Have you ever wished for a 28-hour day? (You and us both). If so, then you probably need some quality marketing automation in your life.
Luckily, the what of marketing automation is not complicated; simply put, marketing automation is defined as software and tools that streamline, automate, and measure sales and marketing actions, especially those of the repetitive variety: email newsletter signups, social media posting, and sales confirmations, among them.
As a marketer, the idea of automation may feel threatening. But know this: the goal of marketing automation is always to make your marketing tasks easier. It does not compete with marketers; rather, marketing automation makes marketers more effective at their jobs. Think of automation as your partner, not your competition.
If you don’t already automate your marketing, here’s the litmus test as to whether you need to start:
Do you already generate a steady flow of leads – enough to keep your calendar 100% full of well-paying customers or clients? Because, if you don’t have more work than you can handle, then you need marketing automation.
If you’re up for some introspection, here are a few more questions to help you make a decision:
If you answered somewhere along the lines of no, no, yes, yes, then you’re ready for marketing automation. However, if you still need to work on mapping your buyer’s journey, or on developing good strategies to nurture existing leads, then stop here. Work on #3 and #4, then circle back to marketing automation; the result will be a much more effective and profitable overall marketing strategy.
There’s likely a marketing automation tool available for any task and/or workflow you have in mind. Like what, you ask? Well, here are several of the most common ways to use marketing automation to make your life (and job) both easier and more efficient:
Now that you have a good idea of what marketing automation is and why you need it, you’ve started thinking about the how – how can you implement an effective automation strategy? These key steps will get you started:
The worst thing you can do for your sales is to jump into automation without a fully formed plan. So, before you even get started with automated anything, be sure that you’ve thoroughly outlined your marketing strategy and goals: what do you hope to achieve from each aspect of your marketing? From there, you’ll be able to identify which automation tools you need.
Document these strategies. Revisit your goals. Be sure that each strategy has tangible goals, and that each step of the process leads to those goals. Without a clear purpose, even the most efficient automation will lead to a dead end.
This is a continuation of the above but we must be clear: marketing automation is not a standalone process. Unless it’s clearly and inexorably linked to your marketing strategies and ultimate goals, your marketing automation will be useless.
In this vein, be sure that your automation always aligns with your customer’s needs, wants, and interests. Let your automation enhance communication. Likewise, be sure not to use these tools generically; instead, ensure your automation carefully aligns with each personalized, highly detailed step in the customer journey. If not, you’ll get labeled as spam and, worse, alienate your leads.
We like to think of each step in the customer journey like a zip line tour: jumping off that first platform is the biggest leap of faith; from there, each jump grows exponentially easier.
If someone has already taken the leap of downloading your free PDF, it will be easier to convince them to sign up for your weekly newsletter. If they’re already a subscriber, it will be easier to sell them your eBook. And if you’ve already sold them an eBook, it will be easier to sell them another book – or a more expensive upsell. Etcetera, etcetera.
Use your marketing automation to nurture not only your leads but also your existing customers. Keep them engaged, even and especially after they’ve already made a commitment to your brand, and nurture these relationships with customer-only content, offers, and other value-adds.
Now that you have the basics, it’s up to you to take the next step. Where will your marketing automation take you?
NGDATA helps brands in data-driven industries, such as financial services, telecom, utilities and hospitality, to drive connected experiences. Our Next Generation Customer Data Platform, Lily™, puts people at the center of every business via Lily’s Customer DNA, which continuously learns from behavior to deliver compelling experiences for companies, such as Belfius Bank, Innogy and Telenet. NGDATA is headquartered in Gent, Belgium and has offices in the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific.Learn More...