I was scrolling through my Instagram last night and I saw an advert that was pretty appealing to my taste. It was an ad for those flared jeans that are so popular today. And like any other fashion loving person, I clicked on it and it took me to the website of the brand. Cut to half an hour later, I was a proud owner of a very flared, wide bottom pair of denims with a super high waist line and I was pretty happy about it.
This is a scenario which isn’t uncommon in the times we live in. If you ask me, I find this trend to be utterly appealing, utterly clever and utterly persuasive.
I say this because if you think about it, I wouldn’t have ever landed on the product’s actual site, not by any chance. So, the seller’s plan to become a part of social media and sneak into people’s feed with such tantalising videos and pictures of the product, that they have no other option than buying is indeed a masterstroke, if there was one.
And this is what marketing is all about. It does involve the more technical aspects of designing, production and packaging, however, making the product come in contact with the consumer is like the finale of the marketing film. And to ensure this contact is a memorable one, the marketers make it ubiquitous. Now that I have bought that one pair of jeans, I’m sure my Instagram and Facebook are going to be inundated with similar products and brands in the near future, because if I have bought it once, I might buy it again.
So today, we are going to be talking about an emerging vogue in the ever so evolving realms of marketing and that is Marketing Automation. Let’s get on with the marketing automation guide.
When the Marketers met Automation
Marketing Automation is a concept that is all about making the work of the marketers a tad bit easy. The automated technology takes the load off of the marketer’s shoulders and onto its own.
At the heart of the concept of marketing automation is the consumer. Every nook and crevice of this concept recognises consumer as the boss. Let’s take a look.
Understanding consumer behaviour;
Identifying potential consumers;
Creating consumers leads;
Effectively nurturing the consumers leads;
Personalising the marketing strategies for the consumers;
And converting consumers into buyers.
These six points can sum up the entire working of marketing automation and consumers are everywhere. Yes, at the end of it, you, as a businessman would benefit from it, but you need consumers for that first.
If I had to define marketing automation, I would say it is a concept that uses software and technology to ease all marketing tasks, especially the repetitive one. Those social media posts that have to be posted every Monday at 5 on the Twitter handle can be easily automated. The result would be better consumer engagement and increased efficiency, which means more revenue.
Marketing automation is a pretty broad term that has numerous aspects and functions involved in marketing.
Sending marketing messages using a trigger;
Sending personalised emails to keep the consumer in the loop;
And sending Facebook, Instagram and Twitter stories and posts for perpetual engagement;
These are three of the most popular ways automated marketing strategies that help marketers generate leads from everywhere and convert them into sales.
Now that we have covered the general concept of marketing automation, let’s look at some statistics that will give us a picture of its use in the business world.
The above picture shows the findings of a survey performed on a sample group. With close to a fourth of the surveyors answering an affirmative to using marketing automation, the concept seems to be a hit.
Another survey shows the extent of marketing automation at work, with close to half of the surveyors using it extensively.
Now, this one shows how marketing automation is going to progress in the future. Every sector, be it healthcare or education, is expected to enhance its size in marketing automation in the US. It would possibly double in comparison with 2016. So, if anything is going to boom in the future, it’s going to be marketing automation.
Marketing Automation and Its Achievements
Marketing in general has numerous benefits that not a single person on this planet can deny. Likewise when marketing automation is concerned, the benefits still persist. There is a lot that can be overcome be it reducing costs, increasing efficiency or making you richer by the date and all of that starts with one lead generated by marketing automation.
Let’s have a look at all the achievements of this marvelous concept.
Automation saves time
The main difference between doing something manually and automatically is the amount of time it takes to complete it. When you automate simple marketing tasks like figuring out the seriousness of a lead or sending emails, you free up a lot of your time. And that time can be used for more meaningful tasks like converting leads.
Automation increases income
A major benefit of automation in marketing is generating leads, which later helps in creating higher conversion rates and lower abandonment rates. What do you think would be the result of this? More sales, which simply means more income.
There is also the perspective that marketing automation reduces costs because with automated processes, you would need less manpower and hence, lower costs.
Automation eases scaling
Every business is meant to grow, so a marketing strategy that takes into consideration the present scenario along with every possibility that the future may hold should be the right choice. Marketing automation is that choice. This concept grows with you, regardless of the pace you have. Look at Tesla’s stock prices in 2020, that could happen to your business as well and marketing automation would be right there with you.
Automation enhances user understanding
Marketing automation is also responsible for making you understand your demographic better. This is achieved by tracking and monitoring every contact the user makes with your business and where they stand on the purchasing decision, you could say that marketing automation is essentially behavioural tracking of the consumers. The outcome of this level of user understanding is that you can make a few tweaks here and there based upon user patterns and thereby compel him to make a purchase.
