Marketing automation- a new trend in the market. It is not just a passing cloud, rather it is something that is going to stay. It is important for the companies and marketers are aware of it and implement it in real time. This guide is for everyone who wants to know everything related to marketing automation.
So, before we discuss anything more let us talk about “what marketing automation is?”
Automation is a process of replicating individual tasks automatically without repeating the manual process. In marketing automation, the individual tasks are marketing tasks. Let me put it in even simpler words, marketing automation is a process where recurring marketing tasks are automated reducing manual intervention.
Money, time and other resources are quite important for any business. It is always important for the organizations to look and save as much of these as possible. This is where marketing automation software is going to step in. With this, companies can automate a lot of mundane tasks.
This will eventually aid the organization and marketers. In this blog, we are going to discuss marketing automation extensively, make sure to stick with us till the end.
Table of Contents
- Who can use marketing automation?
- Important Marketing Automation Terms that One need to Understand
- How to plan marketing automation?
- How to choose the right marketing automation tool?
- Contact management in marketing automation
- Creating Work flows in Marketing automation
- Measure the success with Marketing Automation
- Things to Consider Before Choosing a Marketing Automation Tool
- Six Myths about Marketing Automation that are Busted
- Wrapping it Up
Who can use Marketing Automation?
Okay, I have given an introduction about marketing automation and I am sure that you got an idea of what it is. Now, the main question is who needs it? You cannot ask an accountant to use automation software right! Marketing automation is required by some people only. Let us see who they are.
Email marketing has been one of the most popular marketing strategies lately. People are using this to garner attention from their leads, retain the existing customers and many more. Email marketing is quite successful and one of the reasons for this success is the personalized touch it gives.
A marketer is directly interacting with their customers via email and the impact it creates is completely different. However, one thing that people are missing out on is giving the emails a personalized touch. There are hundreds or thousands of emails that are sent on a daily basis and giving them a personalized touch manually seems impossible.
This is where marketing automation is going to step in. With this, you can send personalized emails to all of your contacts no matter how many are there. Setup the email sequences once and the tool will take care of email marketing for you.
The advertisers usually publish ads on search engine platforms, for example Google PPC ads. These ads are a great option to gather leads for the business. With marketing automation, PPC ads can be started and stopped whenever it is required.
Apart from this advertisers can also use the PPC marketing reports. C
Advertisers generally publish content on different platforms and gather traction to businesses. With marketing automation, these advertisers can post the content automatically by scheduling them and also get the analytics.
With these analytics they can measure the performance of the content and create a plan for the content they are going to push next.
Social Media Marketers
There is no doubt in saying that social media marketing is on a raise lately. A lot of people are interested in interacting with brands on social media channels only. Right from getting their doubts cleared to posting their grievances online, customers are doing everything on social media lately.
It is important to address their issues as soon as possible or you have high chances of losing out on a customer. This isn’t something that companies can afford to do right! This is where the marketing automation software would step in.
This software will send automated replies whenever your brand is tagged somewhere. No, it won’t send the same reply to any question that has been asked so don’t worry about it. It also analyzes and helps you in understanding the marketing trends right now.
Analysts work around data and marketing automation is all about data. When an analyst start working with marketing automation, the results would be magnificent. Right from campaign setup to grading or scoring of leads, the analysts do everything.
Important Marketing Automation Terms That One Need to Understand
As we said earlier, we are going to discuss extensively about marketing automation in this blog. That is the reason why we are planning to start from the basics. Let us discuss the important marketing automation related terms that one needs to understand.
Sequence and Trigger
Automation is all about “sequences.” It is the particular order in which automation happens. Marketers have to create a proper sequence and feed it to the tool. Once they do it, the automation will start immediately.
I know it is tough to understand, so let me give an example to you.
You are offering an AI-based recruitment tool. A company CXO named “ABC” has come onto your website, liked your features and filled out a form for a free demo. This is a situation and there should be a sequence of things that need to be done after this.
The first thing that needs to happen is sending a confirmation email to the customer.
