What is Marketing Automation and Top Tools to Automate your Marketing Efforts

Whenever I use AI or automation, I feel like Tony Stark talking to Jarvis.

You just click or dictate, do some drag-and-drop, and voila!

marketing automation
Marketers launching their automation tools like:

To be honest, it is so weird to me to think that we didn’t have such a luxury as automation up until a decade or so ago. 

And now, marketing automation is a must-have for any company looking to increase its online presence and generate more revenue. 

Although the term “marketing automation” can be confusing at first as it encompasses many different tools, it’s important to know what marketing automation entails before failing to invest in the right solution. 

So today, we are going to take a look at:

  • What marketing automation is,
  • Why you should use marketing automation,
  • What some marketing automation tools are,
  • What you can do to elevate your marketing automation

Let’s start!

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is the use of software to automate repetitive marketing tasks. This can involve anything from sending personalized emails and text messages to managing social media posts or generating ad campaigns. Marketing automation tools are created to help marketers in capturing leads, developing relationships, and moving prospects through the sales funnel.

What does it exactly do, though?

Many marketing automation solutions provide out-of-the-box ways for combining customer data from various sources in order to get better consumer insights and build effective marketing strategies and tactics that work across multiple mediums.

Email, social media, web marketing, multi-channel marketing, and analytics are just a few of the useful features included in the software.

What else?

While automating social media posting, sending triggered emails, segmenting consumers based on their actions are top features; you can also customize email templates, create special fields for categorizing your leads, and personalize each email with your customer’s name or recent product views.

At the end of the day, marketing automation allows you to scale your efforts across multiple channels to develop relationships with multiple prospects and provide them with a consistent experience regardless of their differing interests or needs. 

And, if you segment your audience properly, you can use this technology to create more meaningful relationships with your prospects by delivering content that is relevant to them.

what is marketing automation

Why should you use marketing automation?

Take a look at the following statistics:

  • According to Nucleus Research, marketing automation increases sales productivity by 14.5% while lowering marketing costs by 12.2%.
  • According to the Annuitas Group, organizations that use marketing automation to nurture prospects increase qualified leads by 451%.
  • In turn, those nurtured leads make 47% more purchases than non-nurtured leads.

Still not sure why you should use marketing automation? 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits:

Better lead generation

Marketing automation helps you enhance lead management and build stronger leads in two ways.

First, you can simply differentiate warm leads from cold leads using lead scoring techniques and only deliver qualified leads to your sales team.

Second, lead tracking techniques provide you with a more detailed overview of what your lead wants and the challenges they face. When the sales team receives a lead, they will know where they came from, what content they downloaded, and what emails they read.

Better timing

As you probably know, in sales, timing is crucial. 

If you don’t automate your processes, you risk missing out on the most crucial times in the sales cycle.

Consider the following scenario. 

Prospects visit your website and download a case study, but they’re still unclear about what your product can do for them.

As a result, they go to a competitor, and by the time your sales team approaches them, it’s too late.

This can be avoided by using marketing automation tools. 

For example, you can use it to send further information that can help them with the purchasing decision or invite them to schedule a call with a sales rep.

Don’t wait for them to compare your product to others, use marketing automation to show them you are the best.

Taking effective action every time

At each level of the marketing funnel, marketing automation ensures that the most effective action is taken and is being applied properly.

Your team can analyze transaction data to discover how potential consumers engage with your company before making a purchase and give them the right information at the right time.

They can use this data to create more efficient processes and increase sales. Made possible with automation tools. But with which one, though? 

Let’s find out what automation tool is the best for your business and why.

Best X Marketing Automation Tools in 2021

When looking for a tool, it is always the same line of action. You make your research, reach some not-so-true conclusions, and end up purchasing a tool you can’t really make great use of.

What can I say, I guess SaaS companies are really just too good at marketing 🤷‍♂️

But you can break the cycle. You can with this list.

Take a look.

1- HubSpot

HubSpot is a comprehensive inbound marketing and growth marketing platform with a variety of tools to help you in turning leads into customers.

HubSpot’s platform not only allows you to create email marketing campaigns but also lets you measure and analyze which of your blogs and social media posts are generating the most leads. You can also use it to design landing pages and forms to gather your leads’ contact information when they download one of your content offers.

One of the best things about HubSpot is that it also performs a great job of tracking the various actions your leads do on your website and giving them a score based on the parameters you set.

