Marketing Automation Guide

Marketing automation sounds so complex and intimidating.

Get to grips with it though and it will simplify your life and dramatically boost your revenue.

Increasingly, marketers are choosing to automate repetitive tasks such as emailing. People often assume that marketing automation somehow means putting robots in charge and yet that couldn't be further from the truth.

what is marketing automation?

79% of top-performing companies have been using marketing automation for more than 2 years.
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Automation or personalisation?

Automation isn’t an inhuman technology that removes all warmth and personality – rather it’s quite the opposite.

In fact there’s a case for stating that marketing automation would be better named as marketing personalisation. Marketing automation programs send personalised messages to clients in response to specific actions, such as completing a form or visiting a certain section of your website.

Used thoughtfully, automation allows you to enter into one-to-one conversations with your contacts, reaching out to them with the right message at the right time.

Not only do your clients get more of the content they want, they also get the reassurance that you’re paying attention to them, and to their needs. That builds relationships and improves their attentiveness. It also moves your contacts through your sales funnel and closer to the point of purchase.

Marketing automation allows companies to nurture leads with personalized content, converting leads to customers. Automation can generate significant new revenue for companies, providing excellent ROI.

While the rewards can be impressive, automation is fraught with complexity. Too many companies attempt to implement automation, only to give up when they realise scale of the task. Be realistic - implementing full automation will take time and effort, and you may not realise the rewards straight away. But with time and patience, automation is guaranteed boost lead numbers and sales.

Our handy guide should give you some useful pointers on getting the most out of this increasingly popular technique.

Who uses Marketing Automation?

When a company starts out, marketing is straightforward. The sales department spends much of its time meeting individual clients face to face. As a company grows, maintaining this kind of relationships with all but the biggest clients becomes more difficult. The larger the company, the more it has to gain from automating its communications.

what is marketing automation?

Only a few years ago, marketing automation was the preserve of big business. It allowed them to personalise their marketing communications at scale but was far too expensive for small and medium-sized businesses.

But today the technology is affordable and used by businesses of all sizes to manage their sales and marketing process. However, while marketing automation tools have become more accessible, too few small and middle-sized businesses are getting the most from automation strategies. In particular, too many marketers automate only the middle of their funnel, ignoring automation’s potential to generate new leads.

Fact is, no matter how effective your marketing, automation is useless when all of your best leads have converted. Automation can be used at all stages of the sales process, from making initial contact to sealing a deal.

When should I start using Automation?

Like all marketing techniques, marketing automation takes hard work and resources to implement and maintain.

The need for marketing automation is usually identified when:

  • As your business grows you no longer have the time to deal with each lead and need a way to scale your interactions
  • You need to simplify complex marketing processes that are currently being performed ad-hoc
  • You need to create a measurable marketing to sales process

Relevant emails sent with marketing automation software drive 18 times more revenue than just email blasts.

How do I use Marketing Automation?

Automating your marketing processes isn’t like automating a factory production line – your expertise and know-how are still needed if automation is going to work effectively. Marketing automation software is designed to help you organise and implement your marketing in a more accurate and time-efficient way.

Before implementing automation, think hard about your goals. What do you hope to achieve, and why? Don’t fall into the trap of simply automating everything you send out. The technique can save you time, but if you simply use automation to churn out emails you’re missing out on an opportunity to target your leads more accurately.

Automation does not do marketing for you, but helps scale up your efforts. Automation isn’t about building a new strategy, it’s about making your current strategy more efficient.

If you’re producing effective marketing content and you’re generating new leads, it’s probably time to create an automation strategy to transform leads into paying customers.

What is automation?

Automation is the use of software to automate repetitive tasks, like email follow-up, drip campaigns, and social media posting.

According to Adestra, 75% of respondents agree that saving time was the best thing about marketing automation. In addition, four out five businesses increased leads using automation, and most saw an increase in conversions.

You can think of automation as having two parts: a contact activity trigger and a marketing action. You can use an automation to trigger many actions. For example, if someone downloads your e-book (trigger) you might want to do a few things:

  • Start an email autoresponder campaign to say thank you and follow up after a time with more information
  • Stop an email autoresponder to upgrade a contact to a new campaign sequence
  • Tag your contact with the name of the ebook they downloaded to enable you to segment them at a later date
  • Remove a contact tag, for example to take them out of a contact list
  • Notify yourself or another Jumplead user about your contact’s activity
  • Change their stage to show their progress through your sales funnel

So, where do I start?

Automation begins with a pipeline of good leads. You build this pipeline by producing and distributing relevant, informative content in the form of landing pages, blogposts and social media.

Marketing automation proper starts when your contact responds to something you send or publish. Their response can then trigger follow-up activity. Downloading an ebook is a response that tells you a lead's name and their interest.

what is marketing automation?

Did your lead download your 'Introduction to yellow widgets' guide? Follow up with related content to keep their interest and ensure they can trade up to a sales call.

Always remember that your customers are trying to solve a problem. Your job is to show them how to solve it with your product.

While the technique is useful at every stage of the sales process, automation really comes into its own during conversion stages.

To understand how to apply marketing automation to your own business ask yourself:

1. Who are my different customer types?

For example, are they novices or pros? What is their budget? Do they use one of your competitors? Create buyer personas to define who you are talking to. In business, knowledge is power: The more information you have on a lead, the more accurately you can target them.

Marketing Automation Buyer Persona

2. What is the ideal customer journey for each buyer type?

Define which milestone actions and activity you'll use to advance their sales stage. Take a look at historical buyers and map out their journeys. Do you see any patterns arise?

