More and more businesses today are hoping to automate their manual processes for good reasons. In a nutshell, it is a potential game-changer for businesses of any size as it will effectively save both your time and money, foster communication with your clients and ease data analysis. Sounds like what you need? Welcome to Marketing Automation 101.

What is Marketing Automation?

Simply put, marketing automation is the processes that schedule and organize manual and repetitive marketing activities with software to make them run automatically. What’s best is that computers make no human errors! Exhausted from launching advertising campaigns? Marketing automation is all you need. Now you can focus on all your higher-order problems.

The Tools and Channels

There are a variety of tools out there to automate manual processes, with examples as:

  • Lead Management

It is very important to identify the quality leads of your business. Marketing automation platforms often have a lead management feature for you to capture the right audience. Organising all your contacts and your conversations with them, you can track each of their progress in your sale pipeline in order to know what the next step should be.

If you have already established a closer bonding with some of your customers, you can even filter and segment them into groups with reference to the data you possess. This is useful when you want to promote to certain groups only, instead of spamming all of them.

  • Email Marketing

You would always see these email campaigns in your mailboxes. There are always retail stores offering discount codes and all that kind of updates.

With the right software, you can schedule emails in just a few tabs and have them sent to everyone (or a segment only, as you wish) in your contact list at a designated time. What’s best is that you can tract the performance of the email campaign, from the open rate to the click rate of a certain link.

Most email marketing systems will integrate with CRM applications and their tools: including scheduling of bulk emails and configuring email triggers based on one or a combination of customer behaviours.

  • Social Media Marketing

Another popular area to automate is the social media posts that would show up in your feed. Frequently updating your social media accounts is good for your brand awareness through interacting with your customers.

Rather than logging into each social media account and posting individual posts throughout the day, you can schedule your ad campaigns in advance. Of course, you are able to gather the performance in your marketing automation platform afterwards.

  • Data Analysis and Reporting

We have mentioned data several times in the above because data is absolutely vital if you want your business to grow.

Integrating data from all your data sources, you can gain a more in-depth knowledge of your return of investment (ROI). With such a full picture in mind, you can make better decisions in the future.

There are a variety of reports that can be used, including bounce reports, frequency and behaviour reporting as well. These reports can generally be seen on a dashboard in a lot of marketing automation softwares.

Implementing Automation

Before making that purchase, you will need to consider a few things to establish a smart automation framework for your company.

1. Define your goals and requirements

Before you start, you might want to think about:

  • What marketing activities do you consider, are critical to the business?
  • Do any of those identified activities need a form of automation to reduce the manual repetitive tasks involved?
  • Does using automation result in adding valuable marketing capabilities to the business?
  • Will the investment make sense on an ROI to the business?

2. Find the Platform for You

Once you’ve got your specific requirements down, it’s time to get specific in what you will need in order to zero in on your solution.

  • Features: Keep your eye on the features, examples as some of those mentioned above, that will help your core business and don’t be tempted to spend on features you will never use.
  • Ease of use: It has to be user friendly and convenient. Yes it sounds logical but get the vendor to prove the fact it should require a minimal amount of training and learning as well prior to using the application.
  • Customizations: Make sure your potential vendor can incorporate any special business-related requirements you may need. Also discuss any impact to deployment timelines that it may cause.
  • Price: Add all costs upfront now. These include implementation and training, and all other add-on features. Compare this to your budget. Don’t forget about renewed licensing, updates and support.
  • Speaking about support: The most critical determent to a successful implementation is failed support. Get all your support needs in writing in advance and agreed to in a contract prior to purchase.

We have reviewed 5 options for you. If you are interested, you can click here to check out each of their pros and cons.

3. Walk first – Run later

While it can be tempting to give all the features a try right away, start with the essentials first. Experiment with more features as you grow comfortable with the platform. This approach will allow for in depth learning and analysis of the data and how best to improve upon the system over time.

Great marketing automation software will definitely set you apart from your competition. Do your homework well and if needed, take the time to engage a marketing technology consultant like Juicyapp if necessary. If anything else, just for peace of mind that your valued investment will pay off much sooner than you expect.