you don’t have enough time to get everything done. You will have had days where you’re in back-to-back meetings, and still have a whole hoard of tasks to do by the end of the day. This is where an automated system would be super useful!

Luckily, there’s a little thing called Marketing Automation that can step in. The basic idea of marketing automation is to set up a system to perform actions based on triggers (i.e. if a customer clicks an email link it triggers a second personalised email being sent several days later). Once the email automation is set up, it then runs in the background without any additional work required, making your life and workload a lot easier.

There are many people that would benefit from having a Marketing Automation solution, but from a sales perspective, here are the top three reasons to start implementing automated emails campaigns right now:

  1. You can have pre-defined marketing programmes cultivating leads for you, while you’re off doing tasks that require more face-to-face contact.
  2. It allows you to optimise your time efficiently and achieve your goals without missing a beat.
  3. It allows you to be at the forefront of email marketing trends, bringing your business into the 21st Century.

So how would you put a Marketing Automation plan together?

Here is a useful Marketing Automation Workflow for you to refer to when setting up your campaign programme:

(Click image to download)

What you need to think about:

Planning is exceptionally important in the world of marketing automation, for many reasons. Firstly, the term ‘marketing automation’ has, unfortunately, become somewhat of a buzzword, where marketeers seek out automation software under the misguided impression that it provides them with the digital marketing wizardry to automatically generate new leads. This misconception leaves many marketeers with sophisticated tools to automate the middle of their campaign funnel, but no solution that actually generates new leads at the beginning of the funnel.

In your planning phase, you should get to know the system you’re using and plug any holes in your lead generation funnel, allowing you to get your automated ducks in a row.

Secondly, planning helps to prevent you from making mistakes when you set your programme live. It will ensure you have fully thought through every possible step / action your customer may take, thoroughly planning out what components you will need in order to make your campaign run successfully as an automated system. Sounds complicated, but its far from it (and if you get stuck you can always check with us).

For example, email templates, forms, surveys and website content — make sure the right links are in place, and test that the right automation is being trigger when an action occurs (i.e. a link is clicked). There’s nothing worse than getting a beautiful automation programme set up, only to find your customers aren’t ending up where you want them to go because you’ve missed a step in your automation set-up.

You might think that I’m going overboard and stating the obvious when I say you need to plan out every step of your marketing automation, but if you really want it to run successfully with seamless automation, then planning really is the key.

To help you along, I’ve set up an example workflow of a functional marketing automation programme. The example below demonstrates a Welcome Programmefor a new customer being added to a contact database, taking you through every automated step for every action or inaction the customer may take within the programme, including time delays.

Download Your Welcome Programme Workflow Here.

Now you have had a look at how a Marketing Automation programme could work, I’m going to take you through some does and don’ts of the automation world:

Does:

Integrate your inbound marketing strategy with your marketing automation.

Inbound strategy is all about providing valuable, aligned content, and this should not change at all if you start using marketing automation. If anything, it should be enhancing your communications, as you will be able to provide the content your customer’s need, at the exact time they need it, without any manual input during the process.

Send relevant content to your customers,

…and make sure you are providing them with what they are looking for. People make the mistake of trying to drive business objectives without actually considering the customer who is going through the journey. This is arising trend within the industry, with many companies providing workshops detailing how to achieve a customer driven strategy.

Set up engagement and retention campaigns

…to keep your current customers coming back for more. After all, it’s much easier to sell to someone who has previously bought from you. Content marketing is an essential part of making sales, and automation can help you do this. Make sure you’re keeping on top of your content and constantly improving it, making sure it’s more relevant to your customer’s as they progress on their automated journey.

Don’ts:

Set up Automation without planning first

…or thinking about what you want to achieve. There is no point setting up a complex automated programme without getting the strategy right first. Don’t be that person.

Mass email customers.

This is literally the worst. I have unsubscribed from so may brands over the years because they are emailing too much, and none of the content was relevant. If nothing else, you will end up having your emails marked as spam, so just avoid bulk emailing.

Start before planning.

So I know I harped on about this, but it’s seriously important. Don’t spend days or weeks of your life setting up an automation programme before you have taken the time to properly research and plan every step and action. Plan — you won’t regret it!

I think you’ve got enough there to start you on your Marketing Automation journey. If you want to discuss how Marketing Automation could work for your business, our Enabler team would be happy to chat you through our Automation software and how it could help deliver you deliver on your goals.

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