Automation is not a new creature. Depending on the denotation at hand, automation has been around for decades to help solve problems, and increase the efficiency of business processes. The same can be said for marketing automation, and marketing automation services, although it has only become popular within the last handful of years. Some popular definitions include:
“The use of software to automate marketing processes such as customer segmentation, customer data integration, and campaign management.” ~TechTarget
“… helps marketers streamline their lead generation, segmentation, lead nurturing and lead scoring, customer lifecycle marketing, cross-sell and up-sell, customer retention, and marketing ROI measurement.” ~Marketo
However, in the 1980s, marketing software was used mainly to automate the printing process of names and addresses from your database onto letters and envelopes that were sent to customers and prospective customers by mail. So it is obvious that marketing automation tools have evolved over the years. Read on if you are interested in gaining an understanding of the current state of sales and marketing automation.
What Marketing Automation Services Offer
A wide variety of services can be offered by automation platforms, but be sure to know which components are included before making a purchase. If you employ an “all-inclusive” automation package only to find out that it includes everything except email marketing, you will need to spend a significant amount of time and money to set up a separate email platform and possibly even developing an API to integrate your marketing systems. Always know what is included, and take advantage of any trials that will allow you to determine the true capabilities of a sales and marketing automation services solution. Here are some of the common marketing functions that you will want to have included with your automation…
Search Engine Optimization Management
SEO management should come in two different forms. First, you will want to have templates and included auditing software to ensure that your content is SEO friendly. For example, WordPress uses SEO Yoast to determine how your content is likely to score based off of on-page search engine optimization best practices. Second, you will want to be able to track the inbound and outbound links to each piece of content on your site. This will help to increase the organization of your SEO strategy.
Owned Content Management
When I say “owned” content, I am referring to your public site pages, landing pages, and both on-site and ancillary blog posts. This content management should allow a very high level implementation of content creation. In addition to creation, you will want the content management system to integrate very closely with your CMS in order to conduct lead scoring and track other customer engagements.
Email Marketing Management
Including email marketing in your marketing automation software solution can be a great way to maintain congruence between all of your marketing tools. You will want to select a solution that allows you to track performance indicators such as bounce rates, open rates, different types of engagements, and heat mapping in order to optimize your email marketing efforts.
Social Media Management
This is the supplement to owned content. You do not own content that is created on social media channels, but social media is a great way to enhance your marketing communications and reach potential customers. Your marketing automation services should provide APIs that allow you to publish, and otherwise engage with multiple social media channels to distribute and track the performance of your owned content.
Due to the integration of your marketing processes under one roof, your marketing automation should include analytics capabilities. Use these to determine a content creation process, customer or lead nurturing workflows, and reporting capabilities. If all of the digital data is at your fingertips, you need to be leveraging existing software to create useful, customizeable reports.
Customer Relationship Management Software
The CMS ties the whole automation system together. This serves as a database to store the contact information that was generated from your content efforts, a framework for your lead scoring, and is integrated with your lead and customer nurturing workflows.
These tools are only the beginning of your the marketing tools available in 2015 to automate your daily processes. If you need more help to determine which automation solution is right for you, utilize Enfusen marketing automation consulting by requesting a free assessment today. Find out the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing department, and learn how to improve your team now.