Automation evaluates your successes concisely
Marketing automation tools are a part of it and these tools have the capability of measuring all the right numbers for you. You’d be glad to know these numbers are not just pertinent to your consumers, but you as well. Assuming you automated an online campaign, once it is complete and even during it, marketing automation tools will have recorded its performance down to the T. This way you would know how you performed and what you need to work on.
Making Marketing Automation Work
Next comes the part, where we understand the workings of marketing automation. Yes, marketing automation is becoming increasingly popular. Yes, there are numerous benefits of this concept, but if you do not know where to start its implementation, then what is the point really?
So, here are a few pointers that will give you an idea of how automation in marketing works, more like how you can make it work.
Do you know your needs?
When thinking about marketing automation’s working, the first question to ask is what do you need it for. You can’t make it work, if you do not know what to work for. Is it lead generation or you simply want to ease the pressure of marketing by scheduling things and events instead of always worrying about the upcoming ones?
This concept can achieve so much, but only if you know what those achievements will look like. Create a workflow and start following it.
Are you understanding your consumers?
Marketing automation helps you in understanding your consumers, but the more important thing is what you do with that understanding. Yes, you know what your target audience looks like, which geography you are targeting and what the psychology of the users is. But what then? When you have an answer to that, you’ll hit the automation homerun.
Are you using the right tools?
This concept is nothing without the right set of tools. Automation relies on technology and technology means tools and software that will make marketing a walk in the park. Drupal, a leading open source CMS, for instance, has numerous third party tools that allow its sites to capitalise the automation vogue. More on this in the next section.
Are you building relationships or retaining them?
Marketing automation will target a whole new section of consumers. This would be a long and expensive process. So, just building new consumer relationships isn’t the right way of marketing automation. It would only be right when you focus on retaining the past consumers and cinching them to you with loyalty. How? That you have to think on.
Does the outcome seem too-automated?
Marketing automation can seem a little too impersonal to the consumer. If it does, you are on the wrong track. To make the concept work, you must focus on personalising every consumer interaction. Make your brand something to remember. Reminding a consumer, who hasn’t been active based on your data, that their empty cart is missing them with a popup in their notification bar will compel them to have a look at your new catalogue. Hook, line and sinker, but with a personal touch.
After you have the clear cut answer to these five questions, it would be wise to know four more aspects that contribute to making marketing automation work for you.
You must always remember to specify things and criteria you are working for along with the outcome you aim for. This is because all of this would need to be interpreted by the software at work and that would in turn be stored and executed to make you get what you wanted.
You must leverage cookies, because it is these stored inside the visitor’s browser that let you know his behavioural patterns, track them and issue scores as well.
You have to generate leads as a marketer, and forms with valid contact information of the customers is one of the best ways of doing that and further qualifying these leads.
Finally, you must have a plan that combines both inbound and outbound strategies. This helps marketers make out the difference between strong and feeble leads.
One of the prime purposes of marketing automation is generating leads and these four points effectively achieve that.
Making a Play at Marketing Automation with Drupal
We have already discussed the priceless value of marketing automation in the business world, going without it is no longer an option. To that sense, Drupal has come out as a pretty valuable asset, having tools and modules that cater to each and every marketing automation need and then some.
With the very appropriate motto of “Drive Your Strategy Forward,” Drupal indeed helps businesses in moving forward by attracting, engaging and delighting your consumers with personalised content and services.
Be it real-time sales alerts;
Be it managing your consumer data in bulk;
Be it streamlining your workflows;
Be it tracking your site’s traffic down to the conversion rates;
Or be it advanced email reporting;
Drupal is equipped and ready to let you take advantage of the automated marketing strategies down to their very core.
Now, let’s focus on the specific tools that make the Drupal motto on marketing automation come alive.
It can also very conveniently integrate itself with other marketing automation modules found on Drupal to give a better execution experience.
#2 Pardot Integration
A big part of marketing automation are the online marketing campaigns; they are essentially responsible for substantially increasing the revenue.
Pardot Integration is a module that helps your marketing departments to not only manage these online campaigns, but also to create and deploy them. There are umpteen CRM tools that Pardot can integrate with to make the marketers tackle lead nurturing, scoring, and ROI reporting.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM
SugarCRM are a few of them.
The HubSpot API and integration to Webforms which are directly submitted to HubSpot’s management system, makes this module work pretty smoothly, be it for tracking customers through signups or unleashing your existing email campaigns for the said customers.
