Marketing automation is a powerful tool that can help scale your organization at a faster rate. As with most business procedures, marketing is often a repetitive process. From lead generation, segmentation, and nurturing, to workflow and email management, repetitive tasks can easily snowball into a mountain of stressful work. By automating most of these tasks, marketers can save critical time to focus their effort on more essential tasks such as content creation and lead generation. Here’s a brief overview on how marketing automation works and how you can apply it to maximize your productivity and effectiveness.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation can be anything from simple software that automates tasks, to a full automation platform that responds to anything you throw at it. In truth, marketing automation is simply software that allows for easier dissemination of digital content. Tools that help marketers automate repetitive tasks, whether it be responding to email, managing campaigns, or collecting data play a heavy role in marketing automation. Essentially, it minimizes your workflow so you can focus your time and energy where it counts.
How is Marketing Automation Used?
Among the many uses, the most well known use of automated marketing is with emails. Automated marketing software can be used to send emails to leads, whether to encourage them to visit your website, give discounts, or even just wish someone a happy birthday.
Marketing automation software also exists which can keep track of leads, rank them for segmentation, and nurture them into potential customers, clients, or raving fans. Marketing automation is also capable of creating landing pages and forms, as well as reporting on the ROI of marketing campaigns, such as how users are responding to your campaigns and content.
Data analysis automation tools can even reveal what is being downloaded, how content is behaving, and how users are moving through your conversion funnel. Each step of the way, you can monitor and measure how your marketing is performing, empowering you with the knowledge (and time) to focus on improving your sales/marketing processes in order to get better results.
Pros and Cons of Marketing Automation
To those who run busy companies, marketing automation may seem like a dream come true. A software that does practically everything for you. Who wouldn’t want that? However, before jumping on board the marketing automation bandwagon, it is best to figure out the pros and cons to using marketing automation tools.
The Pros of Marketing Automation
Let’s start with the pros. Marketing automation software is generally easy to find and download online. As stated, automation allows you to minimize repetitive workflow, whether that be sending emails to subscribers, recording data, or managing social media campaigns.
Doing so can save time, and thus generate revenue for your company with very little effort on your end. On the business front, it can be used to keep a database for all your records, act as a marketing engine for various processes, and analyze lead generation rates. All in all, it seems like a win, doesn’t it?
Marketing Automation Cons
Marketing automation is a great resource to save time, however it isn’t supposed to do all of your work. In fact, many businesses fall into the trap of relying solely on automation to do their job for them. Of course, without maximizing the effort put into content creation and lead generation, as well as quality assurance, sales, and (of course) customer service, marketers will find it very difficult to reap any of the potential rewards from all of their “saved” effort.
Furthermore, the messages you send to potential leads can also become irrelevant or spammy. Even with a giant list of possible leads, sending the same round of messages and emails over and over, or aggressively trying to get a lead to buy will almost inevitably leave them blocking you or moving your mail to spam. This can hurt your IP address reputation and have further messages be labeled as spam.
Alas. While marketing automation can certainly help you market on multiple channels, deliver email campaigns, and automate other repetitive tasks more easily, doing so at the expense of laziness can undermine your marketing efforts entirely. It’s okay to use it, just ensure that you are not creating a dependency for yourself or your company. Likewise, you should never sacrifice well-written email newsletters in favor of saving a few extra minutes a week.
Bringing it All Together
In short, marketing automation is software capable of automating repetitive tasks such as email campaign management, content posting, lead retention, and data tracking. However, it isn’t a panacea; using the software takes time, effort, and energy in order to truly make use of it. Furthermore, automation should never be used as a substitution for the hard work of quality content production or lead generation. While it isn’t a cure-all, marketing automation can certainly ease the workload, making space and time for greater projects and investments.