Best Ways to Automate Your Marketing
AI and machine learning are rapidly changing the landscape of our lives, whether personal or professional. Digital marketing is one of the spheres where the benefits of these new technologies feel the most tangible, all thanks to the rise of marketing automation. This term refers to the process of automating a variety of repetitive tasks integral to digital marketing, as well as various tools and tactics used for it.
Before, marketers had time to complete these small tasks manually. With the development of the marketing industry and growing market demands, the number of these tasks only increased. But modern tech provided a timely solution for this, and automation became the focus of attention for many companies, big and small alike.
According to statistics, the majority of B2B companies are either planning or are already investing in marketing automation solutions, and there are many good reasons for doing so. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Top reasons to use marketing automation
Saving time & working more productively and efficiently
The success of marketing campaigns often depends on small tasks that are highly repetitive and require a substantial amount of time and effort to complete.
A lot of companies adopt extensive solutions to tackle this problem – they recruit more staff, increase the workload of team members, and so on. As a result, human errors and unfinished tasks become more frequent, and resources, especially the most valuable one – time – are not being used effectively enough.
Automation solves this problem easily, allowing professionals to achieve more in a shorter period of time.
Focus more on creative and intellectual work
Routine, repetitive work can be a serious obstacle on the road to professional growth, not allowing employees to fully realize their potential. As a result, job dissatisfaction grows, and it’s just as bad for the employees as it is for the employer.
Delegating mundane tasks to software tools can provide a great opportunity to strategize, create, and innovate more than was possible before, and those are the things that humans are much better at than machines.
Communicating fast and without delay
Timely communication with customers or between the teams is crucial for establishing a smooth workflow, building connections, and achieving business goals.
By automating the communication process you can make sure that every email or piece of information is being sent or shared just in time. This is crucial both for communicating with your customers and also inside your team. For example, automation tools can help you keep every staff member up-to-date with what’s going on and provide a personalized approach during your interactions with each and every customer, making the process of communication quick and effective.
Ensuring transparency and accountability
Software tools can make the process of delegating tasks and assigning roles easier, guaranteeing that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and every process runs as smoothly as possible. This also includes financial visibility: automation tools can provide necessary audit logs and reports, making it easy to track each and every penny that’s being spent.
Scaling up quickly and effectively
Scaling is essentially about generating more revenue by utilizing existing resources more efficiently, not by hiring more staff or spending more time and budget on solving problems.
And because automated processes are more resource-efficient and manageable, they are much easier to scale up than manually performed ones. Growth becomes more accessible than before: the costs, quality, and speed of completing the tasks stay the same, and only the scale itself changes.
Overall, automation can bring more returns for fewer investments, eliminating the possibility of mistakes or delays.
Now we can explore some tasks that can be successfully automated.
7 marketing tasks to automate
1. Email marketing
Among various tasks and processes that can be automated, email marketing is the top choice among the majority of B2B and B2C businesses.
Nowadays, it’s easier and cheaper to retain existing customers rather than acquire new ones. One of the most popular ways to achieve this is by interacting with them through personalized email campaigns.
It sounds easy when you don’t have that many customers to begin with. But what if you have hundreds or thousands of them? That’s when things can get hard pretty quickly. Human error, delays, lack of oversight, and impersonal approach – this combination can significantly decrease the efficiency of email campaigns.
This is where automation tools come to the rescue. They help with multiple email marketing tasks such as:
- creating email templates and flows targeted at different segments of the audience or tied to specific actions, behaviors, or events;
- sending personalized newsletters – it’s currently very much in demand due to the rise of subscription-based online publications;
- ensuring both proper timing of emails and a high degree of personalization;
- following up, i.e. reaching out to customers who haven’t replied or taken the action in the previous email after a certain amount of time.
Email marketing automation is a perfect example of how the workflow can be optimized with the help of software tools. However, this is just one application of automation tools.
Example: Mailchimp allows you to easily create and send highly personalized emails that drive more site traffic and sales.
2. Creating and publishing content
Many would probably argue that human genius is yet to find its counterpart in terms of imagination and creativity. However, it doesn’t mean that AI can’t help creators in this regard – there are a lot of tools on the market that have already proven themselves to be useful for content creation or copywriting.
Machine learning and natural language processing are two main technologies used by the best automation tools on the market. It may sound difficult, but this is precisely what makes the writing process a lot easier and faster.
Here are some things that automation tools can help with:
- writing copies and headlines that rank high on search engines;
- ensuring that the text is grammatically correct and has the right formatting;
- paraphrasing sentences in a specific way to make them more concise, engaging, or to fit a specific tone of voice;
- writing texts from scratch by providing the AI bot with a certain topic or keywords;
- creating all kinds of texts – from ad copies and headlines to longer social media posts and articles.
