What is marketing automation? (tips, benefits and examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 19 September 2022

Published 19 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Marketing automation helps you to increase productivity amongst your team members, shorten your sales cycle and boost your sales conversions. You're able to easily automate tasks that would otherwise have proved repetitive and tedious, thus giving your marketing team more time to focus on other productive tasks. Marketing automation is not a one-time fix for your business, but a slow and steady journey to the top. In this article, we define marketing automation, sharing tips and advantages, while also offering some examples for you to employ to make your business marketing more effective.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation refers to the process of making use of technology to automate marketing tasks, especially repetitive activities, including social media posting, advertising campaigns and email marketing. It refers to the utilisation of technology to streamline marketing efforts and transform these efforts into something more effective and efficient. Marketing automation utilises a single automation platform to manage every part of your campaign from the same place.

Just as the name implies, marketing automation means the automatic sending of your messages based on customised instructions referred to as workflows. You can either create workflows from the scratch or make use of predefined templates to get your desired automation. It saves stress and time that comes with doing tasks manually, maximises efficiency, increases revenue and also creates a personalised experience for customers and prospects.

Related: What is email marketing? (Tips on how to launch a campaign)

How does marketing automation work?

Marketers make use of different marketing automation strategies to meet their marketing goals and reach their target audience. These strategies include:

Utilising cookies

While browsing you may have come across the term ‘cookies', small pieces of data stored on your computer that trace your browsing history and record your login information. Companies are able to leverage these cookies for marketing automation, tracking website visitors, building the scores assigned to each product or business unit and triggering advertisements based on their visitors' activities. This is why when you visit some websites and click on some products, advertisements keep popping up on your devices, this is the function of cookies.

Specifying criteria

Companies make use of marketing automation software for specifying criteria and process outcomes. This is a workflow where the specified criteria undergo storage and execution, while the pre-set processes come before the incoming new leads. Most times, scoring leads is dependent on the quality then delivered to sales teams and this varies based on the workflow's form.

Using contact forms

This is another strategy marketers use for automation. Here, they make use of contact forms to put prospect information together. After this, they communicate with them based on the information they've gathered.

Tips for marketing automation

Marketing automation is reliant upon utilising good practices to help you to create the kind of effective automation that increases conversion rates, streamlines workflows, boosts productivity and improves customer relationships. Some tips for marketing automation are:

Automate repetitive tasks

While you're assessing the parts of your business that you can automate, the key is to search for repetitive tasks that would otherwise prove to be time-consuming for your marketing team. Some common repetitive tasks include:

  • following up with new leads manually

  • nurturing prospects

  • updating your customer relationship management (CRM) software

By automating these tasks, you're able to save time and work more effectively than you would have done manually. You also eliminate the risk of making costly mistakes. While seeking ways to implement automation, it's important that you also consider integrations. For example, on some occasions, marketing automation software integrates with your social media ads to increase the areas you can automate.

Automatically score leads and notify sales

Lead scoring is a part of lead management that helps you to attach values to the leads based on their signified interest in your services and products. Businesses particularly benefit from lead scoring because of the longer sales cycles. A long sales cycle helps you to understand what aspect of your organisation interests your prospects, thus making it easier to convert these prospects into buyers. Using marketing automation software, for example, helps you to track your lead's engagement with messaging and monitor how they typically behave on your website and other platforms.

Segment your leads

This is perhaps one of the most crucial strategies marketers employ in marketing automation. Segmented emails, especially, seem to have higher open rates, engagement rates and more sales conversions. You can segment new contacts based on their engagement and interests.

Personalise your message

Your prospects do not want to feel like they are communicating with robots and machines. Personalise your message when communicating with them, bearing in mind that you're speaking to humans. Making use of the information you know about your contacts, you can employ automation to personalise your messages.

Start small

It might be quite tempting to take marketing automation all at once. By starting small with the simple tasks, you gain knowledge about your automation software, you become proficient at it and you're able to expand other aspects of your marketing. This gives you more results.

Develop quality content

You can easily lose your customers and even prospects with substandard email, social media or website content. Ensure your content is clear, sharp and efficient. Your commitment to creating quality content determines the success of your marketing activities.

Related: Digital marketing skills: definition and examples

How marketing automation helps teams

Marketing automation can have several benefits for organisations and businesses. These benefits can help organisations to move forward at a reasonable speed. Here are some of them:

Marketing automation gives you more time to focus on other strategies

Marketers constantly work on coming up with innovative ideas and strategies to capture their customers' and prospects' attention. Marketing automation software gives marketers more time to spend on their creative thinking process. This helps them to focus on the bigger picture.

Marketing automation gives companies more information about potential customers

With marketing automation, companies have a clearer picture of the customers they are dealing with and a better idea of how potential customers behave. They receive this information when marketing teams track customers' interactions with content, messaging, email and advertising and this information gives the teams a clearer understanding of where the prospect lies in the sales and marketing funnel. They're able to identify the strategies that have worked in previous times and the strategies that did not perform as effectively.

Marketing automation helps companies to customise follow-up

With marketing automation, companies are able to customise the follow-up services rendered to individual customers. If a customer, for instance, is scrolling through a website's category of general products, this might imply that the customer is only at the beginning of the purchasing process. But when the same customer begins to focus on specific products, this might indicate that they are closer to sales and ready for a salesperson to follow up on them.

Marketing automation drives wider marketing campaigns

By gathering various forms of information from different platforms, marketing automation leads to automatic scoring, qualifying ads prioritising of leads. Examples are website visits, social media activities and direct marketing. This leads to wider marketing campaigns such as trigger-based marketing messages, infrequent drip marketing emails to maintain interest or personalised emails.

Related: How can warehouse automation streamline your operations?

Marketing automation helps in lead prioritisation

In addition to automating the process of nurturing leads, marketing automation software also allows businesses to set up clear, objective indicators of progress throughout the customers' lifecycles. While determining how ready a prospect is for sales used to be left to the intuition of individual marketers, it can now be dependent on pre-defined and measured outcomes. This way, marketing automation enables the prioritisation of sales staff time and the measurement of the effectiveness of touchpoints.

Marketing automation improves marketing return on investment

By linking automation to a CRM, companies are able to eliminate the guesswork that often comes with calculating return on investments. It also helps an even more accurate prediction of future investments. This can improve the productivity of the companies.

Related: 8 essential marketing manager skills

Examples of marketing automation

The following are typical examples of marketing automation for your business to emulate:

  • Welcome sequence: Once your customers have successfully registered on your website, this sequence means you can send them a welcome email, telling them more about your company and encouraging them to begin shopping. You can also send them a series of emails so they can move even more quickly through your sales funnel.

  • Personalised follow-up campaign: This is dependent on what your customers have purchased. This is the part where you make recommendations for more purchases based on their first order and ask them to leave reviews or share their experience on social media platforms.

  • Reminder emails: If your customer has forgotten about an item they left in their carts, you can send them emails to remind them about their items. You can also send reminders to customers about ongoing sales and offers before they end.

Related:

  • Everything to know about email automation

  • 15 best email marketing software to boost your business

  • What is CRM software? (Definition and how to use it)

  • How to create a marketing campaign in 12 steps

  • Digital strategies examples (with definition and benefits)


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