Marketing Automation For Beginners: How To Put Your Marketing On Autopilot
To say marketing automation is a magic solution for your business might sound a bit exaggerating. But it’s true!
I’m sure that, if you’re running an online business, then you’d love to find a way to achieve more in less time, drive business growth, share more relevant content and deliver a personalized experience to your customers.
And since Harry Houdini isn’t around anymore, someone else has to do the job: marketing automation.
What Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is the use of software that allows you to make a series of marketing actions (i.e publishing social media posts, sending out emails, and updating contact info) without any manual effort.
Marketers use digital marketing automation to easily connect and map customer interactions across multiple touchpoints, in order to direct or influence the end-to-end experience.
Why Marketing Automation Is Important
As a marketer, I’m sure you often find your hands full with endless to-do lists. And you wish the day had more than 24 hours so you can get everything done. If this sounds familiar, then marketing automation will change your life.
Because it allows you to simplify routine organizational and marketing tasks! Also, it helps you eliminate repetitive manual processes to boost your productivity and focus on the more important stuff.
You can use marketing automation to:
- Reach your audience in a more personalized way across multiple channels
- Manage your leads and nurture them into customers
- Collect and store customer information easily
- Create highly-targeted campaigns
And much more!
But let me get a little more specific here.
If I had to name the best reason for using marketing automation I’d say this. Because it helps businesses work more efficiently, especially when it comes to sales and marketing teams.
Think about this: consumers love personalized content because they love feeling unique. In fact, they love it so much that 80% of them are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences.
But I know and you know that manually sending out customized messages to all your subscribers is just not possible. On top of that, and remembering that you are no Houdini, it’s also impossible to figure out where your potential customers are in the conversion process. Or what they need in order to move further down the funnel.
Among other cool things, marketing automation tools normally offer a lead scoring feature. This helps you quickly identify which leads are the most sales-ready.
Looking to improve your conversion rates and revenue? Whether it’s automated emails, customer communications, lead scoring, marketing automation is extremely beneficial when pushing for better results.
Hooked? Let’s dive a little deeper.
How Does Marketing Automation Work?
You might be a complete beginner in digital marketing. Still, you probably know what actions you want your audience to take. What you don’t know is what actions specific people from your audience actually take. And how to follow up with them.
You could be sending out generic emails to all your contacts, hoping that your content will appeal to some of them.
Or you could follow up with personalized, automated email campaigns! This way you will engage all your different potential customers, and boost your conversion rates, with the help of marketing automation.
All you have to do is set up various email templates. They will be automatically sent when someone takes a particular action, while you sit back and relax!
Let’s say you are a real estate agent and you’re sending out an email campaign containing links to various new homes listed, and an ebook with expert tips on finding the house of your dreams. You can then see who clicked on which link, the exact content they viewed, and whether they downloaded the ebook.
Depending on their actions you can automate a follow-up email rather than emailing everyone with the same content. So those who clicked the links with the new homes can receive more home listings that may concern them, while those who downloaded the ebook might need a little more time and more content before they are pushed down the funnel.
5 Marketing Automation Types that Boost Conversions
Don’t know where to start? Here are the 5 different types of marketing automation your brand needs to consider.
1. Email marketing automation
Automated emails generate 320% more revenue than non-automated emails. So you realize that email marketing automation can take your email marketing efforts to a newer horizon of opportunities.
With its help, you can automate the emails you send, allowing the large-scale distribution of personalized messages along with performance measurement dashboards.
Ultimately, email marketing automation can help grow your business without having to put hours of your precious time and effort into creating and sending email campaigns.
Key Email Marketing Automation Features:
- Drag & drop automation builder for flexibility and speed
- Email personalization to create engagement and promote customer retention
- Triggered emails — based on events, time, occasions, etc.
- Segmentation process for sending the right message to the right people
- Accessible reporting to support fast, accurate marketing decisions
- Pre-built automation workflows to jumpstart your automation efforts
- Optimization features for higher conversion rates
- Integrations to extend your email marketing capabilities
2. CRM marketing automation
Do you have a lot of customers? So glad for you! But you must admit that it can get quite tricky to manage them all effectively without a few powerful tools by your side. The most important part of customer service is timely customer service, and marketing automation can go a long way to satisfying your audience and providing an excellent customer experience.
With the help of a CRM marketing automation tool, you can collect and store all kinds of important information like purchase history, so you can then personalize your interaction with each customer.
