Marketing automation has become a fundamental building block necessary for productivity and efficiency. But what is the future of marketing automation? Marketing automation has been talked about a lot lately, but many people are still in the dark when it comes to the details of how automation will benefit marketers now and in the future. 

Embracing technology is an absolute must in today’s digital landscape. It can be the key that enables small startups to compete alongside larger corporations.  As we’ve ushered into the new decade, marketers and entrepreneurs should understand the fundamentals of marketing automation – as strategies update towards the current reality. But to do this well and receive the full benefits of this strategy, you must know your social media inside-out. Stay with me, and I will show you just how you do that. 

What Exactly Is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation refers to the automation of otherwise time-consuming, repetitive tasks that marketers must do. It refers to the software and technologies designed for automating these processes for marketing departments and marketing agencies.

This could be automated data collection, automated email newsletters, automated customer support chat, and more.

Marketing Automation Has Been a Hot Topic Lately

As more tech-savvy tools come about, companies find themselves overwhelmed with dozens of tools with API integrations. It’s cumbersome and not as easy-moving as the market matures.  And because of that, more companies will shift to a solution that has complete core functionalities that are available under one roof. 

Since our inboxes are now filled with dozens of newsletters, offers, and pitches that come from marketing automation –  they will very soon lose effectiveness.  For example, the bulk generic newsletters that are still common amongst larger corporations will soon cease to exist. 

With that said, companies are realizing that. So, to walk into the future of marketing automation, an increased focus on segmentation is one of the paths to victory. 

Larger Corporations are Already Implementing Advanced Behavioral Analytics and Algorithms

The future of marketing automation is clearly in online communication. Interaction data in your emails, heat mapping on your website and web search behavioral activities to create specific consumer profiles. 

Marketing Automation By Focusing On Segmentation 

Why should you focus on segmentation?

Although it takes additional effort, time, and money to shape your marketing strategy into implementing marketing automation, it is the main element for your return on investment. Automatization will create a much more satisfying journey for your customers or visitors to your website. It’s like a digital touch-point, with tailored emails and pre-filled forms.

So what is segmentation? It basically means that you’re creating to understand and address different segments within your contact and visitor lists. By doing that, you’re creating a conversation that adapts personalized speeches with your customers in an automated way. 

Marketers say that the biggest benefit of automation is saving time. Click To Tweet

Focusing on your segmentation means, you’re segmenting a group of people or profiles with common characteristics. So, when you create different customer profiles – you find out what they are interested in within your products and what are their expectations from you. 

With that said, of course, it’s mainly for your potential customers. But, once you’ve defined your customer’s profile (or sometimes it’s called “buyer’s persona”) you must also adapt it over time, as your strategy evolves. But as your strategy evolves – your customer personas evolve with it too. 

Personalizing Information According to Offers

Have you ever wondered how does a corporation or a brand knows so much about what you want? You magically receive an email with the exact information you had in mind… Well – that’s good marketing automation segmentation. It means personalization of the information and offers according to your customer’s characteristics and expectations. 

Keep in mind, in 2020, you should find a way to make the most of the artificial intelligence-powered tools. Have two-way communication by listening to customers’ needs and engaging with your customers – this is a natural language processing to improve customers’ experience. It is one of the most popular methods for creating personalized customer experiences. 

Achieving Greater Consistency

As marketers, you’re always looking out for ways to automate, optimize and make things simpler. It enables you to produce more content to achieve a higher return on investment. 

To survive and thrive in the future of marketing automation in 2020 – the corporations must evolve in their marketing strategies. Click To Tweet

One of the biggest challenges companies are facing with marketing is generating traffic and leads. According to HubSpot’s report, 46% of marketers with well-planned lead management strategies have sales teams who follow up on more than 75% of the leads. 

With greater consistency,  you might be able to bump up revenue in 6 to 9 months’ time. This is good news for you because businesses that nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost of 33% lesser than those that do not.  And nearly 90% of agencies say their marketing automation strategy is successful. 