This way, your marketing team can be confident that the leads they send to your sales team are qualified and ready to buy. 

But what makes HubSpot really worthy of your time is that its CRM, as well as its sales, service, and marketing automation tools, are all available for free.

So, while the free versions have fewer capabilities, the ones that are available are enough to launch an effective marketing campaign. If you’re just getting started with a startup or a small business, this is an excellent option.

2- Customer.io

With Customer.io, you can easily set up automated processes that allow you to categorize your leads based on their demographics, actions, and how they interact with the content you send them.

Behavioral-based marketing automation provides personalized messages to your leads based on their interactions with your website and social media. This allows you to personalize the content you send them, which helps you increase conversion rates.

Data is delivered in real-time, allowing you to fine-tune your campaigns for better results.

What else? 

  • A drag-and-drop dashboard for creating your messages,
  • A/B testing, 
  • Direct and third-party integrations, and
  • Analytics

And these are just some of the features.

Pricing

The Customer.io Basic Plan starts at $150 per month, depending on how many profiles you want to reach.

For $150 per month, you can send an unlimited number of messages to up to 12,000 profiles. And if you want to message 14,000 profiles, the price will be $160/month. 

3- AdRoll

We all are aware of one annoying fact.

Not everyone who visits your website will sign up for your newsletter, let alone buy your product.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Retargeting your visitors with personalized ads is an effective way to get them to return to your site, download your content, and maybe make a purchase.

AdRoll is a retargeting platform that helps you create ads based on the browsing habits, demographics, and other characteristics of your visitors. These ads are then posted on various websites and social media platforms that your prospects visit.

What features help you do that?

  • Cross-device retargeting,
  • Dynamic ads,
  • Customized budgeting,
  • Segmentation,
  • Optimization,
  • Conversion reporting and analytics

Pricing

AdRoll offers a risk-free two-week trial.

It does not charge a monthly service fee. Instead, the cost of using their service will be determined by your ad budget and the number of people who will engage with the ads you publish.

4- Constant Contact

Constant Contact is an email marketing automation platform that allows you to quickly generate professional-looking emails from scratch or customize one of their pre-made templates.

Constant Contact’s emails are mobile-responsive regardless of how you choose to send them. 

Why?

Because the majority of your target audience reads their emails on mobile devices.

Constant Contact features include but are not limited to:

  • Surveys and polls for gathering feedback from customers,
  • Contribution requests, 
  • Sending notifications and invites to future events.

It also integrates seamlessly with Shopify, WordPress, QuickBooks, Salesforce, or any other tools you use.

Pricing

Constant Contact provides a 60-day risk-free trial, allowing you to test and evaluate the service. The cost you’ll be charged after that is mostly determined by the plan you select and the size of your email list.

5. InfusionSoft

Infusionsoft, which is now called Keap, is marketing automation software that helps you communicate with potential leads and consumers more efficiently.

InfusionSoft allows you to build a checklist for your sales team so that they don’t miss anything.  This allows your sales team to be more productive while also providing better service to your potential customers.

You can also:

  • Create quotes and invoices directly on the platform,
  • Receive payments from customers, and
  • Send payment reminder notices.

If your clients and customers pay a subscription fee to use your product or service, you will find this tool extremely useful.

It also integrates with other marketing automation tools, e-commerce platforms, and other business tools. As a result, you’ll be able to handle other aspects of your business as well, with no difficulty.

Pricing

Pricing starts at $199 a month and is determined by the number of contacts you have.

Based on your specific business goals, you can also get one of their Kickstart plans that include extra services like business needs assessments, coaching sessions, order form setup, and e-commerce pipeline optimization, to name a few. This is a one-time payment that starts at $499.

6. Omnisend

Omnisend is another good marketing automation tool for small businesses, particularly those that can’t afford to hire a professional email marketer.

This email marketing automation tool includes a library of process automation templates that you can customize to match your marketing funnel. With its drag-and-drop content editor, you can easily build newsletters, clever CTAs, and discount coupons to send to your email list’s leads.

It is compatible with Shopify, WooCommerce, and other popular e-commerce platforms used by small business owners.

Pricing

Omnisend offers a 14-day trial that allows you to try out all of its features. After the trial period, you have the option of upgrading to one of their premium plans or continuing to use their services with a free account.

7. LeadSquared

LeadSquared is an all-in-one automation tool that helps you map your sales and marketing efforts, making email marketing campaigns much easier to launch.

