Marketers run from pillar to post to make any marketing campaign a success and to get their brands the exposure they truly deserve. The whole process is quite exciting but with lots to do, sometimes the campaigns don’t yield the results they deserve. The marketers either miss out on certain important points in the strategy or they are not able to take out time to study analytics before creating a marketing strategy.
This is the reason why marketing automation was introduced. It enabled the marketers to make more time for and boosted their productivity so that they could work efficiently on their campaigns. Marketing automation helps in accelerating the growth of a business. On the other hand, customers also benefit from it. It is considered as one of the biggest trends in the world of digital marketing in 2016.
But, what does it exactly mean? Marketing automation is defined as the software platform and technology designed specifically to streamline, automate and measure multiple marketing efforts across digital channels through just one platform. Since its inception, it has evolved to make digital business marketing a great success online, and one can’t ignore its importance anymore.
This concept allows marketers to automate repetitive tasks to make time for them to focus on innovative tasks such as market research. Following is the list of nine tasks that marketing automation takes care of:
1) Creating landing pages
2) Generating leads
3) Nurturing and Scoring leads
4) Email marketing
5) Retaining customers
6) Measuring ROI
7) Cross-channel marketing
8) Segmenting target market
How and why multi-channel marketing automation is the need of the hour and how business leverage make use of it
If it is a small business, it is somewhat easy to manage all tasks manually. But as the business scales up, there comes a greater need to implement automation, and that’s because marketers need to be able to focus on the activities that matter more than waste time finishing the basic ones. Having said that, choosing the right marketing automation software can be tricky.
If you are looking to buy a software soon, you must ask your team the following questions:
- Which channel is the source of the maximum lead generation?
- Is the marketing team able to track and engage the leads efficiently?
- Is the team able to identify the leads that are supposed to be contacted on priority?
- Are the leads being filtered as per their level of engagement with the business and interests?
- Does the team have an account of the revenue generated from each marketing campaign?
If the answer to these questions is mostly negative, it is a sign that you need a marketing automation tool at the earliest. But before we take the plunge and discuss the two best software out there in the market, it is important to get a few basics right about a marketing automation tool:
- It is not a tool to spam.
- It doesn’t replace an efficient and hard working marketing team. Who will handle the tool? The marketing team, of course!
- It doesn’t create campaigns. All it does is help the business scale in a sustainable and efficient manner.
- It comprises all the major marketing activities such as social media, emailing, content, etc.
- Its usability is not just restricted to marketing teams. Even sales departments can make complete use of it.
If your business also wants to scale up, it must boost its productivity and make time to retain customers. Marketing automation enables the marketers to create far more effective campaigns and empowers the sales reps to manage their leads better. This combined effort leads to higher ROIs from every campaign that takes place.
If you are still not convinced about the concept, then think about your business. Do you still want it to stay exactly where it is? I don’t think so. Here are nine top reasons on why businesses must get on the marketing automation bandwagon right now:
1) Staffing costs get reduced as both marketing and sales teams are able to automate most of their lead nurturing processes and deliver best results thanks to improved productivity.
2) It becomes easier to set up automatic cross-sells and customer follow-ups because of the automated activities; this leads to increased customer retention.
3) It improves the accountability of marketing and sales teams with the help of a feedback system that reduces the bottlenecks in the company processes. Say “no” to tough conversions and company politics. Welcome transparency – that’s right!
4) The teams are able to make more time for research, analysis, and follow-ups because all the menial tasks get automated.
5) Visualizing a customer’s journey becomes a tad easier and this makes it possible for the marketers to plan a campaign around the needs of a specific customer. This also enables the marketers to deliver more personalized messaging.
6) The Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) gets a boost through personalized campaigns across different digital channels.
7) Marketers are able to deliver quality content on social media and manage the channels better. They are able to oversee all the activities via a single dashboard.
8) It is possible to A/B test marketing campaigns and other digital activities. At least that’s how the marketers will know where they need to improve their performance.
9) Since reporting and analysis play such a big role in the world of digital now, the marketing automation tool doesn’t just stop at doing things for you. It also creates in-depth marketing reports.
Now that you have a fair idea of what marketing automation is and how it supports businesses across industries, let us move towards discussing the right tool for you.
Founded in 2012 in Australia with a view to bridging the gap between marketing and data, Autopilot is the industry’s first self-service, multi-channel marketing software for enabling businesses to convert more leads in a personalized fashion.
It serves both marketing and sales teams and is easy-to-use. Autopilot also offers campaign management and ROI reporting. It can be integrated with other tools such as Salesforce, Segment, Twilio, etc. One of the biggest benefits of using Autopilot is that it is flexible and has a simple user interface!