86% of buyers are willing to pay more for greater customer experience Click To Tweet

The thing with marketing automation today is that everywhere you turn, people are talking about customer experience(CX). In fact, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a greater customer experience, according to research from PWC. The research also shows that with greater consistency, 49% of consumers make impulse buys, after receiving a personalized recommendation. 

Increased Expectations of the Shopping Experience 

The thing is, consumers expect highly personalized shopping experiences from online retailers or corporations. They are willing to spend more money if the brands deliver targeted recommendations that match their buying preferences.

Retail sales are projected to hit over $5.68 trillion by the year 2021But, what if you’re not in the retail business? What other industries could look into generating money with marketing automation? 

Maximizing Your Return On Investment 

When you’ve fully utilized a robust tool that combines a customer relationship management (CRM) system with marketing automation – your sales and marketing-related activities will be available in one centralized place. But many marketing professionals lack the advanced skills they could use to boost their return on investment (ROI) – despite realizing that marketing automation is the way forward.

So, if you’re reading this article right now and you’re a business owner, you should know that customer relationship is the key to retention. Therefore, by automating your activities, you’re able to develop and foster those relationships to achieve a higher return on investment. 

Understanding your return on investment campaigns is the key to success as it gets harder and harder to stand out in today’s crowd. Click To Tweet

But, to increase response rates and sales – you must implement a single customer view (SCV).

Single Customer View (SCV)  

In order to send the most effective marketing campaigns, single customer views enable powerful use of optimal sending time, fully automated personalized customer journeys,  and granular segmentation of your audience. 

Since buyers are demanding more personalized interactions – implementing reward incentives into your clients’ marketing automation will increase conversion rates and drive new business referrals. On top of that, it also shows customer appreciation and increases retention and brand loyalty. 

Gifting is one of the hottest and most effective strategies that help your clients with their challenges. Watch this video about how to harness the power of a marketing funnel – Nathan is an entrepreneur who does animation for the environmental industries and this is where he leverages information and creates a lead magnet offer – achieving 200 visits to his website in just a day.

Customer Journey

When it comes to customer journey automation, from a marketing perspective, let’s talk about the most important stages – front-end and back-end. As you already know by now, creating a more satisfying journey for your customers and visitors is the key element when it comes to marketing automation.  This automation tool could help scale your return on investment by generating new lead and turning them into your well loyal customers.  

Lead Generation – Front-End 

Set your mood for demand generation – converting anonymous visitors from your website into your contacts with just their email addresses.

Sometimes, you don’t need to create a landing page to capture lead information – short and simple user experience is equally important. HubSpot’s free marketing tools will be able to do the job with this. The moment a lead shares their email address, you’ll know where they work, who they are, and what pages they visit. 

For example, you will know what they view and what sort of activities are going on between that particular customer on your website. With that, you’ll be ready to follow up right away.  So if you wondered – How a corporation or a brand knows so much about what you want? – now you know. 

You might find this video helpful as you go – How to attract more business by using lead generation advertising.

Lead Nurturing – Back-End 

When it comes to lead nurturing, it’s about constantly involving new tools and techniques. Despite the fact that some aspects remain the same, like using emails to nurture contacts down your funnel. 

However, the content and positioning are ever-changing and you have to constantly keep a lookout for effective lead nurturing tacticsAlthough a standard set of workflow automation tools exists, if you’re looking for something that’s more innovative in creating nurturing content – there’s a new tool you can try. 

Vidyard is great for creating and hosting video content for lead nurturing. What makes Vidyard great? Its variety of video tools enables you to create astonishing content. So, if you’re a marketer looking to jump on the video bandwagon – Vidyard’s a brilliant tool. From live features to its studio content creation products and its free tool – viewedIt.

Marketing Automation Saves Time

As I mentioned earlier, although it takes additional effort, you will feel some burden only in the beginning, during the setup period. However, in the long run, marketing automatization is time-saving because it eliminates all manual efforts. With just “one click” – all your messages are sent according to your entire database or selected cohorts.

