What is Marketing Automation and Why Should You Care?
Marketing automation seems to be the biggest buzzword in marketing today. But do you really know what marketing automation is? And most importantly why is it important to businesses? In the past few years, you may have noticed the popularity of marketing automation software rise. More and more of you are researching, ‘Googling’ and trying to implement marketing automation into your company’s digital marketing strategy. As a business owner, you might ask why? And the simple answer is because it boasts simplifying the marketing process and making it more efficient for marketers. This sounds great! Who doesn’t want faster, efficient marketing processes right? But hold on, let’s rewind a bit. What is marketing automation? and for all the small to medium sized businesses out there, why does it matter to you?
What is marketing automation?
Simply put, marketing automation is software that aims to automatically complete repetitive tasks for you. These repetitive tasks could include sending emails, social media posts, managing website activity and so on. It is the scalability of these tasks that makes marketing automation so great! To illustrate this point, imagine the following two scenarios:
Scenario #1: A user registers for your newsletter through your website. You get a notification in your inbox of a new subscriber. A month later your email software sends them your monthly newsletter, the same newsletter that is sent to hundreds of your other subscribers. The chances of that user opening that email and reading it seem pretty slim here.
Scenario #2: A user registers for your newsletter after reading a blog post on ‘getting leads from your website’. An automation software of your choice (could be active campaign, HubSpot, MailChimp etc.), sends them a welcome email straight away. This welcome email is tailored based on the blog post your new subscriber was just reading. After this is sent you send them a series of emails relating to lead generation. This automated series will keep your subscriber engaged with your company until you need some other action from them.
The biggest difference in both these scenarios is personalisation. Scenario 2 delivers tailored content to your subscriber that they are likely to be interested in. Scenario 1, on the other hand, is just sending mass emails to all subscribers without any consideration. A common mistake many marketers make is thinking that marketing automation software are email sending machines. While your software may be able to send emails to mass amounts of people, that’s not what you should be doing and that’s not the purpose of marketing automation!
The true definition of marketing automation is the delivery of personalised messages to your target audience at the right time. Note how we wrote messages, instead of emails. Another common mistake most people make, is thinking that marketing automation relates to email marketing. However, in actual reality, email marketing is a form of marketing automation and there are many other forms:
- Social media posting and activity
- Website activity
- After sales support
- Management activities
- Measuring and Analytics
- Multi-channel marketing
All examples of marketing automation have the same goal which is to generate more revenue for your company. This means turning website traffic into leads and then turning leads into sales. Now that’s a dream equation for every company in the world! And good marketing automation gets you one step closer to achieving this dream.
Achieving ‘good’ marketing automation?
So, what makes good marketing automation? The key to good marketing automation lies in personalised content. And this is the hardest aspect of marketing automation. Creating good, tailored content takes time! You need to research your target market, segment your contact lists, create several different pieces of content for each list and then create the actual automations. Hold on there! I thought marketing automation was supposed to be quick and easy? Yes, in the long term, marketing automation does make marketing processes quicker. But to begin with, you can expect to spend a lot of your time creating content to fit your different buyer personas in order to make your content interesting to them. Once the content is created and the automations are in place, you can sit back and watch the leads roll in. That is of course if your marketing automations are good.
Marketing automation is driven by psychology.
After reading the previous section, you might be wondering what’s the secret to personalised content? Of course, the answer is value! When a user is browsing your site or reading a blog post, they’re always thinking “What’s in it for me?” or “what benefit do I get?” The secret to great personalised content is focusing on what your target audience needs. Instead of having that typical self-promotional, “It’s all about me” attitude that some companies fall into doing. This is very important to remember, as when it comes to marketing automation many people tend to focus on the numbers and analytics. They forget that they are dealing with humans and sometimes humans need empathy. Marketing automation is the perfect opportunity to show your customers that you care. Send them messages that inspire them to share, ask for feedback and always listen to their feedback. Most importantly make sure you are targeting the right users at the right time in their buying journeys.
Who uses marketing automation?
At this point, I bet you’re thinking that marketing automation sounds expensive and near impossible for a small business like ours? Well… think again! Years ago, when marketing automation was a new subject, small companies were unclear of its benefits or purpose. Therefore limiting marketing automation to large corporations with large budgets. Today, small businesses have become the largest growing segment to embrace marketing automation.The choice of marketing automation tools has made it easier for smaller businesses to use marketing automation software. On top of this, B2B industries, such as software and manufacturing companies were one of the first to implement marketing automations. But in the past few years, we have seen a significant increase in B2C industries, such as food, retail and financial services make use of marketing automation.
To summarize marketing automation is suitable for any business who wants to turn their traffic into leads and nurture these leads through their buying journey.
Why should you care?
If after reading this post, if you still don’t understand the purpose or benefits of marketing automation. Here are a couple of stats that show that marketing automation really does work:
- 74% agree that the biggest benefit of marketing automation is that it saves time (Adestra)
- B2C marketers who use automation, such as cart abandonment programs to birthday emails have seen conversion rates as high as 50%. (eMarketer)
- 80% of businesses have seen an increase in leads, with 77% of these businesses seeing an increase in conversions (VB Insight).
It is important to remember that marketing automation is not only about sending personalised messages to users. You can even use marketing automation to collect data on your customers which can help you build more detailed buyer personas. For example, information relating to customer purchases, email opens, responses, selected preferences and much more. All this customer data helps you create a digital marketing strategy which is consistent on all channels and makes your future marketing campaigns easier to manage. Therefore if you’re looking for long-term success, then marketing automation is definitely something you should be investing in.
Marketing automation is no longer something that should be feared. It is being embraced by all businesses, both big and small and in all industries. Does your company have a marketing automation strategy in place? Or are your struggling to get to grips with the whole idea? Let us know by sharing this post on social media.
If you looking to implement marketing automation into your digital marketing strategy, why not speak to KDM for some friendly advice? Contact us today.
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