The Role of Automation in Marketing

Once, people looked for a business in the yellow pages; today, they Google. Or, if they don’t Google, they look on social media, find a website, or search for a blog post.

Digital marketing has changed the rules, and that means a lot more personalization and interaction. Overall, this is great for business. You can more accurately target your ideal customers and optimize your ad spend. 

However, it also means you’re reaching thousands of people every day, and you need a way to keep up. Over 80% of customers expect a reply to a customer service email within 24 hours, and 16% expect an immediate response. That’s where automation comes in.

The role of automation is expanding rapidly, which allows businesses to spend more time and energy on keeping up with other changes in marketing. Here are a few of the ways automation is being used, and some pitfalls to watch out for.

Automated Email Marketing

One of the realities of marketing is that most people aren’t ready to buy immediately when they find out about your product or service. They need more information, and the relationship needs to be nurtured. Often, this is done through email, where engagement emails can be sent out regularly.

However, maintaining the proper schedule for thousands of prospects is a nightmare if you try to do it manually. Instead, companies turn to automated email programs to manage their marketing. 

These programs allow a business to set up an email sequence in advance. As customers sign up, they receive engagement emails on a specific schedule, no manual involvement required. This allows companies to segment and personalize their email marketing in a way that was impossible before, and they are reaping the benefits in sales and profits.

Centralization of Marketing Information

When you have a hot lead, you need to know the most accurate information about them to follow up and make a sale. If your salesperson uses inaccurate or outdated data, the results can lead to embarrassment and a lost deal.

Business automation software allows the customer and lead database to be centralized and easily updated based on each new interaction. A salesperson never has to worry about not having access to a recent call or question that a lead sent in. 

Having the status of sales efforts, the incentives offered, customer contact information, and more all centralized and up to date makes the marketing process much more effective and efficient. When you use automation, you’re able to keep up with the various changes in digital marketing much more effectively. Automating certain tasks can streamline your efforts and increase your return on investment.

Automation of Social Media Updates and Replies

Social media is a crucial resource for companies who are looking to build relationships and create customer advocates who will spread the word about the brand. However, keeping up with social media can be exhausting. There are thousands of new tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, Pins, and YouTube videos every minute. Automation allows a company to create and schedule content in a consistent way that keeps followers engaged without exhausting business resources.

Each social media platform has tools that allow a business to schedule posts in advance, and some third-party platforms enable you to schedule posts on multiple platforms at one time. Since being consistent is essential to succeeding on social media, this automation is a lifesaver.

Even better, when you use an automation platform for social media, you can analyze how each post is doing and maximize the exposure of high-performing posts. The key is to automate in a way that looks human and relatable, rather than spammy. To do so, you need the right tools combined with a strong social media strategy.

Highly Targeted Automated Ads

Social media and the online economy have made consumers more discerning — and demanding — than ever. No one wants to feel that they are part of your target demographic. They want to feel like you know and understand their unique needs and have a solution.

As a result, AI is playing a significant role in marketing automation. With AI, you can deliver highly targeted ads in crucial spaces. A tracking pixel can tell you who has visited specific product or sales pages on your website. With that pixel and AI, your advertisements then follow them across the web.

Using automated ads allows you to skip buying specific ad space on websites or blogs. Instead, your targeted ads appear based on previous consumer behavior.

Watch Out for the Pitfalls of Automation

While marketing automation can save your company significant time and money, there are some pitfalls to watch out for. One of the most important is data security. You can’t afford to have your marketing processes hacked or compromised, so make sure your business uses the most recent security best practices

It’s also important to understand that automation and marketing software can give you a lot of data, but making sense of that data is still a human operation. Brands are using big data analytics to dig through information gathered from millions of internet users. Put in the proper context, it helps create marketing strategies that convert. Use it the wrong way, however, and you can end up misguided or even breaking privacy laws. 

Finally, you have to avoid the temptation to automate so much that prospects feel they’re speaking to a robot. Chatbots and social listening tools can give you a great head start, but in the end, people want to feel like they’re dealing with people. If you come off too mechanical, you can drive away customers.

How Does Automation Impact Your Business?

Marketing automation is a game-changer for companies trying to have a big presence without spending big money or using significant resources. However, it’s not a replacement for a human touch in your outreach or customer service.

Learning to balance the efficiency of automation with the heart of a caring company is a challenge for every company today. You’ll find a wide variety of tools that help you bring automation, AI, and efficiency into your business – but your human mind will give you the wisdom to use them effectively.

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