Do you hate having a messy inbox? Is your calendar filled with endless marketing activities that you’re struggling to find time for? One change you can make is implementing marketing automation. Marketing automation is a technology software that streamlines and automates your marketing activities. It can help with marketing functions such as email marketing, social media, workflow activities, lead management, and customer relationship marketing. Over 67% of organizations have implemented marketing automation, with B2B companies leading the way. Another 21% of companies plan to implement automation software within the next few years to continue the growing trend. In fact, annual marketing automation spend is expected to increase to $25.1 billion by 2023.
Benefits of Marketing Automation
There are three primary benefits of implementing marketing automation into your marketing strategy.
According to a study by Adestra, 74% of marketers said the number one benefit to marketing automation was saving time.
The streamlining and automation of your marketing activities such as email marketing, social media, and lead management allows you to focus on other areas of your business. This means that if you have a physical store location, you can focus on sales and managing your team.
Marketing automation acts as a database to store your marketing data and receive feedback on marketing analytics. Having your marketing data stored in one place makes for more convenient access to content.
A study by Nucleus Research shows that companies using marketing automation not only saw a sales increase of 14.5% but also saw a cost savings of 12.2% due to the reduction in marketing overhead.
Time is money. Being able to spend your time doing other organizational activities leads to more revenue and a greater marketing return on investment (ROI). The marketing analytics provided through marketing automation allows you to optimize marketing ROI by testing new strategies and finding the best way to connect with your target market.
TFM&A Insights, an industry analysis company, performed a study that shows 36% of companies use marketing automation to automate repetitive tasks.
Having a streamlined marketing automation strategy ensures that you’re connecting with your customers and prospects at the optimal time. Don’t miss out on other sales and upsells due to being too busy with repetitive work activities. Marketing automation will also help remove long-term non-responders from your email list (subscribers who don’t open your emails), which otherwise would have a negative impact on your performance numbers.
How Marketing Automation Helps
Marketing automation can help with many activities in your marketing plan. The following are the most common areas to automate:
Marketing automation can provide multichannel statistics to compare the effectiveness of each social channel, which in turn saves time from needing to transfer data from each channel individually.
Using automation for email allows you to segment your customers and send emails that will appeal to the reader. A MailChimp study determined that email recipients are 75% more likely to open an email if it is customized to their interests through segmentation.
Marketing automation also allows you to send the proper follow-up or “triggered” email to their action. For instance, if a reader downloads a case study, a triggered email could thank them for downloading. Another email could follow suit days later with an additional offer such as a discount on a service. Triggered emails receive a 152% higher click-through rate and a 70% higher open rate compared to standard emails, as reported by an Epsilon Email Institute study.
Lastly, email marketing automation saves time from sending each email manually and can save you from potentially emailing your customers too often. A HubSpot study showed that 78% of consumers have unsubscribed from email lists in the past due to the volume of messages received from a brand. If you’d like to learn more about email marketing, check out our blog post about building an effective email campaign.
Lead generation is an essential strategy for any business. Marketing automation allows you to streamline the lead management process, making it less time consuming and more organized. A 2017 study revealed that companies using automation for lead management saw an increase in revenue of over 10% within 6-9 months.
While many organizations use automation for lead generation, you can also use marketing automation to drive more sales from current customers through tactics such as up-selling. Outside of saving time and lead generation, 58% of marketers find that up-selling is one of the next best advantages of marketing automation.
Customer Relationship Management
Managing your customer relationships will tie all of the prior functions into an overall plan. This will provide your customers with high-quality content when and where they need it.
Difficulties of Marketing Automation
While it’s been well recognized that marketing automation can be an effective resource for your business, some have experienced a couple of difficulties.
Difficult implementation process
One study showed that 61% of marketing personnel found the marketing automation implementation process was difficult, while only 16% found the process to be easy. Getting your marketing automation processes set up can be slightly time-consuming. However, when the set-up is finished, the time-saving benefit kicks in immediately.
Lacking the needed personnel
Another survey by Aberdeen discovered that 73% of companies did not have the right personnel to manage their marketing automation platform. This shows that some companies do not have an employee capable of making the time commitment to get the marketing automation platform rolling, in which case the service can be outsourced.
Tips to Implement Marketing Automation
- Use marketing automation for both outbound AND inbound marketing activities. Using automation for inbound marketing allows for timely responses to customers and prospects.
- Customize your messages towards each of your customer personas. The segmented messages allow you to connect with your prospects based on their personalities or interests. If you have not created your company’s customer personas, check out our guide on how to do so here.
- Don’t forget about your customers! Many businesses that implement marketing automation focus on bringing in new customers, but it can also be a great tool to keep your current customers coming back.
If you haven’t implemented a marketing automation strategy for your business, you risk falling behind. Reportedly, 79% of industry leaders have already been implementing an automation strategy for over 4 years.