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12| Minute Read – Written by Kimberley

The Complete Guide To Marketing Automation

Marketing automation not only helps organisations and companies implement their communication and marketing strategies faster, but it also enables them to target their audience with timely personalised messaging using omnichannel marketing techniques across channels, including email, landing pages, events, websites and more. 

It is a medium that has been thoroughly effective for many years and continues to evolve as a technology and tool for marketers to use in their marketing and communication strategies. 

We have put together this guide to marketing automation that discusses best practices and the benefits of marketing automation. Check it out!

What's Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is the technology that marketers and marketing automation specialists use to automate their marketing activities across single and/or multiple channels. 

Marketing automation is the process by which you use a marketing automation platform so you can automate repetitive tasks like sending emails, updating data and planning campaigns.

Marketing automation tools and digital marketing platforms are in place to make these tasks easier, more personalised and measurable.

We have put together this definitive marketing automation guide, touching on marketing automation tools, tips, choosing the right marketing automation platform, marketing automation mistakes, marketing automation specialists and their role and marketing automation for small businesses.

Our guide to marketing automation will assist you in making an informed decision on what marketing automation platform best suits you and your organisation going forward.

Contents of Marketing Automation Best Practices Handbook

Marketing Automation Checklist

Looking for a new platform?

Make sure you cover all your needs with our Marketing Automation Checklist.

Swift Digital Marketing Automation Checklist

The Top 5 Reasons People Choose Marketing Automation are

  1. Save time and increase productivity 

  2. Provide a more personalised experience to the audience

  3. Measure engagement with audience engagement tools

  4. Nurture business leads

  5. Upselling and promotion

Who Uses Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is used by marketers, marketing automation specialists, event managers, communications managers, campaign delivery managers, internal and external teams, social media managers and content marketing teams. 

These would be the main users of marketing automation platforms. They use them to help carry out their day to day activities. The day to day activities would be automated using marketing automation tools. 

Marketing automation can automate; email campaigns, event management and ticketing, email marketing, social media posts, internal newsletters and more.

A whopping 91% (Feb 2021) say that marketing automation is very important to the overall success of their marketing, with 77% saying they saw an increase in conversions when they used marketing automation.

Your marketing automation checklist should include a marketing automation platform that allows you to not only automate your marketing tasks but also keeps your data secure and continually invests and improves their marketing automation platform. 

Download Now -> Free Marketing Automation Checklist

What is a Marketing Automation Platform?

A marketing automation platform is a tool that aids in routine tasks with minimal need for human interference. a system or tool that can automatically handle, control, and simplify different tasks according to human prompts.

A marketing automation platform usually comes in the form of SaaS (software as a service). It offers workflows for email marketing, events management, landing page campaigns, behavioural targeting, lead targeting and drip campaigns.

What Are The Benefits of Marketing Automation?

  1. More professional communications 

  2. Increased productively 

  3. Can quantify your results and ROI much easier

  4. Cost-efficient with maximum results 

  5. Valuable insights into intent and behavioural data

  6. Easy to set up 

  7. Manage data alongside CRM

  8. Increased conversations and higher engagement

  9. Efficiency

  10. Improves sales and marketing relationships

Swift Digital Overview

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How To Grow Your Business With Marketing Automation

Before we dive into how to use marketing automation to grow your business, it’s important that you have researched and considered what marketing automation platform you will be using.

Marketing Automation tools help to level the playing field for businesses who want to reap the benefits of marketing automation and big-business scaled marketing strategies and deployment. 

Marketing automation platforms do come at a price and some come with a bunch of features you may not even use but will have to pay for, so it is important you have completed your research on which marketing automation platform is right for you. 

Do you need something complex and custom? Or a simpler, easy to use system that will save you time in the long run?

Small Business and Marketing Automation

Automating your marketing processes means that you can utilise smart automation tools to prep campaigns and strategic workflows ahead of time, and have them run on autopilot. 

You can use marketing automation to send the right email at the right time to the right person, all without lifting much of a finger.

Marketing automation is for some, one of the single best invented time-saving tools there is!

Automating your marketing processes saves staff needs, resources, and time – as traditionally carrying out a complicated marketing strategy was overhead-intensive.

