A Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Automation

Have you ever received an email that spoke to exactly what you needed at that time that it was almost creepy?

Like when your big bulk bag of coffee beans is running low and all of a sudden you get an email from the company saying, “hey, need to order again?” Besides being great email marketing, this is one form of marketing automation.

To put it simply, marketing automation works to automate your marketing communication. The goal is to provide relevant information based on a person’s area of interest to help build relationships and move them through the buying cycle.

For online retailers, marketing automation is used to automate messages and encourage action for potential or current customers. An example would be post purchase communications, solicitation of reviews or reorder reminders.

Automation makes the timing of the communication appropriate based on the person’s engagement with you and your content. Automation allows you to periodically “touch” visitors via automated, timed, one-to-one advertising, such as email or direct mail.

Benefits of Marketing Automation

  • Further qualify leads by evaluating continued engagement
  • Free up sales and marketing personnel who formerly did these tasks manually
  • Place leads into nurturing tracks to push them further to a point of sale

Automation does not just have to be for potential customers. You can also use automation to send automated, timed marketing communication to current customers.

Marketing and Sales FunnelStrategy behind Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is based on the same idea as the sales and marketing funnel. The stages in the funnel are:

  1. Interest
  2. Consideration
  3. Evaluation
  4. Customer

Reasons to Use Marketing Automation

  • Abandoned Cart Reminders
  • Reorder/Refill Reminders
  • Customer Anniversary/Birthday Message and Discount
  • Post Purchase Follow-Up
  • Build Relationship
  • Encourage Repeat Purchases
  • Encourage Connections on Social Media
  • Solicit Reviews
  • Send Traffic to your Blog

Tips for Marketing Automation Emails
There are many ways you can use marketing automation to move customers through the sales funnel. Email is one of the most common means of marketing automation. Automated emails can be triggered by specific events, such as filling out a form, downloading a piece of content, adding a product to cart but not purchasing, etc.

When writing an automated email drip program, keep the following in mind.

  • Consider the Buying Cycle Stage
    Your content will depend on the stage of the buying cycle your audience is in. Are they looking for general information, or are they nearing the evaluation stage and need detailed information about your products?
  • Keep the Message Short and Simple
    You have a short amount of time to catch the attention of your reader. Don’t try to give them a whole sales pitch in one email. Use a series of short messages to keep the reader engaged.
  • Know When to Push Your Products
    Your first few emails might not mention your products at all. You are simply educating the reader about why they might need a product or service you offer, without actually listing your products.
  • Keep Your Messages Personal
    Just because you’re automating your messages doesn’t mean you can’t be personal. Use dynamic variable to personalize your message and send emails from an actual person.

There are many ways to leverage the benefits of marketing automation, but these are just a few to get you started. Some eCommerce website platforms will allow you to set up abandoned cart reminders and other automated emails within their admin interface.

For some types of automation, you may need to use specific marketing automation software, such as HubSpot or Pardot.


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