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I like to think of marketing as a series of tasks you do to drive engagement and increase revenue. If you’re stuck doing it yourself, it’s essentially a routine you have to manage among all your other responsibilities. To put it in another way, it can be like how you start your day. Every morning you wake up, have breakfast, take a shower and prepare yourself for what’s ahead. Routine may take time and be tedious, but you can’t skip it.
Traditional marketing is much the same as your morning routine. Now, imagine there was a way to bypass all this. How amazing would it be to wake up – already fed, showered and dressed? You could spend your time on more important tasks, and didn’t actually have to do any of the grunt work.
Unfortunately this doesn’t exist for your morning routine but, this is exactly what marketing automation can do for your business. It can literally manage over 80% of your marketing, while you focus on growing the business in other areas.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is a series of tasks that a software manages (instead of you) making life way easier. Why waste time sending emails, posting on social media, analysing and reporting results? Marketing automation software (MAS) will handle all of these tasks freeing up your time to concentrate on growing the business and increasing sales.
Why every business should use marketing automation?
Put simply, automation saves marketers time. By freeing up resources, we can use this extra time focusing on other important tasks. It even helps us when trying to report on and analyse data as it tracks all engagement in a real-time environment. You can even easily integrate other apps such as Google Analytics to further your efforts.
If you’re thinking what you should automate in your business and how you can do so, download our free ebook: ’25 things every small business should automate’.
Marketing automation can also help maximise your lead generation efforts: research shows that companies using MAS generate twice as many leads as companies that only use an email broadcast software. It even helps to increase conversions as many companies who are using automation are reporting increased conversion rates of up to 50%.
Another key aspect is that marketing automation will improve your ROI. Stop wondering where your sales are coming from and let automation track all your efforts. Automation allows you to fully understand the performance of each individual campaign, so you can continuously work towards maximising ROI.
Some things marketing automation can do
If you’re still not sure is marketing automation is the right fit for you, here’s some examples of how the most successful businesses use automation into their everyday marketing activities.
Email Marketing Automation
This is probably one of the most common types of automation. Just think about power behind sending thousands of personalised and targeted emails for each of your clients, leads or potential leads.
The ability to segment your audience as they all have different goals and relationships with your company allows you to address their needs with laser focus. Over time you can segment customers based on products purchased, location, age and many other demographics. The best part is you can do this all through automation.
This is where email marketing automation comes into action. With a software such as MailChimp, you can create different email marketing campaigns and target different audiences with relevant messages that are customised to their needs. You can also tailor them even more by adding demographics and send follow up emails based on their level of engagement. Who wouldn’t like to receive an email with a deal at your favourite restaurant for his or her birthday?
Content Marketing Automation
This is another area or marketing that is really easy to automate. Any business nowadays is on a number of different social networks and the social media manager is in charge of posting daily. Although this can be a big responsibility, the smartest managers can manage it easily with tools such as HootSuite or Buffer to create schedules.
Basically, instead of creating engaging posts every day, schedule them in one go to be published throughout the week. You can stay consistent across all networks and re-use content with minimal effort and saving them tonnes of time.
Social media automation tools allow you to schedule different content to go live on various platforms exactly when you want them to. You can even monitor your posts performances with easy to use analytics functions too. It allows social media managers to understand what works and what doesn’t in their strategy.
Marketing Automation Platforms Comparison
How to choose what marketing automation software to use?
It mainly depends on your needs, budget and dimensions of your company.
Some of the leading marketing automation platforms are:
- Pardot by Salesforce: If you are already a Salesforce customer, this is probably the best software for you. It perfectly integrates with other Salesforce products.
- Marketo: A bit more complicated to use than other software, but more complete. It is the best solution for medium and large businesses. The price may not be affordable for small businesses.
- Hubspot: If you are just starting, Hubspot is probably the right choice for you. This is a good software, with options for businesses of any size. Prices match the industry average.
- Infusionsoft: It’s a complete solution for small business owners looking for results at a great price compared to other marketing automation solutions.
If you are looking for more reviews and comparison of these MAS, have a look at “Marketing Automation Alternatives: 2017 Vendor Comparison Guide“.
