Small businesses face many challenges when it comes to marketing their brand, including limited resources and budget, lack of brand recognition, and a lack of time to dedicate to marketing efforts. Marketing automation is a powerful tool that can help small businesses overcome these challenges and reach their target audience more effectively. In this article, we’ll explore what marketing automation is, how it works, and how it can benefit your business.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is the process of using digital technology to automate repetitive marketing tasks and processes in order to effectively target customers across different channels. Essentially, automated marketing helps organizations streamline projects and campaigns within different areas of marketing to better engage with potential customers.
Let’s look at different digital marketing tasks you can enhance using automation:
- Email marketing: Automation allows you to schedule and personalize messages based on different actions or conditions. Not only can your marketing team create different target segments, but they can also send automated or triggered emails and drip campaigns.
- Lead management: Help your sales and marketing teams better understand consumer behaviors so they can create more targeted communications.
- Social media: Marketers can create, post, monitor, and analyze content in real-time across different touchpoints.
- Analytics: Collect and organize data in an easy-to-process format, allowing your team to make informed decisions and design more effective campaigns.
- Pricing: With access to accurate data and insights, organizations can create competitive pricing structures and make adjustments on the fly.
- Paid search: Help your team manage and optimize campaigns by automating the ad creation process, bidding, and keyword management.
- A/B testing: Perform more accurate and efficient A/B testing, then use those insights to optimize your marketing campaigns.
How does automated marketing work?
Marketing automation uses technology and software to automate repetitive, inefficient, and time-consuming tasks while simultaneously collecting and analyzing data to better segment leads, create personalized campaigns, and streamline workflows.
This can empower your company to effectively track marketing campaign performance and better understand your customers’ needs. By getting to know your customer better, you can deliver personalized, consistent, and targeted communications––leading to more engagement, higher satisfaction, and increased loyalty while driving revenue and growth.
Benefits of marketing automation
Marketing automation offers countless benefits for marketing professionals by helping them operate more efficiently, giving them time to focus on strategy and creative work instead of repetitive, time-consuming tasks. All of these benefits ultimately serve two major purposes: improving customer experiences and driving revenue.
Below are just some of the benefits of automated marketing:
- Enhance customer targeting
- Reduce manual tasks
- Reduce human error
- Tailor content to audience
- Analyze and refine marketing plan
- Nurture leads through email campaigns
- Create a seamless customer journey
- Improve engagement and conversion
- Encourage customer retention
How to make the most of marketing automation
While the marketing automation process alleviates the heavy lifting of mundane tasks, it’s not a quick fix. Implementing automation takes time, thought, and effort. Technology alone cannot build effective marketing campaigns designed to achieve desired results, superior customer experience, and accurate insights.
To fully optimize your marketing efforts, we’ve outlined some best practices to make the most of marketing automation:
1. Clearly define goals and KPIs
Before launching any campaign, your marketing department should clearly identify its goals. These goals must be actionable and measurable to define exactly what success looks like for the campaign.
2. Align across your organization
Marketing strategies must be aligned with an overall business strategy, especially with your sales department. Leads generated with the help of automation should either make a purchase independently or be passed down the funnel to the sales team. That’s why sales and marketing should always work together to ensure best practices for lead nurturing.
3. Design workflows for every process
Process visualization is a must here. Detailed diagrams of your marketing automation workflow can help relay the big-picture objectives to the entire organization.
4. Identify your target audience(s)
Segmenting audiences based on interests, behavior, and demographics can help create more targeted and personalized campaigns. Before segmenting, it’s important to consider the customer data, who to engage with, and why.
5. Create a content strategy
Content must be interesting, engaging, and relevant to attract attention and for leads to take the desired action. Original and high-quality content should address pain points, provide solutions, and help educate. Before launching an automated marketing campaign, it’s recommended to create a content library with messaging designed for all stages of the customer lifecycle.
6. Test and retest
Because marketing automation provides real-time campaign tracking and analysis, marketers have the necessary data to test and optimize campaigns for better performance. Make sure your team develops a comprehensive testing strategy so you never put something into market blindly.
7. Listen to the data
By seeing what’s working and what’s not, your marketing efforts can be flexible and you can pivot your strategy at the drop of a hat to get closer to your desired results.
If you’re interested in making other parts of your business more efficient, you can also automate some of your bill payment workflows. By setting up recurring payments and automating things like bill approvals, you can save time and focus on your other business priorities.