Marketing automation: How to get started, plus 5 top tips for success

December 16, 2019

Marketing automation software does what it says on the tin: it’s technology which relieves some of the pressures of marketing your business, product or service, by automating your marketing processes.

No longer just the secret weapon of larger enterprises, marketing automation makes campaigns for businesses of any size easier to manage. From email to social, websites to text messaging, automation technology works across multiple channels – and across different touchpoints in the customer journey too.

But with hundreds of tools available, where do you start?

Luckily, we have tonnes of experience with automation software at P+S. In this blog, we’ll break down why it’s worth investing in automation, how it all works, and give you five top tips to make sure it’s a success.

So, if you’re searching for a way to deliver more qualified sales leads with less supervision, nurture customers more effectively while conserving your resources, and reduce your marketing spend while increasing sales opportunities, read on.

What does marketing automation do?

In short, automation software can do almost anything. One of the biggest benefits is that it saves you time and resources – no more having to hit ‘send’ on every action you take. Plus, automation tools give you one place to manage multiple marketing streams, collect customer data and customise your campaigns.

Some of the tasks automation software can assist with include:

  • Scheduling and sending emails, social posts and other campaign collateral
  • Tracking and analysing campaign goals, and reporting at customer level
  • Automatically triggering messaging based on customer behaviour
  • Creating personalised experiences for customers based on their interactions or where they are in the user journey
  • Curating mass marketing campaigns; delivering content quickly and seamlessly to a wide audience.

With the right automation software, you can liberate your team’s time and creativity. So members are free to work on bolder ideas for attracting customers, free to aim for more ambitious targets, and free to expand your business into new growth markets.

But your team still needs to deploy, optimise and develop your marketing software strategy: team members will still need to do the thinking, while the ‘heavy lifting’ is carried out by the technology.

How to get started with marketing automation

There are thousands of different MarTech providers out there, offering hundreds of marketing automation solutions. Choosing the right one can be a bit of a minefield.

The best place to start is by identifying your business’s most critical needs. Are you taking too long to react to customers’ buying signals? Or maybe you regularly find yourself chasing the wrong leads? Make a list of your most urgent issues – there will undoubtedly be a tool designed to solve them. Once you’ve covered the business critical, you can then increase this list to include ‘nice-to-haves’ to help you further narrow down your options.

It’s important to create tangible goals, too. Not only will these help you measure your progress after deploying your technology, they will also help you to ascertain whether the investment is worthwhile for your business – and to justify that choice to your stakeholders, too. Using SMART objectives is a strong starting point for developing goals that make the most sense for your business.

Top tips for marketing automation success

Whichever provider you decide is best for you, there are a few ways to optimise the approach further.

1. Walk before you run.

Whatever software solution you settle on, choose to focus on simpler automation processes first, using simple data sets. This could be pre-scheduling some of your social posts, or regular marketing emails. Once you’re sure you know exactly how well this works, and that you’re benefiting from doing so, you can begin automating more complex processes with more tailored audience segments too: personalised automated upselling for customers who’ve shown interest in certain products, for example.

2. Keep it familiar.

Any campaign you’re managing with automation software should complement your existing marketing. This isn’t the opportunity to overhaul your tone of voice and begin bombarding people with daily newsletters. You’ll still want to focus on enriching your customers’ lives with relevant news, information and products.

3. Identify your champion.

Employing new software is easier when your team is receptive to the change. Who will drive its success within your business?

Identifying someone to be the internal champion of your automation software is a powerful move. Usually, this person is in a senior position, acting as an authority on the tech as well as a successful user of it. This person’s guidance and experience will also help you make decisions about training and support requirements, and put plans in place for the adoption and rollout process.

4. Make it mean something.

The goal here isn’t to just market as much as you can – it’s to increase the value of your brand to your customers, using automation to build a long-term relationship with them. Automation enables you to interact with them in a more meaningful and relevant way, to build brand loyalty at every point in their journey.

5. Never lose sight of your goal.

And, of course, this wouldn’t be a P+S blog without us mentioning measurable goals. As previously stated, setting clear, ambitious but achievable KPIs from the very beginning will allow you to measure your success. Lead scoring and nurturing data should form a part of these KPIs, and will help you to establish a business case for continued investment.

Start your marketing automation journey now

Even the strongest marketing team can benefit from automation technology. Half of the challenge of marketing today is collecting, organising and applying insights from a flood of customer data – which is easier said than done.

From website visits, to open rates, clicks, social engagement, events and forms – the amount of customer information available is truly staggering. But by analysing it all, you can identify key behaviours which can then become a trigger for marketing automation processes. It means you can immediately respond to those triggers, and exponentially improve the efficiency and value of your marketing.

At P+S we work with our clients to ensure their marketing automation software gives every customer a better, more personalised experience. We’ll save your marketing teams countless hours on repetitive tasks, and ensure your business never misses an opportunity to connect with customers across every touchpoint – no matter where they are in their user journey.

Plus, not only do we help you make more of your customer data, we also measure the results – and continually optimise them, to become even greater.

Think you’re ready to get started? Or still have questions about the process?

Drop us a line at marketing@proctors.co.uk