If the lead clicks on yes as in, confirms the demo, you have to send them a Thank You Email, if they click on no or don’t respond you have to work on the next steps. These all are called triggers. The triggers will determine what should happen next. When you combine the sequence and trigger, you will be able to create the workflow of the automation.
Meanwhile an email should be sent to your sales team saying that a lead needs a demo so that they can make time and be available at that point. If the lead do not respond or click on no, you can add them to your email list and send out the campaign. You can do this when they are a no show to the demo too.
While the sequences are the things that should happen in a proper format, the triggers are the ones that will guide these sequences.
How to Plan Marketing Automation?
Now that you have got to know about marketing automation, let me plan it out for you. The steps are quite simple and effective. Make sure to follow each of these four steps to the point to perfect your marketing automation.
Narrow Down the Focus to Specific Opportunity
When you are talking about marketing automation, know where you can implement it. There are several segments in digital marketing that can be automated but which of these do you need now? That is what you have to think about.
Although you can automate a lot of things, you need to know which of these to focus on. You just cannot tackle all modules of marketing at one go. Take it step by step. Find that particular area of your digital marketing which can be benefited most with automation.
That particular area should be simple. Do not take on too complicated things at first. Start slow, opt for a simple arena that you can automate and work on it.
Identify Your Goal
It is not possible to get any work done effectively without having a proper goal. Having the goal and working to achieve it is the right way to get the results you want.
So, list out the outcomes that you are expecting from this particular work. Plan your marketing automation in the quest to achieve these goals.
Define the Sequence
Now that you have the opportunity and goal, you have to take a step towards defining the sequence. How you want the process to happen, What should be the sequence? What are the triggers?
Put all of these on a paper first and analyze whether you have the workflow set properly or not. This is quite important. The sequence should have the starting point, what email or text you have to send to the lead, depending on their action what you should do, everything.
Run Automation Manually
Yes, automating the work is easy but is it effective! Are you succeeding? There is no concrete answer here. While the marketing automation tool is good, the workflow that you have inputted may be not that effective.
Maybe, you have inputted a wrong work flow or there are some gaps in between. Anything can happen and once you have started the marketing automation, stopping and correcting it is a bit of hassle. This is the reason why you have to start doing the automation manually.
This way you will know if there are any gaps in the workflow, there are any tweaks that you must do, and how your automation workflow is performing. This manually running the automation is a process that must be repeated multiple times until you find it performing perfectly.
This may take some time but trust me once you do this, there is no stopping. You can copy the workflow multiple times and run it without human intervention.
These are the four steps that you have to follow. If you complete all of these steps effectively, the output will be something on which you can rely on.
How to Choose the Right Marketing Automation Tool?
Planning the marketing automation process sounds interesting but despite having a great strategy you can’t mint the benefits out of it without a proper marketing automation tool. There are some factors that the tools should satisfy in order to provide better output.
Build an Automation Plan on Paper
You know you just cannot go and input the workflow in the marketing automation software. First putting it on the paper can help you in understanding how the workflow is. You can change it if needed.
So, what I suggest you do is draw a plan and rule out the sequences on a paper. This way you will know what the sequences are and what triggers you are using. When you do this, you will understand how your workflow is and how efficiently it can be implemented.
This way you will also understand about all the features that are required in a marketing automation tool that you are plan on purchasing.
List The Features You Need
Now as you know about all the features that you are searching for in the tools, you can start researching for them. There are so many marketing automation tools that are available in the market but are all of them reliable?
The answer for this question will be a no. Not every tool is going to offer all the features that you need. So, it is important for you to list out all the features, do your research and check which of the companies are offering you with all the features that you need.
Contact the providers and get a free demo. Explain to them your sequence and get a live demo. You will get to know how they are doing it and how you have to do it too. If they are able to set up the sequence in an easy way, you can opt for it.
Know Your Budget
Almost for every business, the budget is a constraint. So, know your commercials and get an idea about your budget. Marketing automation software pricing can be a bit high so it is important for you to conduct an analysis.
