What are Marketing Automation Tools?

Running a business is quite a challenging task as it is. As a business owner, you are obligated to keep an eye on everything: from the distribution of your product to complaint handling. Between phone calls and emails, there’s hardly any time to manage frequent marketing that your business needs to thrive.

Luckily, there is a solution to hours sitting behind your computer! Thanks to Marketing Automation, you can choose from various tools to automate your desired marketing efficiently and reliably.

If you ever wondered how to manage your personal time, budget and marketing strategy, you are guaranteed to find answers in marketing automation tools.

So, what are marketing automation tools and what is their purpose?

Imagine hiring someone to sit behind the computer for hours to manage your marketing department. That’s pretty much what these tools do.

Marketing Automation tools handle the execution, management and automation of your marketing campaigns. It’s a combination of software and web-based service, which generates and replaces manual marketing processes [think. Social media advertisement, emails, certain actions taken from and by your website] that you’d otherwise have to do yourself.

In other words; automation tools effectively replace manual marketing by automating your ads.

Obviously, there’s not just one universal automation tool that you can use for everything. If there was one, it might have been not as effective and you could find yourself supervising every ad or email sent to a customer. Therefore, it is essential that you pick a tool that targets your strategy and goal.

To help you decide, we prepared a guide to the most common types of automation tools and their marketing domain.

Most common types of marketing automation tools

  1. Lead and Nurturing Automatization

I’m sure you’ve received at least one email talking about discounts, subscription prices and items that you (might have accidentally) viewed on some website.

We can all agree that it would be a waste to have an employee who analyzes daily visits and then crafts individual emails for each visitor of the website. Hence, the Lead and Nurturing Automation tool does the job for you.

The main focus of the tool is to move potential customers from the top of the sales funnel [think. Your business’s blog] to the bottom of the funnel [conversion]. Therefore, if your main priority is to generate leads, the tool is a great addition to your marketing strategy.

The tool’s feature is to automatically recognize leads which with the right amount of appropriate content are more likely to turn into sale-ready customers.

Now, the software needs to be programmed to recognize who you consider to be a strong lead. Is it someone who clicks on your landing page a few times? Is it someone who purchased something from your website? The decision is in your hands.

After you program your software, it’ll be automatically triggered by the actions (someone visiting your website 3x) and respond with a sales notification or an email that is highly personalized.

2. Inbound Marketing Automatization

Do you have a blog or social media account for your business? If the answer is yes, Inbound Marketing Automatization might be just the right method for you.

Bombarding your potential customers with emails and phone calls about products or articles they’re not interested in might just put them off. You don’t want that, right? You want to generate relatable emails based on the customer’s interests to keep them in the sales funnel, no matter what stage they’re in.

That’s why you want to keep the content as personalized as possible.

However, we know that you probably don’t have the time to keep track of every visitor, not to mention writing individual emails to fulfill your customers' needs. It’s a good thing this software does it for you.

As with any software, first you need to program it to recognize different categories of personas, their position in the sales funnel and what content they are most likely to be interested in. You’re only doing the groundwork for the software to run as efficiently as possible and send the right emails to the right customers.

By doing this, you’re going to make a good impression as the customers are not pushed into buying but rather introduced to your products. It’s the foundation for strengthening or building trust in the customer-business relationship.

3. Pricing Automation

Let’s face it, the online competition is massive when it comes to selling products. For your business to thrive, it always needs to be at the top of its game.

More than not, it’s impossible to keep up with the market at all times. For you to be always profiting, your prices should match with the constantly changing market.

Pricing Automation strategy makes it easier. While you are asleep or spending time doing something else, this software adjusts the price for you to make sure you always have the chance to profit.

Not only does the software send automatic emails about price drops to customers who might have abandoned their cart at checkout, but can also attract new customers through Google Ads.

4. B2B Marketing Automation | B2C Marketing Automation

B2B and B2C Marketing strategies became very common in the world of online businesses. It’s great since it allows you to send relevant emails to your customers or partnering brands. 

Before we talk about the automation itself, let’s look at the differences and similarities between those two strategies.

