Last year, Demand Spring’s Marketing Automation Platform Insights revealed that 96% of marketers have successfully implemented a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) to enhance their business functions.
Luckily, implementing an MAP has helped 56% of marketers achieve more conversion rates. Marketing automation reduces the risks of human errors, saves costs and time, and with continual progress in AI and ML, the benefits are endless.
Although automation makes everything easier for businesses, most people believe it is also making personal touch obsolete. As a result, customers may not feel “connected” with your brand, leading to less communication and weak customer relationships.
At the end of the day, all customers want is to feel special, and businesses can’t do so just with automation. So, they need to find a balance between automation and personalization and formulate their marketing strategy accordingly.
Let’s see why combining marketing automation and personalization is important and how businesses can execute the perfect balance between both.
Does Marketing Automation Limit Personalization?
The biggest fear that most people, including customers and marketers, have about automation is that it is an antagonist for personalization. Well, that’s not actually the case. So, let’s clear this common misconception before we move on to combining both strategies.
Marketing automation doesn’t vanish personalization. It doesn’t require marketers to target their customers with cold, impersonal, and general content. Rather, automation gives you a platform to reach a wider audience more strategically. Since it saves you time, you can have enough room to develop creative content that makes each consumer feel special and connected.
Automation isn’t just about general, robotic interaction. It enables you to interact with your audience in a meaningful way and maintain that personal touch. However, in a much more user-friendly way.
For this reason, many businesses are using marketing automation for various reasons and achieving them successfully. The Marketing Automation Platform Insights found that marketers use a marketing automation platform to increase lead generation (53%), improve sales revenue (56%), enhance lead generation (50%), and boost the customer experience/engagement (52%).
Automation provides many benefits for businesses. While it works effectively alone, marketers can make the most out of it by integrating it with personalization.
Benefits of Combining Marketing Automation and Personalization
Since marketing automation and personalization are equally crucial for businesses, marketers can combine both and avail more fruitful results.
Some reasons why businesses should maintain a balance between both strategies include:
Effective Use of Time
Automation helps businesses streamline their processes so that they don’t have to spend time sending messages and emails to the prospects manually.
Meanwhile, personalization assists them in developing creative and engaging content. This way, they can send automated, personalized emails to prospects and customers based on where they are in the buyer’s journey. Automation can also be used to send emails based on event triggers, like contract renewal or expiration dates.
As a marketer, all you just have to do is think about an exciting piece of content, put it in the machine, and you’re good to go!
Advanced Lead Generation Efforts
The most common form of marketing automation is email marketing automation. While automation allows you to focus on planning the email message rather than wasting time sending them, you can easily convince more prospects to convert.
Automation platforms allow you to see how prospects are engaging with your content, so you can continually optimize your campaigns. You can also include links, forms, and even meeting calendars in most automation platforms, making it a great source for lead generation.
Increased Brand Recognition
If businesses make people feel special, they’re more likely to remember them. Not only that, but they will even recommend the brand in their circle, leading to more recognition in the market helping you stand out from your competition.
Supports Long-Term Relationships
Customers believe in brands that care for them. When you send your prospects well-designed email messages, they get the right dash of personalization that makes them stick with your brand for a long time.
How To Integrate Marketing Automation With Personalization
So, what is the right balance between marketing automation and personalization?
Here are seven steps to help you determine the perfect combination between both and implement it easily:
Step 1: Determine Your Ideal Level of Personalization
If your emails aren’t stopping your prospects from scrolling, are you even doing it right?
Humans love to see appealing photos, interactive videos, and interesting stories. So, as a marketer, you need to focus on making more out of this trait.
Generally, people feel more connected to brands, celebrities, and things that make them feel closer and heard. This is why most businesses and social media influencers try to be more personal with their target audience.
The key to executing the best personalization strategy is keeping it audience-centric instead of focusing on increasing sales or marketing a product. Thus, the first step to balance marketing automation and personalization is defining how much you have to personalize with your target audience. Remember that your levels of personalization vary from one business type to another.
For instance, suppose you’re a clothing or shoe brand. You need to focus on targeting consumers’ sentiments and making them feel excited about your products. Since people take more time purchasing these items, you need to connect with them at a very personal level and suggest products according to their interests.
On the other hand, if you’re a finance solutions provider for big companies, you don’t have to be personal. That’s because the audience in this situation is already compelled and confident about their purchase decisions. So, you can let the marketing automation handle these clients.
Step 2: Segment Your Target Audience
It’s nearly impossible for businesses to develop an automated personalized email for a larger audience having different interests and lifestyles.