Ask yourself these three questions-
- What is your Budget?
- What is the cost of the tool?
- How much time can it save you?
Although the marketing automation tools are pricey, they often prove to be worthy. So, answer all of these questions and it will help you in determining a reliable tool.
Contact Management in Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is all about data and contacts. When you are opting for marketing automation for your business, you are going to work around lots of contacts. It is important for you to manage all of these contacts effectively.
This is where the contact management comes into picture. So, what is contact management? When you are opting for marketing automation, you will be sending out marketing campaigns to a bunch of contacts. So, it is imperative that you need details of all of these contacts.
While having contacts at your perusal is a good idea, you cannot send your marketing campaigns to all of them at the same time right! It is important to segregate them as per your requirement and then make a group of contacts. This way you can push the marketing related content to every group as per your requirement.
Contact Variables That are Needed
Contact management is important, on the other hand knowing what all details that you need for a contact matters too. Contact variables that are important for marketing automation are
- Identity: These are the basic details of a contact that every business must know. The required details include email address, phone number, address of the contact along with the demographics such as gender, age, etc..
- History: It is impossible for the reps to interact with customers without knowing about their history first. One has to be aware of the previous purchases made by a contact, the blog views, how many emails they have opened and what are those emails, how the contact is engaging with your brand, through what source, etc.
- Behavior: Understanding the customer behavior across different platforms will help in making better purchases. Here the behavior means the social usage, purchase frequency, how much pondering do they need to make a purchase, etc. With all of this details, it becomes quite easy to estimate and provide effective services to a customer.
- Forecast: This forecasting is a special feature from marketing automation. This feature will analyze the past purchases, behavior of a customer to analyze their lifetime value, sales team can score the leads and churn probabilities too.
Different Contact Sources
Contact sources can be a confusing term. Let me help you in understanding this. Contact sources are nothing but the sources from where your business is able to get contact information. It basically means the lead sources in simple words.
Let me emphasize on it more so that you can understand it in an easy way.
Businesses need contacts to trigger their workflows via marketing automation software. It is important to have a proper contact management plan in place to make this possible. But before the contact management and workflows, a company needs contacts. From where can a company get these contacts is the real question.
In this section, we are going to understand different contact source options that businesses have.
Landing page is a great source for lead generation. Now, you may ask what is a landing page?
A landing page is a standalone web page. It is created specifically to push one of the campaigns for a brand. For example, whenever Apple.inc launches a new product, they run ads around it and all of these ads are redirected to one landing page.
This landing page will have all the information related to that one particular product along with a CTA button which prompts users to buy it. This way, companies use these landing pages to promote individual products or services they offer.
Now, there can be one question that is popping in your mind. There is already a website available with all the products, then why create a landing page separately?
Web pages cover everything related to business and offer many products which can often confuse the buyers, however, the landing page focuses on one product or service and has only one goal to promote their product.
Usually, companies provide a CTA in this landing page and whosoever comes onto this can provide their contact information to get a call back from the company. The contact information from the landing page can be extracted with ease.
Sales team interact with a lot of people and the contacts that they bring can also be added to the database. These leads would actually gain a good lead score as only interested people would provide their contact information with the companies.
Almost all the companies have their forms available on the website. Any person who is interested in getting a call back from the organization will have to provide their details via this form.
There are so many people who fill out these forms after getting clear idea about the company, product/services they offer via their website itself. Here, I am showing you an example of a form present in our Office24by7 website.
Chatting is another important format to get the details related to customers. Usually there are so many websites that offer a chat box option. Setting up a person to chat with visitors is not possible. This is where a bot can help. Programming the bot to collect necessary information from customer is one way to gather the contact information.
Social media is a great platform for organizations to generate leads. Putting out interesting content over social media platforms will help in getting traction from the prospective leads. They can share their information on social media which will be captured in the CRM and are stored in your contact database.
