Have you ever wondered how some brands manage to accomplish so much when it comes to their sales and marketing strategies? Well, let you in on a secret: they have some help.

Sales and marketing automation tools are like having a personal assistant handle the tasks related to growing and sustaining your business. And with 75 percent of marketers using at least one type of automation tool, it’s a safe bet that companies killing it with their marketing and sales performance owe a big thank you to automation (rather than luck or endless budgets).

The beauty of marketing automation comes from both its simplicity and utility. Used wisely, it can take a ton of work off your hands, all while enabling you to make a bigger impact with your audience. With many free and low-cost marketing automation tools available, it should be easy enough to fit one into a small business budget.

It might sound too good to be true, and it’s important to note that the magic of marketing automation doesn’t happen overnight — or without some effort on your part. Very little is left up to luck. There’s a lot of strategy involved, especially if you want to go beyond the basics of what an automated tool can do for you.

Below, we’re diving into what those strategies are, with a look at the various tactics your business can employ in order to ramp up your marketing — and your sales. 

The Benefits of Marketing Automation

Well-planned and well-executed strategies can do wonders for your business’s overall success.

Among marketing agencies, a whopping 90 percent say that their marketing automation strategy is successful —with specific, measurable benefits that include:

  • Improved marketing and sales efficiency
  • Increased lead generation capabilities
  • Increased scalability
  • Increased revenue
  • More accurate reporting and better data management
  • Better allocation of marketing budget

Add in time savings and improved collaboration between sales and marketing departments, and it becomes difficult to see why any marketing department or agency wouldn’t want to utilize automation in their operations.

Marketing Automation Strategies Your Business Needs

Ready to put in the work? Here are some performance-driven marketing automation strategies that your business can use to do everything from sending out more ample and effective emails to channeling additional leads down the funnel.

1. Email Marketing

Stay top of mind with email newsletters.

Email newsletters are key to staying connected with your audience. Additionally, they can be instrumental in increasing traffic to your website, driving more sales, building your digital community, and managing your business’s online reputation.

Automation helps you make email newsletters happen in more ways than one. For starters, an email marketing automation tool will have an array of pre-built templates ready for use — which is enormously helpful if you don’t have a dedicated graphic designer on staff.

Also, utilizing automation means you can set reminders to prioritize, schedule, and send newsletters so they never get forgotten. Busy schedules mean it can be easy to forget some things. But with marketing automation, your email newsletters will be sent out consistently, creating touchpoints with your audience that build trust over time. 

Send out email drip campaigns.

Drip campaigns are automated emails sent out according to specific user behaviors — and they’re a lot more effective than going the batch-and-blast route.

Since automation tools help you segment your audience, you can send the right content to the leads it will help the most. It’ll also track and store all of your analytics in one place, so you have a one-stop-shop for determining what tactics are working and which need to be tweaked.

Use marketing automation to set up drip campaigns geared toward targeted audience groups, such as new subscribers or existing subscribers who you’re trying to re-target, upsell, or retain. Emails will “drip” out on a steady, pre-set basis for set-it-and-forget-it lead nurturing that helps take each prospect to the finish line.

2. Social Media Marketing

Automate your social media posting.

Staying on top of social media is pretty much a full-time job in itself. If you’re struggling to juggle multiple posts per week on multiple channels, you’re not alone — or out of luck.

With a social media publishing tool, you can schedule a week’s (or even a month’s) worth of content at a time — factoring in campaigns, product and service launches, promotions, and anything else that you need to be sure to hit on. There are other benefits, too, including the ability to cross-post and monitor all of your social engagement in one place, so you can save time while evaluating success. 

See what’s engaging your followers.

Feeling the strain of constantly needing to come up with new and unique social media content? Let marketing automation do it for you.

Instead of trying out various strategies and hoping for the best, your social media automation tool provides you with robust analytics to determine which of your posts are resonating the most. You can track various engagement metrics, like likes, comments, follows, and reshares, and track your most popular posts across channels. This can inform your future approach, so you focus on ideas that are sure to engage instead of wasting time scheduling posts that fall flat. 

3. Sales Automation

Schedule automatic follow-ups.

On average, it takes 18 calls to connect with a buyer, and 60 percent of buyers say “no” four times before they say “yes.” So why do 48 percent of sales reps never make a single follow-up attempt? Because salespeople are busy, and tracking contact communications is a massive, tricky job.

Here’s where sales automation software can help. Sales automation can send reminders to reps and even automated follow-ups to prospects, ensuring all of those crucial touchpoints are hit so that no one gets neglected. The result is that sales team members can nurture leads quicker and more efficiently, with fewer potential buyers falling through the cracks.

Keep customers coming back.

A satisfied customer is a horrible thing to waste. Most businesses find more value in retaining existing customers than acquiring new ones, but doing so requires a post-purchase strategy that can be laborious to implement on a customer-by-customer basis.

Maintain customer relationships and satisfaction over time by using automation to periodically check-in, ensure that all of the customer’s current needs are being met, and introduce them to new products and/or services that may be of value to them. You can also use automation to run a referral program and send out promotions, deals, and incentives that are specifically created for your existing customer base.

4. General Operations

Engage in more collaboration.

Nothing good comes out of having all your departments operate in silos. Every employee in your business is working toward the same overarching goals, and they must have an easy way to collaborate.

Use automation to share data on customers and processes between your various departments to close the communication gaps that can breed inefficiencies in the workplace. This also ensures that all information is available to all parties and that nobody is without data that could lead to better ideas for improving experiences with your brand. 

Centralize all of your data.

Speaking of data, today’s businesses generate a lot of it. But data is only useful if you can extract meaningful insights out of it. And that can be hard to do when your data exists in multiple dashboards across multiple platforms.

If you’re struggling to keep all of your data in check and put it to use to drive next steps, then look into an all-in-one CRM and marketing automation platform. This kind of tool will aggregate your sales, marketing, and customer info in one place for increased utility. You can also use separate dashboards (one for marketing and one for sales) to gather useful data and regularly audit performance across the board.

Is Marketing Automation Right for Your Business?

Every business is unique, but they all need tools to help them work smarter and spend less time and money doing so. 

If you’re not one of the companies that have already put marketing automation to work, now is the time to get started. Automation allows you to utilize your time and your staff better, handing off rote processes to the robots so that you can amplify the benefits of those things that an automated platform can’t do.

The earlier you adopt marketing automation, the more competitive your business will be. Start researching now and find a platform (or platforms) that aligns with your goals and your budget. There are a multitude of options out there, and you should have no trouble finding one that fits your unique business needs.