If you’ve been studying how to improve your business’ digital presence, there is a good chance that you have come across the term “marketing automation.” If you’re like most people, you’re probably asking yourself what that means, exactly.
You might have a faint idea of what it means. You might know that you can automate email marketing. But you aren’t fully sure what marketing automation is and what it entails.
Full, comprehensive marketing automation isn’t limited to email marketing campaigns. It is ever-present throughout all of your marketing programs.
Here at RiseFuel, marketing automation is included in every engagement with a new client. Always. A modern marketing system requires automation in at least some areas, enabling four in five marketers to increase their leads using the strategy.
But to fully understand the answer to the question “What does marketing automation do?” — we first have to define what we mean when we say “marketing automation.”
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation refers to a software solution that automates specific aspects of your marketing with you.
This automation could be as simple as automating an individual task (like collecting social media information about prospects), or automating entire strategies, providing a fully hands-off approach.
Marketing automation software is designed to help you prioritize your most important marketing tasks and execute those tasks in a more efficient way.
Marketing automation systems are designed to supplement your manual marketing efforts. They take repetitive work out of the hands of your experienced marketing staff, allowing them to focus on big-picture strategies and tactics. Automation is designed to make your marketing investment go farther, faster.
But even with this explanation, it’s difficult to fully understand without seeing marketing automation in action. Although, the page that your reading this article on uses marketing automation principles in various ways. See if you can spot them.
Marketing Automation Examples
Let’s dive into some marketing automation examples that can show you some of the different ways that automation can tie into broader digital marketing strategies.
Some of the common ways that marketing automation is employed includes:
Prospecting & Lead Capture Workflow Automation
Prospecting is something that every B2B company has to engage in. You should always have a pipeline of new prospects and clients coming into your system. For many, that means manual outreach.
Marketing automation can help with cold outreach in a variety of ways. There are plenty of programs that allow you to find email addresses within companies and directly email decision makers that might have an interest in your product.
You can automate and track direct mail marketing campaigns. There are also marketing automation processes that can be combined with digital advertising to automate your ad optimization and lead capture workflows.
Email Marketing Automation
Email marketing automation is perhaps the best known and most common form of marketing automation. Email just lends itself so well to automation that it has become the defacto choice by many.
The most prominent way that we use email marketing is through lead nurturing campaigns. These are campaigns that attempt to build rapport, trust, and awareness with your prospects initially.
Over time, your continual delivery of educational materials that help them to better understand your product, company, and industry, then build interest in your product.
Finally, an automated email nurturing sequence will then shift into sales mode, trying to convince the prospect to buy your product.
Ultimately, lead nurturing automation attempts to walk your prospects through the buying process. In the beginning, prospects just want to have a basic understanding of what your product is and how it could solve their specific problems.
Over time, you flesh out the details to provide your prospects with a complete understanding of why your product might be the right choice for them.
Social Media Automation
Social media automation is another cornerstone of digital marketing automation. Social media requires a consistent presence to build your following and connect with new customers.
But realistically, who has time to login to their account every day to post new updates, send new requests, and engage in conversations at scale?
For social media to be effective, there does have to be a certain amount of by-hand work. It’s simply not possible to engage in meaningful conversations fully with automation. But automation can be extremely helpful.
With software, you can schedule the social media updates that you send out. You can also automate messages that you send to people who follow you, fall within specific parameters on LinkedIn, or are posting updates about subjects that closely align with your business.
Additionally, as I’ve written about in the past, chatbot marketing provides an excellent opportunity to connect prospects with information, capture lead info, and generally provide a better experience through automation.
Social media automation is required, in some form, to have a growing and active social media presence.
However, finding the right balance between social media and handling tasks by-hand is critical. No one likes feeling like they are talking to a bot.
Pricing automation is a strategy that revolves around using software to find the optimal price point for your products to maximize conversions. Pricing automation monitors traffic that comes to your site, displaying different prices and testing the results.
Sometimes even small changes to pricing can have a big impact on your conversion rate. Pricing automation is typically part of a larger automated optimization strategy that can be deployed throughout your website.
Automate and Grow
Marketing automation is all about savings. Saving you time. Saving you money. Saving you heartache. The end goal is to put your company in a position to grow organically. With automation, you can focus on big-picture strategies that drive that growth.
Here at RiseFuel, we bake marketing automation into every marketing plan we create. What does marketing automation do? It positions you to grow.