This lead management tool helps you automate each stage of your marketing funnel, allowing you to shorten the sales cycles and turn more leads into customers.

LeadSquared also has a mobile CRM, which is useful when your sales reps have to meet with potential clients in person. And it has a meeting planner, real-time meeting updates, and a space for your sales reps to add notes, in addition to the standard features you can find in a desktop CRM.

More importantly, when your sales reps are meeting with potential clients, the mobile CRM keeps track of their progress. You’ll be able to easily check how each of their meetings went.

The platform also integrates with hundreds of other tools and apps, allowing you to use it with any of the business tools you already have.

Pricing

LeadSquared provides a 15-day trial, so you can try out their Standard features before making a purchase.

Now you know what tools you can use to leverage your marketing automation. But keep in mind that the tools are just mere tools.

To really get your marketing automation to the next level, you’ll need some tips.

Luckily, we have exactly that 👇

marketing automation quick tips

Quick tips to improve your marketing automation

The following five tips will help you create new automated campaigns as well as boost the effectiveness of the ones already in action.

1. Segment Your List

Segmentation is the process of categorizing client lists or possible prospects into separate categories.

These segments, in general, can be established based on your industry or core goals.

This helps in the selection of the most important information from your data. For example, if you want to target the consumers who have made a transaction within the last month.

You can also segment your list based on:

  • Location – Categorizing site visitors or customers based on geography.
  • Age Categorizing site visitors or customers based on age.
  • Lead source –  Categorizing site visitors or customers based on how they were captured.
  • Sales funnel – Categorizing customers based on where they are in the sales process.

Segments allow you to structure your email distribution so that you can send the right content to the right people at the right time.

Automating this process results in more effective lead generation while also lowering the chances of your email being marked as spam.

2. Use Form Triggers

The creation of triggers, conditions, or actions that drive responses automatically is one of the most powerful weapons in your automated marketing arsenal.

Form triggers, which can be linked to subscription pages or mailing forms, can help you engage with your audience at the right time. 

By tracking which sections of a marketing email were accessed, behavioral triggers, for example, can show where a consumer is in the buying process. This could help in moving prospects further down the sales funnel or generating more quality leads.

Exactly where you want them to be 😎

3. Make Quality Content

This may appear to be self-evident, yet it is crucial for customer retention and lead generation.

If you commit to producing high-quality content that appeals to different segments of your audience, your efforts will have A LOT bigger impact.

But how can you tell the difference between quality content and the one that goes directly to the spam folder?

Although there are many different definitions of quality, including dynamic material into your automated system is a sure-fire way to create quality content. This allows you to personalize your emails and marketing materials that would normally take you hours of meticulous work in no time.

Content that adapts to a user’s industry, location, or interests, for example, is far more likely to produce desired results.

4. Track Engagement

Similar to how segmentation differentiates your users categorically based on interests or other metrics, tracking engagement can assist you to further prioritize leads and create better outcomes.

As a result, this process can be categorized as dynamic segmentation, in which particular segments can be further broken down based on user engagement.

Keep in mind; engagement will mean something different for each product.

Let’s take a look at some examples of what engagement can be referred to as:

  • Logging into site
  • Commenting on an article
  • Opening an email
  • Sharing a product with a friend
  • Contacting a sales rep

Because of this, there is no standard method for measuring engagement, but the higher the degree of activity is, the higher the lead’s score will be.

And the user with a high lead score is more likely to become a customer and will have a higher overall lifetime value.

Conclusion

Marketing automation is the process of using software to automate repetitive marketing tasks so that you can focus on more strategic initiatives. 

By automating your marketing efforts, you will be able to save time and increase ROI by focusing on high-level strategies instead of mundane processes. 

Get up, pick one of the marketing automation tools on the list, and start making a difference NOW!

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the best marketing automation software?

Just like any other software, deciding what the best marketing software is up to you. It all depends on your company size, technical knowledge, and needs. Basically, a marketing automation software you can make the best of is the best marketing automation software for you.


What does marketing automation include?

Marketing automation includes email, social media, web marketing, multi-channel marketing, and analytics.


What is marketing automation primarily used for?

Marketing automation is primarily used to automate repetitive marketing tasks. But of course, there are many other uses to it that can leverage your marketing automation and, consequently your business.

Mert Aktas

Mert is the Marketing Manager of UserGuiding, a code-free product walkthrough software that 2000+ companies trust in their user onboarding.

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