Over the last few years, the term ‘Marketing automation’ has been thrown around a lot, especially when it comes to inbound marketing strategy. While this once meant using simple tools to perform tasks like scheduling emails, automation has evolved and now encompasses areas like Chatbots and AI customer support.
In this article, we are going to make our case for why marketing automation should be part of your 2018 strategy. First, we will take a look at why we automate, followed by the where and how of automation. It is our hope that with these different retention tips and techniques you will be able to better serve your customers in the new year and beyond. Let’s get started.
Why do we automate?
When marketing automation first came into the zeitgeist, many marketing professionals didn’t see the need for it. Or worse, they thought that automation would take their job from them. Both of these lines of through are misleading, since true marketing automation seeks to make the lives of both the marketers and the customers better.
So, why do we automate? First, speed. In 2018, technology has made everything more efficient, and automation is simply a way to keep up with the world around us. Second of all, according to Emailmonday, 49 percent of companies regularly use marketing automation. This number is only going to continue to grow, so unless you are automating, you may be soon left in the dust.
Marketing automation helps small businesses stay up with the times and stay competitive in their markets. For larger businesses, automation provides a way to keep up with the marketing demands of the industry. Now that you understand why we automate, let’s talk about where we automate.
Where do we automate?
As we mentioned, over the last few years automation has gone from a marketing gimmick to a necessity. More tools have come into the market that make this process easier, more efficient, and more effective. The question has become less “Where do we automate?” and “Where should we automate?” as new platforms pop up everywhere, not all of them being worth the time.
Next, we will take a look at three of the areas you can automate that have shown to increase engagement and company success. Let’s take a look.
Having a good online presence today requires a firm placement in social media. One of the most effective ways to ensure a good mobile marketing strategy here is to automate, automate, automate. As a marketing professional or business owner, you don’t have time to spend hours each day combing social media for articles to post or tips to share. Instead, you can automate almost everything and then respond as interactions come in.
It’s important to remember when you are automating your social media that there will be times when you need to take the wheel and change things up to avoid a PR blunder. For example, companies that forgot to turn off their automations in the wake of a tragedy are seen as crass or uncaring, not a good look. Make sure to keep a close eye out to avoid this sort of problem.
Another area that has recently grown in the area of marketing automation is SMS marketing. One of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal, SMS becomes even more effective when automated. Businesses can schedule messages weeks in advance, set up SMS keywords to run support without lifting a finger, and much more.
Part of the reason why SMS is such a popular choice for marketing automation is how efficient the service is for communicating with customers. If you can automate most of the SMS process, customers can go from upset to finding a solution in just a few minutes. Like social media, a human touch is required to make these sort of campaigns successful, but marketing automation gives you all the tools you need for success.
Read also: How to Boost Customer Engagement with SMS
One of the oldest marketing automation tools, email automation has evolved into a beast of its own, with companies like MailChimp growing from just focusing on automation. Some of the hallmarks of a successful email automation campaign include segmentation, allowing customers to choose their own campaigns, and using text marketing to ensure your audience receives your message.
Although email is not as powerful of a marketing automation tool as something like SMS, it can be incredibly effective when used in combination with other tools. Email is also a more comfortable solution for many customers that are still making their way into the digital age. If you hope to be successful in marketing automation, each of these tools will need to be in your arsenal.
How do we automate?
Now that we have covered the different areas where marketing automation can flourish, you might be wondering “How do we actually do it?” This is a good question, as simply having a phone or email address doesn’t mean you can set up a marketing automation platform. Thankfully, there are plenty of platforms already out there with a wide selection of features.
For instance, a platform like Hubspot has all of your marketing automations in one place, whereas a platform like Hatchbuck focuses on just one solution. We mentioned marketing automation giant Emailchimp earlier, but there are plenty of other similar solutions in the space. No matter what you choose, you want to make sure that they have the features you need to meet your goals.
Marketing automation and you
Finally, let’s talk about marketing automation and you. Obviously, if you have your own business or are looking to get involved with marketing automation, all of the information in this article might seem like a lot to take in. However, the most important part of marketing automation is simply starting.
Far too often, companies spend too much time putting their automations in place before actually pulling the trigger and starting their campaign. Part of the automation process is tweaking things as you go, trying different things to see what works. Unless you allow yourself to fail a little, nothing will get done.
So this is what we leave you with: a call to action. Go out there and no matter what skill set you have, start your marketing automations today. There’s no time like the present, so get after it!