Marketing automation is among the fastest growing software trends in the corporate world, with 51% of companies now using marketing automation and 58% planning to in the near future. (1)
Many marketing tasks can be time consuming, and patterns can be hard to spot when working with leads individually. Marketing automation, however, allows a business to ensure potential client milestones are actioned reliably, and comprehensive reporting is available to monitor the impact of campaigns. If you’re considering using marketing automation to boost your company’s growth in 2021, this overview can help you get started.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation essentially allows repetitive tasks—i.e., email marketing, social media posting and ad campaign launches—to be performed by software. Your automation program can follow a set of workflows that you choose in order to provide a faster, more personalized experience for your potential customers. (2)
By utilizing marketing automation, you can:
- Achieve better insights into your campaign performance.
- Better capitalize on your relationships with prospective clients.
- Reduce the risk of human error delaying a step in your outreach processes. (2)
To maximize the impact of your marketing automation strategy, consider these best practice steps for your business:
- Use python to integrate your data sheets
Python is a popular programming language used in many data science and machine learning applications. Due to its versatility, python is a great option to consider when investigating ways to collate data and create extensive visual analysis files. If you export data with python to google sheets, you can use a variety of compatible analysis or visualization programs, and even schedule information imports as frequently as you like (read more here). Ultimately, this data will be an important part of your marketing automation strategy. (3)
If you’re not particularly tech savvy, there are some code-free alternatives available. It’s also a good idea to connect with an expert data firm that can review and implement solutions for your needs.
- Map your lead stages
A key goal of marketing automation is to help transform leads into sales. According to recent surveys by Invespcro and Business2Community, 80% of businesses see an increase in leads when using automation, with some seeing up to a 451% increase in lead volumes. (1)
Mapping out the stages your leads go through is critical to ensuring your workflows are set up for the software to function effectively. By categorizing your leads initially, your employees can see both how automation is helping them, and which leads need attention.
Potential lead categories may include:
- Engaged. These leads have clicked an email or downloaded content, but are not ready for sales to contact them and convert them to a sale.
- Sales accepted. These leads have passed predetermined qualifiers and are ready for the sales team to attempt a conversion.
- Won. Leads who have been successfully converted to a customer are considered “won.”
- Lost. These leads have been the target of an unsuccessful conversion. They may be sent back to marketing if there’s enough interest to warrant further attention.
- Disqualified. These leads are typically competitors or people with no intention of purchasing, and are generally not worth attempting to convert. (4)
- Vet your leads
Ensuring your leads are thoroughly vetted helps your business identify where potential clients are in your lead map, and how likely they are to convert to a sale. If a potential client fits your core demographic, or they have performed certain behavioral tasks—like downloading information or clicking on an ad—they may be more open to your marketing outreach. (4)
Consider having a mechanism for immediate action following any lead interactions which suggest a strong interest, such as requesting a demonstration or following one of your social media accounts. (4)
- Plan and integrate your processes
Once you’ve set up framework to vet your leads and plan your stages, integrate your desired processes.
Your marketing automation software can trigger actions depending on where your leads are in the process you outline. As an example, if any leads provide their email address to download a file or set up an account, your automation can trigger a welcome email. If the potential client opens this email and completes another task, such as clicking on a directional link within the communication, your software could trigger an action for sales to call the lead. (4)
If you have information about your lead, such as industry or location, your marketing automation could choose a preprogrammed communication designed to best appeal to that specific lead.
- Pre-plan contact methods
There are many different ways to contact potential clients; using a mixture of methods may be most effective for your business. Recent surveys of marketing professionals confirmed that the most popular automated lead contact methods include:
- Email marketing
- Social media advertising
- Messaging and chatbots
- Sale alerts
- Social media engagement
- Social media posting
- PR brand promotions. (1)
According to a survey by Moosend, 58% of marketers believe that upselling is an important use of marketing automation. Upselling can be achieved via many methods, including personalized email automation based on the lead’s prior activity and vetting status. When working in conjunction with fulfillment automation technology, marketing automation can even keep clients updated on order statuses without the need for human intervention. (1)
- Measure results
As with any business process, it’s important to continually measure the results of your marketing automation to ensure you’re getting value, and adjusting your strategy where needed.
A recent study, which set out to measure the impact of marketing automation on survey completion, found that emails sent after 2pm had a higher response rate. Findings like these can make a big difference to your overall marketing strategies. (5)
Elements you could track in order to measure success include:
- Landing page visits
- Document downloads
- “Won” and “lost” leads. (4)
76% of companies that implement marketing automation see a return on their investment within one year according to a survey by Marketo. Consistently reviewing data and results can help you identify where leads are being won or lost, allowing you to focus the bulk of your efforts where they’re needed most. (1)
Successful marketing strategies require continual focus on your leads and quick response times when potential customers indicate an interest in your product. Marketing automation allows you to have these actions triggered automatically, helping to free up your staff’s valuable time to spend working on more complex projects.
If you’re looking to boost growth in your business this year, consider automated marketing as part of your updated strategy for success.
- “18 Marketing Automation Statistics,” Source: https://99firms.com/blog/marketing-automation-statistics/
- “What Is Marketing Automation,” Source: https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-au/marketing/what-is-marketing-automation/
- “Python Quickstart,” Source: https://developers.google.com/sheets/api/quickstart/python
- “15 Marketing Automation Best Practices to Drive Growth – 2021,” Source: https://www.agilecrm.com/blog/marketing-automation-best-practices/
- “Using Marketing Automation to Modernize Data Collection in the California Teachers Study Cohort,” Source: https://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/29/4/714