Marketing automation has become a very popular topic in the world of digital marketing. As you already know, in today’s digital realm, every view, click, and engagement counts. This is the reason why businesses are on the never-ending quest to find and interpret the most effective way to deal with their target audience.
But what’s the role that automation plays in marketing? Well, picture this: your marketing campaigns are running seamlessly, your leads are nurtured dynamically, your analytics are accurate and simplified, and your buyer’s journey is mapped with clarity.
Sounds like a marketing dream, right? But actually, it can become a reality by implementing marketing automation best practices into your workflows. So, if you want to put your marketing efforts in the right place and smoothly execute your marketing tasks, bear with me.
In this article, I’ll cover the basics of marketing automation and point out the best practices you can use to create engaging content and a marketing strategy that will actually work for your brand.
By the end of the article, if you find marketing automation best practices intriguing, you can further explore and inform yourself about the best marketing automation software I think deserves mentioning. So let’s get started!
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is a revolutionary approach that allows businesses to manage and optimize their marketing efforts by using marketing automation tools. The marketing process can be very time-consuming, but recent statistics have shown that using an effective marketing automation tool can reduce work hours by 43%.
Let’s point out some of the most important features you can experience by using a marketing automation solution.
Segmentation, personalization, and lead nurturing
Marketing automation tools use customer data to segment your target audience based on important criteria, including behavior, demographics, and interests. Once you have the segments of your audience, you can personalize customer experiences by delivering relevant content and offers.
The lead nurturing process is also a very important one in building relationships with potential customers. Using marketing automation software, you can deliver personalized content to your leads at different stages through automated journeys tailored specifically for your segments.
The ability to create compelling content and deliver it to the right audience at the right time will drastically boost user engagement and conversion rates, which makes all the difference for businesses.
Email marketing automation
Email marketing is one of the most frequent applications of marketing automation. Marketing automation tools enable you to send personalized emails to different segments based on their preferences and behavioral data.
The automation of emails usually goes through setting up several customer touchpoints of the buyer’s journey. For context, you can leverage data touchpoints to welcome your potential customers, make product recommendations, remind your customers of abandoned shopping carts, and do post-purchase follow-ups.
Workflow automation is another feature that has revolutionized the way businesses operate. It gives you the ability to create and manage marketing workflows that will best suit your business. For context, a workflow, in this case, is a series of automated campaigns triggered by a specific condition or event.
To clarify it even more, whenever a visitor submits a signup form for your newsletter, you can have an automated workflow that sends a welcome email that would be followed by further nurturing emails.
Having marketing automation campaigns like this will ensure that all of the time-sensitive messages to your leads and customers are delivered in a timely and consistent manner.
Analytics and reports
Another incredibly useful and important feature of a marketing automation system is accurate analytics and thorough reports. Your sales team can track the performance metrics of your marketing campaigns, measure the key metrics, and gain insights into their work.
This way, they have a clearer view of what’s working and what needs improvement or total changes. Either way, the data-driven approach is always a great idea that allows you to optimize your marketing campaign continuously until you’re satisfied with its performance.
The lead-scoring process is about ranking and prioritizing leads based on their chances of converting into (loyal) customers. And yes, you guessed it, lead scoring is another feature that comes with marketing automation tools.
The method behind the lead scoring lies in assigning the score to the leads generated, and that score reflects their level of engagement with your brand. Its goal is to help the marketing and sales teams to put their efforts more on leads that are more likely to convert. This increases the overall efficiency and conversion rates.
An important thing to note is that marketing automation is not only limited to email. You can use automation for other marketing channels in which you can target your audience with social media posts, SMS marketing, social media ads, interactive videos, and website personalization with chatbots.
Using a multi-channel approach will build up a consistent brand presence while capturing your customer’s interests and engaging in all mentions.
Marketing automation best practices that you need to implement into your workflow
Now that you’re more familiar with the concept of automation in marketing, it’s time to talk about marketing automation best practices. Like everything else, for something to work, you need to do it the right way in order to see the wanted and expected results. So, let me share some expert marketing tips!
Discover your target audience
The first practice for effective marketing automation is determining your target audience. By knowing who your target is, you can create engaging content and marketing campaigns that will be relevant to them.
To understand your audience better, you can develop buyer personas that will ease your reach to prospective customer segments. A buyer persona is a more thorough concept of segmentation where you aim to understand their way of life with the sole purpose of identifying their needs and how can you help them.
For creating buyer personas, you need to collect data about your ideal customers. Once you have the data, you need to analyze and review it, and then you just start putting the profile together, including info about interests, gender, age, etc.
Audit your customer data
Customer data is very important when it comes to using marketing tools if you want to achieve a seamless customer experience because biased data will not get you there. Making sure your data is always up-to-date and secure is very important.
In addition, don’t forget to comply with privacy regulations because only then you’ll be building trust with your users.
Focus on dynamic lead nurturing
If you want successful lead nurturing, you’ll need to create different automated journeys to meet individual customer’s interests. You’ll need to craft a framework that’s adaptive in order to meet the needs of your leads instead of having a fixed user journey.
