We live in the age of automation. Software, AI, and many other technological advances have made automation a hugely important part of marketing, as well as many other industries. How can automation fit into your company’s marketing strategy? In this guide, we explore whether every business can benefit from a form of marketing automation or whether it should be reserved for certain types of business.
Automation is undeniably a massive part of modern life and modern business. In this guide, we’re exploring all of the numerous ways that it can fit into your marketing and give you the best chance of gaining customers and adding to your bottom line.
» Why do companies need automation in their marketing strategies?
Automation within a marketing strategy can take many forms. For instance, it doesn’t necessarily have to mean the actual marketing activities are automated, sometimes it can be the more basic tasks such as admin that becomes automated. This can save a lot of time.
Companies need automation for this reason. It saves a lot of time. For example, you might not have to enter data manually or even send out emails yourself, if you can automate these tasks. It makes perfect sense for companies to employ these methods.
Another big reason why companies are bringing automation into their marketing is that it can give insights you might not otherwise get. For example, some automated AI and analytics tools might spot patterns that people would struggle with.
» How to develop a successful automation system to fit into a marketing strategy?
How can you get an automation system working within your business that can aid your marketing strategy?
You can break this down into a few steps. Obviously, there are always ways in which you can continue to improve and optimize, but the main techniques tend to be the same. Following the steps below will allow you to work out what is the most suitable method for your own needs and for your marketing campaigns.
Identify which tasks need automation
There are so many tasks out there that you can automate nowadays, but there is no point in spending weeks developing a system for automating something that’s not really going to save you money or make any difference to your bottom line. Instead, it’s a good idea to look at some basic analytics. What can be done within your business that would make a real, tangible difference? Does your team spend far too long inputting customer data or manually sending out emails? Work out where hours are being lost, when they could be gained by automating.
Find suitable software that can help
Software solutions are at the heart of automation. Some software can come with addons and it may be exceptionally flexible. For example, Salesforce Pardot allows you to customize tools for a powerful and smart suite of tools for both analytics and for sending out emails or executing scripts. Your software needs might be niche, but you can usually find something that will help with marketing automation. Software may include split testing and more useful features and functions.
Implement your system and feed it data
A lot of this software is only as good as the data you provide. For example, some software is amazingly good at automating marketing and adding methods to optimize your marketing campaigns or even paid ads. If you are looking to create an automated system then it is vital that you give it the data that the software will need to do its job. This might be data from previous ad campaigns, it might be a smart copy for an advertising campaign, it really depends on what software you need and how automation can be used for your business needs.
Of course, there are some common tools that are used and methods for implementing automation. Email marketing, ad optimizing, social media posting. These are the sort of areas that use automation all the time. They aren’t the only areas of a business that can benefit though.
For example, it is possible to do some really smart and potentially quite “niche” techniques. One such technique is “social listening” software. This gives you data about the mentions of your brand on social media and within reviews, so you can understand what sort of thing people are saying and monitor the perception of your brand. There are loads of other ways that automation can be used in a strategy. Be sure to search for the right solution for you.
» Use automation to improve team communication
Your team communication can easily get sloppy, especially as the business grows. This can lead to poor service or even make it harder for your team to be as effective as they can.
Management, and helping teams to function effectively, can be one of the best ways to incorporate automation. There are often many different moving parts in a project, and it is best to have a CRM or project management application that can help your team to understand what their role is. Some tools, including Zap and Salesforce, allow you to delegate tasks easily, making sure the correct enquiries go to the correct person in your team based on the contents of an inquiry, for example. This can be automated to make sure your team has laser focus and that the tasks go to the right department.
Automation within some messaging systems can automatically tag your conversations or prioritize certain aspects. There are also AI tools for transcribing meetings, all of these things are great for improving communication.
» Automate social media updates with different tools
Automating your social media updates is one of the simplest ways you can start to incorporate automation tools. There are numerous ways in which you can automate social media posts and emails. Some platforms have tools inbuilt. For instance, you can schedule social media posts and marketing. You can also set up tools that will send chains of emails as part of a sales funnel.
