Great digital marketing requires great digital marketing tools. And while email service providers (ESPs) like Constant Contact and MailChimp used to provide a valuable platform, more and more marketers are now turning to more sophisticated, dynamic, and powerful software to execute their holistic omnichannel marketing strategies and reach far beyond email.
So, although you might still be using an ESP to cobble together your email campaigns, a more effective and efficient solution is to switch to a trusted marketing automation platform to deliver on a more comprehensive approach.
Despite the obvious advantages of this multifaceted software, many marketers are either nervous to make the switch or aren’t sure how to make the proper business case to their organization’s key stakeholders. Today, we’re going to help alleviate the former and empower the latter by reviewing the principle benefits of marketing automation.
Before we do that, however, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about what marketing automation software is (and what it isn’t).
What Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is the use of an omnichannel software platform to consolidate, create, and automate a variety of related marketing initiatives. These platforms help marketers mechanize repetitive processes to provide (ironically) greater personalization, improve efficiency, increase key performance indicators, and drive more leads and greater revenue.
While email marketing processes are the most commonly cited automation tactics, nearly any digital marketing initiative can be automated in some way — including social media, paid digital advertising, and SEO audits, among many others. This advantage allows marketers to allocate their time and resources toward moving beyond batch-and-blast marketing to offer their various audiences more robust messaging and recommendations across a variety of channels.
When marketers are able to create unique campaigns for each of their target audiences, they can vastly increase the level of personalization in these campaigns while also having more time to develop more creative marketing approaches. As a result, they can expect their audience to be more engaged and motivated to keep moving through the buyer journey.
It’s a win-win for everyone. Consumers receive exceptional customer experiences, and businesses drive more engagement, more leads, and more revenue.
The Benefits of Marketing Automation
In a nutshell, marketing automation helps marketers conserve resources while also launching more campaigns more effectively. But the delight is in the details, so let’s take a closer look at how marketers can reap all the benefits of a powerful, practical marketing automation solution.
More Efficient and Effective Marketing Campaigns
In the modern marketing world, successful campaigns rely on highly targeted marketing, which basically boils down to the old adage of delivering the right message to the right person or business at the right time. Prior to marketing automation, there was a lot of guesswork involved, as marketers were forced to take a trial-and-error approach to their campaigns. This resulted in constant random acts of marketing with no way of knowing what was effective and what was not.
With marketing automation, however, marketers can now more easily identify their web visitors, allowing them to turn unknown prospects into known leads. And once they know who they’re marketing to, they can segment these leads by behaviors, demographics, and other characteristics to create customized and automated lead nurturing campaigns. This way, marketers can stay top-of-mind with their consumers as they guide them along the customer journey with highly personalized messaging (more on this below).
The best part is that, as your potential customers interact with your brand online, you can track all of their engagements and pass that information along to your sales team through a CRM system integration. This allows for better sales and marketing alignment and collaboration, more streamlined lead scoring and handoffs, and excellent insight into the customer journey from start to finish.
Conserve Resources and Be More Creative
In broad terms, marketing automation software helps users save time, money, and headcount. And in doing so, marketers are able to focus their efforts where they matter most, which is developing more creative and compelling content and campaigns. When your whole day isn’t spent on busy work just to keep the lights on, innovative marketers are able to use their imagination to go beyond traditional methods and stale concepts.
Whereas marketers used to have to develop new campaigns from scratch, which is neither efficient nor effective, they can now leverage marketing automation to replicate and refine processes, templates, branding initiatives — you name it, really. So, as long as your target audiences are locked down and you know exactly how you want to message your prospects and customers, you can use your existing assets to deliver consistent marketing assets and campaigns while using personalized messages for each audience segment.
Further, since marketing automation allows for streamlined and repeatable processes and assets, marketing departments spend less time constantly re-building materials and less personnel to develop their campaigns. The result is less money spent on resources, freeing up budget for focused initiatives that make a bigger splash, have a greater reach, and generate an awesome return on investment. Marketing automation is so efficient and effective, in fact, that those surveyed experienced a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead (1).
Create a Better Customer Experience
Modern consumers want tailored customer experiences that put them in the driver’s seat. That means less overt sales tactics and more subtle thought leadership that seeks to inform and persuade rather than pressure. After all, you want to make your customers feel good about their investment.
Obviously, the end goal is to make a sale, but there are many objectives that come prior to achieving that goal — and most of those objectives are related to creating a better customer experience with content and materials that are both educational and highly personalized. In fact, according to recent research, nearly 70% of marketing automation users cited more personalized messaging as the top benefit of the software (2), so if you’re currently running behind that trend, it’s time to start personalizing your marketing materials.
Marketing automation helps you personalize your content in two ways:
- Since these platforms provide such rich and accurate data, you can leverage consumer insights to tailor your content to what your prospects and customers are looking for and how they’re behaving online.
- With adaptive tools and techniques built-in directly to the platform, you can dynamically speak to the end user through emails, on landing pages, and even in your contact forms!
Not only that, but Act-On also offers a website personalization tool that empowers marketers to serve up intelligent content recommendations based on your website visitors’ browsing habits and interests. Placing content that matches your prospects’ needs allows you to speak directly to their pain points and will naturally increase site traffic, improve time on page, drive more conversions, and enable you to structure your content strategy based on your results.
Lastly, perhaps the most effective way to leverage personalization is with your most valuable commodity: your existing customers. You likely already know a great deal about these folks (including their contact information, pain points, and purchasing history), so why not enter them into cross-sell and/or upsell campaigns? Share new products and services they might be interested in or provide a discounted renewal rate to ensure customer loyalty. Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget about your existing customers, and give them plenty of reasons to stick with your brand — especially because your competitors are surely already flooding their inbox.
Move Beyond Basic Email Marketing With Act-On
These benefits are just a few of the dozens of reasons you should consider switching from your ESP to a marketing automation platform. Email service providers just aren’t powerful or dynamic enough to ensure that you meet all of your objectives and exceed all of your goals.
If want to learn more about how easy and effective it is to implement marketing automation at your organization, you should download our eBook, “Quickstart Your Marketing Automation Engine.” It’s full of useful tips to help you:
- Build a strong foundation for immediate and sustained success
- Align your marketing and sales team for more efficient lead visibility and transfer
- Assemble a crack team of marketing and sales professionals to get the most out of the software
- Implement pilot marketing campaigns in no time
- Improve your campaigns and maximize your return on investment
- Make good use of the data that matters for consistent optimization
Or, if you’re ready to take the next step in your digital marketing journey, please click here to schedule a demo with one of our marketing automation experts. You won’t regret it!