It’s easy to feel out of your element when you first come across the
concept of marketing automation.
There are thousands of marketing automation platforms available in
the market – all of which have different dashboards, specialize in various
marketing channels, and use their own terminology.
For those who are just entering the scene, all of it can be
intimidating to say the least.
In this guide, I’ll try to show you that isn’t some far-out space technology that’s reserved only for large companies with even larger budgets.
Below you’ll find the essential theory, real-life examples, and answers to some of the most burning questions regarding the process of automating your campaigns and using marketing automation platforms.
What is marketing automation
In simple terms, marketing automation is software that helps you
automate various marketing and customer engagement activities.
What sort of activities do we have in mind?
Here are several examples coming from Dr. Dave
Chaffey of Smart Insights:
Some key marketing automation capabilities for you to consider:
Automatically building marketing lists using landing pages that offer content assets to profile subscribers.
Automatically welcoming prospects with relevant email messages – these are messages personalized to the attributes of the individual.
Automatically reviewing interactions with emails and on-site content, then segmenting intent to purchase based on lead scoring and automatically serving ads or offers based on this information.
Automatically following up on prospects with nurturing messages to boost intent to purchase.
Automatically qualifying leads against preconfigured metrics and passing to sales without human interaction (this capability is only really relevant to B2B).
Automatically sending ongoing personalized messages delivering promotions and content based off the person’s attributes, in order to encourage customer loyalty.
marketing automation software
Even though marketing automation platforms have become much more
affordable and automated emails get more than twice as many
click-throughs as regular emails, it’s worth knowing why marketing
automation tools are worth the cost.
The chart below shows the top benefits of marketing automation as ranked by marketers who took part in the .
Based on the study results, we can see that the top three
advantages are that marketing automation helps you 1) save time, 2) generate
more leads, and 3) increase your revenue.
But how exactly does marketing automation help with all that?
Let’s put together the capabilities we’ve mentioned a moment ago along
with the study results and consider three different scenarios.
1. Marketing automation helps you serve your audience
Let’s say you work for a higher education institution.
Your school offers a variety of different courses, all designed for
a different kind of audience.
To be sure that everyone signs up for the course that suits their
needs best, it’d be worth first talking to your prospects in person then providing
them with all the necessary information.
Unfortunately, at some point your scale won’t allow for that.
The absence of this service, however, increases the chances of
students signing up for the wrong courses, getting lower grades, and eventually
One way to overcome this problem is to run automated campaigns
that deliver the right kind of content to the individual prospects based on
various cues, e.g. the pages they’ve visited, files they’ve downloaded, or
courses they’ve signed up for.
See, with marketing automation, no matter how big your audience
is, you’re able to keep a throughout
the entire customer
More relevant communication leads to more engaged customers. That,
in turn, usually leads to higher returns.
2. Marketing automation platforms help you save time and
Now let’s imagine you’re a real estate agent.
People come to you to buy or sell their property. Every meeting
starts the same way: you ask them a bunch of questions so that you can tailor
your offer to their needs.
It takes time.
And it doesn’t end there, as after the meeting you’ll probably
want to follow up to make sure you’ve answered all their needs and will close
All of this, like many other tasks we do in business, could be
carried out (often more swiftly and accurately) with the use of a marketing
The more activities you delegate to your software, the more time
you’ll have for the kind of projects that require personal attention and ones that
could potentially have a higher impact on your business.
3. Automations improve your ability to scale your business
Picture this: You’re running a boutique marketing agency catering
to local businesses.
If you’re relatively new to the business, the odds are that you do
most of your marketing tasks by hand.
You’re providing top quality services for your clients, but every time
you sign up a new client your workday becomes longer.
If you’d like to scale your business, there are only two ways out:
- either hire someone and delegate some of the tasks to them,
- or start charging your clients extra.
Neither of these solutions are perfect.
The situation can change, however, if you transfer more tasks to
your marketing automation platform.
These could be seemingly simple but lengthy processes such as nurturing
your prospects who’ve shown interest in your work.
Or these could be more complex activities, like setting up
marketing funnels using landing pages, Facebook ads, and email campaigns for
When you use marketing automation, every new client you sign won’t
add as much to your workload, because a lot of the processes are carried out
This leaves you the time to acquire more customers, develop your
business further and at a higher pace.
