Marketing Automation: Essential Facts and Top 5 Tools
Marketing Automation is the process of streamlining the workflows in various digital marketing activities. Marketing has a vast landscape of tasks and goals. There cannot be a single platform that can efficiently manage everything. However, you can use a combination of marketing automation tools and make a marketing automation "stack".
In this article, we will explore:
- The essential aspects of Marketing Automation,
- Why we need it,
- What the different categories are, and
- Discuss some of the best marketing automation tools and products.
Automation in Worklife
The basic reason for using any software, just like marketing automation tools, is improved productivity and automation of trivial but repetitive tasks. We want to be able to use our brainpower and time power for tasks and challenges that really demand our attention and skills. With only 24 hours in a day, and a limited cognitive capacity available to us, there is a ceiling to what we can accomplish by ourselves in one work day.
There is no need to get bogged down by boring, monotonous tasks when we can easily create a system that can take care of such activities for us. As long as there is no major error and loss in quality, people will always prefer to automate something rather than do it manually. And what we cannot automate or systematize, we would like to delegate it to other people. This is how business and entrepreneurship can produce value consistently and also experience growth.
Why Do We Need Marketing Automation Tools?
It is a good idea to automate various marketing activities, for gaining these advantages:
- Speed: Finish same amount of work in lesser time.
- Scale: Be able to handle larger number of users/tasks than manually possible.
- Avoid Repetition: By automating any actions that get repeated a lot, we achieve speed and scale, and also reduce fatigue and dullness of mind. This lets us use our time and mind for handling challenges and doing innovation.
- Enable Personalization: We can segment users by their characteristics. Then we can target different user segments with messages and offers tailored to be beneficial and attractive to them. Marketing automation lets us do this at speed and scale. Thus, we can manage to personalize our marketing strategies for any number of clients/users.
- Streamline Workflows: Usually, marketing activities happen across different tools and platforms. Switching between different tools and products itself can be time consuming. There are ways to simplify the workflows by integrating various tools. This reduces friction and helps us get the best out of every tool we use, while reducing the overheads. We also get to customize our workflows to suit our style of working and for optimizing them for our top priorities.
What are the different categories in Marketing Automation?
Generally, marketing is done by a team of people rather than one person. Each of them will focus on different marketing areas, and collaborate to plan and execute a marketing strategy. We can divide and categorize both marketing team roles and marketing automation tools into these segments:
By using email marketing automation tools, you can send newsletters, promotional emails, checkout reminders etc.
Social Media Marketing
Manage different social media channels and pages from one place. You can create and schedule posts, and send automated replies to engage with your users on social media.
SMS and automated calling services are a great way to reach users directly.
Like social media marketing automation tools, you can manage a larger scope of marketing mediums like TV, mobile, social media, email etc. in one place.
From collecting contact details to analysing, segmenting and qualifying leads, and building relationships that can convert leads into deals.
Customer Relationship Management
CRMs are the core to any business, and all departments depend on them in some way. They help you to keep track of the information and interactions with your customers, so that you build and maintain healthy business relationships with them.
Automated Identity Verification
The automation of the process of checking IDs and other document proofs from users. It is essential to authenticate and validate them as trusted entities, before undertaking valuable transactions with them.
Pricing automation tools help you to use specific rules or even machine learning models to analyse and determine the optimal pricing. The success rate for such optimal pricing will be high, such that customers are more likely to buy, renew, upgrade etc.
Ad campaigns require a lot of steps to get good results. Running pilot campaigns, A/B testing of different visuals and copy, targeting appropriate audience segments, managing budgets etc.
Data driven business decisions lead to success within constraints. Your marketing and advertising efforts need to be tracked, compared, predicted, and utilized for choosing the next steps to take.
Workflow automation helps us to define business processes accurately, connect the different steps based on rules or triggers, and let them execute automatically. It can also consist of deciding about which marketing automation tools to use when, and streamline the flow of activities between different products.
There are some marketing automation platforms that can handle multiple categories. But you should choose the right selection of general and special marketing automation tools to get the highest quality possible. You can always streamline workflows between these specialized tools using integration tools or programming mechanisms like APIs.
The Top 5 Marketing Automation Software Tools
- Hubspot Marketing Hub
1. Hubspot Marketing Hub
- Hubspot offers many tools to manage marketing, sales, CRM, content creation, email marketing and marketing workflows automation.
- We will look at its Marketing Hub product in detail, since the focus of this article is on marketing activities.
- The main purpose of the all-in-one marketing platform is to attract the right customers and run inbound marketing campaigns end-to-end.
- This marketing funnel can begin at social media and content strategy. You can use blogging, social media posts, ads, videos, and newsletters to create and publish the primary promotional content. All these content mediums will contain call-to-actions that will drive your audience to the next step.
- SEO tools from Hubspot can help you to build your site authority and outcompete your rivals.
- Next, you can create landing pages, forms, and live chat widgets using the builder tools. These are helpful in converting audience into prospective customers.
- Marketing Automation tools in Hubspot let you design and fine-tune email marketing campaigns.
- You can build attractive email templates, and set various triggers and conditions to select the right message and timing. This ensures that your customers get the appropriate message required to convert them at the correct time.
- Automation of complex workflows for follow-up emails or comprehensive customer journeys is made supereasy due to the visual editor.
