Marketing automation is growing at an extraordinary rate, and it is already clear that it isn’t a passing phase, and that it is undoubtedly here to stay. If you and your firm are beginners when it comes to marketing automation, here are ten commonly asked questions and answers to get you up to speed.
1. What is marketing automation?
According to experts, the term “marketing automation” refers to the software that automates your marketing for you. Designed to assist you in formulating and implementing repetitive marketing tasks (such as emails, social media, and other website actions) in a more up-to-date, easier and more efficient way, this type of software can do a lot for you as a marketer.
From direct mail and phone campaigns to online, social and mobile initiatives, marketing automation combines marketing campaigns across all channels.
It integrates insight-focused capabilities from your CRM, web analytics platform, lead management system, and other systems to create a complete analysis.
For all marketing departments, the ultimate goal of the work is to generate more revenue for your firm. In order to do this, you need to focus on driving traffic to your website, converting that traffic into leads, and then converting those leads into customers. In this process, marketing automation makes an impact during the conversion and closure stages.
2. Why do businesses need marketing automation?
At the end of the day, a significant component of marketing involves time management. As a marketer, you want to be getting the first mover’s advantage, engaging with customers more often than competitors and converting your leads faster.
There is no denying that digital marketing has set a fast pace to lead conversion, meaning businesses no longer need to waste any time on customers that may not convert at all. Sifting through leads consumes time and energy that can be utilized more efficiently. This is where marketing automation becomes essential.
- Strategic focus
Marketing automation software has revolutionized the way organizations are managing their time and targets, allowing marketers to focus their energy on the most likely prospects for conversion, thereby preventing energy and time wastage.
- Personalized communication
However, even though it saves time and energy, marketing automation doesn’t miss out on the minor details. By using marketing automation, you can engage with current and potential customers with tailored content based on both their profile data and their past purchasing behavior.
This way, you can provide personalized content that will assist your cross-selling and upselling campaigns as well as improve overall customer experience. As a result, you can drive more sales and turn your customers into brand advocates.
- Targeting correct platforms
Additionally, with social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, and Google) changing their algorithms to bolster the most authentic and pertinent content, marketing automation has become more of a necessity than ever before. Through automation, you are ensuring that you’ are distributing your content in a more shrewd and well-coordinated fashion.
By attracting potential leads to your site, tracking and profiling their interests and then presenting the most relevant content to convert them into real customers, you are on the path to achieving your marketing goals.
Nowadays people are selling social media likes, followers and much more at a very reasonable price. You can buy quality Instagram likes and facebook likes to increase your engagement.
- Keeping your CRM active
Marketing automation enriches the data on the CRM by adding the customer’s actions to their account in your CRM system. Not only does this improve time management but also makes operations more customer-oriented.
3. Will it make my job as a marketer irrelevant?
While it is a common question, unlike automating manufacturing processes, implementing a marketing automation system won’t make your job irrelevant. In fact, it will make you more efficient by freeing up some of your time, while also ensuring the authenticity of the content you are producing.
4. Will marketing automation save the firm money?
Marketing automation is crucial for measuring the effectiveness of your marketing spend. With its advanced analytics features, you can track the ROI produced by different marketing channels. This way, you can focus on the channels producing the highest value while eliminating the less effective platforms.
5. Is marketing automation customizable?
A great feature of marketing automation is that you can customize it according to each unique customer or lead in your database. Sending personalized emails to all of your customers, no matter how many customers you have, will provide far more revenue than general email blasts.
It will also solve the eternal problem of who and when to deliver your content. Marketing automation means being able to get the right inbound marketing content to people with perfect timing, thereby exponentially increasing your ability to generate leads.
6. How does marketing automation affect lead generation?
Studies have shown that businesses that use marketing automation gain 3.5 times more qualified leads and that the benefits of marketing automation cause the number of quality leads to increase by 451 percent.
Additionally, marketing automation supports both you and your role in delivering the right leads to your sales team, that the team can actually work with.
This is crucial as many sales professionals say that the leads they currently receive from their marketing team are not satisfactory enough or are of poor quality. This being a result of complications in communication between marketing and sales.