The free marketing automation software alternative
There’s always a free alternative to everything, even for automation solutions. one popular choice is Mautic, an open source software. According to their website, Mautic offers lead nurturing and generation services as well as a CRM system, email marketing and many other features. Considering that it is an open source solution, it is also fully customisable and so, perfect if you know your way around it.
This is definitely the cheapest alternative if you just want to try a marketing automation software and in the future maybe upgrade to another solution. Take a tour of Mautic full features.
Marketing Automation For Small Businesses
Small businesses can definitely benefit from marketing automation. Especially if you own an eCommerce store or sell goods online.
- Automation saves you time: forget about sending hundreds of standard emails to your clients.
- Understand who your leads are by analysing the data gathered.
- Transform your leads in clients with tailored campaigns.
- Improve your ROI increasing your online sales.
- Automation will help manage your customer relationships.
If you haven’t done it yet, download our free ebook ’25 things every small business should automate’. This is a huge asset to get you on your feet.
If you are still not convinced, learn ‘6 Killer Ways to Use Automated Marketing for Your Small Business‘.
Marketing automation and E-commerce
I’ve said it several times that E-commerce websites can reap the most benefit from marketing automation. How? Learn it by watching the following video-lesson! Kevin (Green T Digital director) was recently invited to the WordCamp Dublin 2017 to talk about ‘How to increase ROI with WooCommerce automation’.
In a nutshell, this video comprehensively covers all the aspects of the WooCommerce integration for WordPress websites, leading to an increase in ROI. This will include:
- Building an E-commerce store with a perfect user experience;
- Creating SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound);
- Choosing the best integrations in order to build your perfect online strategy;
- Creating your campaign and see what really works;
- Test ingthe strategy as much as you can before the launch!
No time to watch the video? Have a look and download the slides!
How to start with marketing automation?
Starting with marketing automation is easy. Just follow these steps and you’ll be straight on the right path.
Refresh Your Website
Make sure your website is updated and delivering the best performances and user experience. Automating an old and slow website is like preparing a pizza with low-quality products. Check out tips for a fresh new website and 3 ways to test your website performance.
What is the purpose of your website? What’re your visitors looking for? Are you giving them the right answers/content? Understand and work towards your goals to harness the full power of automation.
Understand Your Visitors
Take all the analytics you have and check where visitors convert on your website. This depends on the purpose of your website. For some, it may be to contact the company, for others to complete a purchase.
Understand what your audience is interested in and at what stage of the sales funnel they’re in. You’re not going to spam them with general content but instead, tailored messages.
Where to get this data? Set up a Google Analytics account if you don’t already have one.
The easiest areas to automate are email marketing, social media and landing page creation. If you use this guide, you’ll know exactly what software to use.
Email Marketing Automation
Based on the information you now have, create tailored email campaigns. If your website visitors just completed a purchase, they may be interested in related products, support or eventually rebound information. If your visitors convert by reading a blog, then send related blogs and similar content. This is why you need to know when they convert and at what stage in the sales process they’re in.
Social Media Automation
What do you want to achieve through the social network? Do you want to use them to support your existing clients or attract new ones? You can decide to advertise your product here, offer support information or new content. If stuck for ideas, you find some interesting stats on how businesses use social media here.
in the meantime, subscribe to Buffer or Hootsuite and start creating and scheduling posts!
Test, analyse and report
There’s not much to add here, see what results you’re getting from your efforts and strive to do better next time. Research the average visit time on pages or the number of articles read.
In a similar essence, if you’re selling products, monitor the number of sales started from emails or social media. Even watch the number of customers engaging with your support content (emails open rate or social media likes, etc.). It all depends on your goals you want to achieve with your strategy.
Amazingly if you’re still not convinced, check out Neil patel’s step-by-step guide on marketing automation.
Marketing Automation Consultants
If you want to start with marketing automation but still think it’s too difficult to manage, we’re here to help!
Here at Green T Digital, we offer a 1-hour free consultation, so if you have any doubt, want to know more about eCommerce automation or you just want to start with marketing automation, send us a message!