Automation is changing the world — including the world of marketing. More and more tasks can be performed automatically by software, making marketers faster and more effective across the board.
Not only does automation help take the least interesting parts of your job off your plate, but it can help you avoid mistakes, be more efficient, and free you up to do more interesting things with your time.
Why Should You Automate Your Marketing Processes?
One big advantage of marketing automation is that it frees up your staff to do the kind of things that computers can’t do — creative problem solving, content creation, lateral thinking, brainstorming, and so on. If your employees are spending all day copying data from one spreadsheet to another, they don’t have time to focus on high-impact initiatives. Automation can fix that.
Automation also means you can get by with a leaner team. In this day and age, running large teams is expensive — and it can be hard to find people who have the skills you need and fit into the company culture. Automation helps you punch above your weight so you can have a much larger impact.
Another advantage is catching mistakes. People are only human, after all — they make typos or miss small mistakes. Unfortunately, in the digital age, something as simple as a missed comma can make a huge difference in data management. Automated software will copy data from one place to another with perfect fidelity, taking human error out of the equation.
Finally, automation takes a lot of stress off your plate. If you’re not automating any of your processes, it means you have to be hands-on all the time, micromanaging (or delegating) everything that goes on in your department. Automation allows you to take a step back and focus on the big picture with the peace of mind that things will keep running smoothly while you’re not there.
Automation In Action: Email Marketing
Marketing emails can be a complicated business — and time consuming. By incorporating automation within your email sequences, you not only reap the benefits above, but you will also see an increase in engagement from your list as well as movement through the sales funnel.
Automation software can create custom workflows so that your email cadence is sent in the order you want it, when you want it to send. You can set up custom triggers for emails that send after a purchase, after a download, or when renewals are due. The less time you have to spend on each email by hand, the more customized and individualized the emails can be.
You can even customize your email automation to take customer behavior into account. Let’s say you have an automated welcome email that goes out any time a customer signs up for your newsletter. 24 hours after the customer opens that email, a follow-up hits their inbox, inviting them to download a piece of premium content. The next email is a discount on your product, or a free trial to your service.
With automation, you can make sure that cadence doesn’t get annoying. If the customer is out of the office, you don’t want them to come back to a flood of emails — so you set up your responder not to send the second email until they open the first. If they don’t click the link to view a particular product’s landing page, you don’t send them the discount email. The possibilities are endless.
Automation In Action: Content Promotion
Creating your content is only half the battle. Actually, it’s less than half — Derek Halpern of Social Triggers recommends that you spend 80 percent of your time promoting your content and 20 percent creating it.
Luckily, content promotion is something that can be handled very well by automation. Tools like Buffer and Sprout Social can schedule social media posts well in advance, with the added benefit of AI for optimizing based on goals, promoting your content well after it’s published with little to no effort on your part.
You can even automate email promotion of your blogs, setting up emails to send relevant blog posts to the appropriate segments of your email list. Utilities like Hubspot and Mailchimp can send emails only to the people who will be interested in reading your content, then monitor the open rates and conversions of people who receive them.
Automation in Action: Lead Flow Processes
You probably spend a lot of time and resources on lead generation. But what do you do with a lead once it’s generated?
Processing leads often involves a lot of steps — a lead is captured, then that data gets put into a CRM, analyzed for lead stage (marketing qualified lead), goes through lead scoring, included in nurturing, and then worked through the typical sales process. There are people involved at every step who have to communicate, share information, contribute their piece of the process, and avoid mistakes to make sure everyone’s working with the best data.
Software like Hubspot can make a huge difference in managing and optimizing this process. From the time a lead comes in all the way through to landing a customer, you can build dozens of automations customized to the way your processes are laid out. And with the data integrated into every stage, you’re able to improve different points of the funnel.
Automation technology is getting better and better. With automation tools helping them, marketers can be more agile and efficient, opening up new possibilities for individualized interactions with prospects and customers alike. And with the repetitive parts of their jobs out of the way, marketers can be less stressed, more creative, and more productive.