Mass-oriented approach to brands Highly personalized and relevant approach to customers
Focused on education about the product to masses, leading them through sales funnel Focused on customer’s journey and building brand loyalty
The strategy is to generate relevant emails for your subscribers to build your brand name
Be efficient in promoting your business and increase its engagement
Gain insights into the metrics that can guide you to be more successful in your campaigns and future projects.
Increase revenue

B2B Marketing Automation

B2B Marketing Automation enables businesses to send out emails that can be applicable for a wide range of their recipients.

Therefore, if your target is a group of businesses/partners who are subscribed to you, the B2B Marketing Automation software will be triggered to send out educational and event-based material to them. This is used in building brand awareness and encouraging the recipients to participate in your events.

The purpose of those emails is to educate your partners/businesses about your business and drive your audience to sign up for free trials and similar.

B2C Marketing Automation

B2C Marketing automation on the other hand is very focused on personal approach to your customers through individual, specific emails.

The B2C Marketing Automation software is triggered by actions made by a customer on your website and instantly creates engaging content that is sent to the customer based on their interests.

If your business’s aim is to create brand loyalty and nurture your leads wherever they are in their customer journey, this software helps you to maintain the relationship created between you and your customers. It’s also great if you have a VIP scheme since the software automatically sends emails to your VIP customers about your special offers.

Most Common Marketing Automation Tool Features

Whilst all the tools can be used for almost everything in marketing automation, their features will vary depending on your personalization, individual customization as well as the type of your business. Therefore, it’s important to decide what is your preferred tool and knows how you can use it.

Side note: The following tools are very versatile which means that the features discussed are not the only ones you can use.

Email Marketing Automation

Although the world of marketing seems to steer more towards social media campaigns, emails are still one of the most effective ways to reach your customers.

Unlike one-off campaigns, email marketing automation is set once with the ability to send highly personalized emails to be triggered by the customer’s action.

Imagine you have a subscription-based business where anytime someone signs up, you want to send them a welcoming email (preferably with some instructions on how to get all the benefits). The marketing automation tool will generate this welcome email and automatically send it to the recipient.

However, the tool doesn’t only have to be used for welcome emails. You can:

  • gather feedback
  • send personal birthday discounts
  • inform your customers about upcoming deals
  • send reminders (frequently used by dentists, opticians and similar)
  • inform customers about free trials and other

Lead Nurturing

As mentioned above, Lead Nurturing is a great strategy to move your existing leads from the top of the sales funnel to the bottom of it.

The keyword is nurture as you slowly convert your leads to buyers. But how can you do that?

First, you have to know your buyer’s persona: interests, problems, browsing behavior, demographics, country and all the other information you can gather. Nurturing requires you to understand your leads in order to appeal to them.

However, time is precious and you cannot possibly craft relevant messages for every single customer. That’s why Lead Nurturing Marketing Automation comes in play, which segments your leads depending on:

Lead Nurture Automation tool does not only target emails. You can also set it up to send notifications or SMS campaigns to your leads.

Social Media

Social Media dominates the world of online marketing as almost every single person has an account on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. It’s a great way to reach out to potential clients, raise awareness, engage with your audiences and consequently, build a brand name.

However, don’t be fooled by the easy-looking prospect of marketing on social media. The social media marketing space is very competitive and therefore, you need to know your way around using it.

Social Media Automation Tool helps you to prepare and schedule your posts to always bring accurate and exciting content to your audiences. With this automation tool, you can spend your time more efficiently by engaging with your audiences and growing your account instead of scrambling for last-minute content.

Although the tool will help you with developing a content plan, don’t use it to write your content nor buy followers. You want to keep it authentic, accurate and maintain levels of engagements which would be hard to do if the software does everything for you.

Social Media Automation Tools can help you with:

  • Consistency of your posts - If you want to grow your account, you need to post frequently and not once in a blue moon. Therefore, the tool will help you maintain your social presence and remind you of your content schedule.

  • Audience engagement - Since the tool keeps track of posting content, you can spend more time interacting with your followers!

  • Knowing the gossip - It’s always good to know what others think about your brand. Automation tools will allow you to see brand mentions which can serve as a guide to do’s and don'ts of your social presence. Plus, you can follow hashtags, topics and competitors to always know current trends.

  • Chatbots - Let’s be honest, you cannot be available all the time. Chatbots are a smart way of helping customers with small issues or redirecting them to relevant pages or people. The customer doesn’t have to wait for hours for you to respond to a general enquiry or small issues meanwhile you can save time and focus on larger problems.

