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Marketing automation

What is Marketing Automation?

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Businesses that take advantage of omni-channel marketing strategies boast 90% higher customer retention rates than businesses that only use a single channel. So there’s no time to waste when it comes to speaking with a marketing automation specialist who can help you branch out your digital marketing efforts. Marketing automation services help you do more with your marketing while using less manpower, allowing you to give prospects and customers a personalized experience and win more sales.

In this article, our team of marketing automation specialists in Nashville, TN, break down what marketing automation is, how you can effectively implement it in your marketing strategy to enhance your lead generation campaigns.

Marketing automation defined

According to WebFX, an astounding 91% of businesses that take advantage of marketing automation say that it’s “very important” to their overall marketing strategy, with 34% of them seeing an increase in sales revenue. As we’ve written about before, winning new business isn’t easy. So if something as simple as utilizing marketing automation services can potentially boost your bottom line that drastically, it really would be silly not to look into it.

Marketing Automation Definition

So what is marketing automation, exactly?

In short, marketing automation automates certain marketing tasks, which might include:

  • Emails
  • SMS messages
  • Social media messages and posts
  • Website posts
  • Personalized advertising
  • Lead scoring and prioritization

Marketing automation services are excellent for companies that are growing quickly (or plan to do so in the future), because it allows you to build scalability into your marketing efforts. The more tasks you automate, the more your time is freed-up to focus on other aspects of the business.

A marketing automation specialist can also take information from your CRM to create detailed workflows that give each lead or customer a more personalized experience than they might otherwise get. For example, a workflow might be set up to:

  • Offer a “locals only” deal to all customers in Nashville, TN
  • Show a specific advertisement to leads running a specific type of business, such as a spa
  • Send a certain email when a lead takes a pre-decided action, such as clicking on an information link

Marketing automation can help your business stay on top of omni-channel marketing efforts, improving aspects of the customer experience from first contact to customer renewals.

Marketing automation benefits

As any good marketing automation specialist will tell you, it’s important to keep in mind the fact that marketing automation doesn’t do marketing for you – it’s not a matter of setting it up and never having to think about your marketing ever again. Marketing automation simply takes some of the more repetitive, monotonous marketing tasks – like sending templated emails – off your hands.

If you want to enjoy the full benefits of automation, you have to be sure that your current marketing strategy is successful (by utilizing metrics like key performance indicators to measure the strategy’s success rate) before trying to scale it using marketing automation tools.

Once you have a sound marketing strategy in place, you’re ready to hire a marketing automation specialist and start reaping the rewards.

marketing automation benefits

Efficiency

Almost a quarter of salespeople report spending over two hours every workday attending to their email – time much better spent meeting with prospective customers. Automating menial tasks like sales emails can free up your sales team’s time and energy so they can focus on closing sales.

Don’t believe it? Reports show that simply adding automation tools to your processes can increase sales productivity by 14.5% while cutting your marketing overheads by 12.2%.

Putting tasks in the hands of marketing software can also prevent human-related errors, like forgetting to follow up with an interested lead.

Personalization

The automated workflows your marketing specialist will set up allow for a unique, personalized experience for every lead and customer who encounters your brand. Personalizing the content for your leads allows you to appeal to your target markets by breaking down emails, advertisements, and discount offers based on factors such as:

  • Demographic
  • Buying history
  • Interests
  • Shopping habits

An automated marketing approach is more likely to catch a prospect’s eye than a generic ad campaign, potentially increasing your sales by 10%.

Omni-channel experience

The multi-channel customer experience has become the norm in recent decades, meaning businesses touch base with customers in multiple ways – such as offering shoppers a bricks-and-mortar store as well as an online shopping cart. However, as the channels through which customers and businesses interact continue to increase, a simple, disconnected multi-channel approach is no longer good enough.

Enter the omni-channel approach, which takes the multi-channel experience to a whole other level, integrating every aspect of communication for a seamless customer experience across all channels. Utilizing omni-channel communication means your sales and marketing teams can track lead and customer activity directly in your CRM system, using what they learn to more effectively seek out first or repeat purchases.

