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What Is Marketing Automation: How Does It Work?



What Is Marketing Automation: How Does It Work?

​​Want to boost the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, create more efficient team processes, and upgrade your customer experience?

You need marketing automation.

Marketing automation has become popular over the past decade, and for good reason.

As marketers face an ever-growing number of channels and platforms where they need to meet their customers, marketing automation presents a helpful opportunity to save time. It allows them to offload manual tasks so they can focus on high-priority projects.

In this article, we’ll look into what marketing automation is and how it works, highlight some popular marketing automation tools, and cover a few examples of what it looks like in the real world.

What Is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is a catch-all term for software and tools that manage marketing tasks, processes, and workflows without needing human touch.

Marketers have busy schedules and must accomplish many tasks on any given day. By leveraging marketing automation software to handle simple, repetitive activities, marketers can free up their time to focus on more important and time-consuming priorities.

This doesn’t just benefit individual marketers or marketing teams; it also helps maximize efficiency across an entire organization and, ultimately, boost your business’s bottom line.

Marketing automation can help businesses in several ways, including:

  • Speeding up marketing team processes and saving time.
  • Improving team and individual productivity.
  • Generating and nurturing relationships with leads.
  • Improving customer experience and retention.
  • Reducing operating costs.

From email marketing campaigns to prospect segmentation, marketing automation simplifies business processes to deliver a better customer experience.

Is Marketing Automation The Same As A CRM?

While marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) software are closely related, they are not the same thing.

The two serve different purposes – though, when used together correctly, they can be extremely complementary tools that supercharge your customer journey.

So, how exactly are marketing automation and CRM different?

While marketing automation is focused on automating and optimizing marketing-related tasks, CRM software is primarily used to bolster the efforts of your sales and customer service teams.

Your CRM provides a home for your customer and prospect data, such as information about them, their purchase activity, and notes from any interactions or sales calls. It provides a single source of truth for your sales, service, and marketing teams to oversee customer relationships across the sales funnel.

This is separate from marketing automation workflows – but both can be integrated to optimize your marketing efforts based on customer data.

Often, CRM companies will also offer marketing automation tools, as they are designed to work hand-in-hand.

What Does Marketing Automation Do?

Marketing automation enables businesses to optimize their marketing strategies and campaigns and contributes to lead generation and nurturing by automating marketing workflows.

With a marketing automation platform, you can create a more personalized customer experience without all the manual effort.


You can set up the software to gather information about every lead or prospect and use that data to serve each individual the right content at the right time.

You simply tell your marketing automation tool what data to gather and how to put that data to good use.

A few common things you can do with marketing automation:

  • Boost your email marketing by automating your email campaigns. You can set up workflows where customers or prospects are sent timely, personalized emails based on particular actions they take. For example, if you go to a website and put an item in your cart and then leave, that business could use marketing automation workflows to trigger an email to you saying, “Don’t forget about that item in your cart!”
  • Optimize your marketing campaigns through workflows that serve leads with specific messaging based on where they are in their journey with your business and what channel you’re meeting them on – be it social media, email, in-app, or elsewhere.
  • Gather insightful analytics on the performance of your marketing campaigns and how effectively you’re generating and converting leads. Marketing automation can provide deeper insights into how well you’re engaging your customers, and where the gaps you need to fill are.

How Does Marketing Automation Work?

So marketing automation sounds great, but how does it actually work?

Every interaction you have with customers or prospective leads – whether it be an email exchange, a website visit, or a social media engagement – provides you with data on that person.

Marketing automation platforms don’t just store that data; they analyze it and then put it to good use.

With marketing automation software, you can segment your leads based on specific criteria such as interest or behavior.

Then, you can set up campaigns to automatically serve tailored messaging to these leads based on different trigger events, actions, or customer journey stages.

You can create workflows based on pre-configured templates or build them from scratch based on your specific needs.

Once you have set up the workflows you need, you can rely on your marketing automation software to do the rest. All you have to do is check on the analytics and reporting regularly to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workflows.

Marketing Automation Platforms

There are a variety of different marketing automation platforms that exist, offering a range of different functionalities and features.

For the sake of this article, we will highlight just a few.


ActiveCampaign is a popular marketing automation tool that lets you pull data from channels like social media, live chat, landing pages, SMS, and more.

Some key features include:

  • Advanced reporting to discover which marketing campaign automation is working best for you.
  • Sign-up forms. With custom forms and landing pages, you can collect emails, segment your audience, and trigger automation.
  • Notification emails let you know when to follow up with your leads.


With Klaviyo’s marketing automation capabilities, you can deliver personalized messaging to your customers at the right time.

