What is Marketing Automation and how can it help your business?

By Ali Liaquat, Apr 1 2019
Marketing automation. Not the warmest-sounding subject out there, right? But let’s look at it in a different way.

Imagine digital marketing as a large party, where everyone is mingling and getting to know each other. Your business has come to the party to make some friends, so your business needs to be great at small talk. This means your banter needs to be flowing, engaging and relevant to the people listening.

Now imagine your business is the life of the party. Hundreds of party guests are lining up to talk to your business – all with different interests and goals. On top of that, the party is going on for a really long time; it’s shaping up to be an all-nighter.

How will your business handle it? How does it stay engaging and relevant to this diverse bunch of party-goers, over an extended period?

Two words: Marketing. Automation.

Marketing automation happens when you set up a series of programmed, timely emails that are triggered by certain customer actions. Sometimes it’s called drip marketing.

It can help you turn potential customers into actual ones, keep your current customers active, and get former customers to be all up in your business again.

Tip: It’s important that you figure out what your goal is and how to reach it (i.e. customer journey and workflow) before you start marketing automation.

Reaching your marketing automation goal works like this: The customer takes an action. The action triggers emails (called an email flow). Each email is sent at a certain cadence. These emails help you reach your goal. Let’s explore this by looking at some common goals.

The first popular marketing automation goal is engagement, or encouraging customers to interact with your products or business even more. The trigger is when customers try some of your features or services on your app or site, but not others.

Every few days or weeks, those customers will get an email encouraging them to engage with your business (by taking a specific action of your choice).

The content in your emails can be tailored based on what we know about the person, based on the actions they’ve taken on your website. This is key to being relevant.

As well as that, every month, your newsletter will be emailed to them. And periodically, they’ll receive emails about your new features or products you’re launching, and/or tips and tricks.

Another popular marketing automation goal is onboarding, or teaching customers how to use your product or service. The trigger for that goal is customers visiting your site, app, or store and signing up for your emails or making a purchase.

Here’s a possible onboarding email flow:

  • The customer buys one of your products
  • An hour later they get your welcome email
  • Over the next few days, they’ll receive your “how my product works” email with tips and tricks on using your product

This is key to delighting your new customers and turning them into happy brand promoters.

Retention – or getting customers to stay loyal and keep coming back – is also a common marketing automation goal. For this goal, you can use different triggers and email flows. For example, let’s say the trigger is a customer making their first purchase. Two days later, they’ll receive an email asking for feedback on the purchase

If a customer makes more purchases, that’s also a trigger. A day later they can get an email with related products they might like.

You might also consider reengagement as a goal. This is when you get a user who’s stopped using your product to start using it again.

The trigger is when customers forget about you and have stopped engaging with you completely. For example, let’s say they haven’t visited your site, purchased a product or used your app in a while.

For a set time period, you can have them receive emails every seven days. The first can be a “we miss you” email. The second, a “what you’re missing out on” message. Finally, they’ll be sent a discount or promotion.

Remember: Your email flows shouldn’t overwhelm or annoy people. Also, let people opt-in and out of your emails.

Not sure if marketing automation makes sense for your business, or which marketing automation platform is the right fit for your business? Get in touch with our Hamilton based digital marketing agency. We can help, let’s talk.

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