Marketing automation platforms allow you to automate and manage marketing strategies across email, SMS, events, surveys, and more. 

This makes cross-channelling content and strategies all the easier; saving small businesses even more time and overhead needs without compromising multi-channel reach.

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. By automating your marketing strategy, and using a marketing automation tool that enables you to cross-channel content, and accurately measure and analyse results for invaluable insights, your small business will undoubtedly benefit and grow.

Download Now -> Free Marketing Automation Checklist

3 ways to use Marketing Automation tools to improve your marketing strategy:

1. Reap the Benefits of Marketing Automation's Segmentation and Targeting Tools

Statistics show that 40 emails are sent per day by the average office worker. If you think this sound like a lot, you may be even more shocked to find out that 121 business-related emails are received each day by the average person!

It’s become increasingly important for marketers to deliver highly targeted, and relevant email campaigns. Marketing automation platforms give you access to segmentation and targeting tools; enabling you to target the right people, with the right content, at the right time.

If you want to stand out in the inbox, and, therefore, reap the benefits of marketing automation and higher engagement and click-through rates, then segmentation and targeting have to be a core part of your overall email marketing strategy. Marketing automation is one of the best tools you can use to utilise your segmented data.

2. Integrate Your Sales CRM with your Marketing Automation Platform

Managing multiple applications in a small business with limited staff and time can be an absolute headache.

With marketing automation software, you may have the ability to integrate your Sales CRM and automation platform – meaning less manual data sharing and cross-checking across your applications.

The data collected by a marketing automation platform is invaluable. It sheds light on what makes your prospects and leads tick, what makes your contacts convert, and what they do – and don’t like about your brand and messaging.

This data will help to inform your marketing and sales strategies for all time to come and will help your small business keep a finger on the pulse of your audience as things undoubtedly rapidly change.

By using a marketing automation platform (that offers CRM integration) a small business can sync and manage data across marketing and sales processes; making closing deals that much easier.

3. Integrate Your Sales CRM with your Marketing Automation Platform

With marketing automation, prospect and lead nurturing can be put on autopilot.

Your small business can nurture an ongoing relationship with its contacts, all without any staff member having to carry out the communications manually.

This means that your brand can have a presence in the lives of your prospects and leads without you having to increase investment in overhead.

Automating your lead nurturing email campaigns means you can prep numerous emails ahead of time and have them send out in a logical flow.

Emails in the sequence can send on scheduled times and dates, or they can ‘trigger’ to send based on how contacts interacted with previous campaigns or your website.

Download Now -> Free Marketing Automation Checklist

8 Reasons Why You Should Consider Investing In Marketing Automation

1. If your website isn’t generating any leads
2. If your leads aren’t becoming customers
3. Save on Time
4. Get Personal
5. Easier to measure ROI
6. Your focus has become too wide and nothing gets done properly.
7. You have leads and lots of them, but your organisation skills aren’t great.
8. You’re unsure about where your leads are coming from.

How To Choose The Right Marketing Automation Tool

So, it’s crunch time. Your boss has asked you to shop around and find out which marketing automation platform is right for you. How do you go about choosing the right marketing automation tool?  

We have a bunch of tips and a checklist that you can use when shopping around for your new marketing automation platform.

It’s Ease of Use and Customer Support

This is by far one of the most important things to consider when shopping around for your marketing automation platform. 

Are your team familiar with marketing automation platforms already? Are they new to this whole area of marketing? 

Take these things into consideration when choosing your marketing automation tool. You don’t want to pay for lot’s of features but then decide later on down the track that you don’t actually use any of them or need any of them.

Check that your new automation tool has support articles and knowledgebase too. Do they have video tutorials for you to follow?

The most sophisticated solution is not necessarily the one that’s right for you. You have to consider how well the system you choose will integrate with your business needs.

