Marketing Automation 101: Tips and Best Practices

Marketing automation is a powerful way of ensuring your messaging reaches the right people at the right time, in turn helping your business to save time and improve results. In fact, data shows that businesses using marketing automation to nurture prospects see a 451% increase in leads, as opposed to those who don’t automate their initiatives.

From scheduling out social content, to developing an email marketing drip campaign, there are endless options for what brands can do to automate their marketing efforts. Continue reading to learn more about the power of marketing automation and some of our best practices.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is the practice of using software to automate different marketing activities, such as email marketing, social media marketing, and more.

You may already be familiar with several software applications that offer some type of marketing automation, such as Sprout Social and Buffer for scheduling social media content, and Mail Chimp for automating email marketing blasts. Software including HubSpot and Sharp Spring offer even more advanced features that work with a CRM system. For instance, you can send email blasts to subscribers based on website behavior, or even dynamically change form fields on your website based on the information you’ve already collected on customers/leads.

The goal of marketing automation is to not only streamline efforts and improve efficiency, but to also ensure that your messages reach the right people at the right time. As a result, it can help your business maintain client/customer relationships, and grow and scale.

Looking to implement your own marketing automations? Follow these best practices and, before you know it, you’ll be more efficient and effective in all areas of your business!

Marketing Automation Best Practices

Make a Plan

Although marketing automation is meant to help you save time, you must put in a bit of work in the beginning to make it all run smoothly. Before you set up automations and develop content, you should begin by planning out the automations needed. Whether you prefer visualizing the automation flows on a whiteboard or developing an outline, it will save you time in the long-run.

Start by identifying your goals for marketing automation and thinking about the areas where you’d like to see improvement. From increasing email subscribers and leads, to driving additional website traffic, begin with your goal and work backwards. Doing so will help you better understand the customer journey and will ensure you don’t develop duplicate content. As an added bonus, this also helps you discover areas where you can re-purpose content, which will come in handy when budgeting time for creating each element that will go into your automations.

Choose Automations Wisely

When planning your marketing automations, it may be exciting to set up automations for, well, everything; however, you should choose your automations wisely. Remember, the goal of automating your marketing activities is to reach the right people at the right times. If you aren’t thinking critically about the audiences you want to target, or the frequency in which you reach out to these consumers, it could result in a poor experience.

Rather than casting a wide net and sending an email drip campaign to all your prospects or customers, consider further segmenting the list to only include those who’ve visited three or more pages on your website. Additionally, if you’re noticing that a good portion of your email subscribers aren’t opening or reading your messaging, it might be time for a re-engagement campaign. A re-engagement campaign is one or more emails that are meant to remind and show subscribers the value in your emails as well as offer the option to unsubscribe if they no longer wish to receive your messages.

While it may not be ideal to think about users unsubscribing from your email lists, it will benefit the overall health of your email lists and assist in email delivery rates, open rates, and click-through rates (CTR).

Test, Test, Test

Once you’ve developed your plan and selected your automations wisely, always remember one of the most important email marketing best practices: always test everything, and test often. Check out our 5 examples of A/B tests to try in your email marketing campaigns to get you started. When testing your automations, remember to just change one element at a time, so that you can pinpoint exactly what drove the winning variant’s success.

What did you think of our marketing automation best practices? Let us know in the comments below!

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