“Marketing Automation” refers to the apps, programs, and other tech created to help automate repetitive tasks and, eventually, help you more effectively market your brand. The same way that “marketing” can have many different meanings and attributes, so can marketing automation tools.
Even here at Black Dog, we use a number of automation tools to help us help our clients achieve consistent results. Marketing automation lets us prepare for big launches, announcements, or holidays months ahead of time. No cramming for deadlines, no missed opportunities, and no time-sucking projects.
Whatever you’re looking to accomplish, if you’re willing to put in some time at the start, there’s a tool to make it happen on repeat, more quickly, and for less effort in the long-run.
Thanks, convenience culture!
Here are 7 Marketing Automation tools you can use in your own business to save time, empower your employees, and get ahead of the pack:
This tool from marketing powerhouse Marketo helps you see and understand marketing performance, automatically, and better understand what’s working for you and what isn’t. It combines all your marketing and sales efforts—digital and offline, paid and organic— to help you see which channels and campaigns work the best for you and your customers
Think flowcharts and diagrams are just for scientists and computer nerds (not you, Lyssa!)? Think again! Gliffy is a web-based tool for collaborative diagrams and planning. Whether you’re launching a product and need to create a SWOT analysis or you’re mapping out an email sequence, a visual representation of your next steps can help you see and expand on any roadblocks or alternative paths customers might take.
Basically any process that has a few moving parts and something of a logical order associated with the tasks can be popped onto a diagram to increase your team’s understanding.
Serpstat created search engine-based tools to help you analyze and modify your website’s SEO and rankings, and how you compare to your competitors. You can even see what their SEO specialists are up to, and manage how well those tactics work for them over time.
These automated reports can help you identify keywords to target, develop ad campaigns, and create better content tailored to what your customers are looking for.
Zapier is your all-in-one, any-integration, marketing-and-everything-else automation savior. By creating workflows (or “Zaps”), you can connect your apps using triggers or actions to automate repetitive or hands-off tasks. There are even pre-built Zaps to help you to see where you could be saving time.
From adding data to spreadsheets to scheduling follow-ups with leads, Zapier can help you and your team connect better with clients through automation, with the apps and web programs you already use. Build segmented email lists on Mailchimp based on event registrations, share posts from one platform to another, and so much more, all with a few minutes of initial setup.
5. Later: Social Media Marketing Automation
A team BLKDOG favorite, Later is a social media marketing tool that allows for scheduling content, collecting user-generated posts and photos, and monitoring activity, all in an easy-to-use visual platform. While it can’t create the content for you (but we can!), Later streamlines the posting process across platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Simply upload your photo or video content, drop it onto your calendar, and create corresponding text for each platform. Later even has a built-in link building program so you can track clicks and pageviews from Instagram posts to individual blog posts or products instead of one static link in your bio.
6. Automated Marketing for Email
One of the easiest and most essential marketing strategies you can develop as a small business is your email plan. From sharing information and special deals with customers to the ever-popular abandoned cart alert, email is a driving force in modern marketing.
Email also remains one of the strongest returns on investment you can make (about $53 per dollar spent, according to the Data & Marketing Association’s 2019 report). Take advantage of this with automated emails based on your customer’s behavior. Offering newsletter signups a discount in your online store, sending a follow-up to ask for a product review, and so much more can be automated to save you time and brain cells to focus on growing your business in other ways.
While we’re proud to be a Mailchimp Agency Partner, there are dozens of email marketing automation platforms out there, and we’re happy to help you find the one that works best for your business or products.
While this software doesn’t fit nicely into email marketing above or the next tool below, we wanted to be sure to include it in this roundup. Customer.io falls somewhere between email marketing and sales automation. This tool allows you to track a customer’s journey through your sales funnel, on your website, and ad experiences while creating custom, automated messaging through email, SMS/texting, Push notifications, and way more.
Not the easiest out-of-the-box tool on our list, but a great way to take your marketing up a notch.
7. The Big Leagues: CRM Tools
If you’re ready to run a marketing team of your own, one of the industry’s customer relationship management tools, or “CRMs,” might be what you’re looking for in your marketing automation. Like email marketing tools, there are dozens of big players out there to choose from, with similar functionality, price, and integrations.
These high-power products are more of an all-in-one marketing and sales automation tool to help you set-up appointments, track user activity, manage content and social scheduling, and tailor outreach to make sales.
Infusionsoft by Keap
Sugar Market (fmr Salesfusion),
Pardot by Salesforce
This one is not explicitly related to marketing, but if you’ve ever been to our office or sat in on a meeting, you might know that we use Trello to manage projects and our day-to-day assignments. Trello, a Kanban-style collaboration tool, helps us to manage project scopes, split projects among the team, and keep track of our progress.
It’s also full of automation options that help us to keep everything moving smoothly and updated.