This way, each lead will be met with personalized touchpoints that align with the customer’s interest. Moreover, by implementing dynamic lead nurturing, you will be able to respond to your potential customers and guide them toward a purchase.
Simplify marketing analysis and lead scoring
Marketing analysis should be as simple as possible. Creating complex lead scoring systems and going through extensive datasets for analysis might seem like it would be an efficient approach, but actually, it isn’t.
If you do a complicated analysis, you won’t be able to get any valuable clues from the reports. Focus on your key performance indicators (KPIs) and the data that is relevant to drive success, such as the most promising leads.
In order to maintain the accuracy of your reports, you need to evaluate and adjust your tool so you can optimize your marketing automation campaigns in real-time.
Build a clear customer journey map
Understanding the buyer journey is essential when it comes to putting together a marketing automation strategy. Being aware of the lead’s needs, giving them timely answers to their questions, and offering solutions to their problems is one efficient way to get them to the lead capture stage.
This is one of the marketing automation best practices because it allows you to meet your customers at every stage. With customer segmentation as a start and buyer personas further, you will be able to map out the buyer’s journey and create engaging content and workflow that will resonate with their needs.
In addition, you need to note that mapping a customer’s journey is an ongoing process that will require you to adjust it and adopt it as the behavior of your customers changes.
Track your performance metrics
It’s vital to keep an eye on your performance metrics once you set up your marketing automation. This is especially important when you create hyper-personalized campaigns.
Overseeing your way of managing leads and checking if your return on investment (ROI) goals are met should be a frequent practice because you don’t want to have an ongoing automation process of a marketing campaign that’s not working.
So monitor how many leads you’re generating and how many of them actually have successful user journeys, and always stay ahead of the curve.
Integrate your marketing automation system with CRM
The combination of CRM and marketing automation is a very powerful ally to businesses. Therefore, this is another one of the marketing automation best practices. Why? Because this integration allows you to reach the full potential of your automation use.
Having this combination, you’ll streamline your marketing workflows, have a complete view of your customer data, create personalized content, and automatically send messages.
Another thing that will greatly benefit you is this visual representation of the performance of your pipelines in a sales funnel.
Furthermore, this will positively affect lead routing, and it will help you better navigate the typical sales cycle. So, needless to say, automation and CRM will really boost your performance and conversion rates.
Focus on email marketing and reputation
Email marketing will always be a formidable way to connect with your audience, but it’s not that easy, especially now when most of the mail goes directly to spam. So, in order to make an impact, you will need a strong email reputation.
What makes a good email reputation is reachability, so to make sure your emails are reaching your audience, you need to implement a reachability workflow. This workflow involves several things, including audience selection, engaging content, and not letting it go unmentioned – giving your customers the option to unsubscribe if they no longer wish to receive your content.
Also, don’t forget to clean your database, such as duplicates, spam traps, and wrong addresses that can harm your campaign. Doing this will result in a solid email reputation, and it will drive conversions from the subscribers who are willing to interact with your brand.
Leverage content as a catalyst to fuel your personalization efforts
As you’ve probably noticed yourself, our internet presence is a consistent encounter with an endless amount of information. So, in order to catch and keep your audience’s attention, you need to create content that will resonate and align with their preferences, needs, and interests.
You should keep a consistent blog, work your social media posts, do videos and podcasts, or whatever is the best way to entertain your customers while keeping them satisfied with your product or services.
Best Marketing Automation Tools
There are many different marketing automation tools that can suffice different needs regarding the sizes of businesses. For enterprises and those looking for more robust sets of features, the best options would be HubSpot, Zoho, Marketo Engage, and Eloqua. These tools have incredible analytics features, and they provide lead management, lead scoring, email marketing, customer relationship management, and more.
Moreover, if you’re looking for advanced automation with the possibility to scale that comes at an affordable price, you should check out ActiveCampaign and SharpSpring. These tools offer behavior-based automation, lead scoring, and split testing, which can ultimately drive growth to your medium to large-sized business.
And finally, for small to medium-sized businesses, some of the most popular options include Mailchimp, GetResponse, and SendinBlue. The features that these tools carry are mainly oriented toward email marketing, audience segmentation, and SMS marketing. They come at affordable prices and are very user-friendly and easy to navigate.
What are some marketing automation best practices?
Some of the marketing automation best practices include audience discovery, data audits, dynamic lead nurturing, simple analytics and lead scoring, performance metrics tracking, CRM integration, email marketing, and personalized content.
What are the pillars of marketing automation?
The pillars of marketing automation are data, personalization, automation, and integration.
What is the biggest obstacle to marketing automation?
The biggest obstacle to marketing automation is the complexity of implementation and setup. It can be quite challenging to integrate numerous systems and maintain clean data. In addition, another challenge is ensuring data privacy and complying with regulations.
What problems does marketing automation solve?
Marketing automation solves several challenges, including manual tasks, inefficient lead nurturing, lack of personalized communication, difficulty with analytics and tracking, inconsistency, and more.