Saturday, April 1, 2023

What is Marketing Automation? Real Tools and Examples


When I opened my first blog I did it with the intention of having a professional journal in which I would share the day-to-day things, from reports to resources that I used with my team. In this article, I will explain what marketing automation is and how it works to capture leads, increase sales and improve our positioning.

It is the act of planning and configuring in advance all the steps involved in the process of converting a potential client (lead) into a client.

The potential of marketing automation is that once this “machinery” is configured, there is no need for human intervention during the conversion process since all emails, notifications, and actions are automatically executed with automation software. In this way, we can also focus our efforts on attracting new customers that will feed the “machinery”.

In summary, marketing automation starts from the moment we attract traffic until we generate the desired conversions with the new leads we capture through the Internet and other media and channels.

Why we should bet on marketing automation?

Marketing automation saves us a lot of time. But, above all, it allows us to make a more personalized marketing and therefore more cash. Other advantages are:

  • Increase online sales
  • Increase the number of new leads
  • Segment our database to better understand our audience
  • Save costs in the recruitment and sales process
  • Unify commercial and digital efforts in a single platform

Once the “machinery” is active, we must focus all our efforts on attracting new potential clients, and more in this era in which the recruitment is economic through social networks.

What we need to implement marketing automation in our business

What we need to implement marketing automation in our business

  • Value content and exclusive offers that we can offer to attract new potential customers (leads)
  • Funnels (the steps a client takes to generate the conversion we want)
  • Tags (to activate actions and segment our database)
  • Triggers and automation elements. Example: opening emails, clicks on links, downloads, completed forms, visited website, etc.)
  • Landing pages optimized for conversions in order to get more leads and sell more
  • A human team specialized in strategy, analytics and automation that can keep our automation campaigns optimized.

Automating our business involves testing and testing new formulas to increase conversions. Good marketing automation is constantly updated, that is why you will see that there are more and more companies and professionals dedicated to the creation of funnels.

Marketing Automation Tools

As I mentioned earlier, marketing automation involves using different tools, not just the automation of actions and emails.

  • WordPress to attract organic traffic with a good content strategy.
  • Facebook Ads to capture qualified leads (mostly with clients).
  • InfusionSoft or Active Campaign to have CRM and automation in a single tool. We use InfusionSoft and with clients that have more than 25-30 thousand leads, we also use it. With the rest, we use Active Campaign.
  • Plus This or Leads Bridge to create personalized audiences on Facebook and automate other processes as a result of the actions of our clients with the emails we send. This is VERY powerful because we leave a “machinery” automatically that remarketing based on the actions of our leads through email campaigns.

Now, the marketing automation tools that we recommend are the following:

  • InfusionSoft. From 25-30 thousand leads, we recommend it. It has an initial set-up of $ 500 and up (depends on the initial import you need) and then it would be paid from $ 199 a month. You can only sign up through partners that assign you or that you are looking for. With this tool you will have:
    • Marketing automation to create funnels
    • CRM to manage your leads and clients
    • Email Marketing to send regular newsletter shipments
    • Online sales platform to have your leads, CRM and sales on a single platform
  • Active Campaign. Up to 20-25 thousand contacts you get profitable, then you can go even more expensive than InfusionSoft. It has CRM, Email Marketing and automation for funnels. I recommend it to start in the world of automation.
  • HubSpot. One of the first and most robust automation platforms. Their prices may not be for all types of companies but they offer CRM and automation.

Then you have other Email Marketing platforms that also offer automation (without CRM at the moment):

  • GetResponse has very affordable plans that include, in addition to Email Marketing and automation, a landing page system and a webinar platform. Without a doubt, it is a good alternative.
  • Benchmark Email is the platform that I have used most. It’s the one I had before InfusionSoft and offers marketing automation. Their plans are also very attractive and also have great support.

How to Create a Marketing Automation Campaign

To create a marketing automation campaign you will need to create a funnel with the steps that your potential client must take to become a customer.

