How Automation is Helping Businesses To Optimise Their Digital Marketing
Automation is a hot topic. Once thought to be exclusively used by big businesses and technology companies, we are increasingly seeing automation deployed across organisations of all sizes and throughout virtually every industry. Whether it is in reducing office admin or playing a major role in manufacturing, there is a huge range of ways that automation can be effective for businesses.
One area that is seeing a large rise in the level of automation is digital marketing. Marketing, traditionally seen as work that needs to be carried out by human workers rather than software, is finding a huge variety of ways to integrate automation. This in turn is providing a range of industry advantages. Indeed, 45% of marketers who use automation thought that improved efficiency and ROI were two of the key benefits.
In this article, we will take a look at how automation can be used effectively by businesses to optimise their digital marketing efforts. But first, there is something that needs to be addressed.
Automation: what it is and what it isn’t
There is a common misconception about automation and what it means for businesses. Workers can be very uneasy about the term automation because they fear that it ultimately means that there will be fewer roles for human staff. Indeed, some workers worry about the concept meaning that robots are coming for their jobs.
But this is completely missing the point of automation. In essence, the idea behind automation is to take tasks that are difficult for humans, but easy for computers and make them happen automatically as a part of a process. Far from taking jobs, automation is designed to make jobs easier and free up human time for more valuable work.
So, for those marketers who are concerned by the idea of introducing automation – this is actually a big positive for you.
What is digital marketing automation?
It is important to define exactly what is meant by digital marketing automation in order to see its value. This type of automation refers to the use of software and digital tools to automate repetitive tasks.
An example of this might be that you could have a piece of software that automatically sends out a reminder email to a customer if they add an item to their basket but they don’t complete the transaction. Rather than having to have a member of the marketing team manually send out these emails, the software does it for them.
There are a huge variety of different ways that aspects of marketing can be automated, and it generally always follows that the software is carrying out a valuable marketing task, but one that simply takes up too much time for a person to do.
In many ways, this means that digital marketing automation actually supplements human efforts, rather than replaces them. While investing in digital marketing is essential, understanding how strands such as automation can help to optimise your business and add value is key.
Social media automation
Interestingly, many marketers have been making use of automation for a number of years, even if they didn’t necessarily realise that this is what they have been doing. For example, take a tool like Hootsuite, which has been a mainstay of social media marketing for a number of years. This is an excellent example of an automation tool that makes the role of social media marketing much easier.
“We have been using Hootsuite for years,” says Mike Knivett, Managing Director of digital marketing specialists Artemis. “With hundreds of clients to manage, trying to deal with social media posts manually simply isn’t feasible. Automation allows us to do great work on social media platforms for our clients without taking up every minute of the day”.
Establish customer needs
One of the crucial benefits of marketing automation is that it helps a business to provide better customer service. However, this can lead to something of a problem. Companies start to look for all of the different possible automation tools available and attempt to implement all of them in the hope of truly maximising their service, and also staying on trend.
However, ultimately, this is an unwise way to approach automation. Instead, it is a much better idea to focus on what is going to benefit your customers.
“Rather than falling victim to “shiny object syndrome” and signing up for every digital marketing automation tool available, always come back to your customers’ needs,” says Kat Boogaard of Wrike. “How will this automation serve them better than what you’re currently doing? If you don’t have an answer to that question, that particular automation likely isn’t the right one for you”.
Efficiency and productivity
The ultimate goal of any automation is to boost your business's efficiency and productivity - the same goes for marketing automation. It is crucial to recognise that a huge part of the process is thinking about the bigger picture: automation can free up your time, but you need to understand how to use that time most effectively.
Whenever you come to integrate any form of automation into your digital marketing work, think about the time it is saving and what you are going to use that time for. Having a strategy here is crucial because it ensures that you are finding a better way to use your marketing time. This will be different for every business, so it is something you need to consider closely.