Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation is defined by Salesforce as “technology that manages marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns, across multiple channels, automatically.”

With Marketing Automation tools businesses can keep connected with customers through automated messages through email, web, social, and text. Allowing Marketers to be more efficient and to nurture more leads at one given time. 

B2B - In the B2B realm marketing automation includes lead scoring, lead nurturing, and lead lifecycle management. 

B2C - In B2C you would use marketing automation to manage cross-selling, up-selling, customer loyalty, et al. 

Components of Marketing Automation 

Most people tend to believe that marketing automation is just the same thing as email marketing, but it is actually so much more than that. Of course, email marketing is a big component of marketing automation but it is not the only piece. 

Email Marketing – Email is not dead! It is very much alive and a very useful marketing component. Using a marketing automation software, you can automate your emails in trial streams or even send out emails triggered by a user interaction. The possibilities are endless.

Landing Pages – Landing pages are essential to marketing campaigns since they are so crucial you can build landing pages and even test them in tools like Marketo. 

Forms – You can place forms on landing pages in order to capture lead information and directly add it to your CRM and your marketing automation software.

Testing – You can even set up A/B tests within most software, allowing you to test subject lines of emails, landing pages, forms, et al. 

Lead Nurturing– Send your users relevant content over time based on behaviors and campaign steps. 

Lead Scoring– With lead scoring the software can actually give a number to how close a user is to making a purchase based on past user data. This allows you to invest more into those who are further down in the funnel. 

Behavior Tracking– You can track if your lead opens your email, goes to your website, what whitepapers they download, and so on allowing you to create better content or better serve the lead based on user data. 

Segmentation– By connecting your marketing automation tool to your CRM you can segment customers based on different filters and tailor your experience. 

My Experience with Marketing Automation

During the summer of 2017, I was a Marketing Automation Intern with Nintex. During my internship, I helped with building nurture streams, weekly newsletters, and even got the chance to build a marketing automation program designed to re-engage with leads who are inactive or to unsubscribe them from our content. Marketing Automation was a fascinating role to be in because it was technical while still allowing me to be creative and have a customer focus. 

Best Practices

Personalize – Even though a computer is sending these emails, it doesn’t have to seem like it. Use your customer data and personalize your emails and ensure you are sending the best emails to the right customers. 

Content – Don’t just send content to send content, make it meaningful. 

Mapping the Process – Map out your whole marketing automating process from email touch points to landing pages. This allows you to have a better view of what your customers are going through and to identify pain points. 

TEST – Just do it. Test your emails, your landing pages, your CTAs, everything. You will thank me later. 

Key Metrics for Marketing Automation

Now that you know about marketing automation, how do you measure its success? Some key metrics to track are: 

Site Traffic – This is a good indication of how your emails and other campaigns are doing. Do you see a spike after a specific email? Is a newsletter driving people to your website? 

Open and Click Through Rates – These can provide insight into how your emails are performing and the quality of the lists you are sending emails to. 

Unsubscribes – If you see an increase in unsubscribes you should be looking into your segmentation and emails to see what is causing this. 

Sales Cycle Length – It is important to measure how long it takes someone to go from being a prospective customer to converting, by understanding this you can better serve your lead at different touch points or identify key points in the process. 

Now, these are only a few metrics you should track, but keep in mind that every company’s metrics are different. There normally isn’t a standard open rate for emails and it will vary from industry to industry, so know your company’s baseline and compare to that. 

Companies who do this well

Squarespace 

I recently tested Squarespace for my portfolio. Following signing up for a free trial I was sent daily onboarding emails to help me get the most out of my Squarespace site. 

Nordstrom

I love Nordstrom. Not just because of their clothes, they also make great use of marketing automation. Recently I was browsing their site and added something to my bag but didn’t purchase it. A few days later they sent me an email reminding me about what I was thinking of buying. 

Chipotle

Chipotle makes great use of texting as a form of their marketing automation. Last week they had a $4 boorito for Halloween, two days before I got a text to let me know about the deal so I could plan my Wednesday’s lunch.