In today’s digital-first landscape, marketing automation has become increasingly important to businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Marketing automation is the implementation of software to automate (no shiz, Sherlock), improve, and track your marketing efforts. From automating social media posts to email campaigns, automation doesn’t just free up your time to focus on bigger and better things – it helps ensure your marketing strategy is resilient and your content engaging.
This article highlights how automation technology can make your life easier and, when combined with the right strategy, can improve your marketing results and elevate your return on investment.
Understanding Marketing Automation
What is Marketing Automation?
Astonishingly, between 2021 and 2023, the global marketing automation industry revenue grew by an estimated 22% to $5.86 billion (USD). That figure is expected to more than double by 2030 when it will surpass $13.7 billion, according to forecasts.
Automated marketing campaigns have become more and more popular for a good reason: when executed well they can help you craft and deliver customised marketing efforts at scale and across the entire customer journey. It simplifies the management of marketing processes and campaigns across channels by using technology to automate repetitive tasks and personalise the customer experience.
Benefits of Marketing Automation
Here are just some of the ways that marketing automation can save you time, make your business more efficient, and result in higher customer engagement:
- Customers who abandon their carts or browse a product on your website can be targeted with personalised follow-up emails.
- You can streamline manual, repetitive, rule-based tasks to free up time to focus on higher-level activities.
- Highly relevant promotional emails can be triggered for customers who fit into specific subgroups/segments (such as age or location).
- Loyalty programs can be automated to encourage customers to repurchase.
For more information, take a look at our guide to the benefits of marketing automation.
Setting Your Marketing Automation Goals
Identifying Your Objectives
When it comes to creating a killer marketing automation strategy, having clearly defined objectives from the very start is key to success. It’s true what they say – if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve gotten there (or something like that)? By setting concrete goals, you’ll have a roadmap for your automation strategy to guide you at every stage of the decision-making process.
Here are some objectives you might consider:
- Increase lead generation
- Improve customer service
- Enhance email conversion rates
- Nurture old leads
Whether you decide to improve lead generation, customer retention, sales conversions, or customer engagement (or all of the above) will depend on your wider objectives. For example, if your goal is to generate more brand awareness, then you should focus on automating content and social media. If you want to improve customer service, you might consider a tool that automates support when your human team isn’t available.
Aligning Goals with Business Strategy
In this 2023 report, 25% of businesses described their current automation strategies as ‘very successful’ and 66% described theirs as ‘somewhat successful’. To ensure your marketing automation campaigns fall into that top quarter, it’s crucial to have goals.
Before deciding on your automated marketing campaign goals (or, now we mention it; ANY goal) you need to make sure they’re SMART. That means they should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
Aside from that, every single one of your marketing automation objectives should align with your broader business strategy so that they contribute to the overall success of your business. What are your business KPIs? Do you want to increase revenue, expand market share, enhance customer satisfaction, launch a new service… or something else?
Developing Your Marketing Automation Strategy
Journey Mapping and Identifying Key Touchpoints
Now you have complete clarity around how your marketing automation goals fit into your wider business objectives, it’s time to turn outwards and take a look at your customers.
Marketing automation can be strategically implemented at various stages of the customer journey to enhance engagement and conversions – but first, you need to map that journey.
Mapping out the customer journey involves charting the various stages a customer goes through, from initial awareness to post-purchase. It’s all about identifying the key touchpoints where customers interact with your brand.
These touchpoints, whether website visits, social media engagement, or email interactions, are critical junctures where automation can strategically be implemented to enhance customer experience.
By pinpointing these touchpoints, you can tailor automated processes to deliver personalised content, targeted messaging, and timely interventions to foster stronger connections and increase the likelihood of conversion at each stage of the customer journey.
Creating Personalised Content and Aligning It with the Buyer’s Journey
Every single time a customer interacts with your brand is a decision-making moment for them in some way. Will they click and make a purchase or unsubscribe? Will they think less of you for delivering irrelevant content or decide to trust you more because you provide a valuable, personalised experience?
You can now make important decisions by identifying the key touchpoints along the customer journey. Do you want to deliver relevant and engaging experiences to your audience every time they interact with your business? (Clue: the answer is yes).
By tailoring your marketing automation campaigns to align with these stages, you can nurture leads effectively, address your customers’ evolving needs, and guide them seamlessly through the sales funnel.
This alignment not only enhances customer satisfaction but also maximises the impact of your marketing automation, ensuring that the right message is delivered to the right audience at the right time – ultimately contributing to higher conversion rates and better ROI.
Segmenting Your Audience
It gets a little more
interesting when you have more than one target market. Maybe you’re a naturopath who helps couples with their fertility issues. Your target markets could be segmented into the following subgroups:
- Demographics: are they aged 20-30, 30-40, or 40+?
- Behaviour: are they trying to get pregnant with IVF, naturally, for the first time, or do they already have children?
- Stage in the buyer journey: are they a new client or have they used your services before?
Segmenting your audience is crucial for delivering personalised messages that resonate. It means that you won’t send someone who wants to get pregnant naturally your ‘How to Prepare for Your IVF Journey’ guide.
This kind of segmentation precision allows for the creation of highly relevant content, personalised communication, and more strategic marketing automation campaigns – resulting in increased engagement, trust, and ultimately, higher conversion rates.
Choosing the Right Marketing Automation Tools
Assessing Your Needs
There are a LOT of marketing automation software options out there, so it can be overwhelming to find the perfect tool for your business but it all comes back to your objectives.