When it comes to creating visual content, automation tools can be useful for:
- creating in bulk, i.e. making multiple creatives of various sizes and formats;
- localizing and customizing creatives to fit specific platforms;
- creating templates and libraries that help creative teams work faster and make unique and recognizable visuals.
With automation tools, you’ll also be able to test everything you create and compare different versions against each other. This will equip you with objective knowledge of what works with which audience, making your campaigns much more successful.
Another crucial thing when it comes to content is to post it regularly across multiple channels. You can create content in advance, choose the right posting schedule, and leave the rest to the tools – they’ll not only publish your content for you but also show you winners and losers in terms of engagement.
With new AI technologies like stable diffusion becoming available for wide use, we’ll see more marketers relying on AI as an assistant or collaborator in content creation. Although AI tools can’t really compete with human creators (at least for now), they certainly can make their job a lot easier.
Creating diverse, high-quality content that your audience wants to see and delivering it at the right time and on the right platform – this is what a good content marketing strategy looks like. And with automation tools, you can easily build and maintain an online presence with a consistent tone of voice and brand image.
Example: with SproutSocial you can create, plan, and publish content for your social media all in one place.
3. Generating and scoring leads
Every marketer knows that lead generation is a key component of business growth. However, it doesn’t come without its difficulties – quality leads are hard to obtain, and sales teams often lack the time for a quick follow-up.
Marketing automation can be an effective solution to these problems because it helps to:
- generate more leads in general and more qualified leads in particular;
- score and prioritize leads based on their activity (website visits, ad clicks, form submissions, etc.) or intent;
- manage and filter leads based on their contact info when there’s not enough information;
- deliver messages to prospects and leads at the right time and follow up instantly;
- transfer information about leads from marketing to sales and client relationship departments;
- make leads convert at faster and higher rates;
- create effective lead-generation forms for your landing pages.
In short, automation tools can help you acquire and nurture leads, converting them into customers.
Example: Marketo makes it easy to identify and score potential customers, nurturing them with unique and personalized campaigns.
4. Managing relationships with customers
After establishing relationships with prospects during the lead generation phase, it becomes crucial to help them turn into customers and then retain them. But with the number of customers growing, it can be a bit tricky: it’s difficult to interact with everyone quickly and maintain an individualized approach.
That’s why investing in automation tools for tasks like this can be the best decision for any company looking to scale up.
The main role here is played by the CRM tools that tackle tasks related to almost all parts of the customer journey. Here’s what they can help you with:
- storing and updating data on prospects and customers;
- tracking customer touchpoints, interactions, and feedback;
- segmenting contacts based on certain criteria;
- developing a personalized approach for each group of contacts;
- contacting customers at the right time – scheduling calls, emails, etc.;
- providing customers with support and assistance at every step of their journey, including self-service options that are accessible at any time (for example, through chatbots).
Overall, CRM platforms integrated with email marketing tools and chatbots make it easier to get in touch with your customers via personalized and timely interactions.
You can significantly shorten the waiting time for your customers, ensure that they receive only relevant offers, and get all the support and guidance they might need. In turn, it will reduce the workload of your staff members and allow them to focus on interactions that require a one-on-one approach.
Example: Zendesk is one of the top CRM platforms that helps you provide top-notch support and personalized experience to each of your customers.
5. Reporting & analytics
Gathering data, analyzing it to detect trends and patterns, and reporting the findings are all important but challenging parts of marketing. They require attention to detail and diligence that can be hard to maintain when the workload is high, and automation tools have been quite effective at compensating for what we may lack in this regard.
Here are the main tasks that automation tools are good at:
- collecting data on leads, customers, sales, marketing, or advertising campaigns’ performance from multiple sources;
- processing, visualizing, and analyzing this data to notice the trends;
- creating comprehensive reports based on objective facts;
- interpreting data to create predictive analytics that can inform business decisions;
- finding the weak spots of your campaigns, detecting winners and losers;
- helping decision-makers to correct the course of action, determine the optimal budget, and plan for the future.
With automation tools, your decision-making process will be based on real data instead of speculations and guesses. And it is precisely this level of precision and accuracy that is required for a marketing strategy to be truly successful.
Example: Adobe Analytics delivers in-depth analytics and reports, increasing the accuracy of your plans and strategies.
6. Digital advertising
Advertising online is one of the best ways to execute laser-focused marketing campaigns and reach specific audiences. But whether you’re a seasoned advertiser or just a beginner, it can be hard to keep track of everything – check multiple metrics, analyze and solve performance issues, control ad budget, etc. It’s hard enough as it is, but it gets only harder when you’re running several ad campaigns at the same time and across multiple platforms.
