For many business owners, marketing can seem like a real chore. Unfortunately, it is entirely necessary for any business to be successful. Recently, there has been a shift towards digital marketing automation, with many companies now relying partly or entirely on the digital sphere for their marketing needs.
Automated marketing offers many benefits that traditional forms of marketing simply do not. With the majority of the buying public having internet access, the marketing landscape has shifted. This does not mean, however, that broad topic advertising is the way to go. Instead, marketing teams need to focus more on individual data and a targeted approach. Automated marketing offers many advantages, however, businesses will need to navigate certain challenges in order to be successful.
Advantages of Marketing Automation
The stand-out benefit of going digital is the chance to individually connect with potential clients, and personalize your marketing towards them. Automation allows you to learn more about your consumers, which helps to generate long-term relationships. By offering personalised advertising, consumers feel as though they are important, and are, therefore, far more likely to remain loyal to your brand. More and more businesses are seeing an increase in revenue, brought about by personalised email marketing and social media. New casual viewers are more inclined to follow the process through to purchase, as they feel like their contribution is valued. For previous buyers, you can use automation to select adverts that appeal to them based on previous purchases and viewing history.
Marketing automation should always be seen as an investment, like any other business tool or device. When starting out, it may seem too expensive and time consuming, however, once it is up and running, your return on investment is assured. You need to nurture your consumers, as they could become return customers, and ultimately, brand ambassadors and enthusiasts. Using them for word-of-mouth advertising can be hugely beneficial in the long run.
Digital Marketing Challenges and Automation
Despite the clear advantages of going digital when it comes to marketing, there are some challenges that can arise. The most prominent of these challenges is the time needed to meet the exact level of required detail. The digital world runs on a constant flow of information and can, therefore, require constant work and adaptations. In this regard, it can seem as though a marketer’s job is never-ending. This is why it is important to remember that digital marketing is an investment over time, rather than a quick fix.
Successful digital marketing must cover every aspect of business promotion. For example, you could use: a blog to inspire consumers; email and social media engagement; search engine optimization and marketing; content marketing; influencer marketing; campaign marketing; data-driven marketing; and e-commerce marketing. This is a significant amount of data to consider. Digital marketing can be rather time consuming, which can often lead businesses to leave the day-to-day work tasks incomplete. This is where market automation is key. Many digital marketing tasks are repetitive, and can easily be automated, leaving employees time to finish other work, and increasing your overall productivity and profit margin.
Do You Have a Marketing Plan?
Marketing automation can prove a successful tool for engaging with potential clients, and intelligently guiding them towards a sale. However, it is important for any business to have a clear vision and strategy for their marketing, otherwise marketing automation will be rendered useless. In order to succeed, you should have a thorough understanding of your main goals, with a clear plan of how to achieve them. You should know the exact method you will use to take each consumer from first click to final sale. Each stage of the process should have specific content that encourages the consumer to take the next step. Once you have established a plan, you can get started with automation.
Start With Lead Generation
In any marketing strategy, it is always best to start at the beginning. Many marketers are too quick to buy automation tools, and start from the middle of the process. This is a short road to failure. It is always a good idea to start by generating leads. Automation cannot take place without contacts or followers to appeal to. Furthermore, there needs to be a steady flow of contacts entering the sales process.
It is not advisable to buy email-lists, as this will only work in the short term. It is better to establish connections yourself, that way you know your target audience. The easiest way to generate leads is to make a simple content-to-email list that will tag your readers as prospects for a particular product or service. The most effective way to convince people to sign up to your mailing list is by giving away a piece of content, for example a free book, that can be downloaded upon signing up.
Once you have a significant sign-up pool, you can begin to segment your list to gauge interest in your product. Start by offering subscribers a second piece of content. If they accept, you can then use automation to move these subscribers to the ‘prospects’ list. Software such as Drip or Marketo will allow you to do this by using basic “no/yes” automation rules. Automatic segmentation allows you to focus your selling efforts on those consumers who are ready to buy, and your ‘warming-up’ efforts on other contacts in order to get them to buy.
Market to Your Followers
After segmenting your list, you should begin marketing to specific followers. You can trigger emails to your specific followers based on things like email opens, email clicks, and pages visited on your website. This approach does not tell you enough about a lead in order to personalise content, and ultimately make sales.
In order to build a more positive experience for your leads, you should gather all the information you can about each contact, building their user experience around this data, and making the process more personal. The more targeted the experience, the higher the chance of a sale. Furthermore, you should focus on the correct timing and formatting for this type of marketing, as well timed and placed adverts can increase purchasing. Apart from relying solely on emailing, you should automate all of your marketing channels. Tracking and analysing the behaviour of prospects over all social media and communication platforms will allow you to communicate effectively and personally, making the sales process better and more appealing for consumers.
Use the Right Marketing Tools
As with any business, you need to make sure that you have the right tools to get the job done. The choice of marketing automation tools will depend on your budget and the level of automation you desire. For a fully featured approach to enterprise-level automation with CRM integration, Marketo or Eloqua will do well for any large business. They offer a full suite of features, enabling your sales team to fully automate your marketing. Both options offer an array of integrations, which allow you to connect your marketing to third-party service providers.
For a more flexible approach to automation, Customer.io will allow you to customise your marketing experience. You will be able to build automation tools to match your business objectives, with an individual-based approach. However, if you lack the developer time and resources needed to customise your automation, then either Constant Contact or HubSpot may be your best option. These tools are designed specifically for small businesses, allowing you to get started quickly and at a much lower cost than the large business alternatives. HubSpot takes an all-in-one approach, going further than basic email marketing, and providing basic functionality to cover a range of marketing channels.
Marketing Automation is Necessary for Success
Marketing automation is essential for all digital marketers, and for any business looking to step up their marketing strategy. Automation frees up time and allows you to engage with your contacts on a personal level. Personalisation increases brand recognition and reliance, giving your business a competitive edge.
Unfortunately, marketing automation can’t replace good planning and strategy, and there’s no such thing as a 100% hands-off approach to sales and marketing. Successful marketing automation should always focus on your customer’s needs, and offer them content to help fulfill these needs. Contacts are people, and you need to relate to them on a human level. Their interests and responses will show you exactly how to automate in their favour, leading to even more successful sales.