Digital Marketing

A School Marketer’s Guide to Marketing Automation

October 3, 2019

As marketers, we're constantly trying to find ways to communicate effectively across multiple digital channels. But with so many online touch points, it’s near impossible to achieve the results we’re looking for -- especially if your team is under-resourced. To be a truly effective marketer in a multi-channel environment, you’re going to need some help: enter marketing automation. 

 

What is marketing automation? 

If you ask us, marketing automation is kind of like magic for marketers. It streamlines our processes, allows us to ‘set and forget’ menial tasks and gives us back hours of our time. 

But, if you’re looking for a more technical definition, here’s one from Marketo:

Marketing automation refers to software and technology that automates and measures repetitive marketing tasks. 

From emails to social media and everything in between, if there’s a task that you find yourself repeating regularly, you can be sure there’s almost certainly a way to automate it. If you’re just dipping your toes into the automation pool, getting started can be a little overwhelming. So, to make things easier, here are two key areas to consider you should consider automating to streamline processes and boost productivity. 

 

How can schools leverage marketing automation? 

Marketing automation isn’t just good news for your marketing team, but it can also help to improve many other departments at your school. It’s true, marketing automation is a gift to any department that relies on communicating frequently (usually via email) with current and prospective families -- just take your admissions or enrolments teams for example.

 

Email

Did you know that on average, consumers need to interact with a brand at least eight times before they're willing to make a purchase? Let's think about that in terms of your enrolments process for a moment. How much time would your admissions team lose by manually contacting every single prospective family at least eight times in order to guide them from awareness to enrolment? Enter email automation.

 

Say you have a digital form on your website that enables prospective parents to download your school’s prospectus in exchange for entering their contact details. Through email automation, you could create a trigger that automatically sends an email to anyone who completes that form with an invitation to your school’s upcoming open day. This ensures that you’re following up quickly and driving new leads, all while saving time by removing the manual process. 

 

Social media 

We know that if you want people to engage with your content, you can’t just share it once and hope for the best. With over 4.4 million blogs published around the world per day, sharing your content regularly is key and social media is the perfect vehicle for this. 

Automating social media marketing isn’t a new concept, in fact, as a marketer you’ve probably heard o tools like Hootsuite or SproutSocial that have been around for a while. Automating your social media promotion allows you to pump out a variety of pre-written tweets and posts and schedule them to automatically publish throughout the week, month, or year! 

 

Interested in learning more about using social to achieve your school goals? Check out our free guide:

The Complete Social Media Toolkit for Schools

 

What are the key benefits of marketing automation?

It’s no secret that marketing automation can save time and work wonders for your productivity, but how does it impact ROI and lead generation? Let’s take a look at the top seven marketing automation wins according to  GetResponse’s report: Email Marketing & Marketing Automation Excellence 2018.


Screen Shot 2019-09-19 at 4.44.40 pmSource: GetResponse

 

Which marketing automation tools are best for schools?

Choosing the right marketing automation tools for your school really comes down to your specific objectives. Are you looking to automate one key area within your digital marketing strategy like social media, or do you need something more robust that can also handle A/B testing? Review platform G2 created a list of some of the top recommended marketing automation tools for 2019, however, you’ll notice a lot of the tools are expensive and geared toward corporates rather than schools. When looking for tools that can help automate your marketing activities, it’s important to ensure they work with your school’s current software systems.

If you’re looking to streamline your email marketing to prospective families, you can always leverage a school customer relationship manager (CRM) like FUNNEL, which includes a built-in communications tool. FUNNEL enables you to easily slice and dice your database to select segmented lists and send instant or scheduled emails, all within the one place.

 

Key takeaway

Marketing automation can work wonders in streamlining your processes, boosting efficiency, and alleviating repetitive tasks so that you're left with more time to focus on the creative stuff (and who doesn't love that?). Remember to think about what part of your digital marketing strategy you want to streamline and always ensure that you’re selecting tools that are designed to work in your school’s digital ecosystem. 

If you’d like to learn more about how you can leverage FUNNEL to automate your communication processes, talk to our friendly team today.