This means, you no longer need individual communication with different segments of your customers.  You can leverage marketing automation and implement a solid customer journey strategy. And If you implement this correctly, you can build a large profile of leads.

Walk them through an engaging journey you’ve designed according to your strategy and convert them into customers. The growth hacking strategy has never been about short-term spikes. It’s about consistent, long-run growth.  But if you’re automating marketing campaigns using customers that have not gone through your customer journey – you may not achieve a consistent growth rate in that way. 

Achieving greater consistency is crucial when it comes to maximizing your return on investment. Click To Tweet

So, how do you know when you should invest in marketing automation? When you begin to see a steady flow of new visitors from organic search results and when you’ve put together a customer journey strategy, you can automatize. That’s when you start to invest in marketing automation. 

Criteria To Consider When To Invest In Marketing Automation

  • You’ve converted your visitors into leads
  • You have a steady traffic flow of new visitors
  • Producing engaging content to offer to your leads  
  • Manual sales process vs the huge number of leads
  • Sales team unable to generate more revenue
  • Spending too much time on social media management
  • You want to leverage influencer marketing and content
  • You want to increase revenue by scaling
  • Develop better relationships with customers at any stage of the sales funnel
  • Incentivize your customers and implement solid gamification strategy

If your business meets any of the criteria above, it’s time to plan your marketing automatization. 

Marketing Automation Tools And Techniques That Give You An Edge In 2020

With more and more options emerging, as a business owner, you might want to know what tools and techniques are available to find the best one.  It’s obvious that we have to embrace technology and the future of marketing automation. 

Marketing itself is key to success of your business and, as I said in the beginning, marketing automation has become a fundamental building block of productivity and efficiency.  Therefore, more companies will shift to a solution that’s available under one roof. But, as your customers evolve, so does your marketing strategy. 

Defining your customer’s profile makes them adapt to your strategy – They Evolve As You Evolve Click To Tweet

As I mentioned earlier, once you’ve defined your customer’s profile – they must adapt as your strategy evolves. But, if your customers evolve, this means, you’re more likely to spend more time trying to keep up with the best tips and trends. You must always be ahead of the curve. Does that make sense? 

On top of that, as a business owner – you only have 24 hours in a day – cramming business development, marketing, production, customer service, financials and everything else could be a disaster. (Not to mention lack of sleep…)

And if you don’t know the tips and techniques to implement a good marketing automation process, you’re most likely to be left behind in today’s digital landscape. This is why I put together a list of things you should keep an eye on if you want to stay on top of it all. 

Best Marketing Tools For Every Business And Budget

If you’ve been looking for new easy ways to streamline your marketing process, here is a list of some marketing automation tools I’ve curated for you. 

  • All-in-One Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Customer Journey
  • Advertising Automation
  • Pricing Automation
  • Loyalty and Referral Marketing Automation

But, I have to tell you this…Even though it sounds good to have a solution that’s “All-in-One Marketing Automation Tool” – sometimes, you may not need everything. 

So, before you decide which tool to go for – return to your criteria listYou don’t want to waste your time and money on something you don’t need.  

All-in-One Marketing Automation Tools

Generally, all-in-one automation is when you’ve already hit on a handful of marketing channels. Regardless of which channels – you’ve seen success across more than two or three channels or you’re already investing financially in scaling your business. 

Is it time to scale your business with a marketing automation tool? Click To Tweet

If that sounds like what you need – email automation, ad-buying, and lead nurturing – all-in-one can help scale every aspect of your marketing process.

Marketo

They claim to offer marketing automation that covers any channel. Their full-featured software can handle everything from digital advertising to social media to account-based marketing.

With that said, Marketo is a good option for the larger marketing process.

Eloqua

This is a part of the Oracle suite of tools – works with nearly every other tool under your marketing belt. 