These are just three reasons why marketing automation is worth
If you’d like to learn more, this post by Michael Brenner explores more .
Looking for inspiration?
Check out how Alex Terrier, saxophonist, composer, and charismatic bandleader uses marketing automation to while touring the globe.
does marketing automation work
While marketing automation software can be very robust, most of these
tools follow a simple logic – If X happens, then do Y.
If someone fills out a form to access an ebook on one of my
landing pages (X), then the system should send them a welcome email with the
access link (Y).
This is a very simplistic example, but it’s good to start with one
of those before we double-down on more complex scenarios.
To set up automation like the one I’ve just described, you need to
create what we call a marketing automation workflow.
In simple terms, a marketing automation workflow is a script that
describes what the system should do if a particular event or situation takes
To build these kinds of scripts, most marketing automation
platforms let you use visual drag and drop creators or builders.
To get a better sense of what these look like, here’s an example of a marketing automation workflow creator that’s available in GetResponse:
Let’s now have a look at this example of a simple marketing automation workflow that we built using the GetResponse workflow creator.
What you see in this picture are two elements that comprise the whole workflow. The workflow is triggered by the action specified in the top element. As soon as that action takes place, the system should proceed with the action specified in the bottom element.
Here the workflow translates to:
When someone subscribes to an email list called your_new_list using any webform, then send them a message called Welcome to GetResponse.
marketing automation workflows
Most marketing automation platforms, including GetResponse, let
you build automation workflows in two ways:
You can either use ready-made automation templates or build
your workflows from scratch.
In the first scenario, you pick a template that serves
the goal or matches your campaign idea. Then, you just need to populate it with
your own data, including message templates, lists, etc.
These can get you started pretty quickly. Plus, they can serve as
an inspiration, especially if you’re only starting to build your first
The second approach is more appropriate for those who
already feel confident using their marketing automation software of choice.
You may also prefer to build your automations from scratch, if you
know exactly what you want to achieve with your workflow or prefer to start
with an empty canvas.
To help you understand this process better, this video here shows you how you would build a workflow using the automation templates in GetResponse:
When building marketing automation workflows, you might come to a
point when you don’t know what to do next.
You might ask yourself questions like, “Should I continue and send
another message to my leads?” or perhaps, “Should I take a step back and test a
If you ever find yourself in this situation, check out , in which he provides some very useful tips on how you can best proceed.
Marketing automation platforms offer a variety of different
Here are some of the most common ones:
- Email marketing
- Forms and landing pages
- Lead nurturing
- Lead generation
- Campaign management
- CRM integration
- Social media marketing
- Lead scoring and tagging
- Visitor tracking
- Analytics and optimization
While these are most common, it’s worth noting, however, that
different platforms may specialize in different marketing channels.
Because of that, some marketing automation software may offer
robust capabilities in certain aspects of digital marketing, while only
scratching the surface in others.
Keep this in mind, if you’re going to be reviewing different platforms and looking for one that’d best fit your business needs.
Marketing automation can be used across the entire customer
lifecycle, using various marketing channels.
Here are three popular marketing automation examples you’ve likely come across:
According to , the average
shopping cart abandonment is currently at 69.57%.
Being able to win back even a fraction of these transactions could
mean a big increase in the total revenue an online store makes.
This is one of the ways ecommerce businesses use marketing
They track their website visitor behavior and automatically send
out emails to those who haven’t completed their purchase.
The same strategy could be applied multiple times, even using
other marketing channels, including retargeting paid ads or SMS messages.
Below is an example of an automation workflow that’d help you achieve those results:
And here’s an automated cart abandonment email sent by one ecommerce brand:
Welcome emails are probably the single most important type of
automated email communication you should be sending.
They get an average open rate of over 90% and a click-through
rate of over 35%, which is around 4x the
engagement rate you’d observe with a typical newsletter.
They are so effective because recipients have already gotten used
to receiving these kinds of campaigns. They serve as a confirmation of the
subscription process going well and often deliver some additional content the
Just as they’re effective, welcome emails are very easy to set up,
too. That’s why you see so many ecommerce businesses sending them to their new
This is a workflow example that’d send a welcome email series over the course of several days:
And here’s an example of one such automated email:
Another popular way of using marketing automation is to develop
email courses, using a series of emails often called autoresponders.
An email course typically consists of a series of prearranged sets
of emails. On top of that, more complex scenarios include email reminders sent
out to those who don’t interact with the content.
