Marketing Automation for Agencies: Tools & Tips
Marketing automation is the secret to the success of many modern marketing agencies. It eliminates busy work and frees up time and resources so that you can focus on more strategic initiatives, such as delivering quality work and building relationships with leads. You know, the things that actually help you grow your agency.
But what is marketing automation for agencies, what kind of marketing tasks can they automate exactly, and which tools are available for the job?
What is marketing automation for agencies?
Marketing automation for agencies refers to the use of software to automate (either partially or fully) repetitive marketing tasks and workflows. This can include email marketing, social media scheduling, lead nurturing, or creating targeted content.
Basically, it means handing off the tedious day-to-day tasks to a piece of software, so you and your team can focus on things that actually require human attention.
Further reading: how do agencies get clients?
How does marketing automation work?
Marketing automation software works by integrating with your marketing tools (CRM, email marketing provider, social media platforms, etc.) and automatically performing tasks based on rules that you define.
For example, you could set up a rules such as:
If someone downloads our e-book, then add them to our email list.
If someone visits our pricing page, then reach out to them with a free trial offer.
These “if this then that statements” are known in the automation world as triggers and actions. You can use them to automate just about any task in your marketing workflow.
8 marketing tasks agencies can automate
I’ve already covered a few examples of some of the agency tasks that you can automate with a good marketing automation tool. But those are just the tip of the iceberg!
Here are a few more ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
Send bottom of funnel content, such as e-books and feature comparisons, to visitors on high-intent web pages.
Launch a welcome email sequence when leads sign up to your newsletter.
Adjust website and newsletter content based on client purchase history.
Notify your sales team when a lead’s score reaches a certain number.
Send out birthday and holiday messages to clients.
Invite your biggest clients to become affiliate partners.
Message clients to leave a review on Trustpilot and other review sites.
Send dynamic discounts to prevent clients from churning.
The possibilities really are endless. And the best part is, once you set up your automation rules, the software will handle everything else!
What are the benefits of marketing automation for agencies?
At the time of writing, 96% of B2B marketers have implemented a marketing automation platform or tool of some kind.
Marketing automation offers a ton of benefits for agencies—benefits that can help you close more deals, serve your clients better, and scale your business.
Here are just a few of the advantages:
1. Increased efficiency
The most obvious benefit of marketing automation is that it increases efficiency. By automating the tasks that don’t require the attention of your team, you’re freeing them up to focus on more important tasks.
According to industry reports, 61% of marketers see efficiency improvements of over 15% after implementing an automation tool.
2. Improved revenue
In addition to making your team more efficient, automation can also help you close more deals and boost your sales revenue.
You’re given you the ability to score and grade leads, so that you can focus your sales efforts on the hottest prospects. And by automatically sending out targeted content at key points in the buyer’s journey, you can keep your leads engaged until they’re ready to buy.
The results speak for themselves: over 34% of organizations that used a marketing automation platform saw an increase in revenue.
3. More leads
If more revenue wasn’t enough, marketing automation can also help you generate more leads. By automating your lead nurturing process and using targeted content to keep your leads engaged, you can generate more leads with less effort.
And you don’t need to take my word for it. Over 44% of organizations that make use of marketing automation say it helped them increase the number of leads they generate.
Grow your industry knowledge
Now let’s take a look at a few marketing automation solutions and examine what they can do for your agency.
The 5 best marketing automation tools for agencies
1. ActiveCampaign: best overall
The best way to describe ActiveCampaign is as an all-in-one marketing platform for agencies of any size (small, medium, and large). It’s absolutely packed with features that will help your agency automate just about any marketing task—from lead capture to sales follow-ups.
ActiveCampaign’s automation features are particularly robust. With the platform, you can create complex rules-based automations that would be difficult (if not impossible) to recreate with a traditional email service provider (ESP).
Plus, ActiveCampaign integrates with 870+ apps and tools, which means it’ll mesh well with almost any software stack. You can also integrate your SPP client portal with ActiveCampaign to automatically send targeted follow-up sequences based on purchased services or subscriptions, run drip campaigns, and more!
Integration: Integrates with 870+ apps, tools, and services, including Service Provider Pro, Shopify, WordPress, and Salesforce.
Omnichannel: Automate and align email, messaging and text, conversations and chat, social media, web personalization, and WhatsApp.
Analytics: Access advanced analytics, reports, and metrics including attribution, segmentation, and lead scoring.
Prices start at around $39 per month.
2. MailChimp: best for small agencies
MailChimp is one of the most popular (if not the most popular) ESPs on the market, and for good reason—it’s easy to use, has a wide range of features, and is very affordable.
MailChimp is particularly well-suited to small agencies just getting started with marketing automation. It’s simple to use, but still powerful enough to create fairly sophisticated email automations.