Lead Generation Tools
As the name suggests, the lead generation tools are the ones that helps in generating leads for an organization without any manual intervention. There are multiple platforms from where leads can be generated. These lead generation tools will gather all the required information from the customer and will store them in your contact system.
Creating Workflows in Marketing Automation
Marketing automation will only work when proper workflows are designed, There are some preset rules that businesses should follow without fail to make this possible. In this section, we are going to discuss how one can create this workflow effectively.
In workflow, there are three things- enrollment trigger, sequences and triggers.
Sequences and triggers are discussed particularly in a section that you have read above. Let us discuss enrollment trigger here.
Workflow starts with a series of sequences that are implemented with the help of triggers. This workflow starts from top to bottom. The very first command present in workflow is called as enrollment trigger.
As soon as this enrollment trigger criteria is fulfilled, remaining triggers will come into action.
There are a total of three trigger themes.
- Transactional: The transactional trigger theme means when a user subscribes, makes a purchase or contact a business, then it is considered as transactional trigger. There will be particular sequences that follow once any of these actions come into existence.
- Recurring: These are the recurring events that happen every year and during this, the emails must be sent accordingly. Some of the recurring triggers are renewals, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
- Threshold: The threshold triggers are the ones that discuss time, value, usage, etc. This means that if a customer has taken your service/product but hasn’t used it up until some threshold time, then an email will be sent to them. Similarly, if any scenario reaches a threshold point, then they will be alerted about it.
Hope you understood about the three trigger themes.
Measure The Success with Marketing Automation
Marketing automation isn’t just about automating some tasks. It offers a lot more features. It isn’t about your marketing plans and implementation, you should also focus on the results. Measuring the success is even more important and this is where marketing automation software will come into picture.
Here are different things that can be measured using marketing automation effectively.
As the name suggests, predictive analysis is all about analyzing the things that are going to happen in future with the help of present data. This means, technology like machine learning is implemented to determine the probability of future results depending upon the demographic, historical and behavioral data.
In short, using the situations that are present right now, predictions are made about things that are going to happen in the feature. This is usually used in lead scoring. The past actions of customers will determine where they are present in the sales funnel and marketing automation will help with this entire process.
From just being a mere audience to buyer, there are so many segments involved in the buyer journey. The customer can be present at any of these stages and it is important to reach out to them in an effective manner.
With the stage metrics provided by marketing automation tool, it becomes quite easy to understand in which stage a buyer is in and how you can push the marketing content out to him.
Analyze and Nurture Leads with Marketing Automation
Get a clear idea about where the buyer is present in sales funnel by understanding behavioral patterns, collect the required insights, make the predictions with marketing automation. A good tool is the only thing that you need to know everything about your customer’s place in the journey.
A good tool will also provide you with insights about the buyer stages where things are moving a bit slowly and where your are falling short. This way you can understand what you can do to meet your goal.
Cross Device Tracking
Lately, there are so many devices from which people are connecting with brands. One person can use any number of devices to login and interact with your business. With the help of a marketing automation tool, you can capture the consumer data and engagement across multiple devices with ease.
You will get to know the type of device they are using, the OS, screen size and many more.
You may put a lot of marketing content out there but it is important to know which of this content is getting better engagement and how people are interacting with it. Right from mailing list to social media, you can track the performance of your content everywhere.
When it comes to emails, you will get to know how many people have unsubscribed, the mail open rates, engagement metrics and many more.
The engagement metrics include-
- Overall engagement: Overall engagement include unsubscribers, likes, clicks, open rate, the time spent on page.
- Content fatigue: Content fatigue means the total number of interactions happened on one particular piece of content.
- Time Trends: Know the content pieces that are performing for a short amount of time and in the long term too.
- Categorical: Understand the performance by type, platform and segment.
Things to Consider Before Choosing a Marketing Automation Tool
Marketing automation tools can come out as a costly affair for businesses. Hence it is important for choose the right one that will be a perfect fit for your present requirement and scale as your requirements change.
