Marketing automation tools provide an automated way to nurture leads and communicate with your contacts. Automating these outbound marketing processes frees up valuable resources and time while providing consistent customer communications and reduced errors.

After reading this you will understand how you can use marketing automation in your business. Marketing automation can work for any size business and there are options for any size budget. Make the automation of emails, social network updates, follow up calls, text offers, or online surveys second nature to your marketing team.

Examples

If marketing automation is unfamiliar to you, take a moment to read these three examples to familiarize yourself with its power.

Lead Nurture

A Lead fills out a web form granting them access to a white paper. A day later a reminder email can be sent to download the paper if the lead has not done so. A week later a follow up email can be sent to schedule a call to answer any questions.

Completed Purchase Transaction

A Customer adds items to their cart and checks out online. A confirmation of purchase email is sent out immediately. A confirmation of shipment email is sent when the items are shipped. A week later, an email is sent asking for product reviews.

Shopping Cart Abandonment

A Customer adds items to a shopping cart then leaves your website and does not complete the purchase. An email can be sent a hour later reminding them that there are items in their cart. If still no purchase a day later, another email can be sent with an incentive to complete the purchase.

Features

Marketing automation tools are sometimes an add-on to a CRM or can be a stand alone tool. Other tools have a CRM built right in. Let’s take a look at some of the most common features of marketing automation tools.

Email Marketing
The number one feature that you will use is the automation of email communication. From a one-off broadcast sent to a segment of your contact list, to sequential emails sent to someone who clicked a link, this feature is the one that will impact your internal resources the most.

Web forms and pages
Most tools give the user the ability to create and publish web forms, thank you pages and other landing pages. When set up correctly users can track which contacts visited which pages through which campaign.

CRM for Leads, Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities
When you can connect a response from a contact within your campaign, to the assignment of a follow up task, then you have hit the motherload for sales & marketing. Additional features such as lead scoring, deduplication and tagging (for categorization) makes for a well rounded CRM experience.

Campaign Management
A centralized place to track all pieces of a campaign from the budget to communications makes for more efficiency. Some tools also allow for third party integration (ex. GoToWebinar) for complete campaign management.

Social Integration
Some tools provide pretty cool features within in this overall feature. A simple social sharing button to sophisticated ways to view Facebook posts allow you to craft the way a campaign can play out on social media.

Reporting
Any system that provides data should also provide a way to look at that data in a meaningful display. Some marketing automation tools come with standard reports while others give you the flexibility to craft your own reports.

There are many other features available such as calendars, lead assignments or online shopping carts and you can explore those features in either a demo or a free trial of the tools.

Ensure Success

When designing your first automated marketing campaign, take the time to understand the pieces of it: the goal, the timing, the audience, the channel you will use, who will control it, the metrics to determine success. If this is all Greek to you then you can take the time to educate yourself, bring on board a marketing professional or hire a third party to guide you along the way.

Avoid Failure

You must be excited at this point and have begun to dream of how you can create a campaign to attract new leads and then send a sequence of emails to nurture them. In order to successfully launch this idea I suggest you take the time to learn the tool you committed to. What I mean is, watch all the video tutorials, read the message boards, join a usergroup on Facebook and attend meetups.

Then try out a small campaign on yourself and others at your company. Get a true feel for how things will work and how it may be perceived. Another option is to enlist the services of a third party. Many marketing automation providers offer their tools through affiliates, consultants and vendors. Those channels can also set up your campaigns and ensure they are working the way you intended.

Conclusion

Marketing automation can make you more efficient by freeing up time and resources. It can reduce errors in customer communications, and the automation ensures your communications are timely. There are so many options for marketing automation out there and in another post we can explore a few with their features, benefits, and costs. In the meantime you can contact Caffeine for a complimentary 30 minute consultation on marketing automation and how to marry it to your website and online presence.

Danielle Rydberg

Danielle Rydberg

Danielle, a scientific thinker, received her MBA from UMass and has focused on Customer Success & Marketing since then. She started off with basic market research and competitive analysis and has expanded her skill set to include customer success, campaign management, CRM administration, lead generation, sales support, and customer training. Danielle, a native New Yorker, now lives outside of Boston, MA.