Simply put, marketing automation is the process of streamlining multiple stages of a company’s marketing activities and delegating repetitive tasks such as sending personalized emails, scheduling social media postings, and responding to clients’ emails automatically.
Imagine, your company sells shredder machines to businesses. Now, back in the old days when marketers had manual marketing approaches, you would be collecting contact information from the yellow pages and sending emails, dropping off brochures, and making calls to each of the prospects with the hope of getting a callback. These days, you can easily send pre-scheduled emails to contact people, follow-up with them, and review the current status of each prospect in the CRM. Basically, your company is streamlining the lead generation, communication, follow up, sales, and customer service with help from a digital tool.
The latter option is an automated marketing approach, which is now a widely spreading phenomenon in the global marketing sphere. Successful organizations have already started automating their marketing activities to the highest level possible, and many of the companies are catching up.
If you are yet to consider automating your marketing approaches, but you are interested to know more, this blog is for you.
Let’s start with why you should automate marketing activities.
Why try automated marketing approaches
Benefits of having automated marketing approaches are manifold. Not only does it let a marketer utilize his/her resources in the most efficient ways, but it also makes their lives a lot easier by taking away a lot of tasks that consume a significant portion of their time. Besides, businesses run more smoothly with an automated marketing system. For instance, here are a few of many perks:
Build personalized marketing campaigns: With the help of a marketing automation tool, such as SimplyCast, companies can easily create segments in their customer base and create personalized campaigns for those specific segments.
Increase effectiveness: Automating marketing approaches provides marketers with the opportunity to simulate the entire marketing process beforehand. Therefore, potential risk factors can be identified and dealt with. Also, communication processes are pre-set and therefore less prone to errors. Automating is also more time-efficient as it accomplishes all the tasks previously done manually but it less time and with the least amount of human intervention. Altogether, it increases the effectiveness of any marketing activity.
Personalized prospect nurturing: Up until a few years ago, the worst nightmare of marketers and salespeople was personalized approaches to the prospects because of the scarcity of resources. However, automated marketing tools provide opportunities to build strong relationships with prospects and clients by communicating with them on a personal level. For instance, instead of using “Dear Sir/Madam”, if you could send emails to 10,000 people by their first names, which would take the same amount of time, wouldn’t you grab that chance?
Marketing approaches that can use automation
The benefits of automated marketing approaches can be applied to many marketing approaches in the digital arena. Depending on the organization type, nature of the business, customer base, and many other factors, marketers often customize the marketing activities and automate those by using marketing tools.
Currently, the two most practiced approaches to marketing are inbound marketing and outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is often called the epitome of modern marketing. This marketing approach denotes that businesses must be found by customers. On the other hand, in a nutshell, outbound marketing is the marketing version of direct sales! This marketing approach mainly focuses on finding customers and feeding them with information about your product or service. Although outbound marketing is getting old, it is not obsolete. In fact, some outbound marketing is still working effectively.
Now, given the fact that technology is being integrated widely in our daily lives, both inbound and outbound marketing approaches are getting digitized. What was a magazine article about the revolutionary iPhone is now a fun-to-read blog about the new iPhone X on a tech site. What used to be a print advertisement about a cleaning service is now going live as a Facebook Ad. The digitization of marketing approaches brings us opportunities to automate marketing activities.
Let’s find out the top 5 marketing approaches these days (inbound & outbound) that can easily become automated marketing approaches.
1. Content Marketing
Content marketing is the epitome of inbound marketing as marketers try their best not to sell anything directly. Instead, they mildly promote their product/service through content that is published in the digital world. Blog posts, whitepapers, templates, guides, etc. all fall under the content marketing umbrella. In general, this content will not ask you to buy anything, rather, it will attempt to educate you about the utility or value a certain category of product/service can bring. For instance, a blog post can tell you about the benefits of studying in a small-sized university and in the end it might want you to sign up to obtain a detailed handbook about small-sized universities.
Marketers don’t have the luxury to ask thousands of viewers where they found the sign-up form because, frankly speaking, viewers do not have the time to provide you with so many details. So, you can simply ask for their first name and email address for them to sign up. Automated web tracking tools will then let you track the source of the signup and you will have real-time data. Alongside the source, you can also get the details about time spent on your content page, the browser they used, the device on which the content was read, which area of the world had the most hit on the sign-up button, etc. Secondly, are you going to email all these individuals personally with the handbook attached? Enabling autoresponder will allow you to send an automated email as soon as the viewer hits the signup button.
2. Social Media
Until automation revealed the true potential of social media marketing, many marketers claimed that automation would make things worse for social media and remove the human touch. These days, social media marketing is heavily automated using tools such as Facebook Automation. and is linked to other marketing approaches via automation.
