Ecommerce Marketing Automation

 

Which Software Do You Need For Ecommerce Marketing Automation?

 

There are certainly plenty of options for software to automate components of your marketing- more than 1000 companies are selling this technology in more than forty categories.

 

This article will help you understand online marketing functions and apps and how software can support you to automate your marketing activity.


Why automate Ecommerce marketing?

 

You are certain to see benefits from automation; time saving, a stronger brand, and a greater customer incentive to buy. But you will need a concerted and committed effort in selecting, planning and implementing a marketing automation tool. It takes an investment of time and funds to set up properly.

 

Marketing automation for ecommerce will help you to manage content and products across multiple channels. It will help you harness leads, communicate effectively with customers and deliver targeted campaign messages in a tailored way.

 

Messages to relevant to buyers will be delivered at the right time and in the right way to help convert contacts into sales; any time of the day or night.

 

The right ecommerce automation software will help you with analytics so you can better understand customer behaviour. It will allow you to manage multiple email lists, a spread of campaigns, give customers a greater degree of personalisation and self-service options. All of these automated actions work together to develop your brand and establish your business as a coordinated, reliable and secure trader.

 

Growth through automation

The rush to automate is on in many industries. A McKinsey study looked at the rapid growth enterprise companies are experiencing this decade and traced this back to three core actions- investment, creation and performance. The act of automating parts of your business can be considered a core capability to help improve customer experience.

 

They suggest effective automation is not just about the act of processing data more quickly- it’s a customer-focused activity too.

 

Ecommerce automation done properly will definitely improve customer experience. When it comes to sales, the article identifies that 40% of sales activities could be automated using technology that already exists! That figure could rise to half as the tech to process and improve language is developed. One large telecom business mentioned in the article built out a sales automation program that now accounts for more than 20% of annual profits.

 

Automated ecommerce platform

According to a recent survey, 67% of marketing executives already use at least one version of an automated marketing platform. Automating ecommerce will enable you to:

  • Attract customers
  • Establish a relationship with customers and potential customers
  • Encourage signup/ registration
  • Consolidate sales processes
  • Ultimately generate more sales!

 

How PIM can be used to automate your marketing

As your business grows, you will be looking to both enhance customer relations and automate whatever tasks you can. If you are a medium-sized company heading to enterprise status, both customer focus and time savings will be at front of mind. Ecommerce automation will help you achieve growth goals on both of these points. This Harvard Business Review article suggests that once you’ve hit 250 employees or more, it’s time to ramp up the automation efforts to improve efficiencies. This might mean testing alerts to keep people informed about customer trends, automating workflows, implementing a website chatbot, or hiring a customer operations person to focus on automation opportunities.

 

What marketing initiatives can you automate?

 

The 2019 State of Marketing Automation Survey Report referred to in this comprehensive automation article found the following to be the most suitable marketing actions to automate:

  • Social media post scheduling (83%)
  • Email marketing (75%)
  • Social Media Advertising (58%) and
  • Messaging/ Chatbots (53%)

 

Social media posting and advertising automation

Managing multiple social accounts for your brand and sub-brands can be very time-consuming. It is also a task that is well suited to be done in advance. Automation can help you achieve a high degree of currency and a good post frequency.

 

Automation software can help you plan out and schedule social media, enabling posts to go up when they have the best chance they will be viewed and shared. If you’re selling sports equipment that early morning runners would love to know about, but you’re not a morning person yourself, simply create and schedule a post.

 

Social Media advertising works on the same principle- plan and purchase your ads and let the software find you suitable potential customers.

Email Automation

The first action most businesses seek to automate is email. Emails have been a longstanding staple of digital marketing. A successful email automation strategy will give you the most direct access to customers you can get- a tailored and specific email straight into their inbox. Whether they open the email or not is a different story, and although email automation will save you time, you will need to keep on top of your content game to make sure the campaigns, offers and messages you send are of value.

 

When you automate emails with an effective ecommerce focus, you will also build up a great database of customers, and potential customers. If you have a system that is sophisticated enough, you will be able to create list segments, so you can really drill down into individual consumer preferences and characteristics, to deliver emails that really mean something to readers.

 

Using automated email is likely to bring you more opens and better engagement with your customers. You can help your emails stand out from the pack by using what you know about your customer to your full capability. Sending relevant content that really means something to your customers will help you gain brand leverage, build trust and will ultimately provide you a stronger return on your marketing investment.

 

Instant messaging/ chatbots

These handy little services are transforming customer service. While still in their infancy in many ways, chatbots are like frontline staff you don’t need to put on the payroll. They can handle predetermined basic enquiries that customers commonly might raise. They can deal with repetitive enquiries as they come in, and demonstrate your availability and interest in building a relationship with your customers.

 

Analytics automation

 

It is also worth mentioning the benefits of automated analytics. If you want to know where your customers are from, what they are searching for, how they are finding your site and how long they’re with you, then you’ll want to get your hands on your site analytics. Analytics tools can be considered an automated marketing initiative because you simply switch it on, and it does the research and tracking for you. Depending on how sophisticated you want your data to be, you can customise fields and data sets to handle your data enquiry. As all of the data is collected and collated, don’t forget you will need someone to access and interpret it for you, to help you make meaning of all of those clicks.

 

Marketers say the most important objectives of a marketing automation strategy are:

  • Optimising productivity (43%)
  • Increasing marketing ROI (41%)
  • Improving campaign management (40%)
  • Improving database quality (39%)
  • Acquiring more customers (39%)
  • Measuring performance (37%)
  • Aligning Marketing and Sales (24%)

 

Challenges of marketing automation

While the benefits of automation are clear, you may also encounter some challenges on the way. Integration of automation across different platforms can prove tricky. The need for high quality and versatile content and clear marketing objectives will also become apparent soon into the automation journey. Depending on how you chose to project manage your automation, you might find that a lack of expertise and knowledge in these new fields can also slow you down.

 

According to the Ascend2 Optimising Marketing Automation survey of June 2018 cited here, the most challenging barriers to marketing automation success are:

  • Delivering personalised content (44%)
  • Integrating all marketing systems (43%)
  • Creating a successful strategy (38%)
  • Improving the user experience (37%)
  • Streamlining marketing processes (30%)
  • Enhancing measurement and reporting (30%)

 

How can you automate online marketing?

It is worth automating your online marketing. Managing your products through a CMS or even a PIM can take a lot of time and energy. If you can automate part of the sales cycle, you will buy back some time to focus on business growth, development and relationships.

 

To automatic online marketing, you will need to do your research and find a system that can do what you need it to do. Depending on which parts of your marketing you want to automate, marketing app options might include:

  • HubSpot
  • Marketo
  • MailChimp
  • Active Campaign
  • Freshworks
  • SendX

 

How to connect marketing apps and plugins together

 

To bring the most value to your marketing apps, you might also want to look beyond the individual products to platforms that can help you achieve an onmi, or single-channel marketing presence. To help you achieve coordinated omnichannel marketing, there are a number of systems that can pull data from across individual apps and services. This means, all of the information related to you your products, your campaigns, your email distribution lists, your social media messages and online services will be integrated into one holistic system. One that is worth investigating is Pimcore.

 

The bottom line

Marketing automation is bringing results to enterprise businesses. Looking at automation options will be a key component of growth. It helps cut costs, but more importantly, improves your engagement and builds your brand.