That’s why ad automation tools exist. Besides easily creating visuals and copies for your ads, you can also use them to tackle tasks that come after it – running and managing ads, to be precise.
One way to automate your ads and ensure that they stay on top of their performance is by using automated rules that work based on real-time data. They can drastically cut the time required for monitoring and optimizing your campaigns.
Take ConvertBomb’s automated rules as an example. The process of creating and implementing these rules is quite simple and requires just a few clicks. But the results they deliver can truly change your advertising game and make campaigns more efficient, manageable, and easy to scale up.
Here’s what automated rules can help with:
- pausing underperforming ads, ad sets, or campaigns;
- running ads on a custom schedule, i.e. pausing them at certain times and restarting them when necessary;
- adjusting budgets based on performance or time to avoid overspending and maximize profits;
- changing bids and spending limits by a certain amount;
- duplicating ads and ad sets quickly;
- knowing precisely when performance levels drop by comparing the metrics for specific time frames.
With ConvertBomb’s automated rules you can quickly pause ad campaigns when they don’t show good results.
In short, automated rules allow advertisers to save a lot of time managing their ads and maximize the ROI, bringing their advertising strategy to a new level.
Example: ConvertBomb utilizes the latest technologies and marketing experts’ insights to help you monitor and optimize ad campaigns 24/7 effortlessly.
Ultimately, marketing serves one purpose – generating more revenue, which is driven primarily by sales. And according to the research of McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), more than 30% of sales-related tasks can be automated. This makes sales a worthy candidate for automation, promising to close deals at faster and higher rates.
With sales automation tools, you can easily tackle the following tasks:
- personalize and automate the outreach to customers based on their level in the sales funnel;
- track sales, KPIs, and other metrics to create better strategies and plans;
- transfer data about sales to marketing departments to develop better marketing strategies;
- process and manage every task that comes with a purchase: this includes billing (e.g. credit checking, invoicing), inventory, shipping, restocking;
- interact with customers after the sale has been made: this includes follow-ups and updates, cross- and upselling, journey optimization, subscription renewals, etc.
All in all, sales automation can help increase success rates without utilizing more resources and give sales teams an opportunity to focus more on strategy and interactions with top-priority customers.
Example: automating your sales workflow and closing more deals in a shorter time is smooth and easy with Salesforce.
How to automate effectively
Now that we’ve covered the specific tasks that can be automated, it’s time to consider how to approach automation thoughtfully.
1. Determine tasks that need and can be automated without a reduction in quality
Tasks that consume a lot of time and involve a high degree of repetition will be the first in line for automation. In general, the more monotonous a task is, the better the outcome of automating it will be.
Make sure that this task is also not too complex to be handled by the algorithms and that you can maintain a certain level of human oversight – this way you can be sure that you’re not compromising the quality of results.
2. Find the right tools
Automation tools can be either multi-functional, automating a whole set of related processes, or built to tackle specific marketing tasks. These tools can be rather costly, but the long-term benefits of utilizing them justify the investment.
When choosing the right tools, consider what business needs they can meet and which goals they can help to achieve. Moreover, you can evaluate the compatibility of a certain software tool with your objectives by using the free trial opportunity provided by many services.
3. Help your team get accustomed to using automation tools
Besides the clear benefits of utilizing marketing automation tools, statistics also show that a lack of experience and training can be an obstacle to successful automation. That is why it’s crucial to educate staff members and show how these tools can help them with their daily tasks.
4. Ensure that your automation strategy works and can be maintained in the long run
Before fully diving into the world of automation, it’s necessary to consider the strategy behind your efforts. This means you need to establish clear goals, select the right set of tools for achieving them, and also make sure you have enough resources (whether financial or human) to execute your strategy properly.
And don’t forget to evaluate the success of your strategy by looking at the results it delivers. If they are not satisfying enough, it’s never too late to revise and correct the course taken, or even choose a new one altogether.
Various automation tools amplify human intelligence and creativity rather than replace them. They help professionals spot the opportunities and weak links that the human eye might have missed and solve problems faster and more effectively.
With modern software tools, it’s possible to automate almost all parts of marketing, starting from simple tasks and moving toward more sophisticated forms of automation. The process goes from generating leads and guiding them through their conversion journey to establishing and maintaining long-lasting relationships with them.
In short, automation tools deliver speed without compromising on quality, making the common idiom of our times – “work smarter, not harder” – a reality rather than just a catchy phrase. And as experts predict further growth in the sector in coming years, this is the right time to seize the opportunity and start automating your marketing now to reap all the benefits.