A marketing and sales professional on the cutting edge knows that marketing automation (MA) helps identify and reach a customer with purchase intentions. In the first phase, you are also able to reduce manual work and increase your customer communications. You can get started without any heavy and time-consuming implementation processes. So give a moment of your time for automation, its time is now!
We organize Marketing automation related webinars on Fridays at 9-9:30 AM. Come and hear how marketing automation can benefit your sales and marketing! Please notice that our webinars are held in Finnish.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is a generic term for technologies, with help of which companies can automate marketing routines and marketing communications. In most cases, marketing automation is understood to include only the latter one.
Marketing automation is first and foremost about saving time and a successful cooperation of sales and marketing. In an ideal situation marketing automation:
1. saves time from marketing by automating routine tasks
2. makes marketing more effective by automating marketing communications
3. improves marketing follow-up by identifying individual website visitors
4. increases customer interest in products and services little by little with help of automated drip campaigns, which send customers messages in different stages
5. identifies customer’s interest at the right time, and informs the sales about the customer as a warm lead
We at Vine find that marketing automation can be roughly divided into two sectors. In its simplest form, marketing automation means specifically automating the simple but time-consuming tasks and manual work of marketing. For example, newsletter unsubscribes, processing bounce messages, and various data transfers from excel to another are some of these routines that can be easily automated.
Automation takes care of the routines for you. Thus, you don’t have to be worried about your next newsletter being accidentally sent to a person who has unsubscribed, for example. Or worry about a bunch of possible invalid email addresses among the recipient list of your message. If you haven’t taken care of the aforementioned at all, you might get your message recipients irritated and damage your company image. In the worst case, you might end up on so called blacklists which leads to your messages being treated as spam. Marketing automation, on the other hand, learns continuously from every sending. Your messages won’t be sent to those who either don’t want to or can’t receive them. With help of automation, your messages will reach their recipients and the right people.
Target your marketing communications
In addition to automating routines, marketing automation is about automating marketing communications itself. Marketing communications can here include, for instance, regular newsletters or simply sales emails.
Regular marketing communications keeps the company in recipient’s mind and increases the interest little by little. A recipient interested for example in a company’s specific product category can be defined as a recipient of so called drip campaign messages, with help of marketing automation. Those personalized drip messages will be sent to the customer at specific times with help of automation. Automation enables you to set marketing communications to begin for example once a customer has filled in a form on your company website, or once the customer has visited a specific website of yours.
Marketing automation also makes it possible to identify recipients and follow their individual reactions; who clicked and which link, and what did they do after that for example on your website. Marketing follow-up becomes much more efficient with help of marketing automation. With automation, marketing is able to send specific information to sales about who’s interested in company’s products or services. Sales get warm leads, and contact the right people at the right time of interest.
The growth path of marketing automation
You benefit the most from marketing automation when following the right path, step by step. You can reach large-scale and measurable results only by automating routines and with regular communications.
In the following, we will introduce five steps through which you can start marketing automation bit by bit:
1. Automate routines
Up-to-date marketing database (read our previous blog) is a requirement for email marketing and a good stepping stone for marketing automation.
Unsubscribes of newsletters, processing bounce messages and various data transfers from excel to another are examples of marketing routines which can be automated.
2. Communicate regularly
Most marketing automations have essentially to do with communications tools like email marketing. Regular marketing communications, like a newsletter (read our previous blog), is a great starting point for utilizing MA. Regular marketing communications keeps the company in recipient’s mind and increases the interest little by little.
Regular communications isn’t, however, a requirement for marketing automation. In its simplest form, MA can be utilized for example in sales emails.
3. Identify visitors and reactions
We find one of marketing automation’s best offerings to be its ability to improve marketing follow-up. It enables identifying individual customer reactions accurately. For instance, when it comes to newsletters, MA is able to tell which individual clicked a link in the newsletter and which pages the people have viewed after that. During the first visit, cookies will be saved on the browser. With help of those, MA identifies the person every time they visit the website in the future. Visitors can also be identified when they fill in a form on the website.
Website visitor identification and visitor follow-up help not only improve marketing but also react to customers’ interest in company’s products and services.
4. Increase interest little by little
One of the goals of marketing automation is increasing the customer’s interest little by little to reach purchase decision. Based on our experience, the results of communications are better if messages are personalized for example with recipient’s name, and adjusted based on recipient’s responsibilities and interests.
Marketing automation offers a great opportunity for that: so called drip campaigns. Drip campaigns are messages designed and planned beforehand, which MA personalizes and sends to customers at specific times.
5. Bring leads to sales use immediately
Successful marketing is able to arouse customer interest. The purpose of marketing automation is to identify customer interest and inform the sales about it.
Marketing automation gives the customer lead score when they click newsletters and browse the website. After reaching a certain, pre-set lead score amount, MA interprets the customer having sufficient interest in company’s products and services, and brings the customer on sales call lists as a warm lead.
Step by step, marketing automation brings benefits both to your sales and your marketing. It’s not about one demanding and giant leap. Marketing automation, at its best, enables an efficient cooperation of your sales and marketing. You’ll save time, guide marketing and sales activities towards the right people at the right time, ensure a better follow-up of your marketing effects, and improve your sales at the same time.
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We launched our own ready-to-use marketing automation solution about a year ago. Get a taste of Vine marketing automation and see your own lead score as an example.
Read also our other Marketing automation -blogs: