Alanna Jackson is a founding partner at Jackson Marketing, Inc., a marketing firm located in Dunedin, Florida. In addition to her work at Jackson Marketing, Alanna is a co-host of The B2B Mix Show podcast. You can follow Alanna on Twitter at @alanna_jax and connect with her on LinkedIn.

Today’s marketers are faced with a multitude of new and changing online marketing opportunities. It can sometimes be overwhelming at the number of online tools available to help you improve your marketing process. Most marketing technologists need and want marketing automation, but don’t really know where to start looking or what to really look for in an automation tool.

Adestra conducted a survey in 2015 of online marketers to shed some light on the benefits of marketing automation. Here are some of the highlights from the survey:

  • 74% Saved time
  • 68% Improved customer engagement
  • 58% More timely communications
  • 58% Increased opportunities including upselling

As illustrated in the above statistics, you can see the benefits businesses gain from marketing automation. Let’s discuss what marketing automation is and the benefits it can bring to your organization.

Marketing automation is the use of software and web-based services to execute, manage, and automate marketing tasks and processes.

Benefits of Marketing Automation

Why is this so important? Because it takes over manual, routine and repetitive tasks so that your marketing team can focus on the bigger picture without having to be entrenched in the day to day administrative marketing activities. The right software will help you track visitors and serve relevant content among other features that will help with specific aspects of marketing. We use Lead Liaison for our business and our clients to realize of the following benefits:

Eliminates Repetitive Tasks – Automation is a great way to allow your team to focus on the more important aspects of your business. Repetitive tasks are time consuming and distracting. They take your team away from the big picture and can easily prevent you from reaching your goals because their time is spent on administrative tasks rather than┬ámoving in an upward direction with your overall marketing plan.

Improves Customer Service – Automation can make your customer service process more reliable. Your marketing technologists, support, or sales reps have the opportunity to assist customers in real-time when visitors are on your site. This creates a more interactive, convenient, and seamless experience for your customers.

Creates Higher Quality Email Marketing – Let’s just be frank…email marketing simply can’t be done effectively without automation. The right software will help sign up new subscribers, manage lists, broadcast messages, and deliver analytics so that you can evaluate the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.

Aligns Lead Generation Processes – Automation programs can take over your lead generation processes, which frees up more time to focus on lead qualification and lead nurturing. This creates a more effective streamlined process to manage your leads.

Builds and Maintains Customer Communication – Relationships are important to your business. The right solution will allow you to build better relationships with your customers by allowing you to manage more interactions all at once than you can without automation.

Streamlines Social Media Engagement – Streamline your social media engagement process by automating manual tasks. Even though the tasks will be automated you’ll still be able to maintain the critical personal element to the process.

Assists with Content Creation and Publishing – If you’re like many businesses, you can use a little help in the content creation step of your marketing plan process. Automation can assist with some aspects of content creation, as well as publishing content on a regular schedule. There are some tools available that will help you find curated content to share and easily add your own comments and thought leadership ideas to share with your audience.

Reduces Budget Needs – Everyone is looking for cost-cutting ways to run their business. While you will need to invest in the marketing automation solution, you will also be able to maintain an appropriate level of staff members. The more things that are automated means a leaner staff that can focus more on the goals of the company to achieve success.

Is Marketing Automation Right for Your Company?

Marketing automation is right for most companies; however, there may be times when it’s not appropriate. So, how do you know if it’s right for your company? Here are some things to consider when determining if you should automate some of your marketing processes.

  • Do you have any opportunities where an automated process can take over routine tasks or help you produce better results? If so, then it’s a good fit.
  • Are you looking to over-automate processes? If so, then it’s not a good fit. Even too much of a good thing may sometimes be too much and end up being a negative. If you plan to automate too many process, it can cause your customers to feel disconnected.
  • Do the aspects of the process you’re looking to automate require a personal touch? If so, then it may not be a good fit. Whenever there is direct customer service involved, you may need to think about how automating the process will affect your customers before automating.
  • If you automate specific tasks, will it free up your staff to focus on more important areas? If so, then it’s a good fit.

As a business, you want to make sure you’re making the decisions that make the most sense in the long run (Read Make the Most of Marketing Automation). Identify areas where automation may work to streamline processes for your organization without directly affecting your customers in a negative manner. These will be the areas where automation will benefit your company and provide more efficient workflows to your processes. If you would like to dig deeper into marketing automation, check out our e-book Selecting Marketing Technology.
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