What Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is the practice of distributing digital marketing materials based on customer interactions or independent triggers such as date or time. By automating processes, marketing automation allows teams to more effectively market across multiple channels.
HubSpot and Marketo are examples of marketing automation platforms.
Why to Use Marketing Automation
While there is a bit of a kitchen sink mentality in terms of what they can do, which can make it difficult to navigate or use effectively when starting out, marketing automation platforms can have immense time and productivity benefits.
Imagine a scenario where you don’t need to remember to send a follow-up email to a prospect because it was automatically triggered when they clicked a link in a previous email, or only having to write one social media post about a new piece of content instead of three.
Should you already be using any external tools, such as another CRM, many of the bigger platforms offer integrations to transfer your existing data over into the marketing automation ecosystem and map your data to the correct contacts.
The one caution of using a marketing automation platform is that, while it certainly saves time in actively marketing and can prevent duplication of efforts, you still need to develop the content for those activities. You may wish to consider mapping out and developing everything you might need before you start an automated campaign, as opposed to coming up with it as you need it.
The Components Of A Marketing Automation Platform
The most important part of an automation platform is its built-in Customer Relationship Manager, or CRM. The CRM is where all customer data and interactions live, and this information is pulled and updated whenever a customer is selected to be part of an automated campaign.
The majority of marketing automation platforms also offer tools to assist with email marketing, social media marketing, landing page and content offer creation, and conversion tracking.
While they may involve marketing automation, tools intended for specific marketing channels, such as social media management, are not considered marketing automation platforms.
Marketing Automation Tips & Tricks
One of the major misconceptions about marketing automation is that you can “set it… and forget it!” While automating emails or social media does free teams up for other work, these channels still need to be monitored for replies and direct messages. If a problem arises, or something isn’t working properly, your customers will likely let you know about it through one of these channels, so ensure that you can reply promptly if needed.
Marketing automation platforms offer a wealth of data about how your audience interacts with your marketing efforts, including impressions and clickthrough rates. These tools also allow for experiments, such as A/B testing, to help craft the most compelling materials.
It may be tempting to automate as much as possible, but carefully consider what you are best served by automating. Sending a company newsletter or drip campaign is very different from sending invoices, or any sort of material which could contain personal information. Mistakes are a way of life, but don’t set yourself up for one that could compromise your coworkers or customers.