Today, we all take digital marketing automation tools for granted. Do you remember when you started your online journey, you used a single tool to shorten a website link for Twitter. Now, every scheduling tool available in the market has the same feature.
Social media and online marketing were easy back then. Facebook and Twitter were even present at that time and digital marketing revolved around Google AdWords, Banner ads, and email marketing. But it swiftly became complicated with several moving parts.
Just the tweets with @mentions, hashtags, and retweets required social media management tools. Cleansing the noise and handling the engagement needed more than just seeing the native Twitter feed.
Social media automation software that let you grow your followers, tweet content, and other tedious tasks started to arise. They were not fair but most of the time they worked rightly.
The First Wave of Digital Marketing Automation
On the social web tools like Hootsuite and Tweet Deck were introduced by enterprising entrepreneurs to help handle the noise and difficulty.
They offered the dashboards for handling Facebook and Twitter.
That was one thing, but other networks were already launched. It was getting more difficult…. Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest were the upcoming wave. These were followed by Vine and others and now we have Periscope and Meerkat. And, here, we are just discussing only English-speaking social media networks.
During this first wave, the web related mobile phone started to make its presence felt. Today, there are around 2.7 billion of these now on the web and increasing at 39% per annum. But the whole impact of this was not felt till the second wave.
Every marketer was excited by the launch and prospect of every single, new platform.
As marketers understood the power of social media to reach the world in no time the need for more sophisticated tools became obvious.
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The Second Wave
As social media became the next start of the gold rush, the older generation of software suppliers in email marketing and lead generation hurried to join the party. This saw the fast evolution of platforms like Eloqua, Pardot, and Marketo amongst others.
The mobile and smartphone market reached crucial mass and is fastening digital adoption.
Established Enterprise Software suppliers comprising of Oracle, IBM, Adobe, Salesforce, and Teradata started building their own platforms. But to speed up their evolution, they started buying technology startups that added market share and features. Salesforce purchased Exact Target, Oracle bought Eloqua, and IBM purchased Silver Pop.
Currently, digital marketing automation has become a big business. It is about marketing at scale with different partners, several social media networks, and handling content and permissions.
Marketing is now not only an art, but it is slowly becoming a science. To do it properly, you will require the tools to handle, measure, and optimize your efforts.
What is Digital Marketing Automation?
Digital marketing automation has its origins in email marketing.
So, how do we explain it?
It is software that lets you automate repetitive tasks, lessen human mistakes, handle complexities, and measure as well as optimize your efforts.
What platform to choose from?
There is not a simple answer. It depends on whether you are a medium, small, or large brand.
Some platforms are better at email, whereas others work better in analytics and social media. Then there is the ease of use and user interface. This is important while using complex software.
One review site that offers valuable insights is G2 Crowd. They get vendors and products based on the ratings and reviews gathered from the user community, as well as data accumulated from numerous online sources and social networks. They apply a copyright and unique algorithm to this data for assessing the customer satisfaction and experience, and market presence scores in no time.
Satisfaction rating is influenced by the below mentioned:
- Customers’ likelihood of endorsing the product to others
- Satisfaction rating collected from questions in a review
- User ratings of features specific to a specific category of software
- When was the review submitted?
- Reviews that have been updated or written recently get a higher weight to help capture the fast-evolving nature of the software.
Important Steps Towards Automation
Before applying automated marketing processes, it is important to create a workflow. This lets your team create new processes and makes sure that automation yields the best results for the brand. There are majorly 4 steps to complete:
- Find the right tasks: Look for your teams’ most repetitive marketing tasks. This is where you will find the largest gains from automation. As we discussed above, automating response emails, for instance, can significantly lessen the administrative burden on your team. Plot all your present marketing tasks and choose those which are both compatible with automation and time-consuming.
- Choose the Appropriate Automation Software: There are plenty of choices when it comes to digital marketing automation software. Finding the best ones among them can be a challenging task-mainly when you start. Research before you commit long-term. Most of the platforms provide a free trial, which provides you a chance to test the software in your special setting and calculate which is the right fit.
- Train your team members: Though automation instantly makes marketing more effective, the introduction of new processes and software needs an investment in training for appropriate staff. Team members need to understand how automation fits perfectly into their working day and how their role might be progressed. Emphasize the benefits and allow your staff to check out new systems thoroughly while acknowledging any problems they might have. Marketing automation is expected to become one of the most vital marketing skills and businesses are responding appropriately, with improved investment now and in the future.
- Calculate automation effectiveness: Executing automation is not the end. We recommend a regular review of what is working well, what could be enhanced, and the impact of automation on vital metrics. This lets you make the right adjustments at the right time.