Ask yourself the following questions when looking into potential integrated marketing automation systems to decide what functionality you really need:

  • Forms – can it collect information from your website?
  • Landing Pages – are you able to direct traffic based on segmentation?
  • Email deliverability – can it ensure your messages are being received? Does it offer solutions for low deliverability rates?
  • Batch emails – is it possible to send large batches of emails and track and report opens, clicks, and other data?
  • Email trigger – can emails be automatically triggered based on user behaviour?
  • Social – can it capture engagement and segment scores based on interactions such as referrals and share buttons

Download Now -> Free Marketing Automation Checklist

Data Stored In Australia

Does your marketing automation platform store and keep data in Australia? For some organisations, this is the number one question and concern when choosing their marketing automation platform. 

The demand to know where your data is held and who has access to this data continues to dominant the headlines. With a number of people still working from home, security including data breaches has once again come into the spotlight.

The Government and public sector have very strict requirements as to where their data is held and normally opt to use providers that hold their data in Australia.

It is important that when you are selecting a marketing automation platform that suits your needs, you should take the time to find out where your data is held. Data held in Australia is fully compliant with Australian anti-spam and privacy laws.

If your data is held overseas, it is worth checking what anti-spam laws the service provider adheres to and whether they are sufficient for your organisation and meet Government security standards.

All data held within the Swift Digital platform is stored in Australian data centres. This makes the Swift platform APP Compliant and supports State and Federal Government, customers.

Campaign Building, Email Segmentation and Targeting

Does your new marketing automation tool come with features such as segmentation, personalisation, targeting, integrations and campaign building? 

Most marketing automation providers have these features, but some are not available in the basic packages. Check before you go ahead and sign on the dotted line.

CRM Integration

Most businesses use a CRM to manage their customer data. It is worth checking that your marketing automation provider can provide integration with your chosen CRM.

Set Up and Onboarding

Once you have chosen your new marketing automation platform, no doubt you will want to get started straight away. Does your new provider offer assistance and a quality onboarding service? 

Some marketing automation platforms only offer assistance on their premium packages, so be sure to ask what’s included when you sign up. Check how they will carry out the onboarding, is it remotely? Is it in person? Is it a real person or an automated service?

Marketing Automation Checklist

Choosing a marketing automation tool for your business is not the easiest task in the world, so we have put together our marketing automation checklist for you to use when you take the leap into the world of marketing automation or are simply looking to level up your marketing.

  • Does it offer training? 
  • Is the support 24/7? 
  • Is the support local? or will you need to wait 24 hours for an answer (or more)? 
  • Do they have video tutorials for you to follow? 
  • Do they have a knowledge base? 
  • Does your account come with an Account Manager?
  • Is data stored and kept in Australia?
  • Do they run regular penetration tests?
  • Does it have certified security?
  • Is it easy for your marketing and sales team to use? 
  • How many users per account? Do more users cost more?
  • Does training need to be paid for?
  • Can you build and track campaigns? 
  • Does sign up include onboarding?
  • How is onboarding completed?
  • How many contacts are you allowed to have?
  • Do you complete migrations? 
  • What engagement rates does it measure?
  • Does it allow for multiple users to work with the platform at the same time? 
  • Does it have version control? 
  • Does it offer a trial period so you can test its ability and functionality?
  • Can it collect information from your website?
  • Are you able to direct traffic based on segmentation?
  • Email deliverability – can it ensure your messages are being received? Does it offer solutions for low deliverability rates?
  • Does it offer SMS? Can it be used in line with email campaigns? 
  • Can emails be automatically triggered based on user behaviour?
  • Does it segment your database correctly based on demographics, behaviour, or other criteria?
  • Can it provide content nurturing so that you respond to a lead with the right type of content?
  • Does it have the ability to personalise your content?
  • Can it track cross-channel behaviours for your campaigns?
  • What CRM integrations do they offer?
  • Do they offer open API’s?
  • Can this new MA platform make it easier for you to track what’s really happening along the buyer’s journey?

Download Now -> Free Marketing Automation Checklist

What are Marketing Automation Best Practices?

Understand Your Audience
Use marketing automation best practices such as segmentation to segment your audience based on demographics, behaviour, interests, and engagement metrics. This lets you personalise your email campaigns for better engagement and conversion rates. 

Test and Optimise
Continuously test different elements of your marketing automation campaigns. Marketing automation testing and optimisation best practices include subject line testing, content, time testing, and calls-to-action testing. Analyse the results and optimise your emails and campaigns based on what works best.

