Marketing automation is the use of software and technology to streamline, measure, and automate marketing tasks and workflows. In other words, it’s a way to more effectively promote your products or services by using automation to manage repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
But what does that mean for small businesses? And how can you get started with marketing automation? Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is the process of using software platforms and tools to streamline, measure, and automate your marketing tasks and workflows.
Not only does this free up your time so you can focus on other aspects of running your business, but it also allows you to be more strategic and intentional with your marketing efforts. When done correctly, marketing automation can help you nurture leads, close deals, and grow your business—all while building better relationships with your customers.
How Does Marketing Automation Work?
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is marketing automation?” it’s time to take a look at how it works. In order to automate your marketing efforts, you’ll need to use a software platform or tool that integrates with your website and other existing systems (like your CRM).
Most marketing automation platforms will allow you to:
• Segment your audience based on different criteria (location, job title, age, etc.)
• Create targeted campaigns for each segment
• Schedule and send emails, social media messages, and other communications
• Measure the results of your campaigns so you can adjust accordingly
• And more!
Of course, every business is different, so the specific features you’ll need from a marketing automation tool will vary depending on your unique needs and goals. But in general, these are some of the most commonly used features.
Getting Started with Marketing Automation
Now that we’ve answered the questions “what is marketing automation?” and “how does marketing automation work?”, it’s time to talk about how you can get started with implementing it in your own business. If you’re new to the world of marketing automation, here are a few tips to help you get started:
Don’t try to do too much too quickly. Pick one or two areas of your marketing efforts to automate first and then expand from there as you become more comfortable with the process.
Choose the right tool for your business.
There are dozens (if not hundreds) of different marketing automation platforms and tools on the market today. Do some research before selecting one so you can be sure it’s the right fit for both your needs and budget.
Consider taking advantage of free trials or demo versions to test out each platform before making a final decision.
It is always a smart idea to take advantage of free trials or demo versions when looking into new platforms. You can test them out, see how everything works for you and decide whether this will be something worth investing time in long-term instead. Talk to other businesses in your industry to see if they have any recommendations for good platforms to use.
Set aside time for learning & training.
Once you’ve selected a platform or tool to use for automating your marketing efforts, make sure you allocate adequate time for learning how to use it properly. This might involve attending webinars or classes, reading documentation, or working with a consultant.
Define what success looks like.
It’s important that you have measurable goals in mind for each campaign before you get started. This will make it easier for you to track progress and determine whether or not each campaign was successful. Without defined goals, it will be difficult — if not impossible — to know if your campaigns are having the desired effect. With that said, don’t forget to budget time for ongoing optimization and adjustments of each campaign based on data and analytics. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so give yourself some grace as you learn the ins and outs of using marketing automation and implementing it into your business. These things take time and practice! But once you get the hang of things, I’m sure you’ll find that marketing automation is well worth the effort.
Overall, marketing automation can save you time while helping you attract and retain customers more effectively. While it may seem daunting at first, just remember to take things one step at a time and keep your goals small and achievable at first. Also don’t forget to consult others in the industry and take definite action steps in order to move forward with marketing automation such as attending webinars or classes, reading documentation and working with a consultant. Utilizing these tips will surely help ease you into the wonderful world of marketing automation.