Key CRM Marketing Automation Features:
- Customer segmentation to create groups of customers
- Automated email nurturing
3. Marketing & sales marketing automation
Looking to drive traffic to your website, set up effective marketing campaigns, or manage your content to make the most of it? Then you need a marketing and sales marketing automation tool!
With the right platform by your side, you can have access to rich behavioral data that will allow you to identify, engage and accelerate your sales opportunities and rest assured that every component of your marketing works harder and more efficiently to drive revenue.
Key Marketing & Sales Marketing Automation Features:
- Marketing automation workflows
- Segmentation for customer segments
- Drip campaigns
- Analytics and reporting
- Lead management
4. Social media marketing automation
A marketer wears many hats. And one of them is social media! So why not make this hat a little more fun to wear? If you’re looking to spend less time fussing with hashtags or answering DM’s and focus on creating quality content for your channels, then it’s time to consider social media automation.
Schedule your posts, manage your network and measure the performance of your social media efforts, with the help of marketing automation tools that make social media marketing a child’s play.
Key Social Media Marketing Automation Features:
- Social media publishing
- Audience targeting
- Social media reports
- Comments management
- Queue content
5. Marketing Analytics automation
Do you know which campaign of yours went well and which was not that successful? You may be doing many things right, but if you neglect to measure the performance of your marketing efforts, then you’re not doing everything you can to maximize your ROI.
Discover the world of data-driven decisions and let the right tools measure your data correctly, track events, conversions, and your users’ behavior to optimize your marketing efforts-with less effort.
Key Marketing Analytics Automation Features:
- Data collection
- Campaign tracking
- Customer insights
- ROI tracking
Key Steps for Building a Marketing Automation Strategy
Creating a marketing automation strategy starts with the following 6 steps. This will give you a better idea of how to approach any automation of digital marketing.
Step 1: Define your goals
The first step toward marketing automation success is to set your goals. What do you wish to achieve through marketing automation?
You might find it helpful to follow the S.M.A.R.T. framework, meaning that your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
For example, you can say that your goal is to increase your e-store’s sales by 10% in the next three months, by launching specific email marketing campaigns. Once you know where you’re headed you’ll know which road to take.
Step 2: Identify your target audience
Knowing who your target customers are will make your marketing automation efforts easy as pie. But if you have no idea what audience analysis is, or if you have never conducted market research, then you’re starting off wrong.
Most marketing automation tools include features that allow you to track user activity and capture important user data that help you target your audience directly and effectively.
The qualities of your buyer personas derive from customer research, market research, interviews, focus groups, customer service, demographic data, psychographic data, etc.
So let’s say that one of your buyer personas is a teenager called Claire. She loves watching skate videos and is very social. How will you target her? By learning her customer needs and running the right campaigns on all the right social media that people her age love, like TikTok and Instagram.
Defining your target audience with the help of personas will allow you to do proper market segmentation for website personalization, remarketing, and even email marketing.
Step 3: Choose the right tools
Marketing automation is for everyone. There are solutions for small or big businesses, for newbies and pros. And while this sounds great, choosing the one that suits your needs is not a task to be taken lightly.
Having set your goals you will be able to narrow down the feature set you need, and your strategy will reveal the number of users or pricing plan that’s suitable for your business.
Step 4: Plan your content strategy
Now that you have chosen your valuable ally in the battle of marketing automation it’s time to define how and why your content will be used to achieve your marketing goals. Planning your content strategy also includes choosing the right social media platforms and sourcing content ideas that will resonate with your audience.
I suggest that you write down your brand values, all the things your brand cares about as well as all the things that matter to your audience. Do your research, and do it right, because that’s where the money is. Once you have enough information you can decide on the type of content you will be investing in.
This can be:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts/stories
Step 5: Set up your workflows
When creating automation workflows you must always keep your customers at the forefront of your mind. And an effective customer journey map is more than crucial for achieving that.
This means that you must organize your opportunities into strategic phases. How do you determine whether a user is suitable for a specific marketing automation workflow or not? Are your automations offering a seamless customer journey?
Let me give you an example. Think of the perfect onboarding email sequence. What would it look like?
- 1st email: A confirmation email to ensure that your subscribers are real people with legitimate email addresses.
- 2nd email: An impressive, warm welcome for a strong first impression that convinces new subscribers to open the rest of your emails.
- 3rd email: Different sequences for active and inactive users.inactive subscribers, highlighting your value proposition in a way that attracts their attention and offers further information and assistance for re-engagement.
