To get the most out of marketing automation, it’s best to think of the entire process as an ever-evolving relationship with your consumers.
Brianne Pudenz, a Digital Marketing Specialist at AKC Marketing, said marketing professionals use automation to achieve their goals in an efficient, customizable manner. While the end goal might be similar in scope to the results sought by businesses for years, automation makes the process seamless for both you and your prospects.
“To the consumer, it may look like you’re sending them a one-time email,” Brianne said. “Behind the scenes, automation allows a business to build a relationship with prospects and customers that is natural and genuine, providing them with the information they want when they want it.”
Marketing automation is reliant on the data-gathering capabilities of modern technology. However, there isn’t any single piece of software or one-size-fits-all path to success. Rather, marketing automation allows us to create unique, personalized experiences for prospective customers on a massive scale.
“Businesses are no longer limited to providing the same content to everyone. Marketing automation allows for a variety of nurturing paths,” Brianne said.
What is marketing automation?
Multiple software platforms offer marketing automation tools for businesses. In essence, these tools allow marketers to gather data about potential customers, including their interests and web activity, and use that to create a customized and versatile experience.
For example, if a prospective customer always opens certain types of emails but ignores others, marketing automation tools will shift focus to what has been proven to work.
“We can build the automation so that an individual is moved through their own journey based on the information our CRM [Customer Relationship Management] database has gathered. The tool can use activity like page views, ad clicks, email interactions and form submissions.”
While marketing automation can increase the scope of your outreach efforts, it also has the potential to make them much more personal.
“We can then build the automation to direct an individual down one path or another based on what we’re learning about their interests and where they’re at in their buyer’s journey,” Brianne said. “This gives us the ability to create a personalized experience that benefits both us and the consumer. The prospect receives the content they want when they want it, and in turn we as a business benefit from keeping the contact engaged.”
Working with workflows
AKC Marketing uses a platform called HubSpot to manage its marketing automation efforts. Much of that work involves crafting workflows to meet our clients’ needs.
Workflows can be internal or external. For example, an internal workflow might help you notify sales staff of deals and promotions, while an eternal workflow can help you ensure the effectiveness of email campaigns or lead nurturing.
Contacts can be added to workflows once they meet certain “enrollment triggers.” Those triggers can be based on a user’s activity (often referred to as lead scoring), or can be linked to things like consenting to privacy notifications or joining specific lists.
Depending on the platform used, several workflow actions will be available to you. You can craft an “if/then” branch that will determine next steps for users based on the actions they take.
Notices and other outreach efforts can be tied to specific times or events. You can even use automation to set up tasks in external software platforms, such as Asana or Slack.
“Marketing automation allows us to be more efficient,” Brianne said. “It streamlines the work of our marketing team to allow to focus on tasks and projects that require more of our brain power.”
What are the limits of marketing automation?
While marketing automation platforms are powerful tools, they still must be wielded with authority and expertise.
“Since there are so many different possibilities, one of the biggest challenges I’ve run into with marketing automation is narrowing down those options to choose the most effective and impactful option,” Brianne said. “Collaboration is key to moving through that hurdle. Working with a team and getting insight from different stakeholders allows for different perspectives and results in a better, more well-rounded outcome.”
That’s where the relationship-building aspect comes into play. You’re creating a responsive, guided path for potential clients, she said.
They will receive emails, messages or other communications that have been tailored specifically to their interests. It is incumbent upon marketers to make sure that relationship continues to be nurtured throughout the process.
“Providing content and touchpoints throughout the buyer’s journey maintains a relationship between brand and consumer from the awareness to consideration to decision to delight stage,” Brianne said.
AKC Marketing has a team of experts like Brianne who can help you craft an effective and seamless automated marketing plan. Fill out the form below to see how we can help you reach – and more importantly, connect with – more prospective customers than ever before.