By Diane Saeger
In a world full of Instagram, Snapchat, email, video, and more, connecting with your customers can be overwhelming and exhausting. Where do you start? Where do you end? And what do you do in the middle?
Fortunately, there’s a solution—marketing automation—that makes the marketing process much more personalized and efficient.
Defining Marketing Automation
In short, marketing automation software eliminates the repetitive, time-consuming tactics of connecting with your customers.
Let’s explore it through this scenario. You just created a new ebook that your prospects and customers all must read. You upload it to a landing page on your website and require a name/email to download. Then you invite people to access it via an email campaign.
As you hoped, many people start visiting the page to download the ebook. Email after email fills your inbox, and one by one you click reply to send the document. Three hours later, you finish sending your emails and now sit and hope each recipient opened your email and the ebook.
To be certain, you decide to send another email one week later to each person who requested the ebook, asking if they’d respond to you by saying (1) if they got your earlier email and (2) if they opened the attachment. Then, depending on their response, you prep one message to those who merely opened your first email and compose a separate email to those who opened both your email and the ebook.
All the while, your other work piles up around you as you focus your attention on this one project. Sounds productive, right?
Marketing automation allows you to build and assign all the marketing pieces up front, so that you can—like the Ronco Rotisserie Cooker—“set it and forget it.” In this scenario, the software would track who opens and clicks your emails and automatically send your pre-determined responses based on user activity. It also manages associated social media tasks, blog posts, and other website activities.
Promised Benefits to Marketing Automation
In addition to increasing your personal productivity, marketing automation software offers several other benefits:
1. Right Message, Right Time. No more blasting your customers with mass emails and hoping the message resonates with a few people. Instead, marketing automation allows you to send highly personalized emails to targeted lists that address your customers’ specific needs. With the right message at the right time, you can nurture your customers through the sales funnel, ultimately gaining more trust and generating revenue.
2. Pass Along the Right Leads. Marketing automation lets the customer define the sales cycle based on their actions, not on arbitrary dates. By scoring leads based on user activities and using a customer relationship management integration, you can pass highly qualified leads onto your sales team.
3. Easily Create Content. Most marketing automation systems give you one easy platform to quickly create emails, landing pages, workflows, lists, blogs and even social media posts. By having everything in one place, you as a marketer have more time to build the strategy behind your content marketing efforts. Get a bird’s eye view of your marketing campaigns in order to target your customers with content based on their behavior. Give your customers and prospects the information they need—how and when they want it.
Potential Drawbacks to Marketing Automation
Marketing automation can be both helpful and overwhelming, and it’s not a fit for everyone. Here are few thoughts to consider while considering marketing automation for your business:
1. Consider Your Goals. Just because someone else is running marketing automation software, doesn’t mean you should jump off the bridge too. Be sure to compare it against your own marketing goals—as well as your current company size and marketing programs. Ensure it’s a right fit for the things you’re trying to accomplish.
2. Make a Plan. Sounds obvious, but sometimes the shiny new object distracts us from these. Create a plan for generating new leads and getting them into your database. Marketing automation won’t have a positive impact on your business until you have a consistent flow of new leads each month.
3. Test, Test, Test. Before making the investment of time and resources, be sure to try out the product before you implement. Request trials of your targeted software and be certain what it might actually take for you and your team to successfully implement each platform.