Automation, the process of delegating time-consuming, repetitive, or mundane tasks to specialized software solutions, is in full swing. Automation tools have found their place in various industries. Recruitment is to a large degree supported by automation. Automation is also helping with customer service. And, of course, there’s marketing.
In marketing, automation is mostly used to communicate with customers. While we’re still nowhere near to seeing intelligent bots that are capable completely replacing humans, they can handle some of the tasks marketers traditionally performed on their own. That mostly relates to sending out emails according to a pre-set schedule.
But simple as this might seem, marketing automation can actually be very complex. So before you decide to automate some of your marketing tasks, let’s first look at why you should consider doing it.
Why Use Marketing Automation
As is the case in any other industry, automation is used in marketing because it makes sales and marketing teams work more efficiently. Using email for marketing usually entails developing personalized messages that are then sent to prospective customers. With marketing automation, marketers only need to create the messages and schedule that they’re sent to customers or leads. The automation software then takes care of the rest.
This isn’t the only way marketing automation improves efficiency, however. Depending on the type of software that’s used, marketers might also have at their disposal a lead assessment feature. With it, marketers can rely on the automation tool to determine how far along a lead is in the sales funnel, and how close it is to be ready to purchase.
The efficiency brought on by automation also translates into quantifiable benefits. Automation can reduce the time it takes to go from acquiring a lead to making a sale, especially situations where the sale cycle is very long. And it can increase conversion rates.
Where to Get Started
The first thing you need to do if you’re considering automating your marketing is pick an area and an appropriate tool. If you’re new to marketing automation, you’ll probably want to start by automating your emails. As for the appropriate tool, there are plenty of automation applications that can help you schedule what to send to whom, and when. It’s important that you start with software that has plenty of features, but is also simple and streamlined enough so that it doesn’t overwhelm you.
The types of messages you can set up to send include welcome messages, product recommendations, various kinds of reminders, and special offers. You will have to develop workflows, a series of “if-then” combinations that will determine when to send which type of message to your customers.
For example, a welcome message is something that’s sent when someone joins your mailing list. If the same person doesn’t buy your product within a set number of days, you can set the automation software to send them a special offer or a promo code. After they’ve completed a purchase, you can also remind them to review the products or the services they’ve purchased. These are some of the features you can start with. Later on, you can develop specialized messages that are sent to your leads as they move down your sales funnel.
Marketing automation works best if it’s supported by other marketing efforts, especially those which lead to the creation of a quality contact database. The best way to go about creating such a mailing list is to develop high-quality, informative content. By making some of it readily available and then hiding the bulk of it behind a gate, you can increase the chances that a person visiting your website will give you your email address. You can experiment with different types of content and, for example, publish articles on your blog, while offering a more in-depth look in an e-book, which is placed behind a gate. And if you can’t get visitors to subscribe to your mailing list, all the automation in the world won’t be able to help you.