What You Need to Create a Funnel

1. Define what you are going to sell and how you want to sell it

If you sell a digital product you have two options:

  • To contribute value and to sell first a tripwire (a digital product of 30 dollars or less). And then another product of 100 to 500 dollars.
  • Sell ​​a product directly from $ 100 to $ 500 after having contributed valuable content.

If you sell a service you also have two options:

  • Provide value and offer a free pre-filter session to sell the service on that same call.
Maria sells a consulting service for $ 1000 and has created a funnel through which she first shares 3 videos of value to her potential clients and then offers a free session to those who want advice. In the session, Maria will help the client and at the end, she will make her sales pitch. Each potential client costs $ 10 to Maria, however, out of every 100 potential clients who watch their videos, 25 ask for a free session and 5 become consulting clients. As you can see, Maria invests 1000 dollars and obtains a return of 5000 dollars. All this is done through a funnel.
  • Provide value and offer a low-cost service first and then sell one of higher value.
Maria has created a funnel to add value and then sell a 2-hour consulting session for $ 150. After sustaining the $ 150 session, Maria offers these same clients the option to switch to their $ 1000 consulting service for only $ 850 more.

As you can see Maria has the same goal in both funnels, which is to sell her consulting service for $ 1,000. However, using different funnels and methods to reach her goal.

2. Who are you going to sell it to?

After having clear what you will sell and how you will sell it, you will have to define the profile of the potential clients that you want to attract. For this exercise I recommend you think about the following:

  • What problems does your audience have and how can your product or service solve them?
  • Obstacles your audience has in their day to day
  • What your audience likes and does not like (interests)
  • What you read and who your audience admires
  • Who is your competition

With these questions, you can land a buyer of your potential customer. And this will help you create valuable content and especially to better segment your campaigns to capture leads.

Knowing the problems of your audience will also help you in your sales pitch.

Example of a Funnel for Marketing Automation

Below I share one of the most effective funnels for the sale of digital products and services.

What is Marketing Automation
What is Marketing Automation

To help you understand this funnel I will review with you each of the steps outlined in the previous graph.

  1. Paid traffic. The paid traffic consists of attracting visits to a web page through advertising campaigns. With advertising campaigns in search engines and social networks, we can carry traffic. BEWARE, you do not always have to invest in paid traffic, I have dozens of funnels that work daily with organic traffic.
  2. The recruitment is generated when users who come through advertising campaigns leave us their data to access the content of value or the offer that we promised. Basically, it is traffic.
  3. The first sale with an offer in this funnel is made immediately. In a habitual funnel, the user leaves his data in a landing page of a catchment. Then he is redirected to a page of thanks with the instructions to agree to the promised content. However, in this funnel, we changed the page of thanks for a sale page with a powerful offer.
  4. Delivery of the promised. As you saw, in this funnel the user receives a purchase proposal immediately, although at the same time he must have received the promised in his mail. In this way, we would be fulfilling the promise and taking advantage of a window to generate income. The delivery of the promised is usually done through emails. I recommend that before the user verify their desire to receive the promise and other content in the future (Double opt-in).
  5. Second sale with an offer. The last part of the funnel is to send an email only to users who did NOT buy the session with the first offer. As this is evident, we have to try again to sell the session with a new offer (remember that Maria announced that the offer of $ 75 would never be available again).

It is important that we must be honest and consistent with our messages and automation. Remember that marketing automation is not based on selling a single product or service, it is about selling several products and services to the same customer in a personalized and automated way.

This aggressive-effective funnel may work for you or may not. In our case, we only activate this funnel in specific times and sometimes we even add more emails with valuable content (articles, PDFs and videos) between step 4 and 5.

The Importance of Labels in Marketing Automation

As I mentioned in the fifth step of the previous funnel, with the tags it is easy to send segmented and personalized emails. Automation is based on labels.

