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There are a lot of repetitive tasks associated with digital marketing. Marketing automation tools and software can take some of those repetitive tasks off your plate. When done properly, automation can also improve your approach to things like lead nurturing, which can fall by the wayside when you’re pressed for time.

What Automation Doesn’t Do

In order to develop the right marketing automation strategies for 2019, you first need to understand the limits of what automation can actually do for you. Automation lets technology take the reins of doing rote tasks like generating lists and sending emails at designated times in response to a customer’s specific action. It doesn’t actually write those emails, or help you decide what to do with those lists.

In other words, marketing automation tools take care of busy work for you, but they aren’t going to become your CMO. Depending on the tools you use, you can have a marketing automation platform do something like send personalized emails to prospective customers based on their specific interest.

For example, if someone downloads a whitepaper about a tech startup’s payroll tools, marketing automation software can be set to send that person a follow-up email that focuses specifically on payroll tools. That’s more effective than just sending that person a generalized blast email because it focuses on what the customer has indicated they’re interested in buying. This level of detail is hard to achieve if you’re going it alone, but marketing automation tools can take care of these things for you.

Marketing Automation Strategies

Now that you’re familiar with what marketing automation can do for you, you’ll want to develop a smart strategy for using these tools. Simply using marketing automation tools without being strategic about it can lead to a big waste of time and money, so keep these strategic approaches in mind.

Think About the Entire Funnel

The example above about the whitepaper and automated follow-up emails is a great example of how marketing automation can be used to nurture leads in the middle of the funnel. But marketing automation, especially where email is concerned, can be used for prospects at every point of the marketing funnel. You can set up automatic emails to alert established customers who’ve abandoned items in their cart, or to ask customers who’ve received their purchase to review what they bought.

Look for a Multifaceted Automation Program

Marketing automation isn’t just about sending emails or scheduling posts. It’s also about gathering data so you can better plan future campaigns. Don’t neglect this opportunity—always look into your data and share what you’ve learned with relevant people so you can constantly improve your approach and get better results. Focus on marketing automation tools that provide robust analytics data and other tools that go along with automation.

Create Clear Goals

Because marketing automation can do so much, it’s important to have a clear goal in mind when you approach a new tool. Do you want to reduce abandonment rates, drive up conversions or even just increase your email open rate? Know what you want to do, and then come up with current numbers to help ensure that you can actually measure your progress. You may need to start using marketing automation tools to start gathering accurate data and use that starting point as your numbers to improve on.

There’s a lot more to marketing automation than just this, but these strategies are a good starting point. The more deliberate and careful you are with your approach to marketing automation, the better your results will be.