Autopilot offers a 30-day trial for free, wherein one can use the fully functional tool with a limit of 100 emails. It is a cloud–based software tool and makes it easy for both marketing and sales teams to dabble into lead intelligence, CRM, messaging, etc. to consistently nurture leads and retain customers in a healthy way.
1) Create a marketing journey for each customer
Visualizing customer journey is extremely important nowadays. Staying ahead of them has become a norm for any business to be successful in its marketing endeavors. Marketing automation helps in that. It allows the teams to acquire, nurture and grow a customer base organically.
With Autopilot, you can on-board new users, turn dormant customers into repeat buyers, nurture leads and create a consistent brand philosophy throughout!
2) Engage on the right channel
A typical consumer is active on multiple devices. To grab his or her attention, it is important to create content copies and circulate those on the right channel for fast consumption – be it mobile, tablet or browser. With marketing automation you can personalize your prospective customer’s experience by sending targeted emails, in-app messages, SMS’ and social media posts at the right time.
3) Generate and nurture leads organically
Did you know that you can track your website visitors, analyze their behaviors and predict their next action using machine learning? And once you have appropriate data to experiment with, you can tailor the marketing communication accordingly. Autopilot HQ enables the marketers to turn anonymous visitors into prospects and eventually loyal customers.
4) Create an authentic database
Buying data lists is passe. Plus, no consumer wants to be pestered with generic emails and text messages anymore. In fact, they want to be engaged with content they are really interested in. Since Autopilot HQ can be connected with tools such as Salesforce, Slack, and Zapier, and it can build a rich view of the marketing contacts. This is vital for effective personalization.
5) Organize the ccontacts
Collecting and segmenting contacts is a major task and if the marketers don’t get down to contact management sooner than later, the whole process can just get messy! But with Autopilot HQ, it’s just easier to import all the data and contacts you have; the tool enables you to categorize them under smart segments and folders. The overall look and feel of the tool is neat.
You can also map custom fields, lists, and UTMs. This is just for engaging the customers better and helps the marketers in determining what rings their bell in a sales journey.
6) Track a customer’s buying journey
Consumers in this time and age are spoiled for choice. Their attention span is poor. This is the reason it is important for the marketers to stay a step ahead to know what they are looking for. 82% of marketers need more visibility. They want the consumer data – right in front of their eyes – that can be used to create campaigns to convert them faster. If you want to visualize their journey, Autopilot can help you get all the insights required, and then you can optimize your messages accordingly.
7) Make your team around a single goal
The biggest challenge in any organization is to make the marketing and sales team work together. Unless and until there is clarity about the goal that needs to be achieved, all efforts will go a waste. With the use of Autopilot HQ, you can at least start each project with clear intentions, track the progress, see which consumer has been targeted and where is he or her in the sales funnel and a nudge action is required or not, etc.
Autopilot HQ integrates with some of the best tools such as:
1) Slack for better real-time team communication and management
2) Zapier for trigger-based marketing
3) Twilio for sending physical mails because soft mails are not just enough to woo potential customers
4) Salesforce for aligning marketing and sales activities
5) Segment to enable behaviour-based marketing
Autopilot HQ has a customer-friendly pricing system. It has a very simple motto for its customers and that is – You only have to pay for what you need. Apart from a “drag-and-scale” feature that you can check out right at the top of the pricing page, Autopilot offers two kinds of pricing packages – Base ($20 per month) and Business ($40 per month).
The Business package, of course, has four more new features apart from the ones you get in the basic plan. You can avail either of the two pricing packages at 20% discount if you make an annual payment. If you want to check out Autopilot HQ for yourself, you can do for free for 30 days without sharing your credit card details.
Autopilot HQ has the reputation of dealing with a bunch of businesses – across industries. Some of the notable names in the industry are Freshdesk, Atlassian, Lyft, Crunchbase, Microsoft, Instapage and LiveChat.
Autopilot HQ comes across to be a tool that is quite cool. It is easy to use and is affordable by great lengths. If you are a business looking to scale and has multiple features lined up, this might be the right kind solution for you.
WebEngage is a multi-channel user engagement platform. It automates communication between the website visitor and the chat operator. WebEngage enables the marketers and sales reps to connect with the people visiting their website through various digital channels such as push notifications, emails, web messages including survey, feedback and notification, and text messages.
WebEngage is a web-based solution and is primarily used by startups, SMEs, agencies, and enterprises. If you are even one of these, you might want to give this a shot! It is excellent to collect priceless customer feedback on anything and everything. After all – if you don’t know what your target customers are thinking, how do you plan on engaging and selling them your products and services?
The digital industry is so dynamic in nature and consumers are becoming pickier by the hour that it becomes mandatory to create and follow a flexible marketing process. Bringing about an increase in the customer base is important but so is providing client satisfaction. Thankfully, WebEngage will enable your teams to do just that:
1) Personalization of messaging
With the help of detailed user profiling and user events, you can connect with your users on a one-to-one basis. WebEngage enables you to set deep data personalization to engage better with your target audience. This tool effortlessly allows you to segment and dice your customer base so that your smart retention campaigns add a greater value.