Are you hoping to free up time for your employees so that they can focus on more strategic or creative tasks? Do you want to elevate your email marketing campaigns so you can deliver personalised, segmented messages to each of your audience segments?
By determining what you need from an automation tool, you can hone in on software that is known for having those attributes. For example, ActiveCampaign is really effective at combining email marketing, sales automation, and customer relationship management, whereas other tools are designed specifically for automating social media campaigns.
Comparing and Selecting Tools
When picking your perfect tool, remember that it’s not about what everyone else is using (although thousands of five-star reviews don’t hurt). It’s about what aligns with your specific marketing automation requirements.
Notice & Co founder, Deanna says, “When choosing which automation software is right for your business, write down the features that are important to you, then compare those features – and always take advantage of free trials where you can…try before you buy!”
As a starting point, here are some features to consider:
- Ease of use for you and your team
- Pricing – are there annual subscription discounts and scaling options?
- Analytics and reporting capabilities
- Level of support and troubleshooting offered
Scalable to suit your needs as your business grows
Implementing Your Marketing Automation Strategy
Integration with Existing Systems
Even when you think you’ve found the best tool for your marketing automation needs, it’s essential to consider how well it will integrate with your current systems and software.
Does it work well with your website, payment platform, membership, or course platforms? If you’re unsure, look for marketing automation software that is scalable, flexible, and offers hands-on support – particularly when it comes to the initial setup stage.
Staff Training and Adoption
When bringing new marketing automation software into your business, effective training will ensure that you and your team can take advantage of all the features you need to maximise the benefits for your business. If possible, working with a marketing automation expert who has in-depth knowledge of the tool can alleviate the training burden and ensure you’re using the tool to reach your wider strategic goals.
Measuring and Optimising Your Strategy
Setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
The foundation of any effective marketing automation strategy lies in setting clear and measurable KPIs. From lead conversion rates to engagement metrics, understanding how to set and track KPIs is pivotal for gauging the impact of your automation initiatives. After all, how will you know if your marketing automation is working if you don’t measure your efforts?
Some common marketing automation campaign KPIs to measure include:
- Customer acquisition cost
- Email open rates
- Unsubscribe email rates
- Click-through rates
Regularly reviewing your automation results will allow you to identify what’s working, what needs adjustment, and what new opportunities may have arisen. It also ensures you’re keeping an eye on your ROI. By embracing a culture of continuous improvement (including testing out new strategies) your marketing automation strategy can be optimised for long-term success.
The development of a robust marketing automation strategy involves some crucial elements if you want to ensure high marketing ROI and business growth. From setting goals to customer journey mapping, measuring your KPIs for continual improvement, and picking the right marketing automation tool, there’s a lot to consider.
When implemented effectively, marketing automation tools like ActiveCampaign can transform your business. If you’re not quite ready to navigate the automation landscape alone, it’s worth considering working with an expert to ensure your marketing endeavours are not just automated but done right from the start.
With Notice & Co, you can rest assured that everything is taken care of—no more unnecessary stress and worrying about whether your automations have been set up correctly or not.
Book a discovery call with our founder Deanna today to determine whether we’re a good fit for you and how we can find the solutions to your specific needs.
What are some common types of marketing automation campaigns?
Marketing automation offers a diverse range of campaigns that streamline processes and engage audiences at various stages of the customer journey. Here are some common types of marketing automation campaigns:
- Email marketing campaigns
- Social media scheduling
- Lead nurture programs
- eCommerce campaigns
- Customer onboarding and retention
- Cross-sell and up-sell campaigns
Can you give examples of successful marketing automation strategies?
Examples of successful marketing automation strategies that we have implemented at Notice & Co include:
- Delivering lead magnets for a well-known health and wellness business to re-engage old leads and convert them into paying customers.
- Developing a new customer onboarding sequence for a music course business, ensuring consistent engagement throughout the course and reminding customers to participate in live weekly sessions.
- Establishing a personaliSed SMS automation for a property industry company with a large team, sending messages promptly after website enquiries to enhance customer communication.
How do small businesses benefit differently from marketing automation compared to larger enterprises?
For small businesses with limited resources and people-power, automation is a game-changer. Automation tools allow smaller operations to nurture leads, send personalised communications, and manage social media with minimal manual effort.
While larger enterprises might have more extensive data and resources, the agility and efficiency gained through automation make marketing automation a particularly valuable asset for small businesses aiming to make a substantial impact with limited resources.
What are some common challenges faced when implementing marketing automation and how can they be mitigated?
Implementing marketing automation can present its share of challenges, including data integration complexities and technical issues. Phased implementation, effective training, and the avoidance of over-automation can help to minimise these challenges – but nothing’s quite as effective as working with an experienced automation expert to help you through the more challenge-filled times – particularly the initial setup stage.
How do I ensure compliance with data protection and privacy laws when using marketing automation?
Making sure you’re on the right side of data protection and privacy laws, especially with stuff like GDPR, is a big deal when you’re diving into marketing automation. From being upfront about how you collect data to making sure you’ve got solid security measures and easy opt-out options, it’s all about keeping things legal and respectful.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the ever-changing regulations and update your privacy policies – that way, you’re not just playing by the rules but also keeping things ethical.
How can I measure the ROI of my marketing automation efforts?
Whether you’re hoping to elevate your email marketing automation strategy or hone your more general marketing automation, measuring the effectiveness of your efforts is key.
KPIs such as customer acquisition cost, email open rates, unsubscribe rates, and click-through rates are common metrics to gauge the impact of your automation strategies. By consistently tracking and analysing these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into the performance of your marketing automation campaigns, to ensure you consistently deliver a tangible and positive return on investment.