The Top 5 Perks of Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a critical tool when running a tight budget. Here are a few marketing automation tools that I find especially useful.

There are no downsides to getting on board with the right software.

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6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

By now, most business leaders and marketers fully understand the importance of having a marketing-automation software. However, that doesn’t mean all of us are actually using one. Being an entrepreneur means you have your hand in basically everything happening within your company. This gives you little time to research enabling tools and products. But if you want your teams to save time, nurture leads effectively, track success from their efforts and consolidate materials and strategy into a comprehensive, linear space, it’s time to take the plunge.

Entrepreneurs, in particular, need to maximize every effort, every second and every person on the payroll. That makes marketing automation a critical tool when running a tight budget. Whether your marketing is account-based, B2B or B2C, you can almost certainly implement a few more automated marketing perks into your cycle. Here are a few that I find especially useful.

Related: Digital Marketing Hacks for 2020

1. Transforming site visitors into leads

This is one of the very basic perks that every marketing automation software offers. That aside, it caters to a very specific concern most entrepreneurs have: acquiring leads. These two facts alone are why this perk is probably the most important. Every one of your website visitors should have a simple way to learn more about your company. Whether it’s a sidebar contact form, a recurring email newsletter pop-up or a call to action at the end of every blog post, the main goal of your site is to convert visitors into leads.

Your software should help you set up these various lead-capturing capabilities pretty easily. You must check your landing pages, forms and blog posts at least monthly to see how well they’re doing with conversions. If improvements are needed, tweak their design or wording and check back again. A/B test the heck out of them, so by the time they’re hitting conversion numbers you’re happy with, you can focus on other matters while still bringing in leads.

A good CRM will offer form actions to segment your leads into distinct categories, corresponding to a different drip campaign. By that point, half the work is already done.

2. Launching re-engagement campaigns

Every company is sitting on loads of lost leads — people who seemed interested and dropped off the radar or customers who stopped using your product actively, but haven’t necessarily signaled that they don’t want to hear from you again. Many don’t know what to do with these leads or haven’t fully figured out how to use them in a beneficial way. These lost leads are just waiting for you to turn them into an opportunity.

As entrepreneurs, we don’t like the feeling of hopelessness, and the simple truth is that if you’ve still got lost leads’ data, then there’s still hope. Re-engagement campaigns are not only useful for reigniting old flames; they’re also cost-effective ways to find “new” leads. Better yet, automation is perfect for these types of initiatives, since you can reach out to these leads on a wide scale while still personalizing your outreach. You can easily create campaigns that can spark re-engagement and incentivize them to either start using your product again or start a conversation about your product.

3. Making individualized drip campaigns easy

Drip campaigns are a given. You want to keep in touch with people who’ve bought your product, and you’ll obviously segment your lists because no list is worth maintaining without proper segmentation for a personalized experience. But with marketing-automation software, you don’t have to stop there. You can convert standard customer-engagement drip campaigns, including calls for reviews or feedback in exchange for coupons, into greater drip campaigns, such as occasional newsletters or mailing lists.

For entrepreneurs spearheading new businesses, keeping their brands top-of-mind is critical, and well-organized drip campaigns are a big part of that. You don’t have to spend tons of time manually segmenting leads and assembling series of emails. Your automation tool does it all for you so you can focus on other important things, like keeping your business thriving.

4. Keeping you in touch with leads

Going from meeting to meeting to meeting is just another reality for most entrepreneurs. We don’t have much time to organize a follow-up, but we all know how much we need a reminder. Your software allows you to set up alerts so that your follow-ups don’t become a casualty of your hectic schedule. What’s more, these alerts are configured to hot leads’ buying behavior, so you can be sure only to approach them when you’ve got a hint that they’re interested.

A good CRM will let you set up alerts for leads, such as when they hit specific tag scores, click a particular link, download a product demo, attend a webinar or visit a unique URL on your site.

Related: 4 CRM Hacks Every Entrepreneur Should Be Using

5. Indicating your profitable channels

Spending money on ads that don’t deliver isn’t something new businesses can afford (literally). This is why having an analytics dashboard that shows exactly where your marketing efforts are succeeding is a major perk of marketing-automation software.

When you have automated marketing in place, aside from creating efficiencies, you can see all the data that comes from each effort. Your software lets you check each landing page, gated content and forms to determine which are converting well and generating more leads. Being able to easily decipher which pages of your site are performing best is a great way to inform your ad spend and digital-marketing strategy.

The beauty of automation is not merely in how it enables you and your teams. It’s in the tech that comes with it. Automation, by definition, means you also get the latest digital integrations and analytics data, which can help boost your company and help you avoid wasting time and money.