7. How does marketing automation affect conversion rates?
Automating your routine marketing tasks will exponentially improve your conversion rate. Research shows that marketing automation technology can cause increases in conversion rates by an average of 53 percent.
8. What is the relationship between marketing automation and SEO?
By streamlining the delivery of your content, marketing automation ensures that your content is continuously providing you with SEO benefits. While it doesn’t actually do the marketing for you, marketing automation can help scale up your efforts.
For example, while building landing pages you can optimize the content based on the analytics taken from a marketing automation tool.
9. What are the other benefits of marketing automation?
Firms all around the world recognize the benefits of marketing automation. From scheduling your campaigns and posts ahead of time to managing social media campaigns from one dashboard, marketing automation simplifies competitive marketing tasks and helps you avoid repetitive activities.
Furthermore, your marketing team will save time with:
- Smooth drag and drop interfaces
- Access to real-time analytics
- Smooth integration with websites, email marketing platforms, and many other channels
- Ultimately understanding which campaigns work and what types of customers those campaigns actually work on.
10. What does the future hold?
As new avenues of digital marketing continue to open up, marketing automation platforms (MAPs) must continue to develop to stay ahead of the game. Here are some ways marketing automation software will continue to evolve and to influence businesses throughout 2018:
- Intelligent and individual marketing automation platforms
Instead of attempting to merge everything into one giant marketing automation system, tomorrow’s marketing automation platforms will be smarter and more focused on smaller applications for each stack of tasks.
Marketing tech companies will continue to specialize their marketing automation systems, concentrating on clients’ fundamental requirements—and then identifying definitive technologies that attend to each of these needs.
Machine learning marketing automation keeps getting smarter as it uses data to generate proactive decisions. Instead of reacting to past data or campaign success, predictive marketing uses data to determine what will create future growth. However, with data privacy restrictions through GDPR, the use of data may become more restricted in the future. Hence, machine learning will have to increasingly rely on publicly accessible data.
With the need to produce the most authentic and relevant content, smart and machine learning marketing automation will become vital to the success of online businesses.
- Increased customer focus
Even more so than in the past, in 2018, marketing automation will become more customer-focused, extending beyond the marketing function alone.
Currently, leading marketing companies are already using marketing automation in new ways such as for:
- Internal communications
- Customer satisfaction initiatives
- Channel optimization
Firms that have found the most success have done so by dividing the automating responsibilities between sales and marketing with CRM integration.
- Focused customer retention processes
Since it costs more to acquire new customers (instead of retaining loyal ones), it is vital that the focus shifts to improving a process that lead to or retains customer loyalty.
Consumer loyalty towards specific brands also prompts purchases among personal networks, so forward-thinking marketing automation programs must prioritize the personalization of loyalty programs. These loyalty programs must be another component of a multi-channel experience, guaranteeing that wherever and whenever your customer interacts and communicates with your brand, they are treated like royalty.
That being said, as marketing automation continues to evolve, with more features, capabilities, and integrations, your firm and marketing team will still need to make strategic decisions around which features suit your needs the best. You need to identify what elements bolster your operations and capacities, and primarily lead to outstanding experiences for your customers.
Before you jump into it head first, figure out why your business needs to invest in a marketing automation platform. Don’t invest in marketing automation without a plan that is aligned with your marketing and business goals. Otherwise, it will just be another costly and pointless exercise.
For it to work, ensure you have well-prepared resources and well-trained talent committed to the operation of your marketing automation platform.
Currently, many employees have minimal knowledge of MAP features and options. Therefore, both your marketing and sales teams should be invested in and devoted to your marketing automation platform to avoid any confusion and a debilitating lack of communication.
But, at the end of the day, keep in mind that marketing automation improves communication and leads for interested, engaged and loyal customers. You just need to make sure you and your team are ready to harness its capabilities.
Tomi Saikkonen is the Vice President of Liana Technologies, Middle East. Just like you, Tomi is fascinated by the possibilities of digital marketing and technology. He actively seeks out ways to help businesses and organizations across industries to improve their digital marketing ROI.