Marketing is a 24/7 process with lots of moving parts. Those parts include content, social media, SEO, and analytics, just to name a few.
There are so many things to do that it can be difficult for an entire team to handle it all, let alone one person. This is why so many marketers are turning to automation platforms to help them keep marketing programs in track.
As with so many things, though, the devil is in the details when it comes to automation. Marketing automation can make your marketing team more productive than ever — you just have to know how to use it.
If you’re ready to start automating parts of your marketing program, make sure you follow these steps first:
1. Decide what to automate
Even with all of the automation tools on the market right now, you don’t need to automate every part of your strategy.
The first step to implementing an automation strategy is to decide which areas of your marketing program you should automate in the first place.
You’ll find automation tools for a variety of functions, including:
- Email marketing
- Lead generation and nurturing
- Content development and distribution
- Multichannel integration
You won’t need all of these features — at least not right away — but you’ll benefit from automating the areas that present the most challenges.
Perhaps you want to be more consistent in branding your content. Maybe you want to create more detailed analytics reports.
Regardless, focus your attention on the areas that need improvement and build your automation strategy around them.
2. Find the right tool
Some automation tools can handle a variety of tasks, while others have limited capabilities. Some tools can scale up with your strategy, while others have a shorter shelf life and may not work out over the long term. Use your automation priorities to help you find the best tool for your needs.
Focus on the platforms that provide the services you want, and then take advantage of free demos and trials before purchasing. Do an audit of each platform on key criteria such as:
- Is the tool online, or do you need to install it on your computer?
- Will the tool protect customer data? What kinds of security features are available?
- Is the cost fixed or can you pay a monthly charge? Will these rates fit your budget?
If a platform meets all of these requirements, it’s probably the right tool for your business.
3. Know how to use it
It’s one thing to recognize the need for automation in your marketing strategy — it’s another to know how to do it.
Your automation platform is only as good as your ability to use it. With that in mind, look for a tool that’s easy to understand and make sure you know how to operate it before implementing it into your organization.
The demo period will give you an idea of whether a tool is easy to use, but you won’t be the only one in your organization using it.
Be prepared to train your staff or delegate the task to someone who’ll be using the tool on a regular basis. Make sure the company you go with offers ample customer support.
(After all, if there’s a problem, you want a speedy resolution.)
Once you understand the product, you’ll get more benefit from it.
Automation has become one of the most important tools in your marketing arsenal. Whatever your specific strategy, it becomes faster, more affordable and more effective to execute with the right automation tool in place.
Start automating your marketing efforts and get the most out of your strategy.