Today, marketing automation is much more than a buzzword; it’s an effective lead generation tool that helps nurture prospects and create customers. The odds are that you have been the willing participant of a marketing automation strategy. Once you clicked a link for more information in an email, social media post, online banner ad or mobile campaign, your information has been captured for lead nurturing, and the process begins.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation usually refers to a software/process that helps improve the lead capture and conversions. Typically, this is accomplished through data capture, automated marketing actions, and lead scoring.
From awareness through post-purchase, a successful marketing automation strategy targets prospects/buyers across all stages of the purchasing funnel.
The choices of automation software are seemingly limitless with myriad platforms offering marketers the opportunity to engage prospects based on insights gleaned from specific online behaviors. These solutions offer the marketer the ability to utilize these insights and deploy messaging to better resonate with the prospect based on their individual interests.
How Does Marketing Automation Work?
Marketing automation utilizes in-depth tools to help refine the marketing process. It utilizes lead capture methods and behavior tracking to generate touchpoints designed with a prospect’s needs in mind. With customized messaging, a marketer can hone in on the driving forces that lead to conversions. The marketing capabilities of most automation platforms include some or all of the below:
Email: Automated Email Responses, Personalized Emails, and Outbound Emails
Online Marketing: Dynamic Content, Landing Pages, Forms and Search Tracking/Optimization
Lead Management: CRM Lead Integration, Behavior Tracking, Lead Nurturing, Lead Scoring, Segmentation, and Database
Campaign Management: Event/Webinar, Calendar System, Budget Allocation
Social: Ads, Sharing, Listening and Engagement
Reporting: ROI, Revenue, and SEO
The Benefits of Automation
Automation can help organizations improve campaign targeting and segmentation, offer systems that improve time savings and align cross-team marketing and sales efforts throughout the business.
An exciting feature of many marketing automation solutions is the ability to utilize lead scoring tools to evaluate prospects. This tool offers a marketing team the ability to ensure that the best prospects are identified quickly and efficiently, which in turn allows the sales team to focus on the highest value prospects more expeditiously. Additionally, behavior analysis allows the marketing team to deploy email campaigns with greater engagement and results.
In short, marketing automation offers the intel the modern marketer requires to increase market share, drive sales and increase ROI.
How to Get Started
Organize Your Contacts: Cull contact data from your existing lists, including email lists, spreadsheets, address books and business cards.
Review Your Analytics: Evaluate who your current website visitors are, where they are from, what devices do they use and how they navigate your site. You can leverage this data to ensure that your website, landing pages, and forms are designed appropriately to garner the best results.
Deploy Form Fill Campaigns: Create campaigns across social media, special landing pages, and your website to drive your prospects to a form fill. Offer a white paper, an ebook, an industry report, checklists, strategy sessions, demos, how-to tips and more to entice users to want to engage with your brand. You are an expert in your industry – showcase your knowledge.
Build Your Database: Build your database from your current lists and form-fill data and keep them coming.
Launch Email Campaign: Create automated and personalized emails using the data gleaned from your prospects engagements with your brand’s landing pages, form fills and website to increase conversions and ROI.
Marketing automation helps improve communication and customer experience and can help ensure higher satisfaction and retention.
How to Select a Marketing Automation Platform
The selection of the right platform can seem a bit daunting with such a wide range of solutions from which to choose. There are some review sites and blogs that offer insight into the options.
One particularly in-depth website that offers analysis of over 100 platforms is g2crowd.com. You can utilize the comparison tool to view multiple platforms and read reviews. Once you have narrowed down your options based on functionality and price, scheduling demos from your top contenders will be helpful to making a decision.
If your current lead generation strategy is stale and your team is wasting time pursuing low-value or even improbable prospects, then your brand would reap benefits from a well-executed marketing automation program.