Key features include:

  • Behavior-based automation that initializes messages based on specific data and events.
  • Advanced segmentation that allows you to target people based on a specific demographic profile.
  • AI-driven optimization that uses data prediction to help you proactively reach out to customers. helps you improve your messaging workflows by automating them for you across emails, push notifications, SMS, and more. Some key features include:

  • In-app message automation that can be combined with email, push, and text.
  • A visual workflow builder to help you design a better customer experience.
  • Ad audience sync that tracks your ad audiences across platforms and syncs them with your segments without any need for CSV files.


Best known as an email marketing platform, Mailchimp also offers a number of different marketing automation tools, including:

  • Retargeting ads which are designed to re-engage people who have visited your site and encourage them to return.
  • A customer journey builder where you can create automation workflows that work best for your customers and your goals.
  • Transactional emails to communicate with your customers when they take a specific action.

Examples Of Marketing Automation

Now that we understand more about what marketing automation is and how it works, let’s cover a few quick examples of different marketing automation workflows.

Reminder And Re-Engagement Emails

You buy a skincare product from a brand. Based on customer data, the company knows that most customers will run out of the product within three months.

So, it uses marketing automation to automatically send you an email around three months after your purchase to encourage you to buy a new product.

Feedback Surveys

You attend a webinar hosted by a tech brand.

Once the webinar is over, you receive an automated email with a survey asking you to rate your experience and provide any feedback. This data is then submitted to the company.

Offers And Deals

You sign up for a loyalty program through a brand. You immediately receive an SMS with an offer for 15% off as a new customer.

Onboarding Information

You sign up for a new service. Within a few days, you receive an email offering tips for how to best use the service as a new user.

Enhance Your Marketing Strategy With Automation Tools

We could all use more time in the day, and this is especially true for marketers. With so many simultaneous responsibilities and tasks to attend to, marketers can use all the help they can get to streamline their day.

It’s no surprise, then, that marketing automation has become such a powerful and beneficial tool for businesses across industries.

With marketing automation, you can optimize your marketing efforts and give your team time back.

But more importantly, marketing automation can help you create a seamless, delightful customer experience that will turn prospects into leads, and leads into loyal customers.

More Resources: 

Featured Image: Andrey Suslov/Shutterstock

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Google Updating Cryptocurrency Advertising Policy For 2024




Google Updating Cryptocurrency Advertising Policy For 2024

Google published an announcement of upcoming changes to their cryptocurrency advertising policies and advises advertisers to make themselves aware of the changes and prepare to be in compliance with the new requirements.

The upcoming updates are to Google’s Cryptocurrencies and related products policy for the advertisement of Cryptocurrency Coin Trusts. The changes are set to take effect on January 29th, 2024.

Cryptocurrency Coin Trusts are financial products that enable investors to trade shares in trusts holding substantial amounts of digital currency. These trusts provide investors with equity in cryptocurrencies without having direct ownership. They are also an option for creating a more diversified portfolio.

The policy updates by Google that are coming in 2024 aim to describe the scope and requirements for the advertisement of Cryptocurrency Coin Trusts. Advertisers targeting the United States will be able to promote these products and services as long as they abide by specific policies outlined in the updated requirements and that they also obtain certification from Google.

The updated policy changes are not limited to the United States. They will apply globally to all accounts advertising Cryptocurrency Coin Trusts.

Google’s announcement also reminded advertisers of their obligation for compliance to local laws in the areas where the ads are targeted.

Google’s approach for violations of the new policy will be to first give a warning before imposing an account suspension.

Advertisers that fail to comply with the updated policy will receive a warning at least seven days before a potential account suspension. This time period provides advertisers with an opportunity to fix non-compliance issues and to get back into compliance with the revised guidelines.

Advertisers are encouraged to refer to Google’s documentation on “About restricted financial products certification.”

The deadline for the change in policy is January 29th, 2024. Cryptocurrency Coin Trusts advertisers will need to pay close attention to the updated policies in order to ensure compliance.

Read Google’s announcement:

Updates to Cryptocurrencies and related products policy (December 2023)

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SEO Trends You Can’t Ignore In 2024



SEO Trends You Can’t Ignore In 2024

Most SEO trends fade quickly. But some of them stick and deserve your attention.

Let’s explore what those are and how to take advantage of them.

If you give ChatGPT a title and ask it to write a blog post, it will—in seconds.

This is super impressive, but there are a couple of issues:

  • Everyone else using ChatGPT is creating the same content. It’s the same for users of other GPT-powered AI writing tools, too—which is basically all of them.
  • The content is extremely dull. Sure, you can ask ChatGPT to “make it more entertaining,” but it usually overcompensates and hands back a cringe version of the same boring content.

In the words of Gael Breton:

How to take advantage of this SEO trend

Don’t use AI to write entire articles. They’ll be boring as heck. Instead, use it as a creative sparring partner to help you write better content and automate monotonous tasks.

