Marketing automation is a must-have for companies that want to function efficiently. Here’s the 101 on automating your marketing and sales tasks.
10th January, 2021
12 min read
Here’s a perfect scenario. Instead of spending hours each day making different posts on each of your social media channels, you schedule your posts well in advance for them to go out exactly as planned. Instead of drafting newsletters and sending them out to a long list of customers, you let a tool handle the campaign right from compiling the list to sending out the email. This perfect scenario does exist and is commonly called marketing automation. In fact, with brands competing to staying relevant and hitting the right audience, marketing automation has become a need for every business.
Essentially, marketing automation is the use of software to aid in performing your marketing tasks that are highly repetitive. This can include using a resource to compiling analytical data or a tool to build an onboarding email draft to send out to your customers when they sign up for your service. According to a survey by Invesp, 91% of companies that use these tools say it is a “very important” factor in the overall success of marketing activities.
Now, marketing automation platforms don’t completely eliminate manual efforts. You still have to draft the email for the onboarding campaign, but most software do make it easier by providing you with pre-made templates and accumulating contact information. Ultimately, reducing human error.
Social Media Today survey in 2019 showed that 75% of brands currently use at least one kind of marketing automation software. It’s not just marketing teams that are using these tools. Most of these resources also help make sales teams and customer support teams’ tasks easier. This is pushing top management to invest in these resources and motivating these marketing automation SaaS companies to build more efficient systems.
Besides the reduction of human error and increase in efficiency of marketing operations, marketing and sales automation software have many other benefits.
Relying on one great marketing automation platform that can schedule posts as well as give you insights into analytics is much less complicated than relying on different systems. Based on a survey by Marketo, 76% of companies that use marketing automation platforms see results within the first year. Moreover, it gives your teams a consistent experience when it comes to using the tool. This has proven to increase productivity by around 20% according to a survey by Nucleus.
Marketing automation helps you save time that would have otherwise gone into individually scheduling each post. In fact, Social Media Today’s survey also found that 83% of marketing teams found marketing automation the most appropriate tool for social media post scheduling.
By scheduling posts on your social media or even newsletters you can ensure you are regularly reaching your customers with product offerings and company updates. You can save upto 6 hours per week by opting to make a schedule - hours that would have gone into a lot of manual and repetitive labour. By setting up this cadence of having content published regularly on your social media pages and website, you can increase traffic and ultimately reach more potential customers.
It’s no secret that one person cannot manage all the marketing and sales efforts on their own. These days brands are committed to building marketing dream teams to gain an edge in a competitive online space. But dream teams come at a big price. Sometimes, this leaves lean teams with little funds for anything else.
In such a case, marketing automation platforms can come at a much more affordable price. With most of the heavy lifting done by the software, it leaves you with personnel that can help with other, more important tasks and funds that can be put to other uses.
Marketing automation platforms on their own work wonders when it comes to getting the big picture about your campaigns and marketing efforts. But what about your sales? According to Social Media Today, 61% companies agree that lead generation is the most important strategic role when it comes to adopting marketing automation. This only goes to show that when combined with a customer relationships management tool, the impact of a marketing automation platform is enhanced as it covers both marketing and sales efforts.
Customer relationship management (CRM) softwares are used mainly by sales teams to store customer contact information, keep track of conversations with them and sometimes even give you insights into their behavior based on the conversations you have. Thanks to startups and lean teams blurring the line between marketing and sales, an integrated marketing automation and CRM software aids in storing all the relevant information in one place and gives you a deeper understanding of how you consumer interact with your brand and consequently the marketing efforts directed towards them.
One of the most important reasons for opting for marketing automation has been unprofitable campaigns. This is mainly due to the fact that from purely manual work, teams are not able to gain deeper data on how their campaigns are doing.
With the help of a tool, you can not only understand how to design a marketing campaign based on what your customers like to see but also personalise your customers’ experiences. For example, with an automation software, you can personalise newsletters and automate post-purchase email campaigns. This includes the personal touch most online marketing campaigns tend to miss out on.
Marketing automation tools can range from helping you and your team build your socal media campaigns to understanding and enhancing your relationship with your customers. There are typically 6 types of marketing automation tools.
It’s hard to manually keep track of all your customers, their contact information, how far along they are in the buying chain, etc. CRM systems help with efficiently keeping track of these aspects. Ensure your CRM system has integrations in place that can aid in tailoring marketing campaigns for your customers, get a better idea of customer interactions with consolidate customer data and statistics, and improve overall customer service.
75% of brands consider email automation as an important function of automation. Email automation tools generally come with pre-made newsletter and email templates and scheduling features. This makes it very easy to interact with your customers without actually having to send out emails individually. Furthermore, it gives you access to response metrics like CTRs, open rates, and unsubscribe rates which help measure the success of the campaign.