Scalability

If you run a small company, it’s vital to instill efficient business practices while you’re still small, instead of trying to fix broken procedures once you become a larger operation.

One of the simplest ways to ensure your marketing strategy is scalable is to automate as much of it as you can. As your business grows, so must your marketing efforts, and if your team is handling every lead interaction manually, you’re going to have to hire a lot of hands to keep up with the increased demand.

Marketing automation allows you to scale your business while minimizing the growing pains that come from having to grow your team too quickly. The automation tools will keep lead and customer lists organized, and help keep follow-ups from falling through the cracks, as can happen when an overworked team is trying to do it all manually.

Tracking

Because automation requires all of your lead and customer data to be stored in one central location, marketing automation tools make tracking data and analytics incredibly easy.

You put a lot of time, effort, and money into your business’s marketing plan, so it doesn’t make sense to just guess about whether or not it’s working. Digital automation tools that allow you to track your strategy’s success and ROI are invaluable when it comes to making adjustments to current or future strategies.

How to use marketing automation services for my business?

Okay, so you’re finally sold on the idea of using marketing automation services for your business. Now, how are you supposed to actually go about doing that?

How to use marketing automation services for my business

Fortunately, automated marketing practices are pretty easy to implement, whether you decide to do it alone with your team or with the help of a professional marketing automation specialist. You might be a mom-and-pop shop in Nashville, TN, or a multi-location retailer with customers across the country: the process looks pretty much the same. 

We’ve broken it down into these four easy steps to get you started:

Prep your customer and prospect lists

No matter how long your prospect list is, it’s no use at all if the data in it is inaccurate, outdated, or entered into the wrong fields. Before you begin any new lead outreach strategy, take the time to clean up your customer and prospect lists.

This means: 

    • Correcting inaccurate data (this might include verifying email addresses and marking or deleting ones that lead to a bounceback)
    • Standardizing data entry (so that the same information is entered into the same fields in the same manner – for example: prospects in Nashville, TN will always have “TN” entered into the “state” field, rather than “Tennessee”.
    • Cleaning up duplicate data
    • Finding and entering missing data

Onboard lists to a CRM system

Once your customer and prospect list is in tip-top shape, it’s time to import it into a reputable CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system such as HubSpot. CRM software is a centralized platform that stores and organizes your prospects and customers so all of your teams can access:

  • Lead or customer contact information
  • Previous prospect contacts
  • Purchases and memberships of current customers

CRMs will often integrate with other marketing or sales tools, allowing you to seamlessly pull information from them in order to do things like send automated email campaigns.

Create thoughtful content

No matter how efficient your marketing automation tools, they won’t do a thing for your business if the content they’re putting in front of leads isn’t thoughtful and well-written. Leads respond to useful content that does something for them, like:

  • Educating
  • Inspiring
  • Entertaining
  • Informing

Whether you’re letting leads know about an upcoming sale or trying to get an existing customer to renew their membership, make sure your content is on brand and genuinely helpful to your audience.

Implement automated workflows

Okay, you’ve cleaned up your list of prospects and customers, imported it into your favorite CRM system, and written useful content (or hired a content marketing agency to write it for you). 

Now it’s time to create and implement automated workflows. An automated marketing workflow is basically the series of tasks that your marketing automation software will perform for you. Workflows can look drastically different from one business to the next – a skilled marketing automation specialist can help design one (or several) for you if you’re unsure yours is as good as it can be.

Get in touch with a marketing automation specialist about your business

Marketing automation flows

Is your business ready to take your marketing or B2B lead generation efforts to the next level? Get more bang for your marketing buck with marketing automation services that integrate with your CRM for seamless omni-channel lead and customer communications.

Still not sure that automation’s right for you? Schedule a discovery call with a Take the Stairs and we’ll help you decide if our services are going to be the best fit for you. We’re proudly based in Nashville, TN, but we happily serve clients all over the country.

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