Managing marketing is a monumental task. You need to connect with large groups of people across multiple platforms. You need to figure out who’s likely to be interested in what you’re advertising and reach out to them through social media, emails, banner ads, blog posts, your website and other channels. When you factor in customer relationship management and sales, which help turn your marketing into revenue, things get even more complicated. Connecting with the right people at the right times in a way that gets them to become customers is no easy task.
Luckily, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Modern technology is here to help. Marketing automation, or MA, can help you manage all of these tasks efficiently and in a way that produces results. It’s especially powerful when you combine with a customer relationship management, or CRM, platform. When you work with a helpful, professional company like LeadMaster, getting started with these systems is easy, and you can customize them to suit your business’ unique needs. The result? More efficient marketing, more qualified leads and increased revenue.
What Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation systems are tools that help you to manage your marketing campaigns by handling certain aspects of your marketing automatically. They’re designed to boost sales and increase efficiency. Marketing automation software provides you with one central platform through which you create, implement and manage all of your marketing campaigns and track all interactions with prospects. It can automatically identify the most qualified leads and help nurture those leads. Once you set up these automated functions, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort — the system will keep you updated with alerts about lead activity and return on interest, or ROI, reporting.
People sometimes confuse CRM and marketing automation due to the many similarities they have. They’re two different systems, but they do work extraordinarily well together.
While marketing automation systems track activity at the top of the sales funnel, CRM tools deal with prospects once they become qualified leads. Marketing automation software helps you to manage your marketing campaigns, while CRM platforms handle qualified leads as well as current and past customers. They help to make the sales process more personalized and efficient. Because these two systems deal with much of the same information, but at different stages, it’s advisable to integrate them so they work smoothly together.
Because of the benefits that marketing automation brings, adoption is spreading. About half of companies are now using it in some form, and it’s even more popular in the B2B space. The number of B2B companies using it increased by almost 11 times between 2011 and 2014. About 90 percent of users say their MA program has been a success, and 91 percent of successful users say it’s “very important” to their success in marketing across multiple channels.
How Does Marketing Automation Work?
So, what are some of the specific ways in which you can use marketing automation? Marketers frequently use it for drip marketing, which involves sending a pre-written series of messages to prospects over a pre-determined period. This tactic often takes the form of email marketing but can also be achieved through social media, messenger apps and more. Through this messaging, you can share videos, ebooks, blog posts and other types of content.
Drip marketing isn’t the only use for MA. It can also help with other lead nurturing strategies, landing page development and website analytics. But as a basic guide to marketing automation, let’s take a look at an example of how you can use it for email drip marketing.
In an email marketing campaign that doesn’t use MA, you would send out blast emails to your entire list of subscribers in the hopes that it would inspire some of them to become customers. It might work some of the time, but it’s not exactly optimized. You send the same emails to everyone regardless of their interests and where they are in the sales funnel. This generic approach means many of your messages won’t hit the mark and might even cause some prospects to get frustrated and unsubscribe from your email list.
With automation in the picture, your strategy includes much more personalization and targets specific users in optimized ways rather than sending everyone generic messaging. Subscribers get different emails based on when they signed up to the email list. For instance, a new prospect would get a welcome email. Later, you might send that person a link to download an online guide you wrote. Your MA system would keep track of who downloaded the guide and send them a thank you email. In a few days, it might send them a survey asking what they thought of the guide and providing them a link to an ebook. It would then notify the sales team about who downloaded the ebook so that they could reach out to those people. These leads are much more qualified than the ones you’d get if you had just sent the ebook to everyone.
Through the use of using automation as an email content management solution, your messaging becomes much more personalized. It also helps you to identify the most qualified leads, saving time and effort for your marketing and sales teams as well as your prospective customers.
Benefits of Marketing Automation
Automation is playing an increasingly important role in marketing. That’s because it works. It provides many enticing benefits and impressive ROI.
What’s the number one benefit that your marketing can get from automation? It saves you substantial amounts of your most precious resource — your time. Instead of having to manually track prospects’ actions, send emails and analyze ROI, the MA system does it for you. It takes care of the more mundane tasks so that you can focus on the core of your business.
Although some might get the impression that MA is impersonal, the opposite is, in fact, true. It helps you to get to know more about your customers’ behaviors, needs and interests, enabling you to better connect with them. If we had the time and resources to talk directly with every single person who has a chance of being a customer, maybe we wouldn’t need automation, but time is a scarce resource. Automation can help you optimize how you use it. In a recent survey, marketers reported that automation improved their communications with leads and customers. Increased customer engagement was named by 68 percent of them as one of MA’s primary benefits, while 48 percent cited more timely communications.
This improved communication results in more leads generated, which is, of course, one of a marketer’s primary goals. According to VB Insight data from 2015, marketing automation increased the number of leads generated at 80 percent of companies that used it. Because marketing automation helps you learn more about your prospects, the leads that come in are more qualified when you use MA, which tends to result in more conversions. The same report found that 77 percent of companies using MA increased their conversions.