With tons of content being post online every hour, it is important to post at certain times and in a certain way in order to catch your customers attention. Not to mention, posting regularly to ensure there are eyes on your profiles at all times. Social media automation software assists in scheduling, managing your network, and measuring the performance of your posts. Furthermore, most of the tools include your paid ads analytics, so you can get a clearer picture on the ROI.
While there are individual marketing analytics softwares, most automation tools come with integrated data analytics. In some cases, the metrics your social media tool or CRM tool gives you is not enough, or you might want more information on particular statistics such as behavioural patterns on your website, realtime information on your users, etc. In such a case, having a tool that solely deals with in-depth marketing and website analytics would be of great use.
While marketing automation tools have their own set of functions and processes, many companies and teams have put them to clever uses to inspire new functions.
Beyond sending weekly newsletter, one of the more popular uses of marketing automation platforms has been automatically sending emails to shoppers who have an abandoned shopping cart. These customer visit your online store, look at your products, drop some in the shopping cart, but do not complete the purchase. Your email automation tool can help send them a reminder to complete the purchase, include a form to understand why they might have abandoned the shopping cart, and even include discount codes in the email to encourage them to buy your products.
It isn’t keeping track of all the conversations you have with your customers and more often than not, you are likely to miss out on a few replies. To prevent this from happening, marketing automation tools have the capacity to send reminders to sales teams on pending conversations and when employees are not engaging with content.
Alternatively a sales workflow can be used to send an email to your sales team when a high potential lead or high value customer has failed to respond. Automating processes like these can prevent you from losing some key sales. Some tools also offer the function of tracking email opens, logins, page visits, etc.
Off late, automation tools are also being used in partner or affiliate marketing. These tools can be used to store partner information, track partner engagement, and even onboard new affiliates. Specific affiliate marketing software also help in driving traffic from your partner’s website or social media to yours alongside giving you insights on your ROI if you choose to pay for the clicks or analytics on what content is performing well.
While this is not an exhaustive list of marketing automation tools, listed below are some of the most popular and diverse functioned marketing automation platforms.
Features: Hubspot offers not only marketing automation tools but also CRM, sales, and service features. Known for it’s powerful inbound marketing function, hubspot can help encapsulate all your marketing and sales data under one roof.
Price: Some of HubSpot’s tools are free! For example, you can add 1,000,000 contacts, have unlimited users and create landing pages and forms for no cost whatsoever. However, for more powerful capabilities such as ad retargeting and CRM services like creations of quotes, their bundle price ranges from AU$76/ month for starters to AU$6,053/ month for enterprises.
Features: This cloud based SaaS platform is an integrated marketing automation software that performs functions right from generating leads to converting them thanks to their mobile and email marketing automation functions and account based marketing strategies.
Price: Contact Marketo for more information on pricing.
Features: Omnisend (like the name suggests) focuses on omnichannel marketing. Whether it is driving sales for your online store or integrating whatsapp and SMS notifications to promote your physical stores, Omnisend is one of the most comprehensive tools to use.
Price: Besides their free plan, their standard rate starts at AU$23 and goes upto AU$140 for the pro plan. You can also customise the plan for your enterprise.
Features: Previously one of the most popular email automation tools, Mailchimp is now growing into an integrated marketing automation tool. Most experts recommend the use of their email features for its ease of use, email based action functions, and intuitive analytics.
Price: You can either opt for the free plan or go for the popular standard plan at AU$23.76 / month.
Features: if you need a tool for social media automation, Hootsuite is the way to go. Not only does it help schedule posts, it also assists in curating posts, measuring analytics, and gauging conversations within your company and industry.
Price: Try out their 30 day free trial before opting for a plan ranging between AU$41 to AU$852.
Features: Need a way to streamline your social media calendar? CoSchedule is a great option for mapping out when you want your social media posts going out. It also comes with other content related tools such as a real time blog calendar, social media scheduling, and a digital marketing asset organiser.
Price: Charges are AU$19 for just the blog calendar and AU$41 for blog and social media calendar. Contact CoSchedule for the integrated marketing suite.
Features: ActiveCampaign is often recommended to small businesses. It was the first automation tool to come up with a sequence builder. ActiveCampaign does get some getting used to and involves some amount of learning, but makes it all worth it with it’s integrations and use of machine learning to enhance user experience.
Price: It starts at AU$12.80/ month for a lite plan and AU$325/ month for an enterprise plan.
The right marketing automation tool can help you gain a competitive edge. By automating, you can turn your attention to more urgent tasks and focus on growing your business.
OptiwiseIT can help you shape your marketing automation needs and ideas into scalable technology and functions. We aim to learn your vision and effectively implement it in the project. For more information on OptiwiseIT or to talk to us about our services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t worry, it’s free! :)