Thanks to marketing automation, you can deliver the course lessons
to your audience, using their subscription date as the starting point.
This is very popular among online entrepreneurs, marketers, and
people interested in earning passive income.
What about the effectiveness? Using the click-through rate data
from our Email
Marketing Benchmarks report, it’s easy to calculate the
engagement rates and the number of conversions you could generate with an email
Here’s what the workflow for a typical email course would look like:
And here’s an example of an email lesson:
You can find more .
is a good time to start using marketing automation?
I hope I’ve managed to show you that marketing automation can
generate high returns even if you don’t have a large team or budget.
Think about how much time you could save by automating various
parts of your business, like welcoming new subscribers, nurturing prospects, or
retargeting those who abandon their shopping carts.
Even if you haven’t developed a robust omnichannel marketing
strategy in place yet, you could begin automating your marketing campaigns.
As a matter of fact, the sooner you start building marketing
automation workflows, the better.
If you feel like getting started, here are two actions for you to
First, sign up for our free email course on Mastering
Over the course of 8 lessons you’ll learn how to effectively implement
automated email campaigns.
Secondly, sign up for a free trial and take GetResponse Marketing
Automation for a test drive. Without any risks, you can test the entire
platform for 30 days.
Ready to build your first automated campaign?
Next-generation technologies are affecting the way businesses can get value from the information they generate and process. The global pace of change is growing rapidly each year and 2020 can be a truly disruptive year. Let’s find out what opportunities innovation gives, what risks you should consider, and what concrete steps you can take to benefit from the upcoming changes in the digital world.
Obviously, people have never had so many powerful technology solutions to address their problems in society, business, and community. Not to fail and successfully use these capabilities, we have to understand clearly how to intelligently do this. We should be experienced in analyzing data and making decisions, in choosing and using tech solutions available on the market, and acquiring the right skills and resources to solve the problems.
Today, you may not have enough resources for meeting these challenges as innovation requires reshaping your existing strategies from usual operations to searching for disruption and new business values. Technology providers can help you in defining your priorities and instructing how to do better. Finding the right tech partner is a perfect way to start your journey to digital transformation.
Top 3 Technology Trends to Explore and Implement in 2020
To make your business really intelligent in the next year, consider the latest technology trends that are already being successfully implemented and used by many big and mid-sized companies.
AI-powered solutions along with Machine Learning and Robotics change the way people live, businesses operate, and governments provide public services. AI is applicable to almost every industry, from healthcare to education. It handles real-time data processing well, detects fraud, predicts consumers’ behavior, provides chatbots for messaging. Besides, it can increase sales and automate workflow – decreasing costs for manual and redundant work.
Another trending technology that is also used for improving the business environment. Originally designed for cryptocurrency transfers, blockchain has become one of the disrupting tools for as it offers advanced and securer authentication and cheaper payment services for consumers. Blockchain can be also used for smart contracts management so explore it – probably, your business can take advantage of blockchain.
Internet of Things
IoT has become a leading innovative technology for logistics and transportation, agriculture, healthcare, security, manufacturing. It is mainly used to generate real-time data, create improved supply chains, connect what can be connected, detect breaches and attacks, etc. IoT enables businesses with flexibility, connectivity, and efficiency. Companies can improve customer experience, generate more revenue, increase productivity.
Risks to Consider in Digital Transformation
Are you about to reshape your digital strategy? To be successful in your beginnings, explore the following risks:
- Strategy – You should clearly define who is responsible for strategy development. Establish an appropriate governance framework.
- Security – Ensure that your authentication patterns are secure and up-to-date. If not, search for the latest trends in cybersecurity.
- Technology – Consider scalability, accuracy, and compatibility of existing and future software before starting your journey to transformation.
- Operations – conduct an audit of both internal and external business activities to define your strengths and weaknesses and take appropriate actions to improve operations.
- Data – Make sure any data you use, yours or your customers, is highly protected from breaches and attacks.
- Vendors – Search for reliable technology providers who have relevant expertise in your industry or business domain.
- Compliance – You need to check if your regulatory compliance is up-to-date, try to make it easier to handle by using RegTech solutions.
