Email marketing is a significant first step toward developing solid communications with your customers and prospects. But once you have moved past one-off messages and have decided to create prolonged, personalized messages powered by customer data, it’s time to try marketing automation.
Automating your marketing activities frees up more of your time to look at the bigger picture of your marketing strategy. With more time, you can build the required momentum to propel your business into the future.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is the process of using technology to streamline marketing activities. It saves time by reducing repetitive marketing tasks while removing the risk of human error in the process. Typically, businesses will invest in one or more platforms or tools to automate marketing efforts such as lead capture, email, or social media posts.
Automated Marketing processes in action
Within any marketing activity, there’s room to automate, accelerate and innovate. Some examples of areas where businesses often automate are:
- Lead capture with gated content: Offer quality content behind a form as a downloadable asset. When your site visitors provide their contact details, they gain access to this content, and you get leads in your database that you can qualify and pass on to Sales.
- Queued smart forms: Short forms that ask as little as possible are more likely to encourage conversions. For example, if you have a returning contact fill in a second form, you can then use queued fields to ask a different question. This way, you get more information over time to inform and enable further automation.
- Marketing and sales emails: Build pre-written emails that you can send to contacts after they’ve performed an action, such as downloading a piece of gated content. For example, a week after such an action, an automated email could say something like, ‘You recently downloaded our eBook on marketing. Here’s an article about building your brand that will help you .’ A week later, you could then send an email with a meeting link from one of your sales teams. This is one of the best uses of marketing automation.
- Re-engagement: Keep your database clean and tidy by automating your re-engagement process. After a period of inactivity, this automation would send an email to the contact to re-engage. If they do not re-engage, you remove them from the database.
- Process workflows: These automated processes are triggered by an action, behavior, or time. You can use them to streamline parts of your processes. For example, if you’re trying to target a certain vertical, then you can set an automated task and tag incoming leads from that vertical as a priority for Sales to follow up.
- Content personalization: A marketing automation platform like HubSpot unlocks this powerful functionality. With it, you can create content like emails that address the recipient by name. Or, you can refer to their company name or any other data you have in your system about that contact, such as location.
- Smart content: Taking personalization a step further, you can use the data you have to completely change what a person sees on your website. A returning site visitor might see a ‘Welcome back!’ message on the homepage, or a current customer might get redirected to a webpage that prioritizes their portal login.
- Social media and digital advertising: Again, depending on the tools you use, there are many ways to automate social media posting, from having AI write the content to digital ads that encourage people to return to your site.
How Marketing Automation benefits businesses
We’ve already said marketing automation makes everything you do more efficient. So, you can do more of it, or spend less time doing that task and more time on strategic decision-making.
But that’s not the only benefit of marketing automation. It also:
- Allows a steady stream of leads to enter your database through inbound conversion opportunities.
- Prompts contacts to return to your website and move further along the buyer’s journey, while always being exposed to content that’s relevant to their needs.
- Adds a personal touch ( Hi [First name]) to each customer’s email.
- Ensures all your leads are properly qualified and prioritized, so no one slips through the net.
- Keeps your marketing team accountable to follow up on triggered tasks, reducing the number of errors or missed opportunities.
- Helps businesses reduce spending on new hires for marketing.
- Provides the fast connection and engagement you need to get your potential customer’s attention before your competition can spin up their spreadsheet.
Marketing Automation solutions
Not all solutions are built the same, and not all automation platforms do everything. Depending on your business, you either invest in an all-in-one solution (perhaps with one or two integrations) or work with a suite of tools that perform specific functions.
HubSpot – the most popular marketing automation platform on the internet
HubSpot is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform designed with automation in mind.
Many of the functionality we’ve talked about today are available with HubSpot, with more features if you combine the Pro Marketing and Sales Hubs with website hosting.
We recommend choosing tools by taking the businesses’ growth goals and budget into consideration.
Contact a marketing automation specialist