What is Marketing Automation and How It Works for Your Business

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You may have heard about marketing automation within digital marketing from someone you know or simply come across it online. You may have read how it can revolutionise your business’ digital marketing activities. But perhaps you’re still not clear on exactly what marketing automation can do for your business, and the benefits of automating your marketing activities.

So what is marketing automation? And how does marketing automation work for your business?

Many people may think that automating particular processes can be detrimental to the customer experience, but this is not the case. Marketing automation allows you to automate many of your most common digital marketing activities, whether it’s for internal purposes to help your team members, or for external purposes, such as sending an email to a customer.

Whatever your business size, industry or turnover, it’s likely you could really benefit from marketing automation in many different ways. But first, we can explain exactly what marketing automation is, and what impact it can have on your business.

What is Marketing Automation?

Essentially, marketing automation is software that helps you to automate marketing messages and actions in order to nurture leads down your sales funnel.

But it’s much more than that. Marketing automation is simply a tool that allows you to manage everything from lead generation through to customer creation.

In a nutshell – it’s a collection of tools to automate your digital marketing strategy.

It starts with mass outreach, whether that’s through social media, email marketing or otherwise. Then customers are nurtured via automations, keeping the conversation going and developing a relationship with your business. All without you having to lift a finger.

The marketing automations themselves, use the content you create to nurture customers and keep them in the loop.

Marketing automation often covers many different marketing channels, along with offering a whole host of other features that many businesses find incredibly useful in generating leads and increasing sales.

Marketing automation is made up of much more than just the automations. It covers many different digital marketing activities, such as blog posts, email marketing, landing pages, forms, social media, customer relationship management and analytics. This is all within one simple platform that is connected and seamless. It features a unified database and unified analytics which means you can track end-to-end ROI and the performance of all your digital marketing campaigns, and your sales process.

How do marketing automations & the automation engine work?

It boils down to essentially creating a flow diagram of exactly what actions you want customers to take, and how you can respond to these.

Say you want to contact customers who visit a certain page on your site, or fill out a form, or subscribe to a newsletter. You can automatically send them a series of emails. And then if they take actions from there, you can change customer details, notify your staff of actions, or put them into new marketing automation funnels.

The automation engine just takes the manual work of having to chase leads, follow-up with leads, and nurture potential customers. The automation engine tracks people on your site, and takes the actions you determine when potential customers do particular things on your site. The potential really is limitless, as your automated marketing funnels can be as complex or simple as you like. The strategy behind it is really the key – as it’s all very well saying you want to send 20 emails to a customer who signs up for updates. But if customers don’t respond, what do you do then?

This is what sets out marketing automation from traditional email blasts. You can send a weekly or monthly email to all your contacts. But what if those contacts visit your products or services pages? What if they abandon a basket? What if they never open an email – how can you reengage these people? What if they download something from your site – surely they are interested, and you can do much more than simply provide them with that download? You can follow-up with them and provide more information, and give them an opportunity to further build a relationship with your brand that can slowly evolve into a working partnership.

How does marketing automation work for my business?

That’s all well and good, but how does marketing automation work for your business?

The many features are simply features – but really it’s about the benefits and the outcome that marketing automation can achieve. Read more on the 21 benefits of marketing automation to drive sales for your business.

It’s not just for B2C – B2B businesses also benefit from marketing automation. So, by using automations and the many other functionalities, you can achieve the following for your business and your customers:

Drive more leads

With marketing automation in your arsenal, you can find more customers and acquire more leads through your website.

Marketing automation drives a 451% increase in qualified leads for businesses. So not only are you driving more leads, but they are of a higher quality.

Companies using marketing automation report a 40% lower cost of customer acquisition, with a 60% higher lead-to-sale conversion rate.

Convert more leads to sales

As you are building a relationship with customers with more touch-points in the sales funnel through automated marketing, you are going to be converting more of your leads into sales.

Save your business time and money

Because your marketing activity is automated, your staff can focus on what they do best.

And because they are focusing on what they do best, this means you save money. They are working more efficiently for your business, while the time saved in marketing activity is also saving money. It’s win-win.

Engage potential customers and leads

You can send personalised messages with dynamic content to potential customers in order to give you the best chance of converting them into a sale. Pick the critical points of your sales workflows, and be sure to engage potential customers at exactly the right time.

Email is 40% more effective at aquiring new customers than social media and is consistently determined to be one of the major ROI contributors for businesses.

Gain intelligence on customer behaviour

Collect and collate actionable data on prospective customers and website visitors, and assess how to improve your digital marketing activities. The data you collect can be invaluable in making business decisions in optimising not only your marketing, but how your business operates.

Save time on marketing and sales

You can easily automate marketing messages, sales pipeline actions, and any emails you need to send to customers or leads. You can automate your current manual processes in order to save time that you can spend elsewhere.

Automate the sales process of your business

Bridge the gap between marketing and sales, providing customer data in one place. With more transparency between marketing and sales teams, as they can view the messages to customers in one place, you will be more informed before ringing up.

Streamline your sales process

Many businesses use multiple platforms and find it a headache, whether it’s a CRM, email marketing platform, or otherwise. Marketing automation has it all in one place, which helps to optimise your productivity and streamline your sales process all in one place.

So what exactly does marketing automation include?

Real-time triggers and tasks

You can automate many of the tasks you would need to do manually, whether this is emailing prospects, segmenting email lists, or assigning leads to team members. Your lists can be built based on customer actions, rather than doing it manually. Staff can be assigned leads automatically based on what a customer does. Prospects can be sent messaging when they are most likely to engage or convert.

Email automation

Automatically send emails to leads or potential customers that take particular actions. This is all within the automation engine that provides limitless ways to streamline your marketing activity.

Lead scoring

Identify the hottest leads and put them at the top of your priority list, and notify your sales team of what they have been up to. This is a very popular feature, and saves your staff time in working out which potential customers should be a priority. But the notifications of when potential customers reach a certain lead score that you determine means you are also more likely to close leads as they strike when the iron is hot.

Reporting and analytics

Collect all of your analytical information in one place, in order to see clearly the ROI of each marketing channel. This makes it much easier than having to log into Google Analytics and other pieces of software to get the full picture. You have everything you need within marketing automation to make judgements and see how your site is performing.

See anonymous website visitors

Browse the people who have been on your website, and see which businesses have expressed an interest in your products or services.


Utilise the built-in CRM in order to track opportunities, nurture leads, and create follow-ups.

Benefits of marketing automation

As a summary, the main benefits of marketing automation for businesses are:

  • Drive more leads to your website
  • Drive higher quality leads to your site
  • Convert more leads into sales
  • Optimise the ROI of your marketing activities
  • Save time
  • Save money
  • View the customer journey from start to finish
  • Automate email campaigns and messages to prospects without any manual input

SharpSpring Marketing Automation

Here at Xanthos, our chosen marketing automation platform and partner is SharpSpring. We offer marketing automation services and strategy creation.

SharpSpring is an advanced marketing automation platform with the full suite of features mentioned above, and is incredibly easy to use for any members of your team.

Xanthos Digital Marketing is a Gold Partner of SharpSpring, and can get you up and running with marketing automation. Whether you want to get started with the platform yourself, want a hand in determing your strategy, or fully-outsourced digital marketing or marketing automation management, we can help you.

If you’d be interested in finding out more about marketing automation, or to arrange a demo of SharpSpring, get in touch and a member of the team will get back to you shortly.