An Easy Guide to Marketing Automation Software

Business team brainstorming on their HubSpot marketing automation software

If your goal is to make your sales and marketing teams more effective, marketing automation is right up your alley. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll take the guesswork out of establishing an automation system, allowing your small business to make the most out of its sales efforts and acquire the best-fit marketing automation software.

What Is Marketing Automation?

Salesforce marketing automation involves using software to create and deliver custom messages to leads and customers. The messages are created using specific factors, such as where the customer is in the sales process or what his or her spending habits are.

While automation can be applied in multiple ways, email messages and lead nurturing are the most common methods. Using email allows you to establish a direct connection with a lead. Welcome messages, shopping cart reminders, and custom product suggestions are all examples of automated messages.

Automation workflow specialist fine tuning the sales team's engagement campaign via her iPad Pro
Map out your workflow. If your customers perform different actions, which messages will they receive?

B2B vs B2C Automation

When creating a small business marketing automation strategy, you’ll want to consider whether your company caters to other businesses or consumers. Usually, B2B sales have longer conversion cycles than B2C sales, and they often will require more of a long-term commitment from the customer. B2B messaging tends to emphasize white papers, case studies, and other long-form content.

On the other hand, B2C correspondence can use simpler messages that are tailored to the customer’s needs. For example, a short video on how to use your product will likely be more interesting to a B2C customer than a lengthy e-book.

Master B2B & B2C Marketing

The Key Concepts of Marketing Automation

Although automation incorporates multiple marketing and business practices, there are a few key concepts to keep in mind when developing your strategy.

1. Conversion Funnel

A conversion funnel is can also be seen as the journey a person takes toward making a purchase or other type of conversion, ie – webinar signup. The funnel is broken down into four stages: Awareness, Interest, Consideration, and Action.

2. Feedback Loops

In marketing, a feedback loop is the customer’s reaction to your automated message – even if it’s nothing at all. When you analyze your feedback metrics, you’ll want to see high click-through rates, open rates, and email forwards.

3. User Flow

When users flow to your site from different sources (PPC ads, social media, and email), it’s important to direct users to pages that make it easy for them to take an action. For example, a user that arrives at your site through a long-tail keyword may be looking for something specific, so tailor the corresponding page to that request.

4. Workflows

Simply put, a workflow is a series of triggers used to deliver messages. When creating a workflow, it’s important to ask yourself, “If this happens, what should occur next?”

Marketing specialist left his laptop, black coffee, smartphone & earbuds on a wooden deck
Nurture your leads as they make their way through the sales funnel. This means being available for questions 24/7.

Getting Started With Automation

Now that you’ve explored what marketing automation solutions are available and determined the core concepts of a successful strategy, it’s time to put that knowledge into action.

1. Determine Your Goals

It’s important to pinpoint exactly what you want your automation strategy to accomplish, whether it’s generating more leads or boosting sales during the slow season.

2. Identify Which Customers to Target

There may be times where it makes more sense to focus on a group of customers in one particular stage of the sales journey. If you’re having issues with conversions, for example, you may wish to focus on the middle or lower parts of the sales funnel.

3. Map User Flow

Using a state diagram can help you determine how people are arriving at a page and how many steps they take before taking an action.

4. Rate Your Sales Leads

With automation software, you’ll be able to assign a value to certain actions and interactions. For example, someone who views a price list on your page may receive a higher value than someone who has simply read a blog post.

Best Practices for Small Business Marketing Automation Messages

Many marketers have misconceptions about automation, believing it to be impersonal and even spam-like at times. Here are some automation best practices that can help you avoid these issues:

  • Make your point quickly and clearly
  • Write messages in active voice, encouraging recipients to take action
  • Keep in mind where people are in the sales funnel
  • Avoid seeming “spammy” – don’t use all capital letters or overuse the color red
  • Narrow down your contact list, allowing you to reach the correct people

It’s also important to take a hands-on approach when generating emails. In most cases, message automation requires constant attention and refinement to be fully effective.

Is Automation Right for My Business?

Automation offers a host of benefits, but it won’t be the ideal solution for many businesses. Before exploring your automation options, be sure to consider whether you have a large enough database and the resources necessary to make your efforts a success.

6 Steps to Becoming a Marketing Automation Master

Avatar for Eric Melillo

Eric Melillo

Eric Melillo is a certified HubSpot Inbound Marketing expert, Senior Brand Strategist, as well as a lover of family, friends, and life. He enjoys good health, Tae Kwon-Do and discovering the most influential marketing trends.

Avatar for Eric Melillo

Eric Melillo

Eric Melillo is a certified HubSpot Inbound Marketing expert, Senior Brand Strategist, as well as a lover of family, friends, and life. He enjoys good health, Tae Kwon-Do and discovering the most influential marketing trends.

Comments (2)

  • Thanks, Loves this post. It is an excellent guide to Marketing Automation! I had a quick question: What should an organization look for in a marketing automation solution? Also is it necessary to employ a popular automation software or do you suggest a comprehensive software like Aritic PinPoint?

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