The simplest definition of marketing automation is the use of software to automate and simplify tasks.
Sending email drip campaigns and follow-up messages, adding sales calls to your schedule, sending invoices, and publishing on social media are all tasks that would ordinarily require a lot of time and effort on a daily basis.
A marketing automation plan may essentially accomplish all you need for customer relationship management.
What is marketing automation software, and how does it work?
The software is the infrastructure that allows the automation to take place in the background, similar to having your own personal assistant.
The correct marketing automation software may help any business get organized, increase sales, improve customer service, and save a lot of time. They have the potential to be game-changer.
So let’s take a closer look at how marketing automation systems work.
How Does Marketing Automation Work?
We all have that list of manual, repetitive tasks: reminders, follow-ups, reporting, drafting emails. These tasks aren’t difficult, but they distract you from the more meaningful to-dos that can have a bigger impact on the bottom line.
With marketing automation, you can set those manual processes up once and forget about them. Your automated campaigns can continue to run in the background while you focus your attention on bigger projects.
How does marketing automation work? At a very high level, marketing automation campaigns send specific content to leads based on behavior and data, with the goal of closing more sales.
Here’s an example:
- You send an email to fresh leads inviting them to join you for a webinar on your product or service.
- To attend the webinar, leads are directed to fill out a form. Everyone who responds affirmatively is added to a new email list (this happens in your marketing automation tool).
- An email nurture campaign is sent to everyone on that list automatically. It begins by sending an email thanking everyone who attended the webinar. They are then sent a link to download a case study on a comparable topic a few days later.
Finally, when leads download that case study, they are automatically routed to your sales team so they can follow up with them (because these leads are much more qualified and further down the purchasing process).
Below, we’ll dive deeper into marketing automation. We’ll look at how it can be used in small businesses, the role of email marketing, how to choose the best marketing automation software, and more.
How to Use Marketing Automation for Small Business
Marketing automation isn’t limited to companies with huge budgets or a seemingly never-ending list of customers. It can make a powerful impact on companies of all sizes, especially small businesses that are already strapped for time and resources.
With the right software like Keep, small businesses can easily learn how to use marketing automation to best serve their needs.
So, what does marketing automation do?
- Builds relationships: New customers rarely make a purchase the first time they hear about a company, which is why marketing automation, such as targeted emails, is critical to establishing and maintaining that relationship. You can promote and enhance conversion rates by helping your audience understand more about your products and mission through regular, thoughtful emails.
- Follow-up emails sent to clients who visit your website, abandon their basket, or even write in with a customer support query might help you close the sale. Follow-up reminders and other marketing automation capabilities can help your sales staff stay on top of the most qualified leads.
- Follows the customer’s journey: The more information you have about your consumer, the better. You’ll be able to track the customer journey with marketing automation and observe, on average, how long it takes a customer to complete a transaction, what information they need to complete that purchase, and which marketing assets contribute to the highest conversion.
- Automates social media: Once you’ve produced the caption, copy, image, links, and hashtags, you can use programmes like Hootsuite and Buffer to automate the sending of all your posts. Automatic posting saves time, ensures brand consistency, and allows you to take a more analytical and methodical approach rather than relying on spur-of-the-moment ideas.
- Automates reports: By automating your reports, you can save numerous hours spent producing data visualisations and performing basic analysis. Google Analytics, Tableau, and Power BI are some of the tools you’ll need. With bespoke graphics and almost no scripting, you can simply automate report generation. For report generation, you should have a data source that is connected to these platforms. Google Analytics includes both data collecting and reporting features that may be used without the need for coding.
- Simplifies communication with a chatbot: In the simplest terms, a chatbot is a programmed responder with pre-fed responses, links, and questions to have an interactive tool that can automatically help your customers when they visit your website for the first time. Even in the B2B space, chatbots can add a remarkable amount of value by bringing down your bounce rates, capturing customer data, and freeing up resources.
What Is Email Marketing Automation?