For example, you can ask ChatGPT To write an outline from a working title and a list of keywords (which you can pull from Ahrefs)—and it does a pretty decent job.


Create an outline for a post entitled “[working title]” based on these keywords: [list]


ChatGPT's outline for a blog post. Pretty good!ChatGPT's outline for a blog post. Pretty good!

When you’ve written your draft, you can ask to polish it in seconds by asking ChatGPT to proofread it.

ChatGPT proofreading my content and making it betterChatGPT proofreading my content and making it better

Then you can automate the boring stuff, like creating more enticing title tags…

ChatGPT writing enticing title tagsChatGPT writing enticing title tags

… and writing a meta description:

ChatGPT writing a meta descriptionChatGPT writing a meta description

If you notice a few months down the line that your content ranks well but hasn’t won the featured snippet, ChatGPT can help with that, too.

For example, Ahrefs tells us we rank in position 3 for “affiliate marketing” but don’t own the snippet.

Ahrefs showing featured snippets that we don't own, despite ranking in the top 3Ahrefs showing featured snippets that we don't own, despite ranking in the top 3

If we check Google, the snippet is a definition. Asking ChatGPT to simplify our definition may solve this problem.

ChatGPT rewriting a definition and making it betterChatGPT rewriting a definition and making it better

In short, there are a near-infinite number of ways to use ChatGPT (and other AI writing tools) to create better content. And all of them buck the trend of asking it to write boring, boilerplate articles from scratch.

Programmatic SEO refers to the creation of keyword-targeted pages in an automatic (or near automatic) way.

Nomadlist’s location pages are a perfect example:

Example of a page from NomadListExample of a page from NomadList

Each page focuses on a specific city and shares the same core information—internet speeds, cost, temperature, etc. All of this information is pulled programmatically from a database and the site gets an estimated 46k monthly search visits in total.

Estimated monthly search traffic to NomadListEstimated monthly search traffic to NomadList

Programmatic SEO is nothing new. It’s been around forever. It’s just the hot thing right now because AI tools like ChatGPT make it easier and more accessible than ever before.

The problem? As John Mueller pointed out on Twitter X, much of it is spam:

How to take advantage of this SEO trend

Don’t use programmatic SEO to publish insane amounts of spam that’ll probably get hit in the next Google update. Use it to scale valuable content that will stand the test of time.

For example, Wise’s currency conversion pages currently get an estimated 31.7M monthly search visits:

Estimated monthly search traffic to Wise's currently conversion pages (insane!)Estimated monthly search traffic to Wise's currently conversion pages (insane!)

This is because the content is actually useful. Each page features an interactive tool showing the live exchange rate for any amount…

The interactive currently conversion tool on Wise's pagesThe interactive currently conversion tool on Wise's pages

… the exchange rate over time…

The exchange rate over time graph on Wise's pagesThe exchange rate over time graph on Wise's pages

… a handy email notification option when the exchange rates exceed a certain amount…

The email notification option on Wise's pagesThe email notification option on Wise's pages

… handy conversion charts for popular amounts…

The handy conversion charts on Wise's pagesThe handy conversion charts on Wise's pages

… and a comparison of the cheapest ways to send money abroad in your chosen currency:

The useful comparison table on Wise's pagesThe useful comparison table on Wise's pages

It doesn’t matter that all of these pages use the same template. The data is exactly what you want to see when you search [currency 1] to [currency 2].

That’s probably why Wise ranks in the top 10 for over 66,000 of these keywords:

Wise's keyword rankings for currency conversion pagesWise's keyword rankings for currency conversion pages

Looking to take advantage of programmatic content in 2024 like Wise? Check out the guide below.

People love ChatGPT because it answers questions fast and succinctly, so it’s no surprise that generative AI is already making its way into search.

For example, if you ask Bing for a definition or how to do something basic, AI will generate an answer on the fly right there in the search results.

Bing's search results for "definition of mental health"Bing's search results for "definition of mental health"
Bing's search results for "how to add drop down list in google sheets"Bing's search results for "how to add drop down list in google sheets"

In other words, thanks to AI, users no longer have to click on a search result for answers to simple questions. It’s like featured snippets on steroids.

This might not be a huge deal right now, but when Google’s version of this (Search Generative Experience) comes out of beta, many websites will see clicks fall off a cliff.

How to take advantage of this SEO trend

Don’t invest too much in topics that generative AI can easily answer. You’ll only lose clicks like crazy to AI in the long run. Instead, start prioritizing topics that AI will struggle to answer.

How do you know which topics it will struggle to answer? Try asking ChatGPT. If it gives a good and concise answer, it’s clearly an easy question.

For example, there are hundreds of searches for how to calculate a percentage in Google Sheets every month in the US:

Estimated monthly search volume for "google sheets percentage formula" via Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerEstimated monthly search volume for "google sheets percentage formula" via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

If you ask ChatGPT for the solution, it gives you a perfect answer in about fifty words.

