How to Implement & Succeed With Marketing Automation
One technology improvement has made marketers’ lives abundantly easier, however — marketing automation. This guide will walk you through the ins and outs of marketing automation.
Let’s dive into it
What is Marketing Automation
Marketing automation refers to marketing efforts and tasks that have been automated using the software. They are typically triggered by a consumer action, like subscribing to a blog, filling out a form, or making a purchase.
If you’ve ever done some midnight shopping (ahem, like me) and immediately received a confirmation email, you’ve been met with marketing automation. You didn’t think there was a poor guy sitting behind his computer at 1:00 AM waiting for new purchases to come through, did you?
No, that online store likely has some pre-written and scheduled email automation ready to go out when their customers complete certain tasks on their website. We’ll talk more about email marketing automation below.
Other marketing automation includes social media, advertising, and SMS marketing automation, as well as internal automation that helps you manage and triage marketing tasks.
Marketing automation can help you capture and nurture more (and more qualified) leads. Learn more about how to do this in our free HubSpot Academy course.
Nearly 70% of marketing leaders are currently using a marketing platform. Of those who are automating marketing, 23% are automating their content delivery.
Marketing automation can certainly make life easier, but it shouldn’t replace the human touch. As I said in the introduction, a recent increase in technology has been met with increased or changed consumer expectations. Marketing automation is no exception — consumers appreciate the timeliness and thoughtfulness of automation, but they also can also read between the lines of bot-written copy or stale imagery.
Marketing automation should complement your current marketing efforts, not replace them.
What is marketing automation primarily used for?
Marketing automation is primarily used to mechanize and automate otherwise manual marketing tasks like sending emails, posting social media messages, collecting information, and managing internal tasks.
Benefits of Marketing Automation
There are countless benefits of marketing automation. A few I’d like to highlight include:
Efficiency: Wasted time is a marketer’s nightmare. Marketing automation can help you complete repeatable tasks in an efficient and effective manner.
Nurtured leads: It takes a lot of time and energy to effectively nurture every individual lead; however, it’s too important not to. Marketing automation allows you to nurture your leads on a mass scale while still personalizing each lead’s experience with your brand. 70% of the companies report that the most important benefit of automation technology is better targeted customer communication.
Increased revenue: The more you nurture your leads, the more leads that’ll likely convert to users. Marketing automation can result in increased revenue as more leads become paying customers.
Better reporting: Marketing automation streamlines important marketing tasks and allows you to review and analyze your activity and its results.
Types of Marketing Automation
Marketing automation can take many forms. Let’s unpack the different types of automation and how you can use them in your marketing.
Email Marketing Automation
Email marketing automation is perhaps the most common use case for automation. From welcome emails to post-purchase emails and re-engagement emails, there’s a lot that goes into email marketing. Without email marketing automation and workflows, email would be an otherwise very manual process.
Email automation is typically triggered by time or action. Time-based emails are sent on certain occasions, such as a customer’s birthday (don’t you love those free birthday drinks from Starbucks?) or a holiday (Black Friday discounts, anyone?).
Action-based emails are a bit more involved. These automated emails are triggered by actions taken by a website visitor, lead, or customer who then receives an email or series of emails related to that particular action.
Let’s return to my midnight shopping example. Instead of completing my purchase and receiving the subsequent confirmation email, let’s say I exit the site with items still in my cart—and within 30 minutes, I receive an email reminding me about the forgotten items. This is called an “abandoned cart” email, and many online stores deploy them in hopes that shoppers return and complete their purchases. This is an example of action-based email marketing automation.
Email automation campaigns are among the top three tactics used by email marketers to improve performance, and email marketing automation has many benefits. The best one (in my opinion) is how it saves precious time and energy by otherwise priceless tasks. Automated emails can help you generate leads and increase revenue, but that doesn’t mean your marketing team has to spend all their time sending and monitoring them. That’s what marketing automation is for.
Learn everything you need to know about email marketing in our free HubSpot Academy course.
Digital Marketing Automation
Although email marketing is a common use case for marketing automation, it’s not the only one. Let’s talk about other forms of digital marketing automation (both external and internal).
Social Media Marketing Automation
Anyone who works in marketing knows how time-intensive social media marketing can be. If you’re going to do it right, you’ve got to do, well, nonstop. Thankfully, marketing automation can help. Tools like HubSpot and Hootsuite allow you to schedule content, set social media monitoring filters and even automate the response process — although this should never replace genuine, human interaction with your followers and customers.
You’ve heard of retargeting, yes? Now … could you imagine having to go into every advertising platform and change the copy, graphics, and timing based on each customer’s individual actions or behavior? Whew, that’d be a lot. Retargeting is an example of advertising automation, as it automatically shifts and smartens its strategy in response to consumer behavior. If a customer visits your website, your retargeting automation will respond by displaying relevant ads on the sites they browse next.
Mobile Marketing Automation
As SMS marketing becomes more popular and effective, companies are adding mobile marketing to their marketing automation tool belts. Like emails, text messages can also be automated and triggered based on time or actions, and they tend to have a higher (and faster) open rate than emails.
CRM with Marketing Automation
Ah, the CRM—a marketer’s best friend. Thankfully, your CRM and marketing automation can go hand-in-hand. A simple update in your database can trigger a whole host of internal tasks, including lead scoring and alerting your sales team to new prospects. You can also use your CRM to trigger email workflows, either based on user data or user actions.