For marketers and small businesses alike, the list of demands keeps growing. Businesses of every shape and size expect more customer engagement, data-driven insights and results from their marketing team than ever. That new reality has forced marketers to dedicate more time to coordinating projects, executing tasks, and gaining expertise in dozens of new marketing technologies — rarely with more resources to get it done. Marketers are forced to figure it out and are often left scrambling to find enough hours.
Increasing the size of your team might appear to be a simple solution for accomplishing more in less time but given the cost — this probably isn’t a viable option. Alternatively, marketing automation can free up time for both your marketing and sales teams, produce the desired marketing results and do so at a price far more budget friendly than adding bodies to your team.
Marketing automation organizes your marketing activities in one place and streamlines repetitive, time-consuming tasks. Adestra’s Marketer vs. Machine report found that 74% of marketers believe the biggest benefit of automation is that it saves time—outweighing all other perceived benefits of the strategy.
The promise of marketing automation is that it alleviates the day-to-day pressure of running your business by streamlining your most repetitive tasks.
For most marketers, it’s challenging to focus on the bigger picture when team projects and marketing campaigns have stolen their attention. Rather than identifying patterns in customer data or evolving their marketing strategy, marketers have become more focused on crossing tasks off their to-do lists and hitting deadlines. And given that those responsibilities are growing as quickly as the emergence of new marketing channels, it’s hard to see where strategic thinking fits into your daily routine.
This isn’t a condemnation of task-oriented professionals or a recommendation to abandon your marketing calendar. Deadlines, responsibilities and all the tasks outlined in the job description still matter.
The more inspired approach: spend more time focusing on important tasks by automating the redundant ones. Marketing automation software can shoulder that burden.
Here are five ways marketing automation can save time and make everyone on your team happier:
Email remains one of the most effective channels for turning leads into customers. In fact, more than half of marketers would argue that it’s their best source of ROI.
The drawback is that creating the perfect email can be a time-sucking chore And if a developer or designer is needed to reconfigure the design, the process may pull different members of your team in multiple directions for a week. Even for one email.
Marketing automation platforms include drag-and-drop email builders and beautiful, ready-made templates that allow you to pull together emails in minutes rather than hours (or even days). You can also remove the guesswork of when to send your emails. Instead of trying to determine the perfect time for every customer on your list, marketing automation identifies the best time to send to individual customers. When a customer displays certain online behaviors or shares a specific need, marketing automation can respond on the fly.
The tool also allows you to:
• Customize a consistent look and feel for your emails that align with your branding.
• Compare and test different email designs to determine which templates drive the most engagement for your brand.
• Reduce development time by utilizing ready-made templates that are already optimized for mobile and different email providers.
Collecting email addresses is straightforward, but marketers still waste hours manually maintaining and building their lists.
Marketing automation assumes that role – and then some.
One of the perks of marketing automation is that it has the capability to drill into your customer data and automatically segment your lists. It can build segments based on behavioral data or certain actions, such as targeting someone who has purchased your product in the past.
This completely changes your relationship with your email list. Rather than manually sifting through the list to identify patterns and insights, you can pinpoint the datapoints that matter to your business and allow your marketing platform to find the customers who meet certain rules. Common ways to segment your lists include:
• Email engagement: Target based on the content that customers are opening and clicking.
• Firmographic: Divide your lists by unique industries, company size and revenue.
• Demographic: Segment based on age, gender or location.
• Online engagement: Engage with customers after they’ve viewed high-intent pages on your website or subscribe to a blog.
If you’re sending the same email to your entire list or losing time to manage your email lists, it’s time to shift to marketing automation.
There’s a disconnect between capturing leads and then transforming that lead into a customer. Sorry, marketers. It’s no longer enough to fill the top of the sales funnel. The new reality is that marketers are expected to nurture the leads that they’ve acquired before qualifying them and sending them over to the sales team. This is great news for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales team. But for marketers? It’s one more thing to add to their to-do list. The trick is automating your lead nurturing strategy.
Entrepreneur found that companies that are automating lead nurturing with relevant emails see a 10% or greater increase in revenue. And since lead nurturing is all about providing your contacts the information that they’re seeking, this is an ideal task for your marketing team – and marketing automation platform. Use the data to identify your customers’ needs and watch your email engagement improve.
A good marketing automation platform will also allow you to track every interaction that a customer has with your brand – even going beyond the inbox. If a customer visits your website or engages with your social media, your tool should be able to track that. This is vital when it comes to lead scoring and qualifying your leads.
We’ve created a 10-page guide on how to utilize lead scoring and influence the decision-making of your leads, but the premise is simple: Tally every engagement and interaction that a customer has with your brand and then assign a score based on those interactions. When a customer has shown a high level of engagement or reaches a scoring threshold, your marketing automation can alert your sales team that a lead has become sales qualified.
Simply set your lead scoring and create your standard messaging — marketing automation takes care of the rest.
Have you ever felt the struggle of trying to schedule a meeting with a lead or customer over email? There can be as much back-and-forth as a ping-pong match.
Entrepreneur found that using automated tools to schedule a meeting can save 80% of your time on scheduling. The best tools allow your customer to find a time available on your calendar and schedule it there without any hassle.
The average brand maintains four to 10 social media profiles, but the responsibility of managing those channels isn’t always entrusted with a staffer fully dedicated to social media.
It’s often an add-on for the marketing, communications, digital or PR team. Or worse, it’s delegated to a committee.
The problem with each approach is that social media is rarely anyone’s full-time job at a small or midsize business. That means on top of everything else, a marketer may be asked to schedule posts across multiple channels, respond to customer feedback, and create social ads.
With a marketing automation platform, it can be far easier to plan, organize and deliver social media content. Social media listening, moderating, and publishing can all happen in a single marketing platform. There’s no need to log into each platform to schedule a post or interact with your customers. It’s all there in one convenient place.
Social media automation tools also often include a content marketing calendar to help your team keep track of your scheduled posts. This helps eliminate wasted efforts trying to recall which posts have already appeared on which channels.
Marketers are taking on more than ever before. This isn’t surprising given the growth in marketing channels and data, but it requires more agility. Marketing automation provides that nimbleness by reducing the hours that we spend on redundant tasks.
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