“Marketing Automation”… what’s the first thing that comes to mind? No, it’s not some kind weird niche or specialised type of marketing for cars…
‘Marketing Automation’ has become quite the buzzword of late, why? Well, it’s nothing new, it’s been around for a long time, however, it’s never been quite as good or quite as ‘controllable’ as it is now.
So… what is Marketing Automation? In short, it’s about using software to automate marketing activities. But not simply to automate an email going out or post something to social media (which is also certainly possible), but to communicate tailored and personalised marketing content to the right people, through the right platforms, on the right devices and at the right time. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier.
First things first, a few FAQ’s
Because, more often than not, there’s no ‘top of the funnel’ processes in place to support ‘middle of the funnel’ automation. Businesses won’t have what’s needed for an effective marketing automation strategy until they have a steady flow of incoming ‘top of the funnel’ leads to work on. Too many businesses without inbound lead generation strategies spend their time figuring out how to squeeze what they can out of an existing database of contacts. While they’re doing that, competition is figuring out how to get more out of the market that’s still untapped.
Don’t invest in marketing automation before you have fertile ground for nurturing campaigns to blossom.
Typical (boring) marketing automation often refers to triggering emails based on actions taken by the recipient, like email opens and clicks for example. However, is an email click alone enough information to execute a personalised lead nurturing strategy? Answer… No!
Marketing automation strategies that offer limited data often result in bad marketing automation. You need good context about your leads and who they are/what they’re interested in to give prospects a good experience.
Marketing automation backed by a good, reliable inbound strategy is centred around the prospect/customer. Inbound marketing automation uses all the data we know about a person to inform the automation strategy, so we deliver the information they need, exactly when they need it, in the place they’re looking for it.
Good marketing automation takes into account the evolving requirements of your prospects/leads, and the behaviours and interactions they have with you across all of your marketing channels/platforms (not just email). Using behavioural inputs from multiple channels, viewing a pricing page for example, or consuming a particular piece of content through social, gives businesses the context they need to fully understand a lead’s challenges.
If you’re putting out good content, running good advertising campaigns and generating a steady flow of new leads, and you’re ready to scale your efforts, chances are it’s time to get involved in a good marketing automation strategy that will nurture those leads into paying customers.
Here are some good questions to ask yourself when deciding if marketing automation is the right move for your business:
- Are you generating a steady flow of new leads?
- Has Marketing and Sales agreed on what conversations should happen with who?
- Do you have a content strategy mapped to your buyer’s journey?
- Are you tracking your prospects ‘digital footprint’ across every touchpoint and marketing channel (not just email)?
- Do you have a proven lead nurturing strategy that you want to scale?
You don’t need to be ticking every box next to each of these questions, but if you’re ticking at least three that include question 1, then now is the time to include automation in your marketing strategy.
The key here is understanding that marketing automation does not do marketing for you, but can help scale your efforts.
Now, let’s talk specifically about the benefits of having a marketing automation strategy in place.
- Personalised marketing strategy
- Track leads
- Maximize conversion rates
- Generate analytical reports
- Free up task force
Personalised marketing strategy.
The entire lead nurturing process should be personalised, for example, did someone read a social media post about sales conferences? Maybe your lead nurturing email campaign invites them to a sales conference your business is hosting.
This way your leads get personalised messaging and you can track their engagement. This will also help with lead scoring.
Lead scoring, the process of ranking your most valuable leads within your marketing strategy, can be seamlessly managed through marketing automation.
By gearing your marketing automation to automatically alert you to qualified leads that have the potential to become qualified, you can make necessary changes that make the most out of your leads. This also saves your business the time that would have been spent analysing the leads.
Maximize conversion rates.
Take your marketing automation even further by using your tracked leads to retarget visitors who ended up not converting. Marketing automation software can be designed to retarget visitors in an effort to re-engage and convert into paying customers.
Generate analytical reports.
In addition to tracking your conversion rates, most marketing automation platforms can generate analytical reports that help your team discover the areas that are doing well and the areas of your marketing strategy that could use improvement.
Marketing automation platforms has built-in, high-quality analytic reporting systems to help you clearly evaluate your over-all performance, accurately.
Free up your task force.
The last but most important benefit of using marketing automation is how it can open up your team to work on other areas of your business.
Without marketing automation, your team will end up spending considerable amounts of time on manually managing messages, leads, analytics and the many other marketing elements that your marketing automation platform could be doing for you. Not only that, but it prevents inconsistencies in each of your touchpoints making sure that your prospects experience a seamless, sales nurturing process.
These are just some of the benefits of marketing automation and we’ve barely scratched the surface here of what’s possible. Marketing automation offers your business numerous benefits that can ultimately help your business scale if your business is at that stage.
Marketing automation, done properly, is hard. The automation platforms can be complex and the setup/integration process daunting as it needs to all be aligned seamlessly with all of your prospects/customer touchpoints across all aspects of your business.
With that said, don’t let it put you off. With the popularity of marketing automation today, there are plenty of ‘how to’s’ and tutorials readily available online that can get you started. Also (and here comes the sales pitch), we can help too ;o)
If you feel that now is the time your business needs a marketing strategy or even if you just want to find out more about how it can help you scale your business, get in touch.
Automate Everything! ;o)
This blog article was also published on our subsidiary website, Cakecrumbs.