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Digital marketing automation involves using software to make marketing more efficient and successful. Today, technology can automate many repetitive and time-consuming tasks that used to be performed manually.

For marketers, software not only saves time but it also increases productivity and reduces errors.

While automation requires a monetary investment in software and a time investment to set it up, once things are up and running, companies end up saving significantly more time and money in the future.

In other words, digital marketing automation pays for itself very quickly.

What Can Marketers Automate?

Marketers can automate everything from data collection and analysis to content publishing and social media sharing.

The most common marketing responsibilities that professionals can easily improve with automation are:

  • Analytics

  • Content marketing

  • Digital advertising

  • Email marketing

  • Influencer marketing

  • Mobile marketing

  • Search engine optimization

  • Social media marketing

The key to successfully implementing digital marketing automation for your business are hiring the right people (or outsourcing to the right people) who have the appropriate experience and expertise and choosing the right software to reach your goals.

How to Automate Marketing

There are so many digital marketing automation tools to choose from. How do you know which software is best for your business?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a single answer to that question because every business is different. The right software for your company delivers the features you need with an easy-to-use interface and at a price you can afford.

The reality is some digital marketing automation tools are very complex. That complexity comes with a high price tag, but many small businesses don’t need the comprehensive features that complex software provides.

Decide which areas of your marketing plan you want to automate first, and then do your research to find the best tool to test.

To help you start your research, here are a variety of popular digital marketing automation software tools from brands and businesses that have great reputations and proven track records of success:

Analytics

Analytics dashboard tools help you streamline your data analysis tasks by bringing a variety of insights into a single dashboard. Different tools provide different types of insights to help you improve your marketing results while saving time.

For example, HotJar lets you track a wide variety of data related to your website’s performance, including visitor behaviors, conversion funnels, forms, feedback, and more. On the other hand, Cyfe makes it easy to bring analytics from a variety of web and social media platforms into a single dashboard.

Start your research with these analytics tools:

Content Marketing

Content marketing automation is essential to every business. The reason is simple. Content creation, publishing, and promotion are time-consuming!

If you use a tool like BuzzSumo, you can ensure you’re creating and publishing the best content to reach your goals. With a tool like Zenpost, you can automate the content creation process and save a significant amount of time.

Another option is to use a tool like Hubspot to fully-automate as many parts of your content marketing plan as possible.

Start your research with these content marketing tools:

Digital Advertising

You can automate many of the tasks related to digital advertising using tools to streamline planning, placement, testing, and tracking.

Some tools use artificial intelligence to improve your return on investment (e.g., AdRoll), and some allow you to track competitors’ ad histories, like Spyfu.

Start your research with these digital advertising tools:

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the best ways to connect with your target audience and increase sales. If you’re serious about leveraging the power of email marketing, then you need to use a tool that offers advanced features, including automation features.

With the right tool, it’s easy to automate everything from dripping campaigns to specific people at the right times, displaying dynamic content to increase conversions, and scoring leads so you always send the best messages to the right people and at the right times.

Start your research with these email marketing tools:

Social Media Marketing

Automating social media marketing can include everything from automatically sharing your latest blog post across your social media profiles and pages to automatically finding the best people to follow and content to share.

Start your research with these social media marketing tools:

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing involves reaching out to people who already have the eyes and ears of your target audience online.

The problem with outreach is that it’s very time-consuming, so it helps to automate as many outreach tasks as you can.

This includes finding influencers, reaching out to them via email, following up with them if they don’t respond, and generating some type of publicity from your efforts (e.g., a social media mention or a blog post link).

Start your research with these influencer marketing tools:

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing automation includes collecting mobile app user behavior data, segmenting mobile audiences, sending automated push notifications and messages, testing, and advertising.

With the right tools and automation, you can increase sales through highly personalized mobile marketing campaigns.

Start your research with these mobile marketing tools:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Did you know you can automate many SEO tasks so your website ranks higher in relevant search results? For example, you can automate tracking, backlink analysis, keyword research, and more.

Start your research with these SEO tools:

Demand Management

Demand management tools automate tasks from multiple areas of your marketing plan, such as email, sales, customer relationship management (CRM), content, and more. They offer an all-in-one solution for digital demand generation.

Start your research with these demand management tools:

Key Takeaways about Digital Marketing Automation

Always schedule a free demo to see the software in action, ask a lot of questions, and sign up for a free trial before you buy. Furthermore, make sure any software you choose allows you to cancel at any time and get your money back (prorated of course).

Start small and choose one function that you want to automate. Don’t overbuy or overspend on software, and make sure you have the people in place to adequately use the software and fully leverage all of its features.

Remember, you don’t have to hire an employee to manage your digital marketing automation.

Thanks to the software available to you, a more affordable, streamlined, and successful option might be to outsource many or all of these tasks.

Finally, keep in mind that this list of tools is not complete. There are so many tools to choose from, so be prepared to invest time into adequate research and testing.

The right tool can save you a lot of time and boost your marketing ROI, but the wrong tool can do exactly the opposite.

This is not a decision to make quickly!

Again, do your research and hire or outsource based on what works best for your goals and budget.

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Susan Gunelius

Susan Gunelius is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company offering, copywriting, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and strategic branding services. She spent the first half of her 25-year career directing marketing programs for AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more as well as small businesses around the world. Susan has written 11 marketing-related books, including the highly popular Content Marketing for Dummies, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, and The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing. She is also a Certified Career Coach and Founder and Editor in Chief of Women on Business, an award-winning blog for business women. Susan holds a B.S. in marketing and an M.B.A in management and strategy.