Marketing Automation: A definitive guide

A guide to marketing automation

A guide to marketing automation

With numerous ways to promote a brand today, marketers are constantly in search of methods that can make their marketing efforts as efficient as possible. To achieve this, they need to know the reason behind every action taken by visitors on their website journey — which source drove them there, what nurturing strategy was used, and, ultimately, what converted them.

To simplify this process and build meaningful relationships between them and their prospects, most marketers today are turning towards marketing automation.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is the use of software to automate repetitive marketing efforts. By automating repetitive and time-consuming manual tasks like generating and segmenting leads, sending emails and SMS, scheduling social media campaigns, and qualifying leads, marketing automation both ensures efficiency and personalizes user experiences. The goal is to move your leads down the funnel and finally convert them.

How do you get started with marketing automation?  

Over the years, marketing automation was considered complex to understand and set up, but with software like our own Zoho Marketing Automation, everything has changed. The simplicity of these tools, combined with an actionable plan, means businesses of any size can easily automate their marketing.

Here are six easy ways to get started with marketing automation:

Set your marketing goals

Setting goals provides a clear direction for your marketing strategies. Certain goals like “Build brand engagement” or “Increase thought leadership” are good to have but are unlikely to bring in the desired results because they are very generic.

A good marketing goal needs to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

For example, goals like “Increase our lead-to-customer conversion by 10% this quarter by implementing a strong lead-nurturing strategy” or “Generate 100 qualified leads per month by placing online forms on all blog posts” make it easier to execute and measure your marketing strategies.

Generate and segment your leads 

One of the main strengths of marketing automation is generating quality leads. This means you will capture only those leads who show interest in your brand, whether it’s subscribing to your newsletters, engaging with your social media, signing up for your webinars, or more. With a variety of promotional channels to drive traffic to your landing page, lead generation becomes a lot more efficient.

With these quality leads in hand, you can segment them into groups with similar characteristics, needs, or interests who exhibit similar purchase behavior. Segmentation increases everything from campaign open rates to customer satisfaction because you’ll know what your leads are looking for and you can further engage them in the appropriate way. For example, you can form segments like “Website visitors from New York” or “Leads who viewed pricing page” to make your nurturing process easy and meaningful.

Optimize your website 

The website is the vantage point that tells everything about your business. The key to increasing your conversions is to attract visitors to your website first. By deploying the right set of keywords, well-written content, and top-notch user experience, you can catapult the discoverability of your website in search engines.

Using website tracking in your marketing automation software, get the exact count of all types of visitors, from anonymous to recurring. Learn the pulse of every visitor by tracking the elements on your web pages and discovering more about them, like why they clicked a particular call-to-action, their geographical location, the source that sent them to you, their number of unique clicks and visits, and more.

Send marketing campaigns

Sending targeted marketing messages to your leads at the right time using the right channel is the cornerstone of your lead nurturing process. The best part of marketing automation is that you can tailor content to your leads as per their requirements and set up automated workflows or schedule posts. Email, SMS, social, push notifications, and ad campaigns—be wherever your audiences are and—of course!—with personalization.

Score and qualify your leads

Multiple attributes can be used to score your leads. Move your leads through the funnel by adding numerical points based on the information they have submitted, their response to marketing campaigns, their Click-Through Rates (CTRs), and how they’ve engaged with your brand across the internet. This will make it easier for marketing and sales teams to respond appropriately and figure out who’s really interested in buying your product and who’s just looking around.

Measure performance and ROI

Measuring and contextualizing your marketing activities helps you reach your target market. Having a clear understanding of your conversion rates, revenue growth, marketing campaigns’ returns, and many other key performance indicators (KPIs) aligned with your marketing goals empowers you to improve your marketing strategies, thereby optimizing your returns.

For the goals set in step one, the KPIs to measure your activities can be “Open rate of campaigns in every channel” or “Number of visitors to every blog.” Choosing appropriate KPIs will help you measure your progress quickly and accurately.

When should you invest in marketing automation? 

As a marketer, you’ll likely be interested in investing in marketing automation because of the importance it’s gaining across the marketing arena. While this may seem to solve your marketing challenges, in reality, you might need to explore a little more. When you’re upgrading your system or trying out new technology, beyond the usual questions surrounding tools, budget, and resources, what you need to closely look into is timing.

To assess this and find whether it’s the right time to upgrade your marketing model, you need to analyze questions like these:

  • Is my business not generating enough quality leads to pass on to sales?
  • Do I want to send personalized marketing messages while having them automated?
  • Do I wish to scale my lead generation and nurturing tactics?
  • Do I aim to have a multichannel presence for my business?
  • Is my sales team not experiencing a seamless lead conversion process?
  • Do I want to decrease the number of leads falling through the cracks?
  • Do I want to demonstrate ROI and track matching KPIs to maximize output?
  • Do I need organized and accurate data about my target audience to nurture them?
  • Is maintaining the privacy of my customer’s information the top priority of my marketing model?
  • Do I want my sales and marketing teams to collaborate and work without hassles?

If you’ve checked on these questions, it may be time to invest in marketing automation. Because when your business generates a large volume of leads and you want to make the most out of them, marketing automation is the answer.

To conclude, marketing automation is the modern solution to simplify the marketing process for your team while giving your leads a unique user experience and consistent engagement. If you’re delighting prospects with your service and meeting their immediate needs, you’ll get a lot more conversions, which will ultimately increase your revenue.

 

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