3. What content do I need to encourage lead development?

You'll need to keep your leads engaged and give them the opportunity to access more in-depth content. As you develop a better picture of your leads and their interests, you’ll have a better sense of what they want from you, so be prepared to develop more content.

Going through these steps will help you to define how you want to use marketing automation. Then you can start to put your process in place.

Implementing Marketing Automation

Once we know who we’re targeting, we can start thinking about how we’re going to reach them.

You might use landing pages and conversion forms to ask for a name and email before downloading an ebook before following up with an email autoresponder drip campaign. You could use a website visit to a specific page to trigger a sales team alert or use an email campaign open to graduate leads to a more specific autoresponder campaign.

Jumplead Landing Page

Alternatively, use any of the above to add a tag to the contact, segmenting them for targeted emails based upon their activity. All of these techniques are available with marketing automation and the activity history for each contact is available in their profile page. This provides great insights for your sales team.

what is marketing automation?

Other channels

Email is the still most effective way of reaching clients directly, but be careful not to restrict yourself to email marketing.

Our inboxes are growing ever more crowded. Deluged by marketing messages, customers are increasingly choosing to ignore email marketing. Consequently, open rates continue to drop.

If you’re only communicating with your leads through email, you’re missing out on opportunities to reach your leads via multiple channels during various parts of the decision process. Leads who may ignore your attempts to contact them via email may be receptive to the same message in another format. Experiment – check your metrics and make a note of what works, and what doesn’t.

Conversion forms

When it comes to acquiring new leads, conversion forms are the most flexible and focused method for triggering an automation. They can be anything from a ‘Subscribe to our newsletter’ form to ‘Register for a consultation’.

Lead Form

Each one of these actions can trigger the sending of marketing information, sales team alerts or changes of the contact’s stage or status. If you need to use existing forms with Jumplead you can pass contact information and the automation you wish to trigger via Javascript. This works much the same as Google Analytics Event Tracking.

You can’t pursue a lead effectively unless you know who they are and what they do. You may choose to stagger your information-gathering process. Requesting too much information up front can be off-putting, but it’s reasonable to request audiences to a lead’s name and job title. You can request more detailed information as the lead progresses along the sales funnel.

Form completions trigger an automation in Jumplead. If the contact exists, the activity is recorded in their profile page. If the contact doesn’t already exist they are created first.

Landing Pages

Landing pages offer more design control, allowing you to create a page and then add a conversion form to it. Keep landing page design simple – build everything around a single call to action.

Design-wise, keep text to a minimum, and use plenty of white space. Everything should draw the user’s attention to the CTA button or form.

You can choose any existing conversion form to add to your landing page and add actions specific to your landing page. This means that you can reuse conversion forms across many landing pages.

Activity Streams

This is the online equivalent of a salesperson sidling up to someone in a shop and asking “Would you like any help?”

Activity streams filter prospect activity that Jumplead detects on your website. When a known contact returns to your website and views certain pages, you can use an automation to trigger marketing actions. This kind of automation is best suited to sending a notification to your sales team or adding a tag to the contact so that you can create a list that reflects a certain type of engagement.

Individual Contacts

You can run automations on individual contacts. This is useful for enrolling your contact into an autoresponder sequence.

Contact lists

what is marketing automation?

You can run automations on segmented lists of contacts. This is useful for enrolling groups of your contacts into an autoresponder sequence.

Email opens

An opened email is a clue that a lead is interested in your business. Using email opens to move contacts onto better targeted campaigns is a classic use case for marketing automation.

Be careful to make a note of the content of the email that caught a lead’s eye - a user who ignores one email may open the next. This may tell you something about their interests.

Automation actions

You can use automations to refine the messages you send. This is one of the great advantages of automation – the more a contact interacts with you, the clearer a picture you have of them. Make management changes to the contact like changing their stage and sending notifications to sales teams to follow up.

Autoresponder sequences

Email autoresponder campaigns triggered by contact activity are a common marketing automation task as it allows you to follow up in a very targeted way. You can send and stop autoresponders based upon activity which allows you to upgrade the sequence your contact is receiving.

Adding tags for segmentation

Contact tags added or removed by activity is a great way to segment your contacts into useful lists for use with email broadcast campaigns.

Sending a lead activity notification

what is marketing automation?

Keep your sales team focused by sending activity notifications. It's a great way to keep them up to speed with who’s engaged and what their specific interests are.

Contact lifecycle stage change

Use stages to map out your sales funnel. Then you can move your contacts through it as they perform key activities, such as subscribing or downloading an e-book.

Deciding on a provider

When considering marketing automation tools, be sure to choose a business partner that suits your unique marketing goals. Don't just focus on individual features, think hard about results and the potential for a long-term partnership.

Marketing automation is one of the most potent sales tools in your arsenal. Make sure you use yours to its full capacity.

Marketing Automation Resources

Marketing Automation Statistics

Increasing sales revenue (53%), lead nurturing (43%) and customer engagement (37%) are seen as the most important objectives of a marketing automation strategy. Find out more about how and why businesses are using marketing automation, and with what success.

Marketing Guides

Related 'How to' Articles:

How to use marketing automation for lead generation
The basic process of marketing automation is all about generating and nurturing leads. From a lead converting on a landing page (or form) to automatically following up with email nurturing campaigns that qualify your leads ready for sales.
How to get lead activity alerts with marketing automation
Knowing when your leads take certain actions such as viewing particular website pages or opening an email can provide powerful sales enablement signals. Make sure your sales team has the best information.
How to segment leads with marketing automation
Use marketing automation to add tags and change sales stages when a lead undertakes activity to help segment leads by interest and qualification. Increase the relevance and effectiveness of your marketing communications.


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