The fact that Webform 3.x is used makes building virtually any kind of form and embedding them anywhere possible.
Poptin is a module that helps in creating popups, optins and forms in minutes. By showing these popups to your visitors at the right moment, you will be able to keep them engaged and minimise the chances of abandonment. The result is better sales and more revenue.
All of the work that Poptin does is dependent on consumer behaviour, an insight to which will allow you to dole out the most irresistible popups for the consumers. You can customise the popups for your brand keeping in mind its aesthetic and vibe.
The inclusion of advanced triggering options like;
Exit intent trigger;
Display after time spent on website;
Display after website X pages visited or X number of clicks;
And traffic sources amongst others make this module more than appealing to the marketers.
Mailchimp is an email delivery service. With emails being an important part of marketing automation, the Mailchimp module provides seamless integration with this particular service of the same name.
The Mailchimp features include;
directly connecting email entities to its lists;
creating forms for easy signups;
creating, sending and viewing campaigns and its statistics;
being able to see to all the past activities on Mailchimp;
and finally, triggering automated emails for defined events.
#6 Salesforce Suite
Salesforce is a customer relationship management service platform with a side of marketing automation for customer service. Drupal’s Salesforce Suite allows to reap the full competency of the platform to propel the marketing strategy forward.
Being a suite, this module has a range of Salesforce modules that integrate themself with the software and synchronise Drupal entities with Salesforce objects and push and pull data from each other.
Salesforce Mapping UI
Salesforce Pull are some of the modules in this vibrant suite.
Like the name says, the Webform module helps in creating form and surveys. These are forms that will tick all the right boxes for an enterprise grade form made using an enterprise grade form builder and the versatility of Drupal.
Once the forms are created and submitted, customisable e-mails become an option to be sent to admins or submitters or both and results are often exported to spreadsheets. Once that is done, the modules continue to work to provide a statistical review. You can also add other extensible features, if you like. These include encryption, antibot, the use of Captcha and MailSystem to name a few.
The CleverReach module combines the efficiency of Drupal and CleverReach and makes marketing seem easy. With CleverReach’s email marketing software at work, you will be able to create, send, measure and manage your email campaigns.
Together with the CleverReach API, this module can do a lot. Before that you would have to do two things.
One is to import your CleverReach- Groups & Attributes or fields;
Second would be to create a block for every group.
These blocks would basically be newsletter subscription forms and the attributes would be the form fields. Once you have done that, subscriptions would automatically be sent to your CleverReach account.
#9 Google Analytics
Google Analytics isn't unknown to anyone, least of all today’s marketers. Being an eminent marketing platform that allows marketers to measure everything from advertising ROI to site traffic and tracking social networking applications and sites.
Tracking certain users, roles and pages and even excluding them;
Tracking links and monitoring the types that are being tracked;
Monitoring the kind of files that are being downloaded;
Tracking URL fragments that are changing;
And so many other features that are incorporated into Google Analytics will be at your doorstep with this module.
#10 Crazy Egg
Crazy Egg is a popular website optimisation platform that specialises in heatmaps. With its integration with Drupal, all those heatmaps would become accessible for you in your marketing automation strategy. All you need is your Crazy Egg account details, enter them and you’ll be all set.
Knowing where your visitors scrolled through scrollmaps;
Knowing exactly how you users interacted with your site through session recordings;
And performing A/B tests to run two versions of your site simultaneously.
#11 Cloudwords for Multilingual
Marketing isn’t confined by geography or language anymore. Global campaigns are being run everyday from anywhere in the world. This mandates that campaigns and marketing be accommodating to multilingualism because someone in Indonesia would never be able to relate to American Content.
Cloudwords for Multilingual helps in this regard, being the fastest and most flexible way of making your website become localised. Cloudwords is built for marketers and by marketers, it is one of the most popular ways of running global sites. Its integration with Drupal makes both the software run to their maximum benefits and your campaign will definitely benefit from that.
Mautic is an open source marketing automation service, which gives businesses the opportunity to integrate and personalise every digital property and channel they might have, so that the consumers receive a seamless experience every time.
The Mautic module integrates itself with this platform, and the results are campaigns and content performing at a higher level to attain better leads and conversions. Choosing multiple authentication methods and selecting forms from a particular Mautic instance for display are two of its most used use cases.
Marketing automation is gaining grounds by the day. An organisation that isn’t taking it up would somehow be lacking in its marketing game. Remember the end goal of any business is just one, to get to the desired revenue figure, no matter the path it may have to take. Marketing automation one path that makes that figure seem almost tangible. So, why not take it up. With Drupal marketing automation is a breeze, so again, why should we not flow with the wind?