Why is Marketing Automation Important?
What if you had to think about everything you did before you did it? Instead of picking up your toothbrush in the morning and automatically brushing your teeth, you’d have to think through the individual steps: a) Pick up toothbrush; b) Take cap off toothpaste; c) Squeeze toothpaste onto toothbrush; d) Put cap on toothpaste; e) Run water on toothbrush; f) Brush teeth; g) Rinse toothbrush; h) Put toothbrush away. That doesn’t even touch upon getting dressed, eating breakfast or figuring out your commute…
Phew! You’d be exhausted by 9 a.m. with that kind of morning routine!
Fortunately, humans have been designed to automate much of what we do. We basically set ourselves on autopilot and just go. We don’t have to consider every breath, nor do we have to analyze the way we drive a car or ride a bicycle. It’s efficient, and it makes our lives so much easier.
In the land of Internet marketing, automation is just as essential. Specialized platforms and software have been designed to automatically perform marketing actions. All we have to do is set them up, and the automation occurs until we tell it to stop. This enables us to focus attention elsewhere, and manage the parts of our jobs that can’t be automated.
What parts of Internet marketing can be automated?
Plenty of marketing actions can benefit from automation:
If you’re a dedicated blogger, you likely have a specific posting schedule you stick to. For example, let’s say you see the most traffic if you post every Monday at 8 a.m.
Fortunately, you don’t have to set your alarm for 7:45 every Monday morning, so you can be at your computer in time to hit “Publish.” Instead, CMS like WordPress allow you to draft your content, then set a posting date and time.
Social media posting
Creating a monthly calendar of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest posts is an effective way to stay on top of your social media channels. But what you don’t want to do is to post all the content by hand. Instead, you can use tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to post on your behalf.
Whenever you see interesting content that you want to share (or have an update you’d like to post), just add them to your queue. You can either set the publishing times and dates yourself, or let the programs pick them for you. One note: Since social media moves very quickly, you’ll need to add new content at least 2-3 times a week. Otherwise, your content may seem stale and out-of-date.
Drip email campaigns
Drip email campaigns enable you to slowly turn prospects into customers, and first-time customers into repeat customers. The emails are written by you or your marketing team, and are designed to lead the consumer to take a specific action.\
Because you may have five or more emails in a drip email campaign, and your prospects may be in different stages of the drip email campaign at any given time, it’s best to automate this process for your sanity! Plus, automation software for email drip campaigns is usually equipped with in-depth analytics to help you evaluate how each campaign is performing.
Building email subscriber lists
Some automated marketing software is extremely simple, such as the kind that allows site visitors to opt into email from your company. These email addresses can then be automatically sent to a database that will be used for your email newsletters and drip campaigns.
In some cases, the platform you use to collect subscribers can be the same one you use to create and send newsletters and drip campaigns. At WebFX, we use EmailMarketingFX to make the entire process as simple and streamlined as possible.
Shopping cart checkout
Wouldn’t it be a drag if you had to process all your shopping cart requests by hand? Fortunately, ecommerce platforms like Magento exist to automate the process when a consumer adds items to his or her shopping cart and then proceeds to check out by inputting a credit/debit card, using a gift card or paying through the PayPal system. This eliminates the possibility of human error, too.
Do you know when someone has been added to your email list, or has downloaded your free PDF booklet? Do you want to know? You can automate that process, too! Real-time updates enable you to get an immediate snapshot of what’s occurring on your site.
Although this may not be feasible for sites that get hundreds of downloads or emails a day, if you’re a smaller business, it may be terrific. It’s also good for sales staff, who can use this information to get in contact with prospects who request information in a timely manner.
As your company’s day-to-day operations start to become more complex, you’ll begin to appreciate just how wonderful marketing automation can be. Besides,—you have better things to do than to handwrite thousands of thank you emails or manually make a new listing on your public events calendar go live.
But wait… won’t automated marketing alienate my customers?
There’s a common misconception that automated marketing is impersonal and will make visitors feel like they’re dealing with androids rather than human beings. However, just because a process has been streamlined doesn’t make it detached from the human experience!
If all the content you use for automation has been written with your customers in mind, it should be relevant and useful. The fact that you wrote it ahead of time makes it smart—not impersonal.
Besides, remember that just like we discussed at the beginning of the article, automation is actually very human! We automate any number of things on a daily basis; we just do it subconsciously. So don’t be afraid to start automating your marketing to make your life easier, and to improve the consistency and flow of your marketing!
If you’re considering marketing automation, but aren’t sure where to start, don’t hesitate to contact us! Our talented team of Internet marketers is more than happy to assist you with streamlining and simplifying your online presence—giving you more time to focus on running your business.