Automation can also increase the amount of revenue you gain from conversions. It can lead to more opportunities, such as upselling, since you know more about your leads and customers. And it’s not just leads it helps you with. It also plays an important role in customer retention.
Implementing marketing automation can also have benefits within your company. It helps you align your sales and marketing for more streamlined operations and communication. It also makes measuring the ROI of your marketing much more straightforward as it keeps track of campaign data for you. This makes it easier to tell which campaigns are working well and which ones need to be tweaked.
What Are the Fundamentals of a Successful Campaign?
Using automation makes marketing much more efficient, and implementing it isn’t hard. It does take a bit more work, though, than installing some software and letting it get to work. Follow these tips for a successful automation-powered marketing campaign.
- Reevaluate Your Goals: Don’t just add automation to your existing marketing plan. Before getting started with automation, reevaluate your marketing strategies and goals so that you can optimize your automation accordingly. Tailor your message to your automation strategies and vice versa so that you can get the most out of MA.
- Don’t Just ‘Set It and Forget It’: Another common marketing automation mistake is taking an approach in which you simply set it up and then forget about it. It’s important that you keep tabs on your campaign as it progresses so that you can respond to issues and customers’ actions as needed. You should also monitor its successes and failures so that you can continually improve it. As conditions change, you’ll also need to update it regularly to match them.
- Make Changes Gradually: When implementing automation for the first time, start out with one simple workflow. Once that’s operating smoothly, you can start integrating other simple workflows as well as more complex ones. Beginning with the basics of marketing automation and gradually expanding helps smooth out any bumps in the road and prevents the implementation of new processes from hindering everyday operations.
- Get Everyone Involved and Informed: When everyone’s on the same page, implementing your MA tools will go much more smoothly. Every department that might be impacted should be aware of any changes being made so that they don’t get caught off guard. Don’t just inform marketing and IT. Let sales, customer service and other areas know what’s going on as well.
- Customize Your Automation Solution: No two businesses are the same, so your marketing automation shouldn’t be generic. Choose an automation system that lets you pick the features you want and works in a way that makes sense for your company’s needs. The LeadMaster system is completely customizable. You enable the features that you want and can easily add others later if you like.
- Plan for the Future: Choose an MA platform that’s scalable so that you can expand it as your company grows and you decide to add more automation features. Factor automation into your company’s long-term planning. It can take some time to start seeing results from your marketing automation, so make sure you have the resources to work on your MA beyond the short term.
- Keep Track of Metrics: You won’t get your automation strategy perfect on your first try. Plus, conditions change constantly, so you’ll need to update your plans accordingly. MA will help you keep track of campaign performance metrics. Log this information and consider conducting analytics of your own too so that you can continuously improve how you use automation in your marketing.
What Results Can You Expect?
Implementing MA will enable you to make various aspects of your marketing much more efficient. You’ll be able to automate audience segmentation and targeting, lead qualification, assigning leads, messaging and measuring ROI. Let’s review some of the results you can expect from introducing these capabilities.
- More Time: When you implement MA, you’ll save valuable time. Many of the more repetitive tasks your marketers perform will be handled automatically, freeing them up for work that allows them to use their skills up to their full potential. They’ll also have more information on leads, allowing them to focus more on only the most qualified ones.
- More Precision: With an MA system in place, your marketing will be much more precise. Rather than sending out blast emails to your entire list of subscribers, you can focus on the leads that are most qualified. You’ll have more information on your leads and customers, allowing you to meet their needs better.
- Improved Internal Operations: MA can help you to streamline your internal operations as well. You can more easily keep track of which leads each employee is working with and can even automate lead assignment. When you integrate MA with a customer relationship management platform and other automation programs, the various departments in your company will be able to work better together, making your internal operations more efficient.
- More Insight Into Performance: Marketing automation programs can automatically generate analyses of your marketing campaigns, helping you to see just what’s been working well and what you should change. Using these insights, you can continually improve your marketing. The more you use MA, the more valuable it becomes.
- Business Growth: All of this increased efficiency and improved marketing operations results in more satisfied customers, a better bottom line and a growing business. When you know more about your prospects and customers, you can better meet their needs. When you do that, they’re more likely to convert, growing your revenue. MA also helps you to use your time and resources more efficiently, saving you money.
How Can LeadMaster Help?
If you’re looking for the perfect system to help automate your marketing, look no further than LeadMaster. Our marketing automation platform includes various MA features and rules-based automation capabilities. Plus, it’s completely customizable. It includes tools for email marketing, website analytics, lead generation and campaign management. You can also customize how the LeadMaster platform will track, score and nurture leads and define rules for drip marketing.
LeadMaster prioritizes the customer experience, and our team is always here to help. Our program is easy to use and affordable. It’s scalable too, so you can easily expand it as your company grows. You can also upgrade to our full comprehensive CRM, sales and marketing tool for even more powerful features. If you want to streamline your marketing and grow your business, try LeadMaster’s marketing automation and CRM systems.
Contact us with any questions, or sign up for your free 30-day trial today, which includes full access to our platform.