To get the best chance of making an impact on a client, you need to use an email sequence, and follow up. You can also personalize emails. A reverse email search tool can give you the chance to find more data about someone, and this can allow you to make your emails more impactful and relevant.
» Set up an email autoresponder sequence with additional recommendations
Autoresponder sequences are another of the most popular and easy-to-understand methods of incorporating some automation into your marketing. For example, you can set up an autoresponder so that when a customer buys from you or gives you their email address, they can continue to get relevant information and offers sent to them.
There is lots of autoresponder software out there, and to make life even easier there are a lot of different methods that have even been incorporated into email marketing providers and mailing list providers like MailChimp.
You don’t have to be a tech whizz to set this sort of system up, either. It’s relatively simple to add an email autoresponder sequence, especially if you are just using simple methods like this. It can become more complex, though, and you can add more personalized experiences. For instance, a lot of people categorize and tag their mailing lists to make sure they can provide the most relevant emails and give users personalized recommendations. These can be based on a variety of things including location and age. As with a lot of forms of automation for marketing strategies, knowledge is power, and the more information you can feed into things like software solutions, the more likely it is that you will get good results out of software.
» Study and hack top performers in your market
This is advice that rings true no matter what part of your business you are trying to improve. It’s always a good idea to work out what the best performers within a market are doing and try to establish the right methods that you can take onboard. It’s often hard to get to grips with exactly what the automation software is going to do for your business, but if you check what other businesses do and try to garner an idea of their methodologies then you can potentially become an industry leader.
For example, some businesses can get more out of email marketing than others. There is little point in spending a lot of time and money on automating your email campaigns if you are not going to get any advantage out of doing so.
It’s worth checking what businesses in the same niche, with similar size and stature, are doing to make automation part of their marketing strategy. Sign up to other business mailing lists and closely watch their social media for signs of automation and tools that they are using. A lot of industry leaders will also have blogs and YouTube channels where they share advice. Marketing is one of those industries where some people are happy to share information, and some people even sell courses.
Case studies from the makers of some marketing and automation tools can be another way to gain information about how automation can help your marketing strategy, but this information can be taken with a pinch of salt in some scenarios because of the fact that they are probably trying to sell you tools. That said, if another company has been happy to add their name to a study it is likely that they are happy with outcomes.
» Set up nurture campaigns in your funnel
Lead nurturing is a way of making it more likely that leads will convert. The idea is that as soon as you manage to get a lead such as an inquiry via your website or social media, you “nurture” it to hopefully become a new customer.
Nurture campaigns can largely be automated, especially if you are using email to try and convert your customers. For example, you can make sure that after signing up, you can continue to provide them with the information they need and show the value in working with you. Try to provide value within your nurture campaign. Instead of just trying to “sell” it is important that you build your own credibility, and that you work towards nurturing these leads and turning them into legitimate prospects. A lot of people create marketing materials such as PDFs which can be emailed out as part of a sales funnel. This gives people the chance to see that you know what you are talking about, and it avoids a “hard sell” approach.
The funnel will often end with a special offer or even a free consultation, as you try and hook in a customer. If your funnel has focused on delivering value to these people then it is far more likely that you will be able to convert.
There is a real art to building a funnel, and you can use this to your advantage. Gather as much in terms of analytics as you can, to give yourself the best chance of understanding and even split testing funnels to see what converts. Numerous AI marketing tools are capable of helping with this.
It seems virtually inevitable that automation is going to continue to seep into everyday life, and in many industries, this will dictate how marketing campaigns should be carried out. Automation can help with everything from how you communicate and delegate tasks within a team, to how you can get a marketing funnel to convert. Analyzing data, split testing, and creating an effective tool to convert leads can be a big part of your marketing strategy.
Every business is unique, and it is a good idea to spend some time working out exactly how your business can benefit. Different industries have different tools, and what works for one might not be ideal for another. Make sure you create a strong plan for your own business needs and stay one step ahead.