Marketing is time-consuming. It’s also not necessarily your strong suit (unless you work in marketing, and sometimes, not even then). The irony is, the better you are at what you do, the less time you might have for marketing yourself – and vice versa. That’s why the best professionals aren’t necessarily the ones who get the business – because they’re too busy being great at their own gig to have enough time or knowhow to promote themselves.
That’s where marketing automation can make a difference. This is the kind of marketing that can happen while you’re doing your actual work – or even while you’re asleep or on holiday (well, maybe one day). Marketing automation complements your existing customer relationship management (CRM) to let you both streamline and step up your marketing efforts. Here’s our guide to making it work for you.
Marketing automation is a broad term to describe any software, platform or tool that can help you automate some part of your marketing efforts. These handy digital services are ideal if you’re looking to scale up your marketing efforts but don’t have the budget for another team member.
Often it can be about automating simple yet time-consuming tasks, which are only really effective if done at scale. For instance, tasks such as posting on your business’s social media profiles and sending emails can be given to an efficient bit of software, allowing you to concentrate your efforts on establishing and nurturing new and existing relationships.
Let’s say you’re an independent financial adviser. You’ve built a website and post on popular social media platforms, but you’re now looking to expand without pouring hours you don’t have into manual marketing. Marketing automation platforms can help in many ways. Here are some examples:
If you’re time-poor, as most successful professionals are, marketing automation tools will allow your marketing efforts to continue in the background at the same high level. For instance, you can continue sending out emails that raise your brand’s profile without manually completing every step of the process. All you’ll need to do is fill in the gaps, and your software or platform can spread your message.
Some kinds of marketing automation is also a great way to gather data about your customers and prospects. You see what your audience responds well to, what misses the mark and which topics start the most fruitful conversations. (Be aware however that the Unbiased platform will not supply you with customer contact details unless you accept their enquiry, as we are committed to protect our consumers’ data from third parties.)
While it’s a great way to keep the momentum going, marketing automation has its limitations that you need to stay aware of. The biggest is that it can lack the personal touch that may be crucial to sealing the deal. Of course, there are many ways around this issue; you could split your audience into smaller groups and send several tailored emails that speak to each one in a more personal way.
And even though many marketing automation tools integrate well into existing CRM (customer relationship management) tools, some act as a standalone lead funnel. This type of software can be less effective if you’re not in constant communication with other teams, like sales and customer service. Your potential customers may be turned off if respective departments’ automation tools make the experience clunky and impersonal.
The Unbiased platform directly addresses these challenges with an end-to-end client management system including a chat feature, client notes, customised automated responses and a Kanban board, so you never lose track of where a client is in the onboarding process.
There are a number of ways to automate parts of your marketing strategy. Here are some of the most common:
You can initiate ‘drip campaigns’ – a marketing strategy designed to gradually feed content to your leads that’s relevant to their previous engagement. And if you’ve invested in a SaaS (software as a service) product, it’ll take on many of the tedious tasks and follow-up reminders. Which means you’ve got more time to put into scheduling all-important meetings and calls.
You can also invest in SEO tools and multi-channel analytics that show you how easy you are to find on google and who is looking at your brand across all platforms.
If you’re just starting out or have a modest budget, there are still lots of ways to use marketing automation to your advantage. Squeeze all you can out of free tools like Google Analytics and Hootsuite to keep costs down, and save your money for quality marketing automation software that offers in-depth insights or advanced tools.
Want to get started with marketing automation? Here are our five top tips.
Unbiased offers four unique plans for automating your marketing. Browse the benefits and see which one might suit your business.