We need to find ways to do more with less.
Automation and marketing workflows help you do more, and create a great experience for your customers.
Change is constant. Whether it’s an advance in technology or a shift in the marketplace, our businesses must be able to adapt. The new digital age, ushered in by the pandemic, is changing the way we operate. We all need to adjust to new situations to stay ahead of our competition. Covid has shaken up how we think about our products, customers, and team members.
Automating our businesses is one way we can adapt. Automation is an opportunity for us to innovate, increase efficiency and reduce costs. It’s about improving our workflow and freeing up team members to do more client-facing work to increase customer experience and customer success.
What is the difference between workflow, automation, and workflow automation?
The word automation comes from the Greek words auto (self) and machine (to work). It refers to machines designed to do tasks without needing human interaction. Think of the automatons of the 19th century that operated by clockwork. They could dance, play the piano or, in some cases, drive a buggy. Fortunately, we’re talking about automation to make us more efficient, use fewer resources, and reduce human labour – rather than clockwork dummies.
A workflow is a sequence of actions that lead from one stage of a process to another. They can help us streamline tasks, increase productivity, and provide better customer service and ultimately, customer success.
Workflow automation refers to automating business processes using software. There are many benefits to workflow automation. It saves time and money by reducing errors and making processes more efficient.
How is automation changing marketing?
The changes in marketing present both benefits and challenges. One of the biggest impacts is the change in consumer attitudes and habits. Customers expect around-the-clock access to products, information, and customer service. They want service to be personal and individualised. And that’s not easy to deliver when you’re in small business.
As a result, we in small business are turning increasingly to process automation. And it has been a game-changer in our industry, the marketing industry.
Marketing automation can help you:
- Segment customers: this helps marketers identify and target customers with personal messages.
- Score leads: you can allocate points to specific factors or actions to rank potential leads based on the prospect of them converting to customers.
- Personalise content: you can create content based on personal preferences and interests.
- Automate email campaigns: emails with personal messages, offers, and reminders can be automated.
There are many benefits to using marketing automation software. Automation software can help:
- increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing campaigns by automating repetitive tasks
- check and analyse your marketing data
- build personas and profiles for targeted messaging
- automate regular touchpoints to improve customer experience
- understand your customers’ behaviours, wants and needs
- free team members to work on more strategic tasks
- reduce time-consuming data analysis
Automation is one step in creating a successful customer experience. Your customers are more likely to buy from you when they feel like they’re getting personal, prompt service.
How do workflows help marketing automation?
Automation is the backbone of many customer touchpoints. A touchpoint is when a customer is exposed to your brand. Your potential customer might see or hear about your brand before, during, or after buying something from you. For example, if someone reaches out for help on social media, you could ensure that they at least get an automated response – no matter their location or timezone. Furthermore, while you sleep, a really well written chat flow can help keep your customer-to-be happy.
Workflows play a part in marketing automation by mapping your customer’s journey. Workflows can then help you determine where an automated response is needed. Your responses need to increase customer satisfaction and eliminate their pain points.
You need to map out your workflows in advance to automate your responses. While it sounds daunting to be writing “branching logic” it’s really about thinking in terms of go/no go.
Set aside time to think about problems from your customer’s perspective. What do they want to know or do first? Then think, do we have an answer (yes/go or no/no go). Then the branch comes in – a yes answer is option A and a no answer is option B. You need to sit down and think of all the options you can and write targetted messages for each branch in logic.
You might opt to just write two or three options in your go/no go list. Once you know the options, you can set up a workflow to determine when your customer’s request triggers a response. Fortunately, while it seems (and is) a lot of work the time you take to set up the workflow will save you more time in the long run while it increases your customers’ satisfaction because they get an immediate response based on what they ask (personal, individual and immediate).
How do you know which marketing automation platform to use?
It can be hard to choose the best marketing automation software. There are so many options. Here are a few of the most popular and easy-to-use:
- HubSpot is one of the most popular web-based platforms for small businesses. It helps create and manage content, social media posts, and email campaigns. HubSpot has excellent resources for marketing automation.
- Mailchimp is an email service that helps create and send emails and newsletters. Mailchimp has some great resources for email marketing automation.
- Salesforce Marketing Cloud helps create emails and newsletters. Salesforce is so sophisticated, you could basically rule the world with it. And many governments use it. It’s one of the most popular and powerful CRMs on the planet – it’s not for the faint-hearted (or those with tiny budgets).
Automation, workflows and keeping customers happy
Automating business processes is not a new thing. For example, it’s been used in industries to make things easier for people since the 1800s. Because today’s small business has to compete on the world stage, we need every tool that we can use to keep our competitive edge.
Small business can use automation to keep costs low, allow our team members to do what they do best – keep our customers happy, and allow us to be responsive everywhere and every time of the day.
As customer expectations continue to grow, workflow automation will become ever more important. We need to keep up with the ever-changing business landscape.
In conclusion, if you aren’t using automation yet, maybe it’s time to start. You can streamline processes and get more done with less effort. Moreover, if this all sounds too daunting for you, call us at TCC – we’re experts in marketing automation, and we have team members who are certified with HubSpot, Mailchimp and Salesforce.
Jacqui Sumner is a TCC staff writer with experience writing for the finance and not-for-profit sectors.