We can use labels to:

  • Segment our list of leads
    • Where they come from (organic, paid or direct traffic)
    • In which state they are (cold lead, hot lead, interested lead, customer course X, customer course Y, etc.)
  • provoke a reaction
  • To measure conversions (KPIs)
  • To start or stop campaigns and funnels

In automation, we use labels to provoke reactions and generate immediate conversions in the medium-long term. It is better to have everything labeled if you want to make more personalized marketing.

Difference Between Lists and Labels

Many professionals confuse traditional email marketing lists with labels and that’s why I created a simple image that quickly sums up the difference.

What is Marketing Automation
Difference Between Lists and Labels

As you can see in the graph, the lists can be used to summarize types of clients, but with the labels, we can ideally segment our leads. For example, in InfusionSoft we do NOT use lists, but in Active Campaign, yes.

With the labels, we can send more personalized emails and only to interested users, and this is the magic of using marketing automation.

Example: How to Tag the Behavior of Your Leads

In one email, I am using three labels:

  • Tag “interest blogging” and “interest email mkt” for users who click on articles. With these tags, I can send emails to these people in the future. Imagine that I take an Email Marketing course, I do not have to send it to all my contacts, I only send it to those who have shown interest.
  • Tag “interest course of Fb Ads” to identify the users who tried to buy the course. In this way, I can send emails only to those users who did show interest. Many people leave the payment process halfway and with this label, I can recover clients.

Example: a Funnel to Sell Following a Label

To show you the potential of a label I will explain a funnel generated by the tag “interest course FB Ads”. I will review each step with you.

  • Users who click on the purchase link will go to the sales page
  • After 3 days, users will receive a reminder email because they showed interest in buying the product. But EYE, we are going to exclude the leads with the buyer label so that it only reaches the ones that interest us (the non-buyers).
  • Some of these users will go to the sales page and buy and we can assign the label “buyer course Fb ads”. If you use tools like Sam cart, you can automatically tag each new customer.
  • Many would end the funnel when the leads become clients but from experience, I recommend you keep the communication. You can send them more valuable and free content to build loyalty. I even like to give them surprises gifts.
  • A few days later, send an email from upselling to sell something related to the users who opened the previous emails.

The Triggers in Marketing Automation

As you’ve seen in the previous funnel, I used triggers (if they open emails) and automation elements (counters) to mount my funnel. Depending on the automation tool you will have more or fewer triggers. The most interesting thing is that we can combine triggers to make automation more personalized.

The Triggers and Elements That We Use the Most

I will share some triggers and elements that I use in automation with clients. But first I want you to understand the difference between triggers and elements.


  • Click on link
  • Opening or not opening an email
  • Subscription in form or list


  • Wait until X time (minutes, hours, days)
  • Notify email and send lead information

Keep in mind that automation is logical, that’s why many programmers are so good at automation.

I give you examples:

  • If a user registers in a form then we put a label or send an email
  • If it has the label “X” and the label “Y” then we send a reminder email
  • when you remove the “buyer” tag then we remove the access to the online course
  • We wait 5 minutes and if you remove the label “buyer” then we send you an email to update your payment method

Summing Up Marketing Automation

This is one of the longest articles I’ve written and the ones I’ve enjoyed the most. I wanted to share with you the wonderful and fantastic world of automation. I recommend you to follow the next articles because I will share more cases, real examples and above all more techniques and related resources.

To summarize everything that I have shared, I leave you some sentences:

  • Automation is not about selling more, it is about attracting more potential customers and making marketing more personalized.
  • Automation is within reach of many because there are tools such as Active Campaign with plans from $ 9.
  • To implement good marketing automation strategies we will need several tools.
  • The labels are the star functionality of the automation and through them, we can activate funnels and improve our conversions.
  • We do not have to mount a mega funnel, we can start with small funnels.
  • If we do not have enough organic traffic we will have to invest to boost our capture of leads.
  • The triggers and automation elements help us to optimize our funnels.

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