  • Analytics - Most social media platforms run on algorithms (for example, Instagram). If you know your impressions, reach and engagement, you can schedule and prepare even better content to achieve the full potential of your social media account.

Analytics and Reporting

The motto of this article “Use your time efficiently” perfectly applies to automating your analytics and reports. Instead of keeping 40 tabs open to compare and gather every valuable data of your business, you can save time by assigning software to do it for you and obtain simple automated marketing management.

To tackle information overload, analytics tools can help you identify all your data, metrics and dimensions in search of consistency or any unexpected changes. This automation tool simplifies data maintenance, creates dashboards, processes and summarizes live data, and more.

As it goes for everything, human intelligence is superior and you have to overlook the accuracy of the results, however it will save you time by gathering data and alerting you if the tool discovers anything of interest: spike in impressions, unexpected changes, decline in sales, etc.

On the other hand, automating your reports will help you to create a simple accurate data narrative of your business’s journey. Reporting automation tools can serve as an easy-to-navigate outline of the progress of your business strategy and point you and your employees to new goals or strategies to enhance your performance.

Since the reporting happens in real-time and is very accessible to everyone involved in the business, the software has the potential to help you with a better collaborative environment and to always have up-to-date data to work with.

PPC Advertising

PPC Automation enables you to control your Google ad campaigns by automating specific systems and steps to be executed by a third-party application such as BlueWinston.

For example, you can program the software to stop advertising your campaign at a certain point of the day or change the demographic of your campaign at your desired time.

By implementing PPC Advertising into your marketing strategy, you can:

Mobile Marketing

Since we have already talked about social media automation tools, let’s also look at other ways of automated marketing through digital devices (smartphones, tablets).

You have definitely encountered pop-up ads on your browser, in-app messages or even sms/mms ones. Well, it’s not just because you clicked somewhere. Mobile Marketing involves getting data from smartphones, such as: location, uninstalling an app, entering a store and similar.

Yet, crafting the perfect notification or email and adjusting it to fit the software of the digital device is quite a complex task. And that’s why Mobile marketing automation platforms help to adjust traditional marketing automation to fit the world of digital devices.

Through this marketing automation platform you can:

1. Use real-time messaging - when is it more relevant to promote something if not when the user is interacting with a similar product? You can use real-time messaging to win the customer over!

2. Engage with A/B testing and analytics - as with any marketing, you want to know your analytics to create better content for your business. In combination with A/B testing, you can test one variation of your strategy at the time as well.

3. Personalize - we carry our phones literally everywhere which makes it easier for marketers to gather data (interests, location, demographics) and create more engaging content for the customer.

What are the core benefits of all marketing automation tools

Every automated marketing system has its individual, unique benefits but there are some that apply to every single one of them.

Benefits of marketing automation platforms include:

  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Time efficiency
  • Acceleration of internal and external processes
  • Improved Accuracy
  • More effective management
  • Better Insights
  • Less stress on the team
  • Elimination of human error
  • Faster ROI - although you have to invest to gain and manage the software, your marketing will become more effective in a short amount of time.

Who should use Marketing Automation Tools?

There are bigger tasks to be tackled than to spend hours on crafting personalized emails, notifications or even gathering data about your leads. Big corporations or small family businesses, everyone can find an automation tool which helps them to manage their marketing more efficiently!

Yet, the ones who benefit the most are:

  • Marketing Teams
  • Sales Teams
  • Content Managers
  • CEOs
  • Email Marketers 
  • Social Media Promoters

A word to conclude

Marketing Automation Tools are a great solution to hours of sitting behind your computer, crafting individual emails and sending them to relevant clients. Although those marketing automation softwares require a starting investment, they are more cost-efficient than paying an employee for hours and hours of tedious work.

Therefore, implementing automation tools into your strategy can help you and your marketing team to focus on things like; growing your business, engaging with customers, developing new strategy, plans and goals for the brand and more important tasks than manually gathering data or keeping an eye on every customer’s interest. After all, those marketing automation tools were developed to help businesses manage their time more efficiently and leave the hard, complex and mundane tasks to computers.

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About the Author:

Account manager of Bluewinston & CCS Shopping in EU ( I'm the guy responsible for the most effective PPC tool to create product text and Smart Shopping campaigns for Google Search.) Contact me @ [email protected]