Marketing Automation; After you finish registering with a particular site, you will find in your mail a message welcoming you to join it, and later you may receive a bunch of other messages. Actually, no one is responsible for these messages, but this is one example of marketing automation. So what is marketing automation? How is it used in marketing management?
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation refers to the reliance on a combination of software and tools, in order to automate repetitive tasks. Instead of manually emailing each person, you can rely on marketing automation tools to automate this task and send your mail to your target audience.
Marketing automation software works by including a set of steps and actions within the software, and when a customer performs one of these steps, the action associated with that step occurs. For example, when a customer signs up on your site, the marketing automation software automatically sends a welcome mail with some details you previously recorded in the message.
Importance of Marketing Automation
Of course, you can create a whole range of automated messages with these programs, and use them in different sectors of your project besides marketing. Its importance lies in the following points:
- High efficiency and effectiveness
Undoubtedly, the most important advantages of marketing automation are the effectiveness and high efficiency that you get from using these programs, they are beneficial to you and the employees in your project.
The efficiency of time and effort
Marketing automation helps employees invest time and effort in the right way. Instead of wasting time on simple tasks, such as manually posting social media content each day, this process can be automated and scheduled for all platforms at the same time.
Thus, this will make your team able to invest in more meaningful work, such as suggesting new ideas or developing existing projects, without having to worry about other tasks.
When there is an increase in the number of clients, entrepreneurs resort to hiring new people in the project to handle the matter. Marketing automation solves this dilemma in many tasks. Instead of hiring people responsible for communicating with customers, through marketing automation, messages can be scheduled and delivered automatically without anyone’s intervention, helping to save costs, and focusing on hiring only the most important tasks.
- Increase the number of potential customers
One of the most important advantages of marketing automation is that it helps you communicate with customers in an efficient and beneficial way, allowing you to increase the number of potential customers. For example, when you put the right marketing automation strategy in place for your site, you will ensure that customers are connected from the first moment they sign up for your site.
You will send a welcome email with more information about your project, after which you can send further messages to the customer in a specific order, which includes persuading them of your products and services and making offers to them, increasing the likelihood that they will. Convert into a real client for your project.
- Customizing Marketing Efforts
Marketing automation tools help customize the marketing efforts that you implement for your project. You can divide your customers into groups with common characteristics through these tools. Then you can implement marketing campaigns directed to each group of customers according to their needs in your products and services.
For example, if you sell your product in two categories, one is about quality and the other is about price. You can create two marketing campaigns, the first focusing on quality as a key advantage you offer to your customers and the second focusing on price, sending each campaign to its own category, ensuring a higher conversion rate than each marketing campaign.
- Integration of departments in your project
Marketing automation tools often work in integration with CRM tools, to enhance the usefulness of the actions performed by automation programs and increase the productivity of the sales and marketing departments of the project. Thus, you can take advantage of this to create a useful integration between the various sections of your project.
Besides increasing productivity, this integration will ensure that you have a common way that helps all departments to access information at any time, as all the data is on the automation software, so there is no time wasted trying to communicate with other people from each department to find out the information.
- Tracking and Optimizing Performance
Starting from the point where the data is inside the marketing automation tools, this feature helps to track marketing performance all the time, and no real data about the results of the different marketing campaigns that you implement, and then this helps to evaluate the efforts made in marketing.
This can be used to develop marketing plans and improve performance in future activities that you intend to implement, whether by modifying activities that did not achieve many benefits or by enhancing the benefit of activities that achieve the best performance at the present time.
- Ease of expanding the provision of services
Whenever tasks are carried out manually, there is a need to have a number of employees responsible for their implementation. For example, imagine that there is a person responsible for communicating with the new customer who registers on your site, this will mean that he will not be able to absorb a large number of customers, and thus hinder the process of expanding the provision of your services, until after hiring new people.
So, marketing automation enables you to achieve scaling very easily, you do not need to have one person even to communicate with customers, it will all happen automatically via marketing automation, which can be applied to many tasks in your project.
5 -examples of marketing automation
There are many examples of work that can be done through automation, and with the development of technology this list increases to include more tasks. Among the most important examples are:
- The usual mailings
Regular newsletters are a powerful example of marketing automation activities where you can create a newsletter and send it periodically to your customer groups. Automation tools give you ready-to-use newsletter templates, so all you have to do is prepare the content, add it to the appropriate form, and send the newsletter to clients.