For your brand to stay relevant and successful, it is imperative for your business to personalize its business strategy across digital channels. You can capture user profile data and combine it with transactional data to come up with really personalized marketing strategies. WebEngage enables you to increase your marketing ROI with email personalization and that’s possible with the help of personalization software and recommendation engine.
2) Segmentation of the customer base
Create campaigns on the basis of who the user is, what does he or she do, and their likes and dislikes. WebEngage enables you to make dynamic rolling segments based on the historic data so that you can drive your customer strategy successfully.
a) User attributes or events
Create meaningful customer segments based on user profile. WebEngage can help you track their behaviours on your website, what they are looking for, what they keep coming back for, etc.
b) Purchases triggers
Every consumer has a purchase trigger. There’s always something that nudges them to buy something from the brand. WebEngage helps you find that.
c) Segment data analysis
Analyze the segments in real-time so that you exactly know where to tweak your campaign. Studying consumers is a tricky task and you need to have a hands-on approach to know their next move, and plan your strategy accordingly.
3) Engagement across channels
a) Trigger email marketing
WebEngage enables you to send emails to those customer segments that actually matter. For each email campaign, you can set and track goals in real-time to better your email performance. WebEngage also has a ton of other features to offer such as A/B testing, personalization and cross-device segmentation.
b) Mobile push notifications
Push is the marketinc tactic of the hour and if you don’t implement this sooner, you will lose out on multiple opportunities. WebEngage enables you to create highly-personalized push messages using user proiles and behaviours. You can even analyze the performance of push and tweak your messaging accordingly.
c) In-app notifications
Today, everyone has a smartphone. That’s why in-app notifications make for such an effective direct line of communication. WebEngage enables you to drive engagement with personalized messages comprising on-boarding tips, offers, alerts, etc.
d) Browser push notifications
Your website is the first and foremost important part of your online presence. And web push is a major tactic to engage with consumers and bring them back if they have bounced. If your messaging is personal, those consumers will not mind receiving any comminucation from you.
Using WebEngage, you can capture customer reviews, insights, voice of customer, NPS scores, etc. to not just collect behavioural data but also the performance of your marketing campaigns.
Customer feedback is paramount and every business must provide the platform to its customers to be able to reach out to with grievances, queries and even appreciation. Using WebEngage, you CAN give your customers that opportunity, that platform.
Sending text messages may be old school but they are still considered to be an effective tactic to send personalized triggers to customers. The more you nudge to make a purchase, the higher will be the chances of conversion.
h) Customer journey
WebEngage enables you to automate the interaction across the user’s lifecycle with customer journey mapping. You can design the communication and engage the consumers on the basis of the moments of influence.
WebEngage can easily patch real-time customer behavioural data not just from the webiste but also from mobile apps and other digital channels in use from your data warehouse, third-party data clouds and product catalogs. There is a proper integration process explained on the WebEngage website; you can have a look here.
WebEngage is free forever up to 10,000 monthly active users ot MAUs. But for businesses with a large volume of data is the Enterprise plan which comprises stellar features such as data import, leave intent trigger, A/B testing, dedicated account management, white label, Rest APIs and webhooks, and so on.
WebEngage also offers a 15% discount on the annual billing – provided the business signs a 1-year commitment, and 20% off on bi-annual billing with a 2-year commitment. A business can make the payments using a credit card or via a PayPal account – whichever is more convenient.
WebEngage is trusted by more than 35000 brands worldwide – and that’s a big deal! A wide range of brands – both B2B and B2C – across industries have implemented WebEngage. Some of the most notables names are Avaya, Flipkart, Souq.com, eBay, SendGrid, Lynda.com, Taj Hotels, and PluralSight among others.
It is perfect for you if you want to scale up like really quickly. With so many features to use and an excellent support system, it won’t be a bad idea to give WebEngage a shot. You can opt for a 14-day trial period and see it for yourself. It’s a boon for businesses that are on the lookout for a holistic marketing automation tool.
Update: Webengage is GDPR compliant and has made all the essential updates for adhering to the new data protection laws. It includes secure transfer and storage of information related to EU citizens, data processed in such a way that none of the information can be linked to an individual, notification prompts sent in case of any data breach.
WebEngage clearly has a plethora of features and support to offer to its clients. Even Autopilot HQ is a great tool to start with if you are a novice in marketing automation, it still has some limitations. This tool also has effective processes to help you understand your customers better.
Don’t let money be a constraint for you because both the solutions have excellent flexible pricing plans that allows you to use the products as per your workload and requirements. So go ahead, give WebEngage a chance if you want to expand your business operations quickly.