Why Use a Marketing Automation Tool (and What Can They Do for Your Business)?
Getting bogged down in administrative tasks wastes creative people’s time who feel hamstrung by it. Using marketing automation tools reduces personal involvement to obtain positive marketing outcomes. This frees up staff to be more creative and spontaneous in marketing to customers and potential customers alike. This article discusses marketing automation tools, why they’re beneficial for businesses of all sizes, and what they can do for yours.
What is a Marketing Automation Tool?
A marketing automation tool is designed for creating situations and scenarios where some marketing is performed automatically. Instead of needing to initiate sending out a marketing email or to manually extract data from two different tools and somehow mesh it together, new integrations can make this seamless and automatic.
When using B2C marketing automation software, it’s designed to increase the potential marketing touchpoints with customers without the same effort required. For instance, Lob provides tools to facilitate paper check verification and production including confirming the address information before sending payments. This avoids errors and prevents financial fraud with companies that need an automated system for check payments. Lob has also put together this list of useful marketing automation tools for a B2C business to consider trying out. It’s an excellent primer on the subject.
Help Companies to Improve Security Features
Some automation systems aren’t necessarily designed to replace an existing system, but to improve their security. As mentioned above, address verification prevents unnecessary errors. Information between multiple tools can be cross-checked to alert when customer data differs noticeably from one database to another too. This might be for when they’ve moved recently, or the customer has changed their name because of a recent marriage. The company can then confirm which is correct and amend the relevant records accordingly.
Email addresses can also be verified using confirmation systems. This is where subscribers are emailed and asked to confirm receipt of the email, to verify that they entered the email address correctly. This conforms with privacy requirements for emails and avoids people signing up others to email newsletters that they never wished to receive.
Create Integrations Where None Exist
Apps don’t always talk to each other nicely. Whether that’s a CRM service, a SaaS, or another app, they will not always have integrations built in to communicate with each other. When you want or need to access data across multiple services for marketing purposes, including verifying the information is correct, integration becomes hugely beneficial. Otherwise, doing it manually is a bugbear that can require many hours of tedious work.
Zapier is one of the most used tools for this purpose. They have thousands of integrations with different SaaS tools and apps that allow data to be shared between them. Information stored in an app can often be extracted to a spreadsheet like Google Sheets for further data analysis work. This is useful when you wish to further segment an audience before contacting them, looking for new insights, or making a new marketing offer to a select few.
Using Mailing Lists in Smarter Ways
Another good example is with mailing lists. Customers can sign up to a mailing list through the website or request to do so from a mailer included in the product box. These mailing lists allow companies to reconnect with them in the future to provide interesting customer stories, technical support articles, and to promote existing or new products.
Mailing lists from some providers, such as SendinBlue, now include customer segmentation features, sales funnels, and automation too. New customer contact can create a trigger within their system, leading to different actions based on the customer request or response. This can include database updates or responses from interactions with a CRM system.
E-commerce Automated Marketing
Some tools such as Omnisend exist to assist e-commerce stores in increasing the effectiveness of their marketing plans. It’s possible to use their tool to create planned email sequences as an autoresponder that takes new customers or subscribers through a sequence of messages. These are designed to encourage brand engagement, promote products or services of interest, and increase the amount of interaction with the company.
Some tools include multiple communication mediums like email and SMS messages too. Therefore, it’s possible to design sequences that work specifically for your business. Integration with many other tools extends beyond e-commerce marketing sequences to trigger other actions based on marketing messages and customer responses.
Knowing Where to Draw the Line
Automation is an excellent tool for businesses. Many are engaging with this to initiate new marketing actions without as much effort needing to be expended. With that said, companies also must consider how the customer feels about it. Are they expecting to be contacted as often? Are the responses being triggered appropriate and relevant? For example, with social media, it’s possible to create pre-planned tweets or shares and schedule them in advance. While it allows social media managers to batch their marketing efforts on a platform, some of these platforms actively block their usage. Also, there is a risk that messages set up in advance can backfire because their appropriateness changes from draft to sending out, as happened to Weber Grills recently.
Therefore, marketing automation tools are a wonderful way to increase effectiveness for staff. Yet care must be taken to use them appropriately or else there’s a risk of alienating the very customers you’re trying to reach.