Automation is a trending online marketing buzzword. It has become a fundamental foundation for successful marketing campaigns worldwide. Whether it be a new product promotion, discount, offer, or even elections, marketing automation plays a key role, and is going to dominate 2019 and beyond.
But, what exactly is marketing automation?
Marketing automation – What it is and what it is not
Marketing automation is a way of targeting customers using software that works on auto pilot after you initially set it up. Software sends automated marketing messages and notifications across multiple channels, such as emails, text messages, social networks, pop up notifications, push messages, etc.
Undoubtedly, marketing automation fuels efficiency as well as global outreach. Research shows that marketing automation increases sales productivity by 14.5% and reduces marketing overhead by 12.2%.
Automation tools and software are very effective in lead generation through chatbots across several platforms such as email marketing, webpages, social media, and SMS. Another research reveals that 4 out of 5 users increased leads by choosing marketing automation software and almost 77% experienced increased conversions.
Automation tools are effective in analyzing customer demographics, usage patterns, and behavior. Data collected can be further used for effective customer targeting and segmentation. Using Axis Advanced Analytics, users can understand marketing data better and improve sales performance.
The most effective ways to optimize marketing automation is to map customer experience and use dynamic and personalized content.
Brief history of marketing automation
When IBM launched Unica automation software back in 1992, it was one of its kind. Presently, the same Unica products power the omnichannel marketing as well as real-time automation solutions of the company. When Unica was launched, most businesses did not even think of having an online interface. In fact, the internet was in its infancy.
With the penetration of the internet in the mid-2000s and cloud-based marketing tools like Act-In and HubSpot development, things changed. By 2010, there were almost a billion social media users. Around the same time, Infusionsoft and HubSpot integrated social marketing tools. Webinars and mobile commerce started becoming popular, thus contributing to the development of some of the finest automated marketing tools.
According to reports released by EmailModay, in 2017 over 50% of the companies were already using marketing automation tools whereas 60% of all B2B companies planned to adopt this new technology.
Today, marketing automation is touted to be a game changer. Its benefits are inarguable. Obviously, it is a massive time as well as money saver; but there is a lot more to it. Over 90% of marketers consider these tools because of their ability to deliver uninterrupted and autonomous optimization across various channels. In addition, these tools also enable teams to analyze, review and take action on marketing data and customer in real-time.
Implementing marketing automation
Marketing plays a key role in business. As your business scales, it may be impossible to communicate with all your customers and manage your relationship at a one-to-one level. As a result, marketing automation is the only solution. It not only makes communication easier but also helps businesses operate professionally and efficiently. Most importantly, it ensures that you are punctual and prompt with communication.
Automation tools are designed to serve your purpose depending on the nature of your business. For instance, if your business is a bank, you can choose marketing automation tools to nurture your prospects, convert them into customers, help with customer relationship management, etc.
Contrary to popular beliefs, most marketing automation tools and software improve communication and give time to emphasize on the quality of messages and ad campaigns. Furthermore, it also gives importance to personal space in communication through regulated conversations.
Overall, marketing automation with all its weapons aims to improve the user experience. However, we must realize that the concept of automation is not just limited to technology or software. It is, rather, a channel and a medium used to perform crucial activities for the benefit of your business.
In order to make the most out of marketing automation, you must take some preventive measures to avoid making mistakes.
Noted below are some of the major mistakes to avoid while implementing marketing automation:
1. Start with a plan
Automation is a powerful tool. As a result, it is prone to misuse. As automation allows you to create ad campaigns and schedule email campaigns with less money, time and energy, you should not go overboard to become a spammer. Because it is easy, don’t blast email your leads, especially if your figures are good. You wouldn’t know when you cross the line to hit the spam list.
In the digital domain, you have to avoid spamming. It can hurt your business like none other. So, send only relevant emails to your target audience at the right time.
Moreover, when you are aimless, the process may seem to be too expensive with not so promising result. So, set your goals right, be specific, and take the correct approach.
2. Not having a sound inbound strategy
Wise marketers use marketing automation together with an inbound lead marketing strategy for best results. However, as most marketers rely heavily on automation, they give no importance to inbound marketing.
The traditional marketing strategy involving the sales funnel is very effective. While it takes you through a series of steps to arrive at a sale, automation is a mere way of communicating with your existing leads and converting them.
If your existing lead data is not ready, automation cannot be productive. Although both the strategies are not mutually exclusive of the other, it is difficult to use one optimally without the influence of the other.
3. Don’t be an aggressive seller
When marketers target customers and convert them, they tend to pressurize a lot. Some marketers may also become pushy and intrusive with their offers, discounts, and deals. This indicates that their leads are not engaged before pursuing with their sales pitch and communication. That’s a bad attitude.
You can only engage leads and convert them with defined and relevant content. It is crucial to carry out a sale. By engaging with your leads, you can pass on information related to your business, its principles, and factors making you stand apart from your counterparts. Using a call to action such as signups, surveys, or questionnaire, can benefit too.
4. Not segmenting your audience
You have to categorize your email list based on user behavior, demographics, location, sex, and other relevant factors. Non-segmentation might lead to fruitless exercise. This is primarily because if you deliver the same content to people of all age groups and various professions, there is a possibility that most of your audience would not be interested.
Analyzing buyer personas and segmenting them can boost your returns. It also helps you to aim at the right audience before implementing a marketing automation process. As a result, there is a higher chance of conversion. For instance, if you segment your audience into married, unmarried, and divorced individuals, you would be able to deliver content, which concerns them separately, and gets a response from a likely potential customer.
5. Don’t forget you are human, not a robot
Undoubtedly, marketing automation is wonderful. Everything works on its deal and there is no hassle of the manual process. However, though it allows you to focus on important matters, there is a slight risk of becoming organic.
As you are, your prospects are also humans. You would not want them to realize that a robot is dealing with them. It is critical to humanize the brand and add value to the user experience. Simply by adding a personal touch to messages and making communication more genuine and authentic can make a difference. Make your emails more relevant to your recipients.
6. Don’t build content without a call to action
Ensure to build content with a call to action for better engagement and returns. If you believe that automation can do it all, you may be wrong.
To bring your customers back repeatedly, engage them with sign-up forms, simple clicks, questionnaires, or surveys, and make sure it has a call to action. It would help you to have access to your audience, especially those who are interested in the content or would like to know about your products and services. Depending on the purpose of your content and the nature of the call to action, your audience may engage or disengage with you.
7. Not scheduling and running tests
Running tests is non-negotiable. It is a strategy to predict consumer behavior and learn more about them. This is the gospel of truth for any marketing strategy, including marketing automation.
Always schedule and run tests for your campaigns to maximize the advanced features of the tool or software used. For example, A/B testing allows you to compare two distinct versions of a campaign and deliver better results by emphasizing on a particular element like CTA, subject line, landing page or any other important concern.
Marketing automation is prepared for massive growth. There would be significant changes and technological advancements. A brilliant strategy would be to focus on customers and their needs. Collecting data through customer interaction across several channels may also help businesses to optimize their content targeting client base. To succeed, analyze data and understand the pattern of your customers, their needs, and buying behavior to influence decision making in the future.
Implement Marketing Automation now. Leverage the potential of software tools, marketing solutions and expertise we have to help you grow your business. Schedule a call with us.