Monitor and Measure Performance
Track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as open rates, click-through rates, click-through to open rates and conversion rates. Use this data to assess the effectiveness of your marketing automation efforts and make data-driven marketing and communication decisions.

With today’s personalisation and marketing automation tools, you can specifically target individuals with content that immediately engages them. Use data collected through marketing automation platforms to personalise your messages. Personalisation can significantly improve customer engagement and loyalty.

Focus on the Customer Experience
Focusing on the customer experience is paramount when implementing marketing automation. For your customer experience when using marketing automation, you should focus on personalisation, consistent branding, a seamless multichannel experience, responsiveness design, interactive content, timely and relevant content, and ease of use.  

7 Common Marketing Automation Mistakes Marketers

  1. Leaving New Subscribers Hanging

  2. Batching and Blasting

  3. Not Collecting, Analysing or Using Data

  4. Having an Unnoticeable Call To Action

  5. Using Personalisation Incorrectly, and Uncreatively

  6. Forgetting to Suppress Certain Recipients

  7. Sending to Purchased Mail Lists

Marketing Automation Specialists Role

A Marketing automation specialist handles the day-to-day duties of running automated marketing campaigns. 

The role of a marketing automation specialist is a varied one. On any given day, they may find themselves:

  • Designing and building automated email marketing flows and email campaigns. 
  • Brainstorming with colleagues for fresh marketing ideas.
  • Writing and scheduling upcoming social media posts.
  • Interpreting campaign analytics to measure performance and spot weaknesses. 
  • Creating A/B split tests of marketing assets to improve campaign performance. 
  • Other associated digital marketing duties.

The demand for skilled marketing automation practitioners is growing. Emailmonday says 51% of businesses use marketing automation tools, and 58% say they plan to use the technology in the future. 

Long-term prospects are healthy for people entering the marketing automation field. 

Download Now -> Free Marketing Automation Checklist

Marketing Automation Specialists Job Description

We have established what a marketing automation specialist actually does, so let’s explore the typical job description of a marketing automation specialist. 

Here is a brief list of the overall duties of a marketing automation specialist;

  • Responsible for email marketing program including data management, segmentation, targeting and testing
  • Experience in customer journey mapping and content
  • Ability to analyse data and creatively solve problems
  • Setup & manage Marketing Automation programs & campaigns with platforms
  • Test, measure and optimise campaigns and automation with methods such as A/B testing, health checks and post-campaign analysis
  • Develop Landing page templates and HTML emails.
  • Manage set-up and configuration of data-driven campaigns ensuring deliverability
  • Create and deliver end-to-end campaign execution including campaign design, experimentation and implementation, including building automation capability 
  • Oversee campaigns from creation to analysis and reporting

Some of the most common skills found in a marketing automation specialist job description are:

  • Ability to analyse data
  • Build email campaigns
  • Write content for the email and email campaigns
  • Experience with ESP’s (Email Service Providers)
  • Some technical skills with HTML and CSS
  • Experience managing end-to-end campaigns and reporting on key analytics
  • Experience in acquisition, engagement and retention automation campaigns, including multi-channel campaigns, within a marketing automation system
  • Ability to work autonomously and as part of a team environment

Streamlining Your Business with Marketing Automation

Marketing automation isn’t just about making your marketing processes that much more effective, and easier to launch – but it’s also about streamlining your business.

How, you might ask?

Whilst marketing automation platforms are built to specifically automate marketing campaigns, they can also be used to automate plenty of other business workflows – especially when integrated with other applications, such as Sales CRMs.

By using a multi-channel Marketing Automation software, you’ll be able to streamline the following business tasks (or put them on autopilot altogether)!

Harness the Power of Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a powerful tool when used to its full advantage. With this guide to marketing automation best practices, we hope that you now understand how you can use its powerful potential to level up your marketing in your business. 

Is your business looking to leverage marketing automation as part of the wider marketing strategy? Or are you simply looking to change your marketing automation platform?  

Swift Digital can share more resources and best practices relating to your industry and how they successfully use marketing automation

To find out how your business can get the best out of Swift Digital’s platform, contact our team.

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