Automation technology has been around long enough that most marketers understand its value for driving business goals. On average, 49% of companies already utilize marketing automation, while more than half of B2B companies are adopting the technology.

Businesses realize the power of marketing automation, but getting started can be daunting. It’s hard to know where to begin when there’s so many features and strategies to choose from.

Here’s some advice that can help you benefit from marketing automation when you’re just getting started.

1. Define Your Marketing Automation Goals

If you want to get the most out of marketing automation, it’s important to first have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with it. You invested in marketing automation software to help you save time, simplify sales and marketing processes and help you better nurture leads. Now it’s time to be more specific by defining exactly how you plan to use marketing automation to achieve these goals.

Marketing automation tools come with a lot of features. Avoid the overwhelm by focusing on the ones that best align with your campaign goals. For example:

Goal CRM Features to Use
Convert more prospects into leads Landing page designer, dynamic form builder
Identify new valuable leads Lead scoring capabilities
Improve campaign performance Reporting and analytics
Improve sales processes CRM & Sales Automation

Wherever possible, make sure your marketing automation goals are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound). That way it will be easier to illustrate return on investment (ROI) from your efforts down the road.

2. Consolidate Your Tools

Using a comprehensive marketing automation technology is a great way to manage all of your online tools in the same place. You have social media automation, CRM, email marketing, analytics tools, and more to keep track of—don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Controlling everything from one central platform not only saves time, it improves processes so you can better market to your audience.

Most comprehensive marketing automation technologies will offer you two options for consolidating your tools:

  • Integrate them
  • Switch to internal features

When shopping around for marketing automation software, you’ll see that most offer integrations with an array of third-party tools. SharpSpring, for example, integrates with Unbounce, Salesforce, Woocommerce, and a variety of other tools people use to manage their online business. You can browse all the possibilities in the app marketplace:  

Integrating these tools with your marketing automation software is a great way to keep using the technologies you love while benefiting from the features of marketing automation.

Marketing automation technology even has internal features that can replace many of the other tools you use, such as email marketing and CRM. These internal features give you the most opportunity to streamline marketing and sales across platforms. Starting over with a new tool does take some time and effort, but if it can maximize your ROI it just might be worth it. 

3. Run employee training sessions

The value of your marketing automation software only extends as far as your internal team’s willingness to use it. Employees that don’t know about key features or don’t know how to use them are unlikely to educate themselves about the new software on their own.

If you want your teams to start taking advantage of key features early on, it’s best to start with some training sessions. Within them, you can show employees how to use key features that are relevant to their position in the company. It’s equally important to illustrate that marketing automation benefits them by streamlining processes and making their job easier.

After implementing and using your marketing automation software for a few weeks, follow up with employees to see how they’re using the technology. Offer advice and support to help them maximize the benefits for themselves and your business.

4. Start with Some Quick Wins

You aren’t required to develop a sophisticated marketing automation strategy from day one. It will take time to learn all the features and develop fine-tuned marketing campaigns that take full advantage of them.

In the beginning, it’s best to focus on getting the basics automated so you can get the ball rolling towards some big wins.  Here are some examples of easy things you can do right away to improve your marketing:

  • Set up a welcome email sequence for new subscribers
  • Set up trigger emails for abandoned carts
  • Create and A/B test some new targeted landing pages
  • Start tracking landing page behavior
  • Automatically trigger communication between marketing and sales
  • Set up automated posts across your social accounts
  • Set up automated social interactions to engage your audience

When you use a powerful marketing automation technology, all of these things become easy tasks that will quickly show results. When you use SharpSpring’s point-and-click landing page builder, for example, you can create targeted pages that convert in less than an hour.

Identifying big problems with quick marketing automation fixes will help you realize ROI early on and free you to focus on developing more complex success strategies in the long run.

5. Pilot a New Marketing Campaign

Your marketing automation technology should include all the tools you need to build a powerful marketing campaign from scratch. Instead of trying to import your legacy sales funnels, take full advantage of your software’s internal features to build a new targeted marketing campaign.

All you have to do is build a campaign, automate your processes, and pilot them. Monitor your audience behavior and campaign performance with your marketing automation technology, then start identifying opportunities to adjust and improve. Over time your initial marketing campaign will grow into a powerful, optimized strategy to generate leads, drive conversions, reduce churn, and more.

Marketing Automation in the Long Run

Marketing automation should never be a “set it and forget it” type of thing. In order to drive ROI, you need to gain insights from your analytics reports and make smart adjustments to your campaigns and sales strategies. Marketing automation supports you in this effort by automating repetitive, tedious tasks and tracking the behavior of your leads. Try out these 5 easy ways to get started with marketing automation and the rest will fall into place.