When you hear the phrase “marketing automation,” you may picture a computer replacing the need for a marketing team, automatically performing the tasks marketing professionals get paid to do every day. While that might be a cool idea (as long as you’re not a marketing professional), it’s not actually what happens when you start implementing this tool.
So, what does effective marketing automation look like? If you’re searching for a way to streamline your marketing efforts and respond instantly to customer interactions with your brand online, utilizing marketing automation may be just the right solution.
What is Marketing Automation?
In a nutshell, marketing automation is a tool that identifies where your prospects are in the sales funnel so you can provide them with relevant content at just the right time. And it’s extremely useful for nurturing quality leads to become paying customers. It’s not a tool for spamming people, and it’s not about sending out unsolicited, generic email blasts. Good marketing automation is centered on the needs and desires of your customers and prospects, and it takes their evolving needs into account every step of the way.
Email is a popular platform for marketing automation, but it certainly isn’t your only option. Automation software makes it possible for you to implement this genius strategy across multiple digital marketing channels, including social media. Having multiple points of reference about a lead’s online behavior can give you a better idea of their needs and interests. Then, you can provide them with content that relates to those topics.
Automation in Action
Good marketing automation does more than just send a delayed email when someone clicks on a link you sent them — it uses context about who leads are and what they care about to provide prospects with a good experience.
An example email workflow might look like this:
- You send an email invitation to download a free PDF guide to a targeted list of contacts.
- You send a thank-you note to everyone who downloaded the offer.
- A few days later, you send a follow-up email to the list of people who downloaded the guide, offering them a blog post on the same topic.
- Finally, when someone clicks the email link to your blog post, your sales team gets notified so they can follow up with them, since this person is now much more qualified and are more likely to buy.
Putting yourself in the shoes of your prospects, wouldn’t you much rather receive communication like this over generic email blasts you know have been sent to thousands of people? Even though the emails are automated, they are much more personal and catered to the readiness of the recipient. Personalization helps build trust, and people are more likely to buy from companies they feel are trustworthy.
How Can Marketing Automation Benefit Your Business?
The reason many marketers are turning to automation is simple: those who use marketing automation tend to outperform those who don’t. According to a study done by the Aberdeen Group, Best-in-Class marketers are 67% more likely to use a marketing automation platform, and 87% of top-performing marketing firms use this technology.
When used wisely, marketing automation has the potential to transform your marketing process and results. The goal of automation is to streamline workflows, make them more efficient, and measure their results. These benefits are not just for marketing teams but are for sales teams, too. Automation identifies leads more effectively, making for a smoother transition between marketing and sales.
While marketing automation is a great tool for generating new leads, it is also just as beneficial for nurturing the leads and customers that have already begun making their way through the sales funnel. Setting up automated engagement campaigns is a great way to continue generating interest from those who have already demonstrated curiosity or enthusiasm about your business.
Automation allows you to focus your sales efforts on leads that show the most engagement e.g. interest in your brand. Using lead scoring, a valuable tool within any quality marketing automation system, enables your sales team to sort leads by a scoring system that ranks the most engaged leads by numerical score. They can spend more time pursuing warm leads while allowing cold leads to warm up over time.
How to Know if Marketing Automation is Right for You
With growth, sometimes it becomes difficult to maintain the same level of one-to-one connection with customers manually. In situations like these, marketing automation is useful for cultivating relationships with large numbers of people already in the sales funnel.
While the potential results of marketing automation are enticing, it’s important to identify what goals you hope to achieve before you get started. This involves first identifying where your leads and prospects are in the buying process. At its core, marketing automation should be viewed as a personalization tool that guides people through the sales journey you create for them.
Marketing automation does not replace the need for steady top-of-the-funnel content that consistently draws in new leads. Instead, it complements your inbound marketing strategy, giving you more information about your customers’ needs and interests so that you can continue providing content that engages them. Marketing automation is most successful when you already have a large database of people to market to, so it’s important to have a strategy for generating new leads.
If you’re unsure of how to get started using marketing automation, or if you’re looking to accelerate your digital marketing strategy, consider reaching out to the pros. Deal Design is dedicated to providing our clients with the best custom digital marketing solutions.