What is marketing automation and how can it help your marketing?

Marketing your company can be a full-time job for a whole team of professionals and can increase your revenue when done correctly.

Not every company can hire a team of top marketing professionals.

However, and for startups or small businesses, the right marketing can mean the difference between growing and shutting your doors for good.

The technique of automating your marketing can help cut the work down to one point-of-contact at your company and is changing the world of business in increasingly effective ways.

To make the most of this technique you will need to know and understand the answers to some key questions such as what marketing automation is, how to effectively use it, and what metrics you should have to determine its success.

What is marketing automation?

The technology of marketing automation manages processes and campaigns across different platforms and multiple channels without step-by-step guidance from you. This means you can target your customers with the information you need to get them automatically through email, advertisements on websites, and social media posts just by filling out a form on the marketing automation software.

You can build your own templates or use ones already created by the software developer, and you can even modify them mid-campaign to get the best results possible.

How does marketing automation work?

This marketing automation technology streamlines the mundane and most time-consuming tasks of marketing through adaptive software and the expertise of experienced professionals so that you and your team can focus on other things.

For instance, you can put the information you need to send to the customers into the template and the automated system will send out the emails, text messages, or social media posts without you having to hit send on each one.

Your marketing will still be in the voice of your brand and sent to those customers who are signed up for various notifications, but you will save a lot of time.

How is the customer affected?

You gather information on your customers through a variety of ways including purchase forms, social media interactions, and emails. This data forms a good picture of your customer base and helps generate lists for the various things your company does.

The marketing automation systems will streamline your sorting and targeting processes to make sure that the right information gets into the hands of interested customers.

For instance, if your company sells organizational supplies for both home and office and you have customers who are only interested in office supplies, then that group of customers will receive newsletters highlighting new office products while another group will get the ones featuring home organization tips.

What are the best practices for marketing automation?

When you are designing your automated system, it is a good idea to have some clearly defined goals to present to your investors and your marketing team. Make sure to consult with the other teams in your company this will affect such as your website management, customer service, and product development teams. This can help you create a better process visualization as well as better integrate the new system into the company.

Before you roll out your new marketing automation system, you will want to have a system to segregate your contact lists by relevant keywords and build a library of related content. This content library will need to be added to over time and feature engaging blog posts, video tutorials, and other relevant media to attract the attention of your customers.

These systems are best staggered in release to provide enough time between releases for customers to absorb the information and for you to gather relevant data. This allows you to tweak the next release according to what you learned from the last one.

Does outsourcing marketing help?

When you outsource some or all your marketing, especially building the marketing automation systems, you can take advantage of having the input of professionals without having to pay for a full-time staff.

This can help startups and small businesses get better results for less overhead and stay competitive with larger companies and corporations.

When you are looking for a new marketing automation system, you can find and choose partners who allow you to outsource many tasks and streamline many more.

How do you best choose a partner?

Choosing a marketing automation technology or company to work with can be the biggest part of the challenge in moving to this type of system. There are many options out there and the rates are incredibly competitive.

One thing to look for in a marketing automation system is the features that they offer.

Some will be more easily integrated with your current software than others, some will offer metrics features to keep you updated on how your campaigns are doing, and some will offer you live support and troubleshooting. This can factor into the price you are paying for the service and your individual company’s needs can play a big part in the value of options that you find.

When should you track marketing campaigns?

It is best to start small with any new marketing campaign or process to make sure that you are on the right track before you scale it up to take over the whole marketing department. It is also a good idea to start gathering metrics and analyzing data from the very beginning.

Marketing campaigns are usually quick to show results and will need to constantly change to keep up with both the market and the changing needs of your company and clients.

How do you best calculate success?

Calculating the success of your marketing automation solutions will need to include many different factors such as whether the campaigns are bringing in at much or more business as previous ones, how much time and money you are saving with the current system, and how easy it is to use and understand.

You can gather this information from sales, customer feedback, and internal data as well as through talking with the various teams involved to see where improvements have been made or need to be made.

Changing business with marketing automation

The way you market to customers can have a big impact on the growth and success of your company. You can change your techniques so that more of the time-consuming marketing tasks are automated such as sending out emails and sorting customers into targeted campaign groups with the help of a marketing partner. Some solutions these partners offer include automated systems, analytics and metrics, or even troubleshooting support.

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This guest blog article was written by Kevin Gardner, who graduated with a bachelor’s of science in Computer Science and an MBA from UCLA. He works as a business consultant for InnovateBTS where he helps companies integrate technology to improve performance. He shares his knowledge and expertise not only with his clients but with his fellow bloggers and readers. Follow him on Twitter @kevgardner83