Many aspects of marketing require a careful hands-on approach to ensure proper application, timely scheduling, and successful implementation. 3 Ways MA_RubeGoldberg_ImageHowever, as technology has advanced, tapping into the power and sophistication of marketing automation has shifted from being a nice-to-have to being an essential reality.

The reason? Marketing automation unshackles you from a host of manual tasks and allows you to focus your time on the important things: revenue-building campaigns, sales and marketing productivity, lead generation, and long-term customer relationships.

Here are 3 ways marketing automation can improve the quality of your marketing efforts:

1. Better personalization: Your leads, customers, and visitors expect a more personalized experience, such as content that’s specific to their interests, and promotions and offers that resonate with their needs and lifestyles. (A fortysomething unmarried man would probably have little interest in wedding gown promotions.)

Marketing automation systems provide a suite of capabilities that optimize your personalization efforts, including:

  • Website visitor tracking that lets you see who visits your site, where they came from, and what they’re looking for. This enables you to dynamically serve content and promotions based on your visitor’s digital history.
  • Personalized landing pages that sustain continuity for your targeted campaigns and increase conversion rates.
  • Forms that allow visitors to directly tell you what they’re interested in.
  • Tracking of paid search and SEO campaigns that help you optimize your pages and promotions.
  • List segmentation, one of the most powerful and effective techniques for targeting specific audiences with the right content at the right time, which is key from the top to the bottom of the funnel, as well as post-sale.

2. Better use – and advantage – of social media: The power of social media is its potential to take traditional word-of-mouth advertising and amplify it exponentially, globally, and rapidly. It’s clearly been a boon (and occasionally a bane) for business.

Unfortunately, a majority of companies continue to view social media as only a megaphone for their messages, wrapping success metrics around sentiment scores; that is, how often and how positively they’re mentioned in the blogosphere.

Marketing automation can help you harness more of social media’s upside potential and make it even more effective and useful.

For example, you can:

  • Make all your campaigns social (and trackable) by adding social sharing buttons to your emails, landing pages, and forms.
  • Turn “social listening” into a lead-generation tool, leveraging your marketing automation platform’s ability to uncover your strongest advocates and engage with them. (Act-On’s Twitter Prospector uses targeted search terms to find tweeters who are most receptive to your products and promotions.)
  • Monitor your competition and benchmark your Facebook and LinkedIn traffic, tweets, and video views – as well as your web traffic and keywords – against your competitors.
  • Keep your workforce in the loop by communicating the latest messages, notifications, news, etc. to your on-the-go employees via their preferred social platforms.

3. Better data-based insights: Analytics is where the rubber meets the road on sales and marketing campaigns. Were they successful? Which test won? Was ROI achieved?

Marketing automation systems are designed to hone and distill cross-channel data into a single view, providing companies with the right information to accurately measure and analyze campaign performance, and quickly make strategic business decisions.

Here are some of the ways marketing automation data and analytics suites can help sales and marketing execs optimize performance:

  • Site analytics, including who’s coming to your site, how they got there, and what they did.
  • Real-time alerts that give sales an immediate heads up when specific leads are visiting the website or performing certain actions. This empowers sales with the right information to more effectively engage with and nurture the lead.
  • Campaign effectiveness, from general performance metrics (e.g., email opens, link clicks) to more in-depth capabilities such as attribution modeling.
  • Testing, including A/B split testing on creative elements and a wide range of targeted segmentation.
  • ROI on your marketing spend, from SEO and pay-per-click to registrations and resources.

Interested in becoming a better marketer? That’s exactly what Act-On’s Center of Excellence was created to help you do. With deep resources organized by topic, we want ACE to be your go-to marketing resource: visit the act-on center of excellence

Image of “I love Rube Goldberg” by Todd Van Hoosear, used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.