Eloqua has more than 700 integrations making your every step of the process more personalized and streamlined. 

The beauty of this tool is that it’s one of the few all-in-one tools that explicitly emphasized serving B2B companies. 

HubSpot

Ideally, it’s for growing companies who want to use Inbound Marketing to increase traffic flow, convert leads and improve return on investment.

HubSpot is an all-in-one integrated platform that comes with its own marketing automation toolkit.  Its premium workflow tool allows you to centralize and automate key marketing actions within your business.

Pardot

Here’s another marketing automation tool that’s tailored to the needs of B2B companies – with the support of analytics and account-based marketing solutions. 

The partnership between Pardot and Salesforce – creates a more robust suite of products that help sales and marketing teams to be more effective. 

ActiveCampaign

If you’re thinking about “processes of real humans”, ActiveCampaign does the best job at working automation.

In reality, there are aspects of marketing that need a human touch and you can’t handle everything with just marketing software.

Email Marketing 

Email automation is the first thing that most people think of when they hear “Marketing Automation” – despite the high-profile of all-in-one tools.  They are a lot cheaper compared to the whole mumbo jumbo package. That’s why I said, sometimes you don’t need everything and return to your criteria list if you’re unsure. Now, what is the task involves email marketing automation? 

You can send triggered emails and build complex automated campaigns by personalizing audience segmentation. In other words – emails to promote your business. It cultivates relationships with potential customers and by doing that, your customers will be well informed with updates on your brands.

For instance, you can offer coupons to claim their free trial (depending on your product and service). It’s a “direct form of marketing” and it’s efficiently cost saving. Not forgetting, you’re also contributing to the environment since it’s totally paperless. 

Watch this video on 7 powerful ways to write better sales copy to implement in your emails.

Now, this may sound interesting and easy. You might be thinking that this is just what you need for your business – nothing more. 

Int hat case, you’re leaning towards email marketing automation. Learning how to write direct response emails is essential.  There’s no point if email marketing automation works well for you but you or your team is unable to craft brilliant emails.  The whole point is to turn your well-qualified buyers into loyal customers – Increase return on investment.

Now, let’s get into Social Media. 

Editorial Credit: Solomon7 / Shutterstock.com

Marketing Automation for Social Media

From content publishing to monitoring to analytics – social media encompass one of the broadest fields – it automates various aspects of social media marketing. Your brand is probably active in more than one social media channel – more than one person publishing under your brand’s social media account – using social media for multiple purposes – such as paid advertising or providing customer support. 

If this is not the case, you probably don’t need a full-fledged social media marketing automation tool. Then you focus only on what you need. 

Hubspot Social Inbox

A new feature by HubSpot called Inbox is meant to help you better prioritize your time on social media. It elevates your content that resonates best with your most engaged customers. This also means, your personalized message is being shared with your customers based on their persona. On top of that, it improves the customer experience. (CX)

Hootsuite

With features that help you schedule content, monitor conversations about your brand and industry, Hootsuite is what you need for a unique presence to your brand.  On another note, it’s one of the most comprehensive and full-featured social media automation tools.

Buffer

It’s a simple web application that allows you to schedule your post across a variety of social platforms. Basically, Buffer is a stripped-down version of Hootsuite – focusing mainly on post scheduling. While it can be integrated with other social platforms, this application is easy to use and relatively popular. 

But if you want to integrate Buffer to Facebook, keep in mind that it only allows you to schedule posts for pages and groups – not Profiles. Unlike LinkedIn, you can post on both profiles and pages. However, for Instagram and Pinterest – you need a business account or a premium Buffer subscription. 

CoSchedule

One of the best solutions for planning and strategizing social media content in advance. By doing a bulk map out of your content throughout, it gives you a bird’s eye view of your complete social process.  In addition to that, you can reuse and create more content with analytics and CoSchedule’s suggestions. 