ChatGPT's answer to the Google Sheets percentage calculation formulaChatGPT's answer to the Google Sheets percentage calculation formula

This is the perfect example of a topic where generative AI will remove the need to click on a search result for many.

That’s probably not going to be the case for a topic like this:

Example of a topic that AI shouldn't impact too muchExample of a topic that AI shouldn't impact too much

Sure. Generative AI might be able to tell you how to create a template—but it can’t make one for you. And even if it can in the future, it will never be a personal finance expert with experience. You’ll always have to click on a search result for a template created by that person.

These are the kinds of topics to prioritize in 2024 and beyond.


None of this means you should stop targeting “simple” topics altogether. You’ll always be able to get some traffic from them. My point is not to be obsessed with ranking for keywords whose days are numbered. Prioritize topics with long-term value instead.

Bonus: 3 SEO trends to ignore in 2024

Not all SEO trends move the needle. Here are just a few of those trends and why you should ignore them.

People are using voice search more than ever

In 2014, Google revealed that 41% of Americans use voice search daily. According to research by UpCity, that number was up to 50% as of 2022. I haven’t seen any data for 2023 yet, but I’d imagine it’s above 50%.

Why you should ignore this SEO trend

75% of voice search results come from a page ranking in the top 3, and 40.7% come from a featured snippet. If you’re already optimizing for those things, there’s not much more you can do.

People are using visual search for shopping more than ever

In 2022, Insider Intelligence reported that 22% of US adults have shopped with visual search (Google Lens, Bing Visual Search, etc.). That number is up from just 15% in 2021.

Why you should ignore this SEO trend

Much like voice search, there’s no real way to optimize for visual search. Sure, it helps to have good quality product images, optimized filenames and alt text, and product schema markup on your pages—but you should be doing this stuff anyway as it’s been a best practice since forever.

People are using Bing more than ever before

Bing’s Yusuf Mehdi announced in March 2023 that the search engine had surpassed 100M daily active users for the first time ever. This came just one month after the launch of AI-powered Bing.

Why you should ignore this SEO trend

Bing might be more popular than ever, but its market share still only stands at around ~3% according to estimates by Statcounter. Google’s market share stands at roughly 92%, so that’s the one you should be optimizing for.

Plus, it’s often the case that if you rank in Google, you also rank in Bing—so it really doesn’t deserve any focus.

Final thoughts

Keeping your finger on the pulse and taking advantage of trends makes sense, but don’t let them distract you from the boring stuff that’s always worked: find what people are searching for > create content about it > build backlinks > repeat.

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter X.

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Mozilla VPN Security Risks Discovered




Mozilla VPN Security Risks Discovered

Mozilla published the results of a recent third-party security audit of its VPN services as part of it’s commitment to user privacy and security. The survey revealed security issues which were presented to Mozilla to be addressed with fixes to ensure user privacy and security.

Many search marketers use VPNs during the course of their business especially when using a Wi-Fi connection in order to protect sensitive data, so the  trustworthiness of a VNP is essential.

Mozilla VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN), is a service that hides (encrypts) a user’s Internet traffic so that no third party (like an ISP) can snoop and see what sites a user is visiting.

VPNs also add a layer of security from malicious activities such as session hijacking which can give an attacker full access to the websites a user is visiting.

There is a high expectation from users that the VPN will protect their privacy when they are browsing on the Internet.

Mozilla thus employs the services of a third party to conduct a security audit to make sure their VPN is thoroughly locked down.

Security Risks Discovered

The audit revealed vulnerabilities of medium or higher severity, ranging from Denial of Service (DoS). risks to keychain access leaks (related to encryption) and the lack of access controls.

Cure53, the third party security firm, discovered and addressed several risks. Among the issues were potential VPN leaks to the vulnerability of a rogue extension that disabled the VPN.

The scope of the audit encompassed the following products:

  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for macOS
  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for Linux
  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for Windows
  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for iOS
  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for Androi

These are the risks identified by the security audit:

  • FVP-03-003: DoS via serialized intent
  • FVP-03-008: Keychain access level leaks WG private key to iCloud
  • VP-03-010: VPN leak via captive portal detection
  • FVP-03-011: Lack of local TCP server access controls
  • FVP-03-012: Rogue extension can disable VPN using mozillavpnnp (High)

The rogue extension issue was rated as high severity. Each risk was subsequently addressed by Mozilla.

Mozilla presented the results of the security audit as part of their commitment to transparency and to maintain the trust and security of their users. Conducting a third party security audit is a best practice for a VPN provider that helps assure that the VPN is trustworthy and reliable.

Read Mozilla’s announcement:
Mozilla VPN Security Audit 2023

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Meilun

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