Automation serves to save on human labour – this allows us to focus our efforts on creative, abstract tasks, rather than repetitive or boring work. Your business has already been automated in several ways; you use a computer, and you’ve probably automated a lot of calculations just by using a spreadsheet.
In this article, you’re going to learn about the signs that show that your business is ready for marketing automation. Along the way, you’ll learn what marketing automation can do, what it can’t do, and the various ways you can implement it into your existing marketing strategy.
You Have An Intimate Understanding of Your Sales and Marketing Funnel
Automation is best at improving individual processes. Take self-checkouts, for example – they remove the need for a checkout clerk, but not the need for selecting and scanning products. Amazon Go stores take this process a step further, eliminating the need for checkout altogether. No matter how heavily you automate, though, there will be tasks that are best accomplished by humans.
When it comes to marketing automation, the processes that are best automated tend to be around the middle of the funnel – from when clients are interested in your products and services to the point they intend to buy them. Marketing automation, then, is not particularly good at finding leads; rather, you can automate processes that motivate existing leads to buy.
Email marketing automation is an excellent example of this. While you’ll still have to create the content yourself, marketing automation can enable you to automatically send that content to interested parties. Furthermore, email marketing automation can help you determine what content to send to which individuals, and when.
Looking to automate? First, determine what processes in your sales funnel are repetitive or require a lot of number crunching. These processes are usually good candidates for automation because computers can accomplish repetitive, data-driven tasks quickly and efficiently.
You Want More Data
Automation and data gathering go hand-in-hand. You don’t want to ask your customers how they found you, what age group they’re in, where they live, or other pieces of information every time they interact with you. Marketing automation is useful because it can handle a lot of the demographic data gathering for you – without customers even realizing that they’re being asked for the information.
The proper use of landing pages and redirects can enable you to gather information about how your customers found you – automatically. Information about their address and their age can be asked for on various landing pages (though more often than not, you’ll want to make signing up for e-blasts, etc. as easy as possible).
You Want Better Segmentation
You can consider this an offshoot of more data – as you gather information about your potential clients and the methods in which they interact with your company, you’ll be able to create better segmentation into demographic and psychographic profiles. You’ll be able to see things like what types of customers respond to what kinds of content, how they respond, and how much money those customers typically spend.
This can allow you to better calibrate your marketing to influence particular profiles. You can use your marketing automation software to target specific segments with distinct content. The automation platforms feed you the data, you adjust how the platform outputs content, then the platform outputs the content, and returns more data. Learn, adjust, repeat.
You Have the Capacity to Create Content
One thing marketing automation is not good at is content creation. You can categorize your content and feed it to your automation platforms. It can distribute that content, tell you what’s doing well with who and what’s doing poorly when. It cannot, however, create the content for you. Subpar content will always perform poorly, and if you don’t have enough different types of content, it can be difficult to perform the multivariate testing that marketing automation is so good at boosting.
Let’s say you’re a cybersecurity company running a campaign with the theme “protect your information on the web”. To find out what content your various customer segments respond to the best, you’ll want to have different kinds of content distributed across various platforms.
An infographic displaying how much your information might be worth on the dark web (as seen in the link), a video describing easy steps your customers can take in order to beef up their cybersecurity, and an article listing the top five ways you can secure your Internet connection might all be appropriate. Make sure there’s a CTA in each, use your marketing automation platform to cross-post and monitor activity, and you’ll be very successful.
You Have The Budget
Marketing automation is at its best when you have a well-established client base out of whom you plan on making repeat customers, and a good source of new leads. In other words, you want to have an established marketing strategy that’s already bringing in income.
Any time you look at a marketing automation platform, you’ll be looking at your potential ROI as the most important factor in determining whether or not you ought to buy. With many marketing automations, you won’t find you get an immediate return on investment; after all, these platforms are best at gathering data and segmenting clients, which pay dividends down the road.
You may see some immediate returns because work that was being done by people can instead be accomplished by the platform, and the people who were doing that work can instead focus on tasks more suited to their skill set. You may also see a more immediate return with end-of-the-funnel automations, like online booking and checkout, which give clients another means of purchasing your product.
Marketing automation platforms are often highly customizable, so you can personalize your platform for your business. There are a lot of different tools available – different CRMs, content management platforms, and more. Test, test, and test some more. Always try free trials if they’re available, never hesitate to ask questions, and do as much research as you can.
The strategies that marketing automation can help with are long-term, so you want to find a platform that you’re comfortable using for an extended period of time. These platforms come with all kinds of different functions and at a variety of price points, so figure out how much you can budget towards automation and find something that suits your needs.
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