Time to Set it Up and Run
Whenever a new tool or software is implemented in an organization, it is imperative for the employees to take time in understanding and working around it. While this may sound fun and explorative, a lot of time spent on it is nothing but a waste of your valuable time and efforts.
This is why it is important to have a clear idea on how much time the marketing automation tool is going to take for setting up and running. Although all the new tools take time to setup, the best tools in the market will complete onboarding process quite easily and has an interactive user interface.
This interface will make a world of difference to the users and help them in understanding it with ease.
Can it Copy the Sequences, Campaigns and Forms
This might seem like a simple and unimportant feature too but mind you, it is quite important. You need to know whether you can clone the sequences, campaigns and forms that you have created earlier or not! Without this feature, you need to build your sequences from scratch every time you start a new campaign in the tool and that is time taking.
So, make sure that you have this obvious yet most neglected feature in the marketing automation tool that you are planning to get your hands on.
Does the Platform Come in Handy in the Long Term
Now, this is something that you have to think about. You know when you are just starting out with marketing automation, you might want to invest in a basic tool that gets the work done for time being.
Trust me, most of the marketers do this and as they scale, they face difficulty in using the platform and work with some limitations. You might not want to face such a situation right! There are so many tools that offer a certain set of features for now and as you require, you can get your hands on various other features too by just paying some extra amount.
You need to invest in such tools only which can help you in scaling.
What kind of Support can you Expect?
When you are investing huge amounts in marketing automation, it is important for you to focus on the kind of support they are providing. For any long term collaboration, a reliable support system is quite important. Get the details of external support evaluations, how accessible their services are, and various other details.
Six Myths about Marketing Automation that are Busted
For most of us an unknown thing sounds very mythical. Similarly, marketing automation is not a very well known concept among everyone and hence there are so many myths surrounding it.
We have tried our best to pick the top myths and busted it in this section. Read along!
Automated Marketing is all About Sending Messages
For many, automated marketing means sending messages to people automatically. There is nothing more than that! Well, that is not right. It is more than that. It is about reducing the monotonous task of compiling the same email again and again and sending it to people.
One can increase their efficiency to the maximum by reducing these monotonous tasks time and again. It targets the right audience, identifies them and interacts with them in the quest to make them your customers.
Apart from that it works with the data and provides this most important data which will help with the decision making.
Marketing Automation is only for Enterprises
No matter whatever is the size of your business, you need marketing automation. Marketing is the key for sustaining of every business out there irrespective of the field. Nowadays, digital marketing is everywhere.
Hence, every business should opt for the automated marketing which will help in reducing some monotonous tasks and frees up your time. If you are unable to take a huge leap at first, opt for a marketing automation software that will be available at an affordable pricing.
Automated Marketing is Easy
While it frees up a lot of your time, it certainly is not easy. Automated marketing is all about sending out campaigns however, setting up the workflow in a proper way is important. Not just that, you should also focus on looking out for the metrics every now and then..
Having an eye on your campaigns all the time is a necessity. If any campaign is not performing as you have expected, you need to tweak it as per your requirement. This is not an easy task.
Automated Marketing is Used for Email
Is it? Marketing automation tool offers multichannel access and makes it easy for an organization to access their marketing campaigns anywhere they want. Email marketing is a great place to start, I know but marketing automation is not limited there. You can explore various other options that are available.
Automated Marketing Won’t Replace Traditional Marketing
Now, this definitely is a big lie. The world is going to run on automation very soon. Most of the big companies are always relying on automation and if you want to compete with them and stay in the game, it is important for you to implement the automation tools.
Automated Marketing is Robotic
No, it is not. With marketing automation software, you would be able to send personalized messages to the people. You can add the targeted audience to your list and send them the content that is specialized only for them. The best thing about marketing automation is that when you use the right software coupled with proper target audience, you can make most out of your campaigns.
Wrapping it Up
Marketing automation is on rage and there is no reason why you shouldn’t implement it on immediate basis in your business. As you have seen, we have discussed major touch points in the blog related to marketing automation tool. If you are planning to implement automation in your marketing techniques, then you can get started now with