In such a situation, they need to segment their audience into different categories based on their demographics. Businesses can segment their audience based on buyer personas, job title, industry, geography, or even where they are in the buyer’s journey.
Once you successfully execute the segmentation, you can design specific marketing campaigns for each. This makes your marketing automation platform, as well as personalization strategy, more achievable.
Step 3: Automate the Campaign and Personalize Your Message
While designing a marketing campaign, marketers need to determine two things, the message, and the method. The message can be in the form of text, photo, or video, and the method through which it needs to be conveyed to the audience can be chats, display ads, emails, etc.
The third step in balancing marketing automation and personalization is to personalize the message as the audience will view it. Meanwhile, you need to automate the method to make the message more meaningful and faster.
For example, your business plans to run display ads to showcase your new clothing collection. Instead of letting AI develop your ad content, start by creating eye-catching ads for your ideal customer. Then, you can use automation to target your ideal demographic. For even more personalization (and conversions), you can retarget the ad to past or current customers and people that have visited your website. Then, allow the platform to automate your campaigns serving the proper ad content to the ideal user. You can then utilize the campaigns’ feedback to adjust your level of personalization and automation as well as the triggers that control which ad is served to which user.
Step 4: Optimize the Campaign Frequency
There is no doubt that automation makes your processes easier and effortless. However, businesses need to realize that they can’t use email marketing automation all the time. You can either be helpful or annoying.
People don’t like to receive email notifications from a certain brand at every hour of the day. Sending such emails is popular as “spamming the inbox,” and many networking sites and business platforms mark them “irrelevant.”
Of course, as a marketer, you don’t want your email to get ignored in the spams folder. In fact, if your emails are continuously marked as “spam,” your domain or account can be blacklisted. This could be a huge hit to your previous and futuristic marketing campaign efforts.
Therefore, you need to be more cautious while planning your marketing campaigns. Optimize the frequency of your marketing campaigns and set a limit for emails you’re sending to each prospect. As a starting point, you can use the frequency of your automated and personalized marketing campaigns similar to what you set for personalized ones.
Step 5: Gather More Data Through Automation for Increased Personalization
A marketing automation platform provides you with a range of tools that perform several tasks. Some help you streamline your processes, while others give you deeper insights into your campaigns.
Businesses can use the latter to analyze their campaigns and see how different metrics are performing. They can also identify their flaws to avoid repeating them in the future. As a result, they get the right balance between marketing automation and personalization.
Additionally, they can also use this automated data to create more personalized content according to the consumer’s interests. For example, if a consumer has browsed through your shoe category frequently, you can customize a compelling email that persuades them to revisit your website and buy a pair.
Step 6: Automate Technology That Mimics Marketing Personalization
Automation increases the efficiency of business operations by eliminating human errors and saves time by performing repetitive tasks. If a business isn’t getting these benefits from a marketing automation platform, consider its money went in vain.
To make the most out of their automation software, businesses have to adopt tools that can mimic personalization. For example, Facebook chatbots and Amazon’s “Frequently bought together” suggestions. As a marketer, you can design the chatbots to collect the consumers’ personal information that they give to the platform (Facebook, Instagram) with consent. This can include the user’s name, country, and interests. Then, the chatbot can use this information to send personalized messages to each user without requiring any human intervention.
When consumers add something to their carts on Amazon, it analyzes the interests of other users who previously purchased the same item. Then, these consumers are shown relevant items. From the consumers’ point of view, this could seem extremely personalized and relatable.
Need Help Executing the Right Combination Between Automation and Personalization?
Automation and personalization are like cement and bricks — both build a solid foundation for your future marketing campaigns. Evaluating the perfect balance between automation and personalization surely helps marketing teams to achieve their goals more effectively
While automation speeds up the massaging process, personalization makes emails more interesting and compelling. The steps above may have made balancing marketing automation and personalization sound like a piece of cake. However, in reality, it isn’t as easy as it seems. Executing the right balance between both can be a pretty daunting and frustrating task for most businesses.
It’s important to remember that there is a fine line between both; missing a single aspect can disrupt the balance altogether. No business can afford to sound annoying to their prospects, so they need to maintain a balance between email automation marketing and personalization and avoid bombarding the consumers’ inboxes with robotic emails.
With expert email marketing consultants like the ones at Sapper Consulting, you have the opportunity to put these responsibilities in the hands of marketing specialists. At Sapper Consulting, we have the best team of professionals to help businesses like yours execute a marketing strategy flawlessly. Contact us today to get started!