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For many marketers, "free time" has become a forgotten concept, a mythical beast relegated to "Once upon a time." To alleviate a portion of the workload and increase overall efficiencies, it comes as no surprise that 74% of marketing teams are already using or planning to use marketing automation technology. 

If you’re not yet part of that 74%, it's time to integrate marketing automation because it's not just about selling more—it's about spending time where and how it counts, like building and nurturing relationships with your audience. 

In this article, I’ll explain the pivotal role of marketing automation in improving your marketing strategy, nurturing leads, and driving conversions. I’ll also provide a comprehensive checklist for implementing marketing automation in your business.

Why Do You Need Marketing Automation?

Imagine being lost in an IKEA warehouse without an exit plan, or worse, trying to assemble one of their infamous bookcases without an instruction manual. Marketing without automation can feel similarly daunting. Like a well-laid-out instruction manual, marketing automation platforms use machine learning to help streamline and automate marketing tasks, turning your marketing efforts into a well-orchestrated symphony of efficiency.

What Marketing Tasks Can Be Automated?

Whether it's setting up landing pages, scheduling automated social media posts, or firing off targeted email campaigns, marketing automation converts monotonous tasks into seamless workflows, enhancing productivity, and propelling your lead generation strategy to new heights. Here are a few examples of tasks that can be automated:

  • sending email drip campaigns
  • scheduling social media
  • customer service live chat
  • running A/B tests
  • filtering your inbox 
  • ad retargeting
  • recurring webinars
  • dynamic CTAs

What Are The Main Benefits of Automating Marketing Campaigns?

Increase customer lifetime value

Automation tools, working in sync with CRM systems, help to nurture relationships with customers, ensuring you're selling consistently over time and increasing the customer lifetime value (CLTV). Automation and CRM – a match made in marketing heaven.

Build long-lasting connections

Utilize automation for personalized email marketing, timely birthday wishes, and targeted offers. Like a digital Cyrano de Bergerac, automation crafts the perfect prose, sending the right message at the right time.

Improve customer loyalty

Ever heard of a brand that got your name wrong? If you have, it was likely due to human error, because good marketing automation software doesn't forget or get clients mixed up. It ensures that you consistently deliver a personal touch, thereby strengthening the relationship and increasing customer loyalty.

Automate your customer journey

Harness the power of marketing automation platforms to usher in prospects and guide them through each step of the sales funnel, offering bespoke experiences that captivate and convert.

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Marketing Automation Checklist: 7 Essential Targets

1. Use automation to welcome new customers

First impressions last. Utilize customizable templates to create compelling welcome sequences that hook new users from the get-go.

2. Reduce cart abandonment

Leverage the real-time capabilities of marketing automation software to recover abandoned carts. Sometimes, a gentle, timely nudge is all that's needed to convert.

3. Retarget with recently viewed items

Use retargeting functionalities to remind users about their recently viewed items, a smart tactic that subtly says, "Hey, remember us? We have what you liked!"

4. Keep customers informed

Improve user experience by keeping customers informed about their order status. After all, anticipation is half the excitement.

5. Provide repurchasing options

Encourage repeat purchases by automating reminders to restock favorite products or reordering regular services. Talk about being proactive!

6. Reactivate inactive customers

Nothing reignites a waning flame like a personal message. Use automation to gently nudge those customers who have strayed from the path, beckoning them back to your brand.

6. Promote loyalty campaigns and special offers

Nothing spells "We appreciate you" like exclusive deals and perks for your existing, return customers. Let automation run your loyalty campaigns, creating brand advocates while you sip your coffee.

7. Build special occasion and one-time offer campaigns

Remember special occasions with automated celebratory messages. This little gesture not only delights customers but also boosts brand affinity. Marketing planning software can help you flag moments you want to capitalize on.

Best Practices for Marketing Automation 

Segment your audiences

Throw out the "one size fits all" mantra. Segment your audience using CRM data for targeted and effective communication.

Personalize your content marketing

Tap into the power of content marketing by leveraging data-driven personalization, creating experiences that resonate with your audience.

Build an omnichannel strategy

Don't restrict yourself to one platform. Harness marketing automation tools to orchestrate seamless omnichannel experiences, whether it's email, social media, or mobile app.

Foster Customer Relationships On Multiple Channels

SMS marketing

When used right, SMS marketing software can drive impressive results. Combine it with CRM functionality for instant, personalized updates or exclusive offers.

Voice marketing

Voice calls offer a direct, personalized touch. Just remember: with great power comes great responsibility. Always respect privacy.

Email marketing

The cornerstone of digital marketing, email automation can work wonders for engagement, conversion, and retention. Email campaigns are no longer a 'nice-to-have,' they're a 'must-have.'

Push notifications marketing

Web push notifications are a fantastic way to re-engage visitors, even when they aren't on your site. Just remember, less is often more.

RCS marketing

Like SMS, but even better. RCS (Rich Communication Services) lets businesses send rich, interactive messages, making it the go-to for modern mobile communication.

Mobile app marketing

With in-app messages and updates, you can create an engaging mobile experience. Remember, moderation is the key.

Automate Campaigns With The Right Marketing Platform

Omnichannel customer engagement software

Whether it's Marketo or HubSpot, a good marketing automation platform provides an omnichannel solution that allows businesses to interact with customers across different platforms, creating a seamless user experience.

Customer data platforms (CDP)

A robust customer data platform (CDP) offers a comprehensive view of your customers, allowing for data-driven decisions and marketing alignment that supercharges your campaigns.

Start Automating Your Marketing Campaigns Today

Marketing automation, be it for lead nurturing, lead scoring, or inbound marketing, is not a luxury; it's a necessity in our rapidly evolving, digital-first world. Whether you're just embarking on your automation journey or looking to enhance your current strategy, this checklist can serve as your guide.

Remember, the goal isn't just to sell but to build and nurture relationships. So, it's time to roll up those sleeves, adjust your sales process, keep an eye on those all-important metrics, and get automating! Whether through A/B testing, SEO optimization, AI, lead management, or pricing strategies, your path to marketing success is clear. Now, assemble your marketing team, go forth and conquer!For more essential marketing advice delivered (automatically) to your inbox, subscribe to The CMO newsletter today.

By Francois Marchand

Francois Marchand is editor and content strategist for Black & White Zebra. He is passionate about helping and educating business leaders, ecommerce professionals, media producers, and marketers grow their skill sets to stay ahead of the competition. Francois holds a BA Specialization in Communication Studies & Journalism from Concordia University (Montreal, QC) and more than 20 years of experience in marketing, ecommerce, traditional and digital media, and public relations.