There’s no getting around the fact that there are many repetitive tasks within the marketing of your business. For example, say one of your marketing strategies is to run free webinars to provide potential clients with information about your product/service. When someone signs up for one of your webinars, how do they receive the confirmation email from you? It’s pretty time consuming and resource heavy to manually reply to each person who registers, not to mention monotonous. Is that really how you want to spend your time?

One way to save precious man hours and to improve the efficiency of your business is to implement automation systems for these types of mundane task. And, if you get it right it can drastically transform the running of your company, therefore allowing you more time to do what you’d really like to be doing, i.e. chilling out at the beach! However, the problem that most companies face is that they don’t know where or how to start implementing automation systems. Hopefully the following points will help you if you are facing these problems.

People, Processes and Tech

To implement any new business project including marketing automation systems, you need to get these three things to work together – people, processes and tech. If one of these key elements is left out the mix, the chances are the project will ultimately fail, so be sure to cover all these three vital bases. As with any new process, it’s imperative that the people who work within the related area of business understand the overall goal of the system and the benefits it will provide. You must obtain their buy-in from the get-go to ensure that they are willing to work together to achieve the overall goal. This is often the single hardest obstacle to overcome as people are often averse to change. Another challenge you will face will be establishing the technological requirements and whether the cost of buying it and implementing it will be justified by the ROI. And then of course you also need to establish the process required for the automation system to work most effectively and how to roll it out to the people involved.

Benefits

Two main benefits of marketing automation are to save time and money. Essentially these processes can increase your company’s ROI through improved business efficiency. What’s more, this efficiency can also provide your customers with a smoother customer experience, thus improving their perception of the brand/company. In the example above, if you have an automation system in place then within minutes of signing up to your webinar, they have received an email of confirmation and they’re all set to attend – simple!

Find the Starting Line

To find the starting line, you need to look at all the processes in your business with the eyes of someone new. Consider each stage and ask yourself whether it’s possible to improve the process to eliminate some of the manual work involved. When you have a list of all the areas you think could be automated, order them so that the ones that would have the biggest positive impact on the business are at the top of the list and the ones that would have the least are at the bottom. Then consider what sort of automation is required for each one and what would be required to achieve this. Weigh up the potential positive outcome over the work and resources required to implement the system and you will soon see which areas of the business need to be automated as a priority and which can wait. It’s often the case that customers’ actions or inactions can act as triggers for automation, so keep this in mind at this stage.

Goals

When finding where to begin with automation, keep asking yourself ‘what end goal am I trying to achieve?’ and focus on this. It may be that you wish to automate a certain part of the buying cycle or to improve the customer journey. Whatever it is, you will need to know as much about your customers as possible in order to automate the system effectively to give both your customer and your business the best possible outcome. To help in achieving your goal, it can be useful to draw out your consumer journey and how the new process will fit in, remembering to keep the consumer at the heart of it all!

Risk

Of course, marketing automation isn’t the most straightforward thing in the world. It’s akin to creating a machine and each cog must be in place correctly to allow the next cog to do its job and this means there’s an element of risk involved. Therefore, it’s best to automate your processes gradually and if one process goes wrong, lose fast and move on.

3 Top Tips

  1. It’s a good idea to A/B test your new automation process against your old process to get a clear indication of the success of your new process.
  1. Brand messages can be automated to significantly increase the feel good factor of the brand – e.g. by sending out automated birthday emails to your client database.
  1. Focusing on automating processes that help to increase your sales conversion rate is a pretty smart approach to take!

With all this in mind, I guess we’ll be seeing you at the beach in a few months’ time then! I’m off to catch some waves.