- Similarly, workflow automation supports to automate a variety of tasks. You can create webhooks, score leads, rotate leads to sales, update data properties in bulk, and trigger internal notifications for your team members.
- Finally, you can analyse and present all the data and outcomes from your marketing campaigns using the marketing analytics tools.
- Customer.io is a complete marketing automation tool to manage your messaging content strategy. You can use it to target and schedule interactions with your customers throughout their lifecycle.
- You can easily send emails, push notifications in web apps, SMS, and Slack messages. For any other messaging channels, you can create a custom webhook action to any service with an API.
- Customer.io has a range of integrated tools. You start from a blank canvas, and intelligently design and execute your entire unique messaging strategy for your brand, product or company.
- You can pull in customer data from any CRM or user database. Use segmentation tools to group your customers by their personal attributes and actions on your channels or product.
- Then, using the no-code, visual workflow editor, you can create complex personalized workflows for your messaging content.
- Customer.io provides a dashboard so you can see messaging campaign health scores, leaderboards, your active A/B test, etc.
- You can compare and analyse various metrics from your campaigns and newsletters across your entire workspace. Customer.io is very convenient to manage your customer and campaigns data, whether it is exporting data into CSV or creating reports for presentation.
- Marketo is a complete toolkit to do lead-based and account-based marketing automation.
- You start by finding and targeting the audience for your brand or product using account and contact discovery.
- Predictive and intelligent audience segmentation helps you understand your market better.
- You can manage your entire content library using Marketo. It provides automatic content suggestions according to your audience's attribute to maximize engagement.
- Marketo supports multiple engagement digital channels like email, websites, webinars, search, paid media and ads, social media and SMS. It also includes offline channels like events, direct mail and outbound sales campaigns.
- You can design non-linear and complex campaigns and user journeys with intuitive tools. With campaign cloning and analytics, you get insights and repeatable value from all your campaigns and strategies.
- The funnel from lead discovery to conversion to sales has multiple touchpoints. Different buyers will respond in unique ways. Marketo lets you track progress with lead scores as you nurture your audience.
- Marketo helps bridge the gaps and enables collaboration between Marketing and Sales. Both teams can view the lead-to-revenue process and derive valuable data about customers, goals, strategies, campaigns etc. from across the entire customer lifecycle.
- Whether it is buyer engagement reports or revenue attribution analytics, Marketo's dashboards, analytics and reporting tools has you covered to make sense from all the data.
- Eloqua by Oracle is a leading B2B Marketing Automation tool.
- You can create dynamic campaigns spanning multiple channels using drag and drop tools. Digital channels include email, web, mobile, SMS, search, and video.
- Using data-driven targeting and scalable segmentation, you can group your audience by their geography, interests and other attributes.
- Eloqua lets you do accurate lead scoring with dynamic, non-linear scores, and prediction models, across all your different products and campaigns.
- A lot of heavylifting is done with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Eloqua uses AI for content personalization, best times for emails, and improvement in strategies based on contact fatigue insights.
- Asset creation and management with no-code, drag-and-drop tooling for building landing pages, emails and forms.
- Campaign and email analysis, account engagement dashboard and closed-loop reporting to track spending and results across marketing and sales funnels.
- Leadsquared combines a Sales CRM platform with a Marketing Automation tool.
- Marketing automation tooling from Leadsquared help you to capture leads, understand intent, spot signals in user engagement actions and visualize the entire user journey. Then, you can send relevant content that encourages sales actions and marketing engagement across digital channels like email, social, phone calls, texts, portals etc.
- The entire journey of welcoming prospect to converting it to loyal customer can be modeled and executed using the Workflow Builder.
- Also, Eloqua helps you design and build responsive landing pages, attractive email campaigns and self-serve portals for customers. Using them, you can scout and drive customers towards your products and services.
- With recurring event communications, you can increase customer retention, and nurture your leads for cross-sell and upsell opportunities.
- Alongside marketing automation, Leadsquared boosts the capabilities of the sales and fields teams with their Sales Execution CRM and Field Force Automation. Features include Mobile CRM for on-the-go field agents, Workday Planning, Regimented Sales and Flexible Workflows. Thus, all your teams in sales and marketing deparments can be aligned on a single platform.
- With custom dashboard and hundreds of default reports, it is very easy to keep track of all the metrics and scores. This includes revenue metrics, campaign performance and predictions, agent productivity scores, and prescriptive insights across marketing automation activities.
Marketing Automation Tools simplify and tie together various marketing and even sales activities. These include audience engagement and lead generation, creating detailed messaging and nurturing campaign workflows for your customers. A/B testing of different strategies and content across digital channels like ads, social, web, email and SMS. Marketing automation tools use AI to automate personalized content delivery and to provide prescriptive insights. They also have comprehensive analytics and reporting for understanding expenditures, productivity and revenue.
Some marketing automation tools come inbuilt with Sales CRMs, while others can be integrated with other essential tools using APIs and integration support. Thus, you can bring speed, scale, quality, productivity, innovation, and even elements of fun to your work using Marketing Automation tools like Hubspot, Customer.io, Marketo, Eloqua and LeadSquared. Tell us in the comments which of these marketing automation and CRM platforms do you use? What other marketing and sales tools do you like to integrate into your workflow?