4 Practical Steps Towards Innovation
So, what steps should you take in 2020 to reach your goals? What actions will help you start moving from legacy systems to next-gen infrastructures? Here are simple but quite workable steps:
- Explore. Learn, read, ask about new technologies and successful case studies of how new technology contributes to the business environment. Think of possible ways it can help your company grow.
- Focus. Put data at the central point of your strategy. Start analyzing what you have now, measure the current status of your business, make conclusions and predictions for the future. Search new ways to gain a competitive advantage.
- Optimize. Explore and improve your relations with customers. Provide personalized services based on data-driven insights on customer behavior.
- Innovate. Define and find the right skills required to reinvent the way you run business and communicate with your clients.
What Does It Mean for Business?
First off, ask yourself about what you expect from changes. Most organizations embracing innovation expect that that transformation will help them gain additional growth and revenue. But higher profit is not the only benefit you can get. Imagine that you now know your customers better, you can develop new products according to customers needs, foresee the scope of sales. As a result, you can also find new distribution channels and extend your markets.
The main objective of a new digital strategy is to teach you to use your data to the fullest. Equipped with clear and 360° vision of your business, you’ll be able to provide unique offerings different from those your competitors offer. How could you start? Begin to analyze what you have right now. Leverage all the resources you have or acquire the needed resources offsite to uncover the potential of your enterprise. Wish 2020 will bring you total success in innovation.
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There are countless ways for you to build your business into something that can keep your main client base satisfied, but the trick is to keep them satisfied while getting in new prospects. Success can be retained in various ways that make your business grow into something you’ve never imagined, so be sure to follow some of these helpful tips to achieve the greatness you desire.
Focus on your customers
Believe it or not, being a customer-centric business can lead to great results. Any company can have a decent product or service, but can everyone achieve good customer satisfaction all the time? You should put a lot of effort and resources into customer service; when you show your customers that you care and listen to their feedback and concerns, it makes them more likely to come to you. This builds trust and a strong brand loyalty that can be difficult to break, so focus on enhancing their experience and making it better. You need to have a solid community where you connect with your fan base, giving them ample opportunities to voice their feedback. When your client or customer is happy, word of mouth spreads, you’ll get more customers, increase your profits, and flourish with success.
Outsourcing is key
Although it is sometimes beneficial to have in-house teams, it’s equally, if not more, efficient to get outsource your non-core departments and get advice, guidance, and assistance from specialized experts in the field. The digital marketers and SEO specialists at believes that having experienced people who know how to deal with the evolving industry can make a huge difference to your business. They have the knowledge and insight that can help you adapt to changes in the industry, giving you new ideas and amazing tools to further increase your success in the business world. Also, outsourcing means you won’t limit yourself; an in-house team might be great, but in the long run may be unable to bring enough new ideas and they won’t be as cost-effective as hiring an agency to bring you better results.
Make your employees happy
Your success can’t be achieved properly without a happy employee who is good at their job. Regularly showing them enough recognition and support whenever you can will make your employees satisfied. Also, ensure that you are giving them great wages/salaries and bonuses in relation to the market. They need to feel that they are financially stable and safe, or they will look for that elsewhere, so remember to motivate them and keep them satisfied so they can keep your customers happy.
Times change and so should you, the business world is not what it used to be 50 years ago. So, you should always that can be beneficial and can make your business run better. Having different software programs, tools, and robotics that can speed processes and completes tasks efficiently means that you will focus on other things that can benefit the company even more. You will be raising productivity levels in the process, making the experience of your customers a lot better too. Technology has always helped businesses in various ways to make things a lot better; this leads to a lot of different opportunities where you can earn more profits each year.
Take advantage of the digital world
There are many options available to connect with people on the internet and get things done; Look into using different social media platforms, digital marketing techniques, and online shopping features to promote your business. Everything now is done online, it speeds things up for both you and the customer. Having constant access and engagement with your customers will generate more leads and profits. You will save a lot of money in the process too, because it’s extremely cost-effective and it’s perfect for competing with bigger corporations; it levels the playing field so you have a chance to stay in the business world and solidify your position as one of the big players in the market.
You have to be passionate about what you’re doing in the business world; it will imprint on your staff and in turn they will show the same passion to your customers and clients. You can achieve extremely high levels of customer satisfaction, brand growth, expansions, higher sales margins, and immense profits. You just need to be consistent with your plan and adapt to all the changes that occur in the business world. Success is achievable, and you can keep it coming if you plan everything right.