Modern-day marketers love marketing automation. And why not? It simplifies repetitive tasks like sending email responses, posting to social media, and completing various other website actions. It saves time, money, and frustration, and helps make marketers’ lives easier. In fact, as a smart marketer, you could reduce your campaign management time by up to 80%.
If you’re considering marketing automation software, it helps to know the basics so you can make an informed buying decision. Let’s quickly define marketing automation so you know what it does. Then you can determine if it’s right for you and your business.
Let’s Define Marketing Automation
Marketing automation refers to a software’s ability to automate repetitive marketing actions. These could be emails, social media posts, and other website actions. It’s the software that makes these tasks easier to do. In fact, it does some of your “grunt work” for you, allowing you to focus on and carry out your marketing tasks in a more efficient manner.
Thus, it stands to reason that if something frees up your time without compromising the quality of your work, it’s probably a good thing to consider.
That’s what marketing automation software does. You still have to create the email message, the social media post, and the website form response, etc. You just don’t have to do it over and over again every time the opportunity arises to communicate with a customer. By crafting messages in advance and allowing for personalization, you’re well on your way to enjoying the benefits of marketing automation for your business.
How to Make Marketing Automation Work for You
Now that we’ve taken the time to define marketing automation, here’s how you can use it to help your marketing efforts. We’ll look at some primary channels: email marketing automation and social media automation, and take an overview of an automated marketing campaign.
Email Marketing Automation
Let’s begin with an automated email marketing workflow. The goal here is to nurture your leads through the buying process. You want to give them personalized messages that speak to their specific needs and help them along the path to making a purchase. It goes something like this:
- Pick a targeted list of contacts and send an email prompting them to download your latest e-book.
- Send an automated email thank you to those that download the e-book. Because they downloaded the e-book, they obviously have some interest in the topic.
- After a few days, follow up with the people that downloaded the e-book. In this automated message, you can offer another resource, like a case study, that’s related to the topic.
- Lastly, for the people who downloaded the case study, you (or a salesperson) will receive a notification to contact them directly. Then you can personally follow up with these people. They have enough of an interest to download your e-book and a case study. Now they’re ready for a more personal interaction with your business.
This is the foundation of marketing automation—and good use of it. Whether you send an email to a targeted list (as with this example) or if consumers request the information via a website form, marketing automation makes it a more personalized experience for the recipients.
Social Media Automation
There are 3.2-billion people using social media. That’s roughly 42% of the population—and the numbers are on the rise. As a result, most marketers believe that social media marketing has been “somewhat” or “very” effective for their business. Social media gives businesses the opportunity to take advantage of cost-effective marketing. It also allows them to interact with their target audience and build brand loyalty among their followers. To automate your social media tasks, there are several methods proven effective for smart marketers. Here are a few of them.
- Use Social Media Automation. Services like Buffer and HubSpot (to name a couple) allow you to schedule social media posts in advance and monitor mentions, etc. on your social accounts.
- Sync Blog Content. After you research, write, and edit your latest blog article, you can set up an automated social media post so the link and description are included along with a featured photo on your social accounts. WordPress has plenty of plugins that will help with this automated process.
- Curate Content. Social media isn’t just for your own content. When you find content your audience would find helpful or useful, go ahead and share it. There are automation tools that can suggest potentially shareable content based on keywords or similar accounts.
Automated Marketing Campaign
An automated marketing campaign (aka a trigger campaign) gives your marketing department the ability to execute repeatable, consistent, local campaigns. If you have a franchise business or multiple locations, automation software uses templates to provide marketing materials to local marketers. These templates feature specific brand assets and information—and they allow for automated communications. Print ads, point-of-sale displays, email marketing, SMS, or social posts can all be streamlined and delivered through automation.
(Additionally, robust reporting features make it easy to track your results and improve your marketing strategies.)
Let’s look at one example of how an automated marketing campaign works.
Let’s say someone visits a local bank branch to discuss mortgage options. That person’s information is saved so the bank can follow up with them. After their initial visit, the potential customer receives a series of customized direct mail and email marketing messages. Automation software runs a quick credit check to remove anyone deemed non-qualified, so that person won’t receive further messages. (The bank doesn’t want to waste time with non-qualified borrowers.)
In a nutshell, this particular automated marketing campaign includes a personalized letter from the bank’s loan officer, two strategically-timed emails, and a follow-up direct mail postcard. This all happens within a two-week time period from the initial in-person visit.
The Value of Marketing Automation Software
According to Social Media Today, about 80% of marketers increased their leads by using marketing automation software. About that same percentage saw an increase in conversions. Plus, over 90% of marketers agreed that automation was “very important” to the success of their online marketing activities.
BlueSky ETO’s Brand Management Software allows you to automate any ongoing or repeating communications. Whether it’s print, email, SMS, or social channels, you can automate your marketing efforts with detailed reporting and tracking capabilities. For a free brand consultation, contact us today.