Email marketing is the key asset in marketing automation. Emails are the vehicle to communicate with leads and provide endless flexibility in what you say and when it is delivered.
The act of employing software to automate and simplify your email sends, reducing the time and effort required to execute good performances, is known as email marketing automation.
Email marketing automation uses innovation to help target specific consumers with precisely timed sends, from drip campaigns to welcome messages to customer experience surveys and more.
What is Sales Automation?
Marketing and sales automation can be used throughout the customer journey, from building awareness to cultivating a dedicated user base. It is especially powerful in the conversion stage, helping you boost revenue.
Here are three ways marketing automation can help increase sales:
- Landing pages are a crucial tool in your marketing automation arsenal for generating leads. They establish an automated flywheel when combined with gated content and auto-responder emails, capturing new leads and immediately starting to nurture them.
- Customize campaigns: Emails and landing pages can assist you in generating new leads, determining how qualified those leads are, and using data such as website behavior to better nurture those leads toward conversion.
- Use triggers to your advantage: Trigger emails are a type of marketing automation that arrives in consumers’ inboxes at key moments, such as when they abandon their basket or complete a free trial. They operate as an effective incentive to make a purchase when combined with offers and upsells.
See Keap’s sales and marketing automation in action.
How to Choose Marketing Automation Software
How do you find the best marketing automation software? As a general rule of thumb, here are the top features to look for:
- Choose a platform that enables you to automate and personalise messages, build emails, change based on performance, and develop spectacular landing pages, among other things. You may construct marketing campaigns targeted to your specific promotions and business needs using a simple drag-and-drop interface.
- Ensure that your marketing automation efforts flow into a CRM product so that you have a single source of truth for all of your sales and marketing data. You may upload, store, and manage detailed records for your leads, including names, addresses, emails, customer types, phone numbers, purchase history, and websites.
- Reports and statistics: The measurements are the key to marketing automation’s success. Look for software that includes a robust analytics dashboard to assist you in visualising traffic and data.You also need the ability to generate real-time reports and dig into certain metrics, like lead source or open rates.
Marketing automation features can also include:
- Personalize communications to all your contacts
- Nurture leads without any extra effort on your part
- Lead generation through landing pages and lead capture forms
- Track the milestones that are important to your business
- Boost conversions by targeting customers with the highest purchasing potential
Platforms like Integromat and Zapier that integrate multiple apps can automate workflows if you’re not looking to adopt a whole new platform.
What if you want to cut down on how many tools you use? Keep has all of these features and more! It’s simple to use and built specifically for small business owners who want to begin transforming their business via marketing automation.
Difference Between a CRM and Marketing Automation
Simply put, a CRM is a place where all your customer data and information are stored. Information like name, phone number, email address, customer start date, etc. The list here is endless.
On the other hand, marketing automation software leverages the information held within the CRM to personalize your communication. Every data point that you collect into your CRM fields can be used in marketing automation campaigns.
You can think of the backbone of marketing automation as the use of client management software (CRM). When kicking off automated marketing campaigns, make sure they integrate with your CRM software, and you’ll experience a number of benefits, including:
- Increased organisation: You won’t have to rely on sticky notes or spreadsheets any longer. You can access all of your customer information in one place and quickly analyse the history of all interactions with a CRM.
- Communication tailored to the individual: Create tailored follow-up email campaigns for customers based on variables such as geography or stage in the purchasing process. You can also tailor automated messages with custom fields and A/B test fields in your emails to boost engagement.
- More sales: Marketing automation moves leads through the sales funnel, delivering instructive content and offering limited-time offers at the appropriate times. You may grade your leads to see when they require further follow-up, which will help you direct your advertising to the leads who are most likely to buy.
For small firms, marketing automation can be a game-changer. It assists you in scoring, sorting, and nurturing leads throughout the sales cycle, increasing conversions by focusing on consumers with the greatest purchasing power.
But, more importantly, it enables you to live the life of your dreams. It relieves you of all those nagging responsibilities and propels you into the big leagues.