What is Marketing Automation and Why is it Important?
Marketing automation is implementation of software to streamline and automate marketing processes. These tasks are often repetitive and otherwise done manually. Automating your marketing is important because it enables entrepreneurs/marketers to more effectively utilize their time and increase productivity, freeing up time to focus on things like strategy and client interaction. Marketing automation therefore becomes an integral part of defining your brand’s marketing strategies.
Debunking a myth: It’s a common misconception to think that marketing automation is synonymous with email marketing. While email marketing is a subset of marketing automation and arguably one of the more effective ones, marketing automation also includes other critical marketing processes. This includes post scheduling, customer relationship management (CRM), customer segmentation, customer data integration, analytics/insights assessment, campaign management, and many others.
How to Start Automating Marketing
Establishing a marketing strategy workflow is the backbone of your marketing automation. You should start by mapping this out as visualizing it can expose unique opportunities and eliminate any fatal flaws.
Here are the 4 steps to automating your marketing:
- Identify your objective: Your very first step needs to be identifying SMART objectives (Simple, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound). This helps focus and mould your strategy to ensure you obtain the desired outcome.
- Identify the right taks: Not every task can be or needs to be automated. After mapping out your marketing workflow, identify tasks that are the most repetitive and time-consuming. These then become your candidates for automation.
- Select the appropriate software: Once you have identified your candidates for automation, you need to see if there are tools available to automate those tasks. There is an infinite number of choices when it comes to marketing automation software, so you need to do your research. If you haven’t already, I recommend looking into Zapier marketing automation options to integrate with marketing software you’re already using. They also integrate cross-platform so you don’t have to use various automation software for various tasks.
- Monitor Analytics: It is important to understand the effectiveness of your marketing strategy workflow by constantly monitoring your analytics. Identify key metrics that matter most to your business and are most relevant to your objectives identified in Step 1. Following marketing analytics best practices will allow you to make appropriate adjustments to your strategy and iterate for maximum effectiveness.
Marketing Automation Tips
To be able to optimize automation and leverage its potential, here are some tips:
- Understand Marketing Funnels: Marketing funnels are a breakdown of a customer’s journey all the way from the “awareness” stage (when they first learn about your business) to the “purchase” stage (when they’re ready to buy your product or service). It’s important to master marketing funnels because they are incredibly effective and should be incorporated within any marketing strategy.
- Personalized Outreach: People have become numb to generic messaging, this is why building customer personas is becoming more and more important in marketing. Try and understand your customer and speak to them in their language. Simply using the active voice and a casual tone alone can make a major difference.
- A/B Testing: While monitoring your analytics will allow you to make appropriate adjustments to your strategy and iterate accordingly, this iteration can also be intentional using A/B testing. While a certain Call-to-Action may seem effective, for example, another one could potentially be more effective. A/B testing allows you to keep optimizing.
- Customer Psychology: While your marketing can be automated by software, your ultimately selling to humans. While automation allows you to target a much larger audience more effectively, it’s a slippery slope customer psychology/empathy can easily be overlooked. With each step of your marketing automation, you need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and understand how they may react to your strategy.
- Attractive and Relevant Content: Making good marketing content doesn’t only include interest-generating pictures, videos, webinars, articles, etc. it also means ensuring your messaging is right by writing good copy. Your marketing content should be pre-determined and considered when defining your marketing strategy. It’s important to note that while you can have the science of your marketing strategy figured out, if you’re lacking the art, you’re less likely to succeed. While there are AI-powered software out there to automatically generate content for you, this is still best done manually; or at least meticulously reviewed and refined for maximum effectiveness. Ensure your marketing content is personalized, concise, human, variable, and relevant.