Guest post by Riya Sander.
Marketers have access to a wide variety of business productivity tools to help them simplify their day-to-day tasks. But the vast array of marketing tools available doesn’t necessarily make their work any easier.
There are multiple platforms to be managed, loads of content to be shared, and an ever-growing mountain of data to be analyzed. How can businesses really increase productivity using marketing technology (martech) tools? This is where marketing automation comes in.
What is “Marketing Automation” (Really)?
Firs off, it may be the single most misleading name for a software category anywhere. Marketing is an inherently strategic and creative endeavor that can’t be “automated.”
It should be called something along the lines of “predefined sequence of emails delivery automation” though that hardly rolls easily off the tongue. Basically, what’s term “marketing automation” is a category of tools that help marketers grow an opt-in email list, categorize the people on that list, then send out predefined sequences of email messages to those recipients based on their segment and behavior. It primarily involves automating the sending of marketing emails, monitoring the results, and tracking customer behavior on the brand’s website.
Marketing automation requires the extensive use of digital marketing to build the list(s) on the front end. The key purposes are to move prospects through the sales funnel to convert them to customers, and to encourage customers to become repeat buyers and brand advocates.
Scope of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is a broad field, with content marketing at its core. This focuses on the creation and distribution of information that’s relevant to and compelling for the target audience; with the aim of getting the customers to take actions that lead to sales and, ultimately, profitability. Content marketing goes beyond simply posting information about products and services. It requires demonstrating expertise with the problems your customers face, providing them with helpful guidance to solve those problems, and showing how products or services will help in resolving them.
A good content management system (CMS) can play a fundamental role in digital marketing, helping to produce content efficiently, keep content assets organized, save costs, and ultimately help build and engage with a loyal and consistent customer base. In today’s world where information overload is a daily experience for customers, content marketing can help set a company apart from competitors. The effective use of online content plays a vital role in promoting the business.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Marketing
Digital marketing also entails the use of SEO. This is a combination of tactics that help improve the ranking of a website on search engines for targeted keyword phrases. The goal of earning high-quality backlinks and on-page optimization is to help a website appear among the top results in relevant web searches. Driving search traffic involves both optimization of visibility on search engines and “selling the click” through compelling meta descriptions.
Visibility optimization is used to help the website appear as high on the first page of results as possible. Search CTR (click through rate) is the share of searchers who click through to the website when results are displayed.
Generally, the first few results get the majority of clicks, though this can be affected by the meta description text used (search engines don’t care much about this text for ranking–but people do use it to determine which sites to visit). This is maximized using snippets of text and other metadata to ensure that the website appears to customers and seems compelling when they are searching for industry solutions or information.
SEO tools can be used in combination with marketing automation software, driving more search visitors to a site and helping convert them into sales leads where marketing automation takes over.
Benefits of Marketing Automation
One of the ways that automated marketing helps improve productivity is through using fully automated welcome programs. This is automating the welcome email a customer gets when they subscribe to a newsletter or create a new account on a website. The welcome message helps the prospect understand what types of communication to expect, and answers some frequently asked questions. Automation eliminates the need for human effort to address these concerns for new sales prospects or customers.
Marketing automation can also be useful in customer retention programs. This includes tracking customer activity on the website and automatically sending messages to remind them of benefits offered or price cuts. Customers who have abandoned carts can be regularly re-engaged to try to win them back. By improving customer retention, a business can increase its profit margins because the cost of customer acquisition is minimal.
Automated marketing email sequences can also be used in multi-channel campaign programs. Since customers shift their focus from one platform to another, it is important for marketers to ensure that the marketing message is also available across the platforms. Such cross-channel campaigns can be executed through a combination of push notifications, SMS (with permission), and emails. This ensures customers can easily reach the company with inquiries. Such automation helps the marketing team do more in a short period of time.
Marketing automation platforms can help the productivity of marketers is by continuously updating customer information to develop personalized profiles. This helps the team to send personalized messages to customers, which generate higher response rates than generalized messaging. Automation simplifies the process of collecting increasingly detailed prospect and customer information over time, allowing the marketing team to focus on more strategic activities.
Automation further gives the marketing team the ability to test various marketing messages, content, landing pages, and offers, to understand customer behavior and optimize their resources. Rather than continuing to use content that isn’t appealing to customers, automation helps the marketing team quickly recognize the need for alternative content. This saves the team from wasting advertising money on messages that customers ignore. It helps optimize resources and become more effective in customer targeting.
These are just some of the ways marketing automation can help boost business productivity. The future of marketing is heading toward more automation as businesses embrace big data, helping to break down and understand the meaning of the data they collect about their customers and products. Businesses must be adept and dedicated to building robust information systems to help increase productivity, cut costs, and understand their customers more deeply in order to develop stronger and more meaningful relationships.
About the author: Riya is a content writer with years of experience in marketing communication. She is delighted to work with aspiring small business owners. Connect with her on twitter, @sanderriya.