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What is Marketing automation

Marketing automation (MA) is a term used to describe the replacement of repetitive tasks and manual marketing processes with solutions that are automated, especially in regards to e-mail marketing campaigns.

Marketing automation nurtures sales prospects with personalised content that is designed to convert them into customers through drip campaigns and nurture campaigns that help educate prospects about your products and, ideally, convert them into qualified leads.

Why is Marketing Automation Important?

Personalised, targeted messaging is critical for customer engagement, yet as companies and marketing teams scale, one-to-one marketing and customer follow-up becomes less feasible.

Marketing automation makes it easy to set-up and send personalised targeted messages to your prospects (no matter how many there are) in a timely fashion, strengthening engagement.

Due to its focus on operational efficiency, marketing automation can offer an excellent ROI for generating new leads for your sales team

Common Features Of Marketing Automation Platforms

Although different marketing automation platforms and marketing automation tools offer different features most offer the same core functionality. Below is a list of some typical features you can expect in a MA platform:

  • Campaign Management - Automated relevant email campaigns
  • Content Creation - An easy way to add new content tailored to relevant audiences
  • Email Marketing - Automatically triggered and in batches
  • Forms - Built in registration forms that connect to your database
  • Landing Pages - Customised per campaign
  • Lead Management/Lead Scoring - A way to qualify leads based on behavior
  • CRM Integration - Automatic, real-time data syncing
  • Social Media - Social sharing, social listening and tracking
  • Analytics - Basic reporting dashboards and measurement of these marketing effort's impact on revenue
  • Lead Nurturing - Automated emails that can get sent based off the leads behavior

Basic Marketing Automation Strategy

Step 1: Outline Your Goals

Begin by stating your end goals and desired outcomes for this marketing strategy. Which is more important to you: increased brand awareness, increased customer engagement, increased lead generation or increased loyalty?

Identify and document desired goals to ensure that your marketing automation strategy maximises all of your assets.

Step 2: Map the Customer Journey

The three basic customer stages are awareness, consideration and decision.

Identify the various stages of your customer journey, noting customer experiences and emotions during each stage and identifying how your product can help or solve problems.

Step 3: Define Your Customer Segments

Depending on the size and complexity of your content library and customer data, your segments should be various combinations of your buyer personas and customer life cycle segments. Don’t overcomplicate your segments; minimising scope will allow you to get started sooner.

Step 4: Assess Your Content

Since good content is an integral part of successful marketing automation, an assessment of your existing content is a necessary step in the process.

You may need to create new content if you find that there are gaps between what you have and what you need.

Step 5: Map Your Message Content to Specific Segments

Next, map your content (some of which may not yet exist) to your various customer segments so you can see the various pieces in your marketing automation strategy. It may help to map this out with a flow chart for easier visualisation of your customer journey and what makes the most sense to automate.

Step 6: Identify areas for experimentation and personalisation

The final step is to identify where in your customer journey you should start a/b testing. Automating marketing tasks around message and customer touchpoints should also be fine tuned via experimenting with different content and timing for content. Additionally, having campaigns personalised for different customer segments will make your content more relevant for those segments and build better customer relationships.