What Is Marketing Automation? Basics, Strategies & Tools

When it comes to marketing automation, people love to throw jargon around. This is not that article. We shall keep everything lean and simple because marketing is already complicated as it is.

So, what is marketing automation?

To put it simply, marketing automation is the use of technology to perform repetitive tasks that would otherwise take an eternity if you were to do them manually.

What is marketing automation: basics

Marketing is quite a tough nut to crack. You need lots of experience, hard work, and the right marketing automation tools to win. It’s indeed a challenge for many marketing teams.

Fortunately, there are tools, apps, and software to help with the wearisome tasks. You simply need a marketing automation strategy, then plug tools into your strategy as required.

Marketing automation software helps you to handle monotonous tasks such as:

  • Email marketing
  • Creating landing pages
  • Cross-channel marketing campaigns
  • Lead generation
  • Segmentation
  • Personalized messaging via whichever channel you desire be it social media, SMS, email, and so on
  • Lead nurturing and scoring
  • Cross-sell and up-sell
  • Retention
  • Measuring marketing ROI
  • Customer relationship management
  • Website personalization

As you can see, there are many benefits of marketing automation. There are a ton of things that you can automate with the right marketing automation solution.

At the end of the day, marketing automation saves you a great deal of time so that you can focus on other areas of your small business.

What can marketing automation do for your business?

It is not a secret that many businesses struggle with lead generation and keeping customers engaged throughout the buyer’s journey.

Also, many small businesses collect a ton of customer data that they struggle to put to good use.

In the majority of cases, this leads to disjointed experiences for customers and a total waste of marketing efforts.

To overcome these challenges, your marketing strategy should include marketing automation.


Marketing automation software helps you to streamline your workflows. It is a great way to keep your marketing and sales teams (and even your customer service team) on top of everything that’s happening in your organization.

With marketing automation, your sales and marketing teams will have the data they need to keep your prospects happy all through.

Thanks to marketing automation software, businesses can effectively create personalized workflows.

You can use your prospect’s actions as additional data points for your marketing strategy, informing you what customers want at the moment.

Marketing automation software allows you to use customer data to deeply understand their needs and create exactly the content they need at the right time.

These personalized workflows will help you to deliver helpful content to qualified leads, which can be nurtured to ready-to-pay and loyal customers down the sales funnel.

The best marketing automation software will also help you to bring your whole business together with streamlined processes.

You can easily create processes that work across multiple departments, which means you can reduce customer effort at each stage of their journey.

Whether it is the marketing teams, sales teams, or customer service teams, everybody will have the customer data they need to offer a unified and streamlined customer experience from the first touchpoint.

In other words, marketing automation allows you to offer a smooth customer journey based on real data instead of guesswork.

Whether you want to generate leads, deploy email campaigns, create landing pages, or need help with social media management, marketing automation is exactly what you need.

So, how do you get the most out of marketing automation?

The best marketing automation strategies

Marketing automation goes beyond choosing the best marketing automation platform. You have to combine the best marketing automation software with the right strategy while keeping the customer at the center of it all.

With the right strategy, you can deliver impactful content that converts mere leads into happy customers, and customers into loyal brand ambassadors.

Marketing automation shouldn’t end with email marketing campaigns. While email marketing automation is the most popular form of marketing automation, it is not the only one.

You should strive to automate your entire business, so you can connect your teams via processes that save time and money.

With the right marketing automation platform, you can easily create workflows that keep your business growing.

You want to focus on the customer instead of your business needs. That way, you can recognize their needs and touchpoints that could use automation tools.

Then focus on creating automatic processes that add ease to the customer journey from one touchpoint to the next.

In short, to get the most out of marketing automation, do the following:

  • Organize your contacts using a customer relationship management system (CRM) that works with your marketing automation software seamlessly. This allows you to track every action the customer takes.
  • Use the customer data you collect to lead prospects to the next step. With the data, you will be able to deliver useful content or connect the prospects to the sales team. The best part is you can do all this automatically and at scale.

A good marketing automation strategy should keep your teams connected and make hand-offs a breeze. You should focus on making the process efficient to create long-term relationships with your customers.

The point here is to reduce friction by prioritizing important but repetitive tasks. This is useful, especially in the omnichannel era that makes it difficult for prospects to find the information they need to make a purchase.

As we highlighted earlier, you can automate a good number of marketing tasks, which lathers well with your marketing and sales teams.

Streamlining your marketing processes saves your teams a great deal of time so they can focus on turning prospects into qualified leads.

Thanks to marketing automation, you can surface more relevant content, provide better answers, and offer seamless omnichannel experiences.

Keep in mind marketing automation works best when you already have an audience and a marketing strategy that you want to put in place.

Still, it is an awesome way of acquiring new customers, generating qualified leads for your marketing funnel, and boosting customer loyalty.

Marketing automation tools

We have covered marketing automation software in a separate article, but here are a few of the best options:

#1 – Drip

Drip is one of the best marketing automation platforms on the web catering to ecommerce businesses.

Drip Homepage

The company offers you a ton of automation tools that allow you to gather and organize customer data like a boss.

You can then use the data to create personalized and omnichannel customer journeys at scale.

They offer small businesses the same and deeper personalization as big ecommerce giants allowing you to stand up and compete instead of getting snuffed out.

As a niche brand, you now have the tools you need to build meaningful and long-lasting relationships with your customers.

Whether you market on social media platforms, via SMS, or rely on email campaigns, Drip has everything the modern marketer would need.

They have a great subscriber segmentation feature that helps you to segment your audience according to their activity and purchasing behavior.


For $39 per month, you can send unlimited emails to 2,500 contacts. You also have email support and a 14-day free trial.

Read our Drip review.

#2 – Omnisend

Omnisend is one of the most powerful omnichannel marketing automation platforms for ecommerce stores and other online businesses in general.

Omnisend Homepage

Omnisend offers you great email automation tools for ecommerce. On top of that, they help you handle SMS marketing without breaking a sweat.

The best part is you can get started in minutes with a completely free account. Setting up everything is super-duper easy, and the platform integrates with popular ecommerce platforms such as WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Wix.

You have a ton of automation features at your disposal. You can automate email, SMS, and even web push notifications depending on on-site customer behavior.

It is the perfect marketing automation platform to recover abandoned carts and drive sales while you’re sleeping.

With lots of email templates and a drag-and-drop email builder, you can have your digital marketing campaigns up and running within minutes.


Omnisend offers you a free account that allows you to send 500 emails and 60 SMS per month to 250 contacts. Paid plans start at $16 per month for 500 contacts, 6,000 emails, and 60 SMS per month.

Read our Omnisend review.

These are just several examples of great marketing automation platforms. To learn more, please check out our article about the best marketing automation software.

Marketing automation best practices

Before we get to the end, here is a quick list of marketing automation best practices to keep in mind.

  • Keep marketing analysis and lead scoring simple
  • Map your lead flow
  • Know the buyer’s journey
  • Create your buyer personas
  • Create engaging content
  • Consider email reputability
  • Effectively capture leads by limiting distractions and avoiding lengthy processes
  • Make sure your marketing automation system integrates well with your CRM
  • Build non-linear nurture


We hope today’s post offers you deeper insight into marketing automation, and how you can use it to boost your marketing efforts.

Choose the right marketing automation solution, and always keep your customer needs first.

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