Marketing automation sounds great, doesn’t it? Like you can place everything on autopilot, and it will get done. Well, as handy as “marketing automation” is, it doesn’t exactly work on auto-pilot. There’s a strategy behind it and tools that are necessary to get the most out of marketing automation.
Here’s what you need to know about the best marketing automation tools and why you need them.
What Is Marketing Automation?
Many tasks that marketers perform don’t need someone at the helm pushing the button, like scheduling social media or sending out a welcome email. These things can be placed in queues and set to “go off” at a particular time or in reaction to an activity. This article will introduce you to the different kinds of marketing automation software out there that can help you streamline your daily marketing activities.
Top Marketing Automation Tools for Social Media
Social Media Schedulers
Have you ever seen a social media poster post ten tweets consecutively? They just dump the info on the Twittersphere. Obviously, someone told them to tweet a lot but forgot to mention the necessity of spacing those tweets out. Or maybe they did but the tweeter figures they don’t have time to go on Twitter more than once a day, so they dump tweets when they can.
None of this is necessary. With a social media scheduler you can plan out your posts, and the scheduler will make sure they hit your streams at appropriate, spaced-out times. Some schedulers offer content suggestions and time recommendations based on your follower’s most active times. Popular names in post schedulers include Hootsuite, Buffer, Edgar, and PostPlanner.
There is also software on the market that performs conditional activities based on actions. For instance, you can dictate that if someone follows you on Twitter that you automatically send them a thank you tweet. This type of software works on a variety of apps and notifications. It can make you appear to be in all places at all times, but it can also run the risk of being visibly automated. Choose what actions you automate carefully for this reason. Top software in this area includes IFTTT and Zapier.
Marketing Automation (Email) Software
This is the type of software that most people think of when referring to “marketing automation software.” This software allows you to run automated email marketing campaigns. Some of these campaigns can be quite complex and generally involve multiple action branches. For instance, you can use marketing automation software to send a thank you email for subscribing to your newsletter. In that email, you can invite the recipient to view more resources, blog post A or blog post B. If they click on either, you now have information about a topic that is of interest to them. You can send out further emails based on those preferences. Every action your recipient takes can then alter the decision tree, and customize the options they receive in the future.
Marketing automation saves the marketing department time, but it also offers the opportunity to create a personalized campaign containing information the recipient is most interested in. You can create a resource path that is constantly readjusting based on your recipient’s actions.
It’s also a good way to understand how far along they are in the buying process by offering resources tailored to those visitors at the beginning of the process all the way through those who are almost ready to buy. By watching their interaction with your offered content, you can presume where they are and what they’re struggling with and provide resources that assist them with that.
Finally, marketing automation software helps you stay top of mind for future customers who just aren’t ready to buy yet. By providing them with helpful resources, you can remain in the running so that when they are ready, they’ll look to you.
Popular software in this category includes Marketo, Oracle’s Eloqua, Salesforce’s Pardot, SharpSpring, and HubSpot. MailChimp, an email software company, just announced that its email marketing automation software is now free to all MailChimp users.