The State of Online Marketing Automation 2018

Sending out hundreds of mails, scheduling umpteen number of social media posts and analyzing heaps of data is not new to the marketers anymore.  Thanks to online marketing automation. In fact, halfway through 2018, automation has actually become a part of the marketing cycle.

Let’s go back to using Instagram back in 2014 for an example. With a promising user base to address, marketers would have to manually upload images to the channel at the ‘best times’ for customer engagement. And today, there are tools like Buffer reducing the effort of keeping up on the platform.

Buffer not only schedules posts on Instagram, but also posts on the platform automatically. Yes, that’s the simplest form of marketing automation. But there’s a lot more that the technology can do for you today.

How can online marketing automation fuel your business growth?

1) Focusing and improving on marketing ROI

A marketing automation software offers more insights into marketing campaigns and business processes. It helps you understand what works for your business and what needs further optimization for your business growth. With actionable insights in place, you don’t just ensure optimal use of the resources available to you; but can also focus on improving the marketing ROI.

According to a study by the Lenskold Group, ” 78% of successful marketers, cited marketing automation systems as the major contributor to improving their revenue.” –  CMS Critic.

2) Retaining and strengthening customer relationships

A 5% increase in customer retention can improve the company’s profitability by 75%. This only goes to say how important customer relationships have become over time. When you focus on staying in touch with your customer in a consistent manner, it opens the opportunity for up-sell and cross-sell your products/ services and increases your repeat sales.

Online marketing automation helps you create omni-channel customer engagement campaigns. It keeps them hooked to your brand and nudge them to come back to you frequently.

3) Nurturing leads with custom campaigns

Only 4% of customers are ready to make purchase the first time they visit a website. Nurturing such potential customers can increase your sales by a whopping 50%. This is where marketing automation steps into communicate with these leads in a timely manner, across multiple digital channels.

John McTigue, Executive VP and co-owner of Kuno Creative says, “Without marketing automation, you are just guessing – just hoping that people will take the bait and be ready to buy your products. Statistics show that buyers don’t do that. They want to learn at their own pace and be reached when they need more information or are ready to buy. A well-constructed marketing automation strategy makes that a reality.”

The 3 pillars of automated lead nurturing include:

Nurturing – Automation creates workflows to target different content formats towards different leads based on their channel of acquisition and other parameters.

Segmentation – An automation software tracks how a lead is interacting with your nurturing content. It further segments him into lists based on their behaviour.

Grading – Marketing automation pinpoints exactly where the lead is in a sales cycle. It helps you customize their journey to conversion.

4) Aligning marketing with sales to track leads better

67% of B2B marketers have observed at least a 10% increase in sales opportunities through lead nurturing, states Demand Gen Report.

Syncing marketing and sale efforts is one of the major problems a business in this age and time faces. A marketing automation software enables marketers to integrate a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software with their campaigns. This in turn, helps the sales teams knowing the leads to be followed up on a priority basis and how.

Online marketing automation is a game changer

If you are wondering how businesses are using marketing automation techniques, put that thought to rest. Many of them are aware of the advantages that automation brings to the table. And how much effective it makes operational processes.

Marketing automation is undergoing a transformation, typically affecting these 5 platforms in a positive way:

1) Lead management

The sales team follows up with the right leads at the right time. It increases the chance of converting a customer. With automation, the contact list can be automated. And thus allow the sales reps to convert hot leads into opportunities faster.

2) Email marketing

Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue, reports -The Direct Marketing Association.

The channel takes care of marketing needs including bulk mailing, lead-based campaigns, sales messaging and mobile optimization. Combine this with marketing automation and it enables segmenting, uses text marketing to ensure the target audience receives the message and allows customers to choose their own campaigns.

3) SMS

This is a platform that has recently grown into the digital marketing automation process. SMS’ become more effective when automated. You can schedule messages weeks in advance and set up keywords to run support without breaking a sweat.

4) Lead generation

A complete marketing automation software includes a lead generation facility with categories like online and offline events, pay-per-click campaigns, cold calling to keep a track of areas from where the leads are getting generated.

5) Social media marketing

Majority of B2B marketers are currently not merging their data across tools and social channels. Social media, when used in conjecture with automation can yield fantastic results. One can segment leads under specific categories, create unique landing pages, install call-to-actions and measure the effectiveness of campaigns to convert more social users into customers.

Online marketing automation in 2018

Improvements to chatbots, increased use of machine learning and deeper analysis will be key drivers in development of marketing automation techniques. Let’s have a look at what does the future holds for us this year:

1) Personalized content recommendations

Amazon was the first brand to ever include product recommendations on the website. Netflix smartly suggests similar TV shows and movies a consumer might like based on his preferences. These two game-changers have leveraged the power of personalized content like no one else! In 2018, automation has allowed marketers to share right content with right people across platforms and devices.

2) Automated social media outreach

A recent Marketing Sherpa study found that 58% of people on social media follow brands. Considering over 2 billion people are present on different social media platforms, this gives brands a big opportunity to connect with their target audience:

3) Predictive lead scoring

Businesses and marketers should have a fair idea of ICP, also known as Ideal Customer Profile. Using probabilistic calculations, automation tools like Infer can now comfortably claim which leads have higher chances of conversion.

4) Integrated behaviour-based email workflows

“Transactional or triggered emails get eight times more open rates and even greater revenue than your regular bulk emails.” – reports Experian.

Creating email workflows may not be a recent phenomenon. However, integrating other channels in those workflows is a major recent development for both marketers and businesses.

Best of all, these marketing workflows can be triggered by customer behaviors, ensuring the messages are highly relevant to a prospect’s stage in the funnel. Automation tools like Ad Espresso and LeadsBridge can help you do that.

Over to you

It wouldn’t be wise for any marketer or business owner to ignore the power of marketing automation in 2018. In fact, 49% of businesses are regularly using online marketing automation. And with time its use is only going to be more dynamic.

So what’s stopping you to hop on to the bandwagon?

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