Thanks to social media marketing tools, you do not have to turn on your personal computer at home in the middle of a family conversation and post an artwork at 11 pm because that is the peak hour! With automated tools such as scheduling posts, you can easily schedule as many posts as you want on social media and the tool will publish those right at the right date and time. Not only that, many platforms allow marketers to schedule content across multiple social media channels. Also, through automation, social media marketing can be synchronized with other marketing activities. For instance, you can use a tracking link to drive your followers to your website or a specific landing page to provide them with more details.
Email marketers are probably the top-most beneficiaries of automation! From scheduling emails and follow-up emails to sending personalized emails, this outbound marketing approach has utilized the best of marketing automation.
Thanks to many email marketing tools, marketers no longer send emails to a dark abyss with hopes to get replies. Instead, they know how many of their emails were opened and how many of their recipients clicked on the link they provided in the email. Email marketers also saw a revolutionary change in personalization options. For instance, using email marketing tools, they can customize the email with clients’ personal details to make the email carry a personal touch.
Automated email marketing comes with other perks such as reducing time and resources and decreasing errors. Since the time-consuming, repetitive tasks are delegated to the automation tool, marketers can spend more time on more productive tasks and delegate more time to revise and scrutinize the entire campaign. This means campaign materials such as email body and list of prospects are likely to be less prone to errors. In this way, automated email marketing campaigns will have a lesser error rate than manual ones.
Just like email marketing, automation brings unique opportunities to SMS marketing as well. Earlier, automated SMS marketing would mean crafting an SMS by using a web app, inserting the phone numbers of prospects and sending the same SMS to thousands of people. However, modern automated SMS marketing tools brought more features to create better, more dynamic SMS marketing campaigns. For instance, marketers now personalize SMSs based on customer details. They can also track the open rate and click-through rate. SMS marketing campaigns, akin to email marketing campaigns, can be simulated in the drawing board stage. Marketers can design the initial SMS and a list of follow up SMSs, and schedule those to run a test. In this way, SMSs campaigns can be tested to find loopholes and solve those before launching the actual campaign.
Another cutting-edge feature of modern, automated SMS marketing tool is the use of keywords and shortcodes. Automated SMS marketing campaigns do not have to be one-way. Instead, it is possible to receive communication from prospects and organize those responses without having any human intervention. For instance, think about text messages on your phone from a retail business, such as restaurants. You often receive SMSs from them asking you to sign up for hot deals. How? You need to send a keyword like “YES” or “IN” to a specific phone number. Sometimes, you only need to send that keyword to a shorter number such as 12345. Here, the shorter number is the shortcode that is designed for that specific campaign. As soon as prospects sign up for the offer, a list of signed-up leads will be generated in your marketing tool without having you to read all the responses and record those separately.
Sounds interesting, eh?
5. Voice Broadcasting
Many of your customers may not have access to the internet, especially if you are operating a business that includes rural areas. Many of prospects might not be available when you call them. A lot of clients will be available but will not be able to receive your call despite their interest.
Imagine you need to track and call back hundreds of those clients who missed your call — within an hour!
All these issues were nightmares for telemarketers but not anymore. When you have automated a voice broadcasting system, you are likely to relax even if there are thousands of contacts to reach out.
How? Well, that’s easy when you have the right voice broadcasting tool! With the right tool, you can create your voice message through a text-to-speech feature. Simply type what you want your prospect to send and the tool will automatically convert it to a voice message. Then, send it to the list of your prospects. This way, you do not have to repeat the same thing to every prospect in your list; you can use the time to research and come up with a more effective message.
Bonus: Omni-Channel Marketing
Different marketing approaches or channels are considered as parts of a bigger machine: a marketing strategy. When different parts are synchronized and driven with a clear set of goals, a marketing strategy is more likely to produce better results than all those parts alone could provide. This is where automation kicks in. Not only does automation make inbound and outbound marketing approaches more effective, but it also synchronizes those to create a seamless experience for the users through automated omni-channel marketing campaigns.
Omni-channel marketing campaigns are similar to multi-channel marketing. The biggest difference is that omni-channel marketing comes with a high-level synchronization among all the marketing approaches. If you look at the Facebook ads and visual emails, you should find a lot of similarities. When you click on the Facebook Ad or visit the URL provided in the email body, you will see that the website also gives you a sense of similarity. That is because the content and designs are crafted in such a way that users do not feel much difference when they move from one channel to another.
Now, imagine all these channels are working at the same time. Prospects are watching advertisements on social media, receiving emails, SMSs with deals, and reading blogs about the products. All these channels are synced and focused on driving the prospect to the checkout option.
Yes, that’s automated an omni-channel marketing approach for you.
Willing to Give It a Try?
There is no harm in trying something new for your business.
SimplyCast offers a wide variety of marketing automation tools for your business to help you get started with automated marketing approaches. You can check out available tools for different marketing strategies and pick the one that suits your marketing objective and try an automated approach and see the difference for yourself. Let it be SMS marketing, email marketing, scheduling social media posts, or designing a more sophisticated omni-channel marketing campaign — SimplyCast has the tools for you.
Click below for a 14-day free trial!