Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Automation

Is your marketing and sales teams spending tons of time chasing and qualifying leads or struggling to track engagement? If so, it may be time to automate your repetitive processes so your team can focus on more productive tasks (like converting the leads they have into appointments and sales).

Marketing automation helps you to work smarter, not harder. If you’ve been curious about marketing automation, this post is for you. We’ll outline everything you need to know about marketing automation.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation has gained a reputation for being an advanced-level technique. While it can be complex, the basic idea is fairly simple. In short, marketing automation is an approach using software or tools to streamline marketing processes and tasks through automation, making guiding customers through the buyer’s journey more efficient.

Most marketing automation platforms can help you with:

  • Email marketing
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Content management systems (CMS)
  • Social media marketing
  • Marketing analytics

Benefits of marketing automation

Automating certain marketing tasks won’t make your job irrelevant. Instead, it’ll make you more efficient. Automating your marketing processes saves you time, allows you to scale your marketing programs, helps you deliver personalized and targeted communications to buyers, partner better with sales (they’ll love having qualified leads without the leg work of manually qualifying them), and measure results of your programs.

How to use marketing automation

The ultimate goal of your marketing is to create revenue by driving traffic to your website, generating leads, and converting those leads into sales. This is where marketing automation can help you shine.

Understand your website visitors: integrating marketing automation with your analytics enables you to better understand your audience by tracking how they use and interact with your website. This allows you to create customer segments for targeted marketing. Knowing your customers are interested in a particular community or floorplan means you can send them information on just that subject and not flood them with information they’re not interested in.

Lead generation: marketing automation can make it easy to create landing pages and contact forms needed to collect real leads from your marketing campaigns. Leads can also be scored and segmented into specific lists to improve targeting.

Analyze your marketing efforts: automation enables your marketing team to understand how campaigns work, down to the specific ad that performs the best. This allows you to identify the most effective marketing channels and focus your budget in that area instead of the “spray and pray” method of being everywhere and hoping it works.

Personalized and targeted emails: personalization is a hot topic for good reason. It’s a proven method of gaining attention and improving customer experience. Personalizing messaging through automated workflows means you can deliver messages that speak to the specific interests of every member of your audience, a feat that’s nearly impossible to do manually. The level of personalization allows you to effectively nurture a lead through the sales funnel, increasing the likelihood of converting into a sale.

Best practices for marketing automation

Interested in developing a marketing automation program? Here are some best practices to keep in mind while designing your strategy:

Define your goals: identify what you want to accomplish with your automation strategy. Do you want to generate more leads? Improve attribution to marketing efforts? Increase customer retention? Develop a consistent presence on social media? Each of these goals require a different strategy; if you want your automation efforts to be successful, it’s important to flesh these out before starting.

Know your audience: creating personalized marketing is based on knowing who your audience is, their pain points and motivations, and how you can help them. Develop buyer personas based on where they are in the customer journey before building out your workflows.

Map out workflows: your automated workflow largely depends on your current sales process and how it directs people from being leads to customers. Identify areas where automation can help move customers to the next section of the buyer’s journey, whether through a drip email campaign for a specific community after submitting a lead or a follow-up email after using a chatbot on the website. The goal is to send personalized communication to your customers based on their activity.

Analyze and optimize: you can’t set up your automated workflows and then walk away. To be successful, you must regularly review your processes to make sure that they make sense and work. Your automated processes should change as your business and customers change.

Developing a marketing automation program can feel overwhelming. Instead of trying to set everything up from the get-go, start small and simple. This can be something as easy as using scheduling tools to automate your social media posts. You can expand your automation as you become more comfortable and confident.

If you want more guidance on developing a marketing automation strategy for your business, we can help.  Connect with us to see how we can partner in your digital marketing success.