Sprout Social

With individually tailored solutions from social management and marketing to customer care, employee advocacy, and data and intelligence. Sprout Social has one of the widest features among other social automation tools. This kind of solution is great if you have a sales team – making it easy to collaborate with strategy and executive. 

Now, let’s talk about advertising marketing automation. Since you’ve been well informed on the essence of customer journey automation. This next step is the key to make everything work.  

Advertising Automation

If you’re investing in several different platforms, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn – it’s a hassle managing ads campaign across different social media networks.  Thanks to the ever-evolving digital landscape, there’s always someone creating a valuable tool to help marketers take away the hassle. 

Adstage is one of them – helps with automating, create and manage your campaigns across major pay-per-click (PPC) platforms and it allows you to report on your results. This powerful automation tool comes with visual features and not only it’s recommended to pay-per-click (PPC) experts, but also newbies. 

Of course, there are other marketing automation tools that are available for you to choose from. And some tools work best for certain social media platforms but not for others – like, Zalster – they only handle Facebook and Instagram ads. However, despite their limitation – it’s a remarkable tool that truly handles your ad campaigns from end-to-end. 

Other Advertising Automation Tools

AdRoll: Run ads across every channel from the display and social to emails.  In addition to that, they offer retargeting campaigns, so you stay top of mind with new and inactive prospects by re-engaging with them. 

Metadata.io: One and only tool that enables B2B marketers to run account-based ads. With the help of AI and multivariate testing, in order to get the best results for your ad budget – Metadata.io identifies the most effective combination of ad creative, copy and placement.

Shoelace: This tool focuses on the customer journey and they make it easy to use ads throughout every stage of your buyer’s journey. The good thing about this tool is that it continuously nurturing and pushing leads towards a sale.  On top of that, their software offers segmentation that  allows hyper-targeted ads and prevents ad fatigue 

Editorial Credit: Solomon7 / Shutterstock.com

Pricing Automation

Should you keep your prices competitive as your competitors shift or optimize your price from top-down? For some small companies, this may not be necessary but for larger companies – pricing automation software makes it easier to react towards competitive pricing changes. 

This can be an advantage to your pricing strategy. Generally, it’s designed with an eCommerce mindset. With that said, companies that will most likely benefit from this tool are eCommerce and those that are selling competitive products to the marketplace. 

If you’re interested in starting an eCommerce business, watch this video

Loyalty and Referral Marketing Automation

Did you know that the most powerful marketing tool is “word of mouth”? When you think or talk about marketing automation or marketing itself – very often, loyalty and referrals get left out. And when you combine both together, it can be a good fit for your business. 

But how to know if it’s a good fit? 

If you’ve seen results from word of mouth or extensive research or negotiation is not required then this tool is an added advantage to upsell or increase your return on investment. Leverage your referral and loyalty program in this digital landscape with some of these tools 

TapMango

Offers flexible reward structures and plenty of choices for promotions. TapMango opens the door to inspire customers and reward loyalty and referrals. 

Ambassador

By hand-selecting your preferred customers to automate and testing reward incentives – find the right mix with Ambassador. If you want a tool that’s like an auto-pilot, this is it. I personally like this because the platform offers plenty of integrations and pre-built templates. You can just choose one and go.

Get to the Top With Marketing Automation

As I said, marketing automation is not for every company or marketing team. Not everyone is ready to automate their operation.

Needless to say, in today’s digital world, you can take your sales marketing strategy to a whole new level with marketing automation tools. If you go back to the criteria and you see your business is heading in the direction of failure with the current marketing strategies – automation is a surefire way for small businesses to prevent this from happening. Not only does it save you time and money, but it also maintains brand messaging while reaching thousands or millions of people. 

The key is simple: Determine which platform fits your company best so you can save time and money. Each platform you use must be utilized to the fullest potential and run in such a way that your customers feel taken care of and enjoy the best customer journey you can build. 

If you don’t know where to start, click here to discover the best-kept secrets of my success and all I know about social media. This vault has everything I learned and used to grow businesses and turn leads into loyal customers.