Important Automation Platforms
There are plenty of automation platforms out there, and filtering through them can consume a lot of time. Here are some of the best digital marketing automation platforms for experts:
Marketo- This is a tried-and-tested platform preferred by thousands of marketing professionals. It provides campaign management, lead generation, automatic emails, visitor tracking, budgeting tools, and personalized messaging.
HubSpot- You have possibly already heard about HubSpot and with obvious reasons. It is well-integrated and user-friendly, offering a content management system, performance monitoring tool, email marketing tool, real-time analytics and data analysis tool, and lead ranking.
Customer.io- This automation platform is all about communication! It uses data from customer interactions to develop bespoke email messages, triggering some actions based on customer behavior and your own pre-determined rules. With the data captured by Customer.io, you can build a rich profile of every lead.
Active Campaign- There are many things to love about Active Campaign. It lets you customize the automation you need while offering insightful analytic data, customer relationship management, and sales support.
Pardot- If your marketing team is mainly focused on improving sales, Pardot is a great choice. It is built to quicken pipelines using scoring, lead generation, and nurturing, as well as customized email marketing, social media integration, and sales alerts. (Sometime the question raised about what is better social media marketing – paid or unpaid)
Omnisend- It is a powerful digital marketing automation tool that connects your audience and understands their purchasing intent across various points in the customer journey. With this tool, you can incorporate several channels into a similar automation workflow, segment your customer based on data analysis and behavior, and trigger the campaigns as per the actions of a user.
With robust integrations with all the huge eCommerce platforms and more than 4,000 positive consumer reviews, Omnisend is a must for people who own an online business.
Different Ways to Optimize Automation
If you are planning to implement automation in your business, here are a few advanced strategies to help you out:
- Know your message- Before you start on any marketing campaign, you must know what you want to achieve out of it. Or else, the effort is aimless and not likely to yield much of a tangible advantage. Whether you want to draw traffic to your site, create new leads, enhance sales, and boost the market share, automation in online marketing can be beneficial.
- Personalize your content- Generic emails are not to reduce it. Customers want to feel appreciated by the brands they purchase products from. Make sure the content can be personalized using automation software and is developed with the impression of being bespoke.
- Use A/B Testing- Your company may already be doing A/B testing as a part of the assessment of marketing campaigns, but automating the process is quite beneficial. As well as time savings, automated A/B testing offers real-time data regarding the impact of your marketing content- letting you make fast and smart adjustments where required.
- Get your team on Board- Training and open communication are important to the successful implementation of automated procedures. Your team might feel threatened by the “a” word, synonymous as it is with robots replacing human beings- an unfair assumption in the world of marketing. Instead of something to be worried about, frame automation as a procedure to embrace, with tools that let your team focus less on the unnecessary and more on talents for which you hired them for.
- Concentrate on customer experience- Finally, the success of automation depends on how your customers react. Collect meaningful data throughout the procedure, using customer experience mapping, to determine feedback at vital touchpoints. This lets you make twists to your approach and include new automation where they will be useful. It is vital to note that automation is just beneficial so long as you are getting results with the end customer and your bottom line. If you are not seeing the analytics that you expected, mix a few things.
How does marketing automation help in improving business?
These are some of the major advantages of implementing a marketing automation solution.
- Lessen your staffing budget
Using marketing automation software, an employee can compete with a 50-person sales and marketing department. How? By setting lead nurturing and marketing campaigns that are triggered automatically based on specific criteria.
After some months of creating these automated campaigns, your business might be sending thousands of personalized emails every day on autopilot.
- Boosted revenue and average deal size
By automating your cross-sells, customer follow-ups, and up-sells, you will probably notice a rise in your consumer lifetime value. When you mix this with improved lead management and prioritization, it is probably that your sales activity will generate a better ROI.
Virtually all the benefits outlined in this post contribute to improving revenue and deal-size in some or other way.
- Enhance accountability of marketing & sales team
Marketing automation makes it easier to find the bottlenecks in the company, thanks to having clearly defined procedures, and birds-eye view reporting of the corporation’s pipeline.
If marketing is gaining hundreds of leads, but none of them are being encouraged to become “sales leads”, then the marketing department will receive immediate and impartial feedback that they need to enhance their nurturing campaigns.
- Be more effective
No matter how small or large your team, you have a limited number of resources to expand your business. Marketing automation helps you to squeeze more out of the hours available to you.
There is a lot to attain from automation. Cost savings, greater efficiency, enhanced productivity, more intuitive analytic data, and good customer support; all these benefits are enticing for marketing experts.
With the right planning, clear objectives, special training, and optimized content, any company can execute and make a huge success of marketing automation. And these procedures have so much further to move; with the AI market projected to be worth $16 billion by 2022, this is an exciting time to bring automation to your company.