The newsletter can include educating customers and sharing useful content, or you can send them the latest updates about your products or services. It is important to make sure to choose a specific date for the newsletter, so that your customers get used to the date and anticipate your message by it, thus increasing the likelihood of opening the letter and reading the newsletter.
- Welcome emails
When you register on a new site, you will immediately find a welcome message in your inbox. These messages are an example of marketing automation activities, and they benefit entrepreneurs in creating a good impression on new subscribers on the site and increase the likelihood of them converting from potential customers to actual customers.
The welcome can be a single message or multiple messages, depending on what you think is appropriate for you and your customers and the information you wish to send to them. Most likely, the welcome messages include more information about your project and the products and services offered, as well as the possibility of sending some attractive offers to encourage them to buy.
- Product and service evaluation messages
Businesses do not focus on attracting new customers only, but they are keen on retaining customers who make purchases from them, as this benefits them in achieving more sales and building long-term relationships with customers. Therefore, it is necessary to take good care of each customer who makes a purchase from the website and ask for their evaluation of the product or service.
Through marketing automation, a product evaluation form can be sent after a specified period of the purchase process, to encourage the customer to evaluate the purchase process and know if he encounters any problem, in order to provide support to him, to increase the likelihood of retaining him as a permanent customer. The evaluation does not have to be through a form, but you can send a set of questions directly within the message to facilitate the evaluation.
In the case of truly regular customers, who have made purchases they are satisfied with, marketing automation can be used to ask them if they can write a review about the products or services they are buying, as reviews are an important marketing tool to influence buying decisions for new customers.
Reminders are one of the most important marketing automation applications that help increase sales. Reminders are useful during the periods of exclusive offers and discounts, by sending them to customers at specific periodic intervals, which encourages the customer to make a purchase decision.
The principle of fear of FOMO can be employed in the reminders, by sending them shortly before the end of the offer, with the inclusion of the advantages that the person will get in case of purchase, and emphasizing that this offer is unique and will not be repeated again, thus increasing the likelihood of purchase.
- Custom Messages
One of the most important advantages of marketing automation is that it gives you the ability to customize your marketing messages the way you prefer and send each message to the right group of customers. Personalized messages take many forms, the most important of which are:
- Customized Offers: Customized offers can be designed for a specific category of customers, such as those who are most important to you or who make frequent purchases, giving them a unique offer without the rest of the customers.
- Special occasions: Messages can be customized to suit each person, such as messages to congratulate customers on birthdays, or the anniversary of their registration on your site.
- What are the challenges of marketing automation?
There are many challenges when using marketing automation, which must be overcome to ensure that you get the most out of the automation process. Chief among these challenges are:
- Inability to use marketing automation effectively
The effectiveness you get from automation varies depending on the team responsible for it and the tools used in the automation. For example, you may encounter a problem with any of the following points:
- The complexity of some marketing automation tools, with no guides to easily explain how to use them.
- Lack of an ideal visualization tool required for some tasks.
- The marketing team encountered technical difficulties in using the tools.
- Lack of integration between some tools affects the performance of some departments, such as marketing and sales.
This challenge can be overcome by choosing the right tools, making sure that the team can use them easily, and providing the training required to improve their use of the tool, to ensure the continued effectiveness of marketing automation.
In addition to the necessity of having a high degree of flexibility, and re-planning the tasks again according to the available tools. Open source marketing automation tools can also be counted on, as these tools can be customized to suit the needs of the project.
- Think about automating all the tasks
Some entrepreneurs are considering marketing automation for all tasks within the company. But this may be one of its biggest challenges, as not all tasks are automotive if it is programmatically available, but it is not true on a marketing level.
For example, the process of scheduling and posting content to social media can be automated, but it may not be appropriate to automate responses to comments. Responding to audience comments requires a human touch, and tailoring the response to suit each customer, not relying on a unified automated response
Therefore, it is important to think carefully about tasks that can actually be automated to help save time, effort, and money, as opposed to tasks that require constant human intervention.
- Unpleasant customer communication
It helps you to communicate with customers permanently and automatically. This causes some companies to schedule many messages to deliver to customers, which can sometimes cause inconvenience to many customers, potentially causing them to lose forever.
Therefore, it is important to plan well the marketing campaigns and the number of messages to be delivered to customers, taking care to choose the timing of these messages in a correct manner that does not cause inconvenience to customers.
How do you implement a marketing automation strategy for your project?