Step 6: Optimize your workflows
Setting your automation workflows and then forgetting them isn’t enough. You need to continuously evaluate their performance and adjust them in order to make them more efficient.
The easiest way to do this is by running A/B split tests in your automation workflows. This way you can understand what works and what doesn’t for your audience and drive more conversions.
Let’s see how you can create an A/B test with Moosend fast and easily.
Creating an A/B split workflow with Moosend
For example, you might want to create a cart abandonment automation workflow for those who leave your e-store without completing their purchase. Timing is super important when it comes to winning back your customers, but every industry has its rules.
So, in order to find the best time to send your abandoned cart campaigns, it’s crucial to run A/B split test.
From your Automations tab click on the Create new automation button to start from scratch. Don’t forget to edit the name of your workflow so you can find it easily whenever you want to!
Select your trigger by clicking on the icon and click the “When someone adds any product to their cart” one.
From the window that appears select the “No – Trigger every time someone adds a product” option from the drop-down menu (because you want your abandoned cart automation to get triggered every time a user drops items in their cart, not just the first time). Continue by using the second drop-down to specify the website(s) for which you want the automation to be triggered.
Click on the filter (If condition / Else) option, and use the drop-down to select the mailing list you wish the filter to be applied to. Next, click the Add a condition button and using the dropdown menus set the criteria as shown below:
Time to split your flow! Click the + symbol and select the corresponding step from the tab Conditional/control steps.
From the window that appears you can set the percentage of subscribers, you want to follow each step simply by sliding the bar left or right!
The trigger has been set! This means that every time a customer adds an item to their cart it will initiate the automation sequence.
All you have to do is set the time (or date) you want to give your customers to go through with the purchase, or better yet, give them time to browse your site for other items to add to their cart and subsequently buy.
Click the + symbol and select the “Wait a specific time interval” to set different times to your 2 workflow variations so you can test what brings the best results, and optimize your workflow accordingly.
Choose the Actions tab and select the Then send email campaign option.
Continue by adding the subject line, sender, and content of your campaign and save your options.
When you have completed this step for both paths your workflow should look like this:
That’s it! Toggle the Inactive/Active button to activate your automation whenever you’re ready!
Marketing Automation Best Tools: Choosing the Right One for your Business
This one? Or maybe that one? Oh, dear! Your needs will guide you.
Send beautiful, high-converting automated email campaigns with Moosend
Looking for an easy-to-use, powerful email marketing tool? You’re going to love us! Moosend, packed with advanced features to help you grow your business, helps you create stunning email campaigns that convert with one of the simplest UIs and without breaking the bank.
With our drag-and-drop email designer (life is too small for HTML), numerous templates, and pre-built automation workflows you can build complex, targeted email marketing campaigns fast with no previous design or coding experience required. And with the help of automation, you can set up and automate complete lead nurturing campaigns with different segments for each buyer journey or persona.
Our free plan is extremely generous, with access to almost all of our best features, so you can give Moosend a try today!
Get more targeted leads with Hubspot
If you want to organize your customer base, track and nurture leads, then Hubspot is one of the most popular email marketing solutions. With its help, you can automatically track interactions and keep on top of what’s happening so you can make more data-driven decisions. With Hubspot, you can also move leads through each buyer’s stage, streamline your lead gen process to run seamlessly, and more, thanks to its wide range of features.
Supercharge your marketing analytics with Mixpanel
Learn what your users are doing on your website by tracking all events. Mixpanel is one of the best user tracking tools in the market, with a super-sleek interface and experience.
You don’t need any technical knowledge in order to analyze funnels and events for e-commerce or other industries, so when you add one to MixPanel you will be able to see the trends, count, who used them, and in what order. Mixpanel also allows you to create interactive dashboards for real-time visibility and notifications, helping you and your team implement trigger-based marketing to drive customer loyalty.
Automate your ad campaigns with AdRoll
A popular ad re-targeting and prospecting platform, AdRoll helps you advertise to your audience by building a perfect advertising system tailored to your needs.
With dynamic ads, cross-channel attribution, audience targeting, and more advanced capabilities, AdRoll allows you to create customized experiences that dramatically improve marketing efficiency. One of the platform’s biggest advantages is its team of marketing experts which can make setting up effective campaigns easy as ABC.
Generate more leads with Leadfeeder
Put your lead generation, scoring, and nurturing on autopilot by identifying the companies visiting your site, how they got there, their behavior, and their intent to purchase.