Plus, it integrates with over 1,000 apps and services, including SPP. When you integrate SPP and MailChimp, you can tag your clients based on the services they purchase through your client portal and use those tags to sort them into targeted email campaigns—great for streamlining your email marketing workflow.
Related: Does Cold Email Work for Digital Marketing Agencies?
Integration: Integrates with 1,000+ apps and services including Service Provider Pro, Shopify, WordPress, and Salesforce.
Email optimization: Optimize email engagement by automatically scheduling emails based on a user’s engagement history.
Triggered campaigns: Send automated emails based on user behavior, such as when a user abandons their shopping cart.
MailChimp offers a free plan with limited features, and its paid ones start at around $11 per month.
3. HubSpot Marketing Hub: best for large agencies
HubSpot is one of the most well-known names in marketing, and their multi-channel marketing automation tool Hubspot Marketing Hub is one of the best on the market.
The HubSpot Marketing Hub is an all-in-one marketing platform that gives agencies everything they need to automate their marketing and sales processes.
It’s packed with features, including:
Lead capture forms
Like ActiveCampaign, it also integrates with a ton of other software—over 1,200 integrations to be exact. So no matter what software stack your agency uses, HubSpot will likely integrate with it.
Integration: Integrates with over 1,200 apps and tools including Salesforce, WordPress, Shopify, and Magento.
User seats: User seats allow you to give access to your account to an unlimited number of users.
Enterprise reporting: Gives you access to advanced reporting features, including attribution reports and pipeline analysis.
HubSpot has a free tier, with features that are useful for small agencies. Enterprise-level ones will need to purchase one of its paid plans, which start at around $50 per month.
4. Marketo Engage: best for content personalization
Marketo Engage is a tool that’s focused on personalizing your marketing content. With Marketo Engage, you can create highly personalized emails, web pages, and social media posts for each individual lead.
This level of personalization is possible because Marketo Engage gives you access to detailed lead profiles. These profiles include information about a lead’s behavior, such as the pages they’ve visited on your website, the emails they’ve opened, and the forms they’ve filled out (including intake forms and order forms).
Lead Profiles: Detailed lead profiles give you insights into a lead’s behavior, so you can personalize your marketing content.
AI Powered Insights: Marketo Engage uses AI to surface insights about your leads, so you can better understand their needs.
Dynamic Content: Dynamic content blocks let you personalize web pages and emails for each individual lead.
Prices start at around $895 per month.
5. Pardot: best for account-based marketing
Pardot is a marketing automation tool from Salesforce that’s designed for account-based marketing (ABM). With Pardot, you can easily create targeted campaigns for specific accounts. This level of account targeting is possible because Pardot gives you access to detailed company profiles.
Pardot also makes it easy to track the progress of your ABM campaigns. You can see which accounts are engaging with your content and how far they are in the buyer’s journey. This information is critical for iterating on your ABM strategy.
Like the other tools on this list, Pardot integrates with a ton of other software. So no matter what systems your agency uses, Pardot will likely integrate with them.
Account-based marketing: Easily create targeted campaigns for specific accounts with detailed company profiles.
Lead scoring: Lead scoring helps you prioritize leads by assigning a score to each lead based on their engagement level.
Reporting: Pardot’s reporting features let you track the progress of your campaigns and measure your ROI.
According to various sources, prices start at around $1,250 per month.
Tips for making the most of marketing automation
To close things off, I think it’d be helpful to share a few tips for really getting the most out of marketing automation.
Tag clients based on their purchase history
Marketing automation works best when it’s able to segment your leads into different groups. One of the easiest ways to do this is to tag your clients once they’ve purchased a service.
Both SPP’s ActiveCampaign and MailChimp integration allows you to tag clients based on their purchase history. This allows you to send targeted email campaigns to those who bought (or haven’t bought) a specific service.
Nurture your leads with educational content
One of the most common mistakes I see agencies make is failing to nurture their leads with automation. In other words, they send one-off emails and hope for the best.
Instead, send a series of email campaigns that are designed to nurture your leads and move them further down the sales funnel. Those unfamiliar with your service or product need to be educated first before they’re ready to make a purchase.
Upsell your clients with automation
Many agents have not yet discovered a good way to upsell clients. Those who rely on sales calls usually attempt to do it right on the call. What if there’s a better way?
You can easily use automation to upsell clients. Let’s say you run an SEO agency and notice that your client has bought a link building package. They might be interested in your backlink analysis service, too.
In such a case, add them to a drip campaign that talks about the advantages of that service, and educate the client with case studies. If you think there’s a chance they might purchase this service right away, you can even upsell them right in your SPP client portal.
Here’s a tutorial on how you can set up the upselling functionality.
Automating your digital marketing efforts no longer requires hiring developers who build custom tools. Thanks to no-code software, almost anyone can set up funnels that track their lead generation, keep an eye on the customer journey, and track how effective landing pages are.
In the end, agency owners are less hands-on, and can focus more on important tasks that cannot be handled by automation (yet).