Marketing automation can be used for most tasks within your project, but in the end, automation is a means to achieving goals, not an end in itself. Therefore, it is important to plan well for this, to ensure its effectiveness. A marketing automation strategy can be developed via the following steps:
- Establish marketing automation goals and define the expected customer journey in your project
Marketing automation helps achieve many goals, but in the end, it is all about your financial capabilities as well as the needs of your business. So, you should first start by defining your goals for marketing automation in particular, for example, will you rely on it for email marketing, or will you use it for social networking sites?
After that, it is necessary to define the customer journey in your project, which is a description of the different stages that the customer goes through with the project. There are many models that are used to describe these stages, but they start from the customer’s knowledge of the project, through the purchase process, and finally the after-sales follow-up.
- Create a chart describing how to use marketing automation tools
The use of a marketing automation strategy in your project depends on the goals you want to achieve with the automation. So, after you’ve defined your overall customer journey, it’s important to define exactly which platforms you’ll be using marketing automation for.
In this case, it is necessary to draw a flowchart that includes exactly the steps and actions that are expected to occur from the client, and in each procedure what are the other steps associated with it. For example, if you send an email with offers to customers, the customer actions here will be divided into two types: one that will enter the message, the second that will not.
Here, you will put in your plan a clear picture of what will happen in both cases, for example, the first type of customer will send the same content to them, but on the next day and at a different time, while the second type will send different content to them after three days.
The benefit of this scheme is to ensure the effectiveness of marketing automation. In the end, they are tools that implement clear actions and steps, and they will not work by themselves, but everything must be planned in advance, and then take advantage of the scheme and implement it through marketing automation tools.
Of course, there has to be some flexibility in it, as you may not find a tool that does exactly the way you want it to work, this is one of the main challenges of marketing automation. So be prepared to make a few switches, to get the most out of your marketing automation based on what’s available.
- Choosing the right marketing automation tools
There are many marketing automation tools that can be used in every field, so you should establish criteria to help you choose the most suitable tools for you, making sure before that that the tool helps you achieve your marketing automation goals. The most important of these criteria are:
Features and characteristics
Each tool offers a set of features, and this is what makes it competitive with other tools. Therefore, it is important to know the features and characteristics of each tool, and compare it with the chart, so that you can arrive at the best tool that can implement this chart.
Ease of use of the tool
Not all marketing automation tools are easy to use, but there are some that take some effort to get to grips with. So, it is important to analyze the tool in terms of ease of use of the tool, and if you have people on your team who can actually handle this tool or not.
The cost of using the tool
Marketing automation is part of the marketing efforts you put into your business. Therefore, it is necessary to know the cost of using the tool and compare it with its features and characteristics, as well as compare it with other options, in order to finally be able to determine the best tool for you in terms of performance and cost.
- Experience and performance improvement
After you have identified marketing automation tools, you must experiment with them to make sure that they give you the performance you really want, making sure to review and develop your marketing automation strategy from time to time and follow up on new tools that appear from time to time, to ensure that you reach the ideal performance from time to time. Automation enables you to enjoy all its benefits, at a cost that fits your marketing budget.
If you do not have enough experience in this field, or you are looking for a professional to help you implement the automation of your project, you can hire a digital marketer who specializes in marketing automation services to take charge of implementing the strategy and choosing the most appropriate tools that help you achieve your project goals.
4- Most Important Open Source Marketing Automation Tools
Projects face an important challenge when using marketing automation, as it is difficult to come up with a suitable tool to carry out tasks according to the ideal required visualization. In this case, entrepreneurs find themselves having to adjust their perceptions of executing tasks, to match existing tools.
Open source marketing automation tools address this problem, as these tools can be modified and customized to suit the project, to reach the maximum possible effect of automation, and try to implement the tasks according to the desired vision. Among the most important open source tools:
mautic tool is used to improve the customer experience in a different project, by enabling its users to create email marketing campaigns, run A/B tests and then measure the results in order to improve the marketing efforts.
Odoo tool is used in many tasks such as e-commerce, inventory management, project management, human resources, accounting, customer relationship management, and other tasks. It can be relied on to design the right customer journey for the project, and manage the workflow to attract potential customers and convert them into actual customers for the project.
phpList is used in email marketing, to increase subscriber lists, by giving users the opportunity to import and export subscriber data from any source. The tool can manage email marketing campaigns and newsletters, with the ability to track performance to analyze results.
SendPulse is a versatile marketing automation tool that can be relied on for CRM, chatbots, SMS marketing, email marketing, and other marketing activities.
Finally, marketing automation will help you increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, so it’s important to think about using it today if you haven’t and make sure you do it with good planning, to ensure that you achieve the goals you really want from them.