What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation refers to technology and software that allow a company to market more effectively online by 'automating' the process—letting a computer program take care of it.

Automation software allows marketers to execute their content strategies with efficiency and accuracy, with minimal need for input by human employees.

In the context of email marketing, this generally refers to the slew of analytical and algorithmic tools that are available to help refine campaigns, manage your lists and determine which emails to send out to which person.

Return on investment

This is all with the aim of creating new leads to promote the company and improve return on investment (ROI)—helping to create targeted, responsive email campaigns that lead to higher open and conversion rates, with a minimum of manual effort.

An example of how this can work is the company ConversionLab, who initially managed to get plenty of web traffic but struggled to retain it—people would visit, but not ‘convert’ into customers.

The company’s solution was to combine automated emails with targeted advertising that encouraged people to sign up for a mailing list. This mailing list offered free advice and tips relevant to their services. This made them seem authoritative and trustworthy, which in turn vastly improved their conversion rate.

What specifically makes marketing automation packages different from the usual email marketing platforms, which come with their own suite of analytical tools as standard, is that marketing automation tends to focus on lead nurturing.

Lead nurturing

Lead nurturing, or lead generation, essentially refers to the generation of consumer interest in your products or services.

You can do this by setting up an automated series of emails that helps to ‘onboard’ prospective customers, a structured way of welcoming them to your business.

An automated email plan is a great way to introduce a potential client to your products or services, to educate them in the details, to foster their trust, and finally to bring them on board as actual clients.

Think of it as enticing them, and introducing yourself, by tailored increments. Such a plan allows customers to thoroughly familiarise themselves with what you have to offer, without overwhelming them.

It also means that you can follow up on business prospects while focusing your energies on acquiring new ones, by automating the follow-up process.

Working with automation

Marketing automation not only helps to improve your campaigns, but it removes much of the grunt work involved in managing a campaign and implementing a content strategy.

While automation won't create your marketing campaigns from scratch, it is something that can be implemented into your existing content strategy, as a convenient and efficient form of campaign management. Automated email plans will continue to work over time, whether that be days, weeks or even months.

It’s also a useful way of capturing data, allowing you to measure the success of various leads so that you can adjust your campaigns accordingly and target customers more effectively.

For more information and advice, contact Marc at Winbox.