Marketing automation – what is it?
Marketing has become ever more complex with the introduction of more and more platforms and technologies – so it makes sense to use technology to manage it, right? Marketing automation is a term that covers the wide range of software available that’s been designed to automate tasks to make your marketing activities:
- More efficient
- More cost-effective
- More streamlined
- More manageable
- Easier to monitor and analyse
With so many channels to manage, such as web query responses, social media posts, email campaigns, newsletter distribution and more besides, a lot of time can be sucked up by marketing activities – time that could be better spent elsewhere. If this sounds familiar, then it’s probably time that you considered automating your marketing.
What can marketing automation do?
As software gets more sophisticated, it’s pretty much possible to create a tool for any marketing requirement, however complex. Think of emails you’ve received in recent months – have you ever exited a website without purchasing items in your basket, only to find a ‘did you forget something?’ email in your inbox?
We’re sure you realise that there wasn’t a person sat in the company (or at their marketing agency) personally typing that email out to you. No, it was a smart piece of software that automatically generated a tailored email from a set template to try and hook you back. Smart huh?
Whether you manage it in-house or farm it out to an agency (*waves*), there are some great tools out there that offer a range of capabilities that are cost-effective and will save you plenty of time.
- Create templates for a range of purposes
- Personalise elements of your content
- Schedule your marketing communications
- Create auto-responses at different stages of the buying process
- Segment your audience by buying preferences, demographics etc for more targeted marketing
- Auto-post your content across various channels
- Send campaigns, updates, news, offers and information quickly and easily
- Monitor open rates, click-throughs and conversions
- CRM tools
Once you’ve set up your templates, content can easily be edited and communications sent out at a click of a few buttons. Great news!
Things to watch out for
However you manage your marketing, you won’t manage it very well without a strategy. Automated marketing software can only help you so far, so you still need to ensure you’ve got these things covered:
- Lead generation – many people make the mistake of churning over the same ground. You still need to be proactively engaging with new audiences and seeking new prospects.
- Data capture – encourage people to sign up to your marketing offers and capture as much information about their behaviours and interests as possible, so you can collate a great data base of contacts… then use your automated software to group them into various audience segments.
- Content generation – stale communications, lack of personality, sending the same message time and time again are just some of the mistakes made in marketing. Create great content and share it with your most receptive audience.
- Focus on the prospect – address their needs, provide information that they’re asking for and always remember that your content and marketing is about them, not you.
- Encourage shares – let your audience generate leads by incentivising them to share your social media posts and profiles, and other content you produce.
- Call to action – make them clear, lead them to where you want them to go, make it easy.
- Review – review your marketing automation analytics monthly, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
- Calendar – create a marketing calendar that stretches ahead for at least 6 months. You can schedule lots of content in advance, and get a nice surprise when it suddenly starts reaping rewards!