Leadfeeder allows you to create Custom Feeds to narrow your list down to your best fit leads, and have notifications of new leads automatically sent to email and Slack for the right team member.
Built your chatbot in minutes with Tars
If you’re looking to build conversational workflows to talk to users clicking on your PPC/Paid campaigns, Tars is the tool to use.
Collect leads through chatbots and transform the lead capture experience into a personalized customer service interaction to win engaged buyers, fewer drop-offs, and a marketing campaign that actually converts. With an amazing design and convenient user interface, you can get your chatbot up and running in no time.
Marketing Automation Best Practices
Perfect your marketing strategy with these marketing automation best practices!
1. Create engaging content
Some of you may ask: “How do I know what content is engaging?”. Well, that’s for your different types of customers to answer. Depending on the people you want to reach you might find it best to focus on emails to marketing your new products for example. If you’re targeting younger audiences then maybe you should invest in video marketing. Or maybe some case studies will prove perfect for the clients that need some information before making a final decision.
The sky is the limit with content. Just remember to keep it relevant!
2. Personalization is obligatory
If you’re doing online marketing then you sure have customer data of your target market in your hands. Make the most of all the valuable information you have in order to personalize your content and marketing as much as possible.
Because 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand that provides personalized experiences. So, the more you personalize for your different groups of customers, the more you sell!
3. Build a lead scoring model
Once the leads start coming in, you have to develop a model by which to score them. Then you will know which leads need more nurture and which are qualified to be handed off to sales.
Lead scoring allows you to rank leads based on their sales-readiness so you can understand how much effort should your sales team employ, and boost lead generation. By knowing the score of each lead you can also send out personalized content and target your audience exactly the way you should at any stage of their journey.
4. Run multichannel campaigns
If you’ve chosen a marketing automation tool with a wide range of features, then you should be able to run multichannel campaigns for your messaging. This way you will increase lead generation, lead conversion, and boost revenue.
Among others, you can communicate with your customers through:
- Social media
- Direct mail
You must remember that every lead and every business is unique. By reaching your audience through various channels you are more likely to reach the maximum number of leads.
5. Leverage the power of social listening
Social listening allows you to track, to data analysis, and respond to conversations about your brand on social media. And while not all marketing automation platforms provide this feature, it’s one of the capabilities you shouldn’t ignore.
Choose a tool that combines social media marketing with social listening and make the most of it by engaging your audience on social media whenever possible to gather insights about how your brand is talked about and what you can improve. Your marketing messages will become stronger in no time!
4 Marketing Automation Examples to Start Rolling
Everyone hates repetitive tasks. That’s why everyone loves automating them. Here are some of the most popular marketing automation examples to get you started.
1. Welcome email series
One of the most popular email marketing automation workflows, the welcome email series is one you just can’t ignore. According to studies, welcome emails have a 91.43% open rate and they generate up to 320% more revenue per email than other promotional emails.
For instant inspiration check out our article: Top 23 Welcome Email Examples To Boost Engagement With Your New Subscribers!
2. Lead magnets
If you’re looking to fill your marketing pipeline and sales funnel with top-quality leads with a high chance of conversion, lead magnets are a must-have!
Lead magnets such as PDFs, discount vouchers, and e-books are what your audience will get in exchange for their email address. So your lead magnet must be something valuable for them.
3. Abandoned cart emails
Automated email campaigns are the most common way of winning back those customers that left something behind. In fact, based on numbers from our database, more than 40% of cart abandonment emails were opened, while 50% of the users who clicked purchased something.
Check out our article The Best Abandoned Cart Email Examples To Use Right Now + 5 Winning Practices
to plan your automation better!
4. New customer onboarding
Customer onboarding is one of the first journeys your customers take. For some marketers, it might look like a lengthy and tedious process, riddle with manual steps. For those who have discovered marketing automation, it’s a breeze!
This process is a great opportunity for you to enroll your new customers in your products or services and open the door to higher adoption and usage rates.
Create the seamless experience your customers deserve with user manuals, walkthrough videos, interactive product tours, and more, and create users that get the value they seek and stick around for more!
That’s all, folks!
Who’s Harry Houdini now? You are! Or, at least, you’re ready to become one.
Just practice your tricks and stick to the plan. Find the marketing automation type that your business needs, and do your research so you get your hands on the best tool out there. Then make all the right steps: define your goals, create buyer personas to identify your audience, plan your content strategy, and set up your workflows. Oh, and always optimize!
Once you start automating there is no way back, trust me!