5 Surefire Growth Strategies for E-Commerce Entrepreneurs

Like I mention all the time here, trial and error is a costly and inefficient way to learn. Better to learn from others instead. One great way to do that is by attending conferences. Below are five of my favorite takeaways from Anthony Mastellone’s Digital Growth Summit on how to supercharge your e-commerce business.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I dropped out of college to pursue entrepreneurship full-time. My first breakthrough came two years after with an e-commerce business that sold grillz. Through grueling trial and error, I learned everything from product sourcing and customer service to marketing, web design, financial accounting and more.

It’s how I made lifelong friends and met ultra-successful people I never dreamed I’d meet. But, like I mention all the time here, trial and error is a costly and inefficient way to learn. Better to learn from others instead. One great way to do that is by attending conferences. Anthony Mastellone’s Digital Growth Summit was the latest one I attended, and what follows are five of my favorite takeaways from that trip on how to supercharge your e-commerce business.

1. Build an attribution plan

For e-commerce entrepreneurs, it’s important to always keep an eye on what’s working (and what’s not). Attribution is how to do it. The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) definition of attribution is “the process of identifying a set of user actions across screens and touch points that contribute in some manner to a desired outcome, and then assigning value to each of these events.”

Related: The Future of E-Commerce Will Focus on Creating Experiences

Benton Crane, CEO of the Harmon Brothers (creators of the legendary ads for Squatty Potty, Purple and others) was the first to speak at Digital Growth Summit, and he gave a high-level breakdown on how to leverage attribution as you grow your e-commerce business to make smarter business decisions. It advised:

  • Message testing.
  • Image testing.
  • Learning ad blitz. (This is testing all the different features and benefits to see what works together. Examples could include pricing, sizing, portability, function, etc.)
  • Scale up, i.e. roll all winning elements into one.
  • Then build your hero campaign and go big.

2. Target smarter

Matt Schmitt of Skup simplified a problem a lot of entrepreneurs have: targeting. They may have a customer avatar in mind, but aren’t sure how best to reach them. Schmitt recommends silos. These are four of his examples that will allow you to get a clearer picture of where to find your target consumer:

  • What magazines do they subscribe to?
  • What associations or groups would they belong to?
  • What celebrities or influential figures would they follow?
  • And what brands or products are they using?

3. Leverage Campaign Budget Optimization

Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) is a new advertising system by Facebook. Their machine-learning algorithm monitors targeting and performance of your ad sets, then allocates your budget to the best-performing sets based on the objective or pixel you’ve applied, using real-time data, automatically.

As per Facebook: “CBO uses your campaign budget and your bid strategy — which might be, for example, lowest cost per action (CPA) or highest return on ad spend (ROAS) — to automatically and continuously find the best active opportunities for results across your ad sets. Then we distribute your campaign budget in real time to get those results.”

In short, if you’re new to Facebook advertising, this is a great way to get in the game as cost-effectively as possible, without having to micromanage your campaigns.

4. Start using Messenger ads

Harvard Business Review conducted a study back in 2011 on online lead generation and discovered that failure to respond in less than five minutes to a new lead decreases your odds of qualifying them by a staggering 400 percent. Yet, according to Chatmatic founder Travis Stephenson, entrepreneurs shy away from Messenger.

But by leveraging Messenger (the most downloaded app in the world in 2019, FYI) with ads and an auto-responder, you’re doing instant, direct follow-up with potential customers, thus increasing your lead-qualifying and conversions capabilities. Or you can just use them to rapidly capture emails and build a relevant list. Which leads to takeaway five….

5. Use email marketing

Email averages $38 in for every $1 spent according to a Direct Marketing Association 2015 Client Report. For those new to email marketing, it can feel overwhelming at first, but remember this: It costs more to acquire new customers than recapture existing ones. And email is the easiest way to recapture, because the entire process can be automated. Email expert Jess Chan of Longplay recommends you build an automated customer journey. Do this by setting up:

  • Welcome emails.
  • Abandoned-cart emails (69.57 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned).
  • Order confirmation and shipping confirmation emails.
  • Post-purchase emails (e.g. a thank-you note or letter from the founder).
  • Upsell and retention emails (e.g. cross-sells, testimonial requests, etc.).
  • And other email auto-responders.

To capture emails more effectively, use:

  • Lead magnets (e.g. “Subscribe for our free 14-page social skills guide”).
  • Quizzes (e.g. “What kind of traveler are you?”).
  • Discount codes (e.g. “Subscribe for 20 percent off your first purchase”).

Related: The ‘Amazon Effect’

To wrap things up, use attribution to test your messaging and silos to target smarter, leverage CBOs to spend smarter, activate messenger ads to supercharge your follow-ups and, for goodness sake, stop leaving money on the table by neglecting email marketing. I’m using all of these growth strategies in tandem, and you should be too if you’re serious about supercharging your e-commerce business.

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