What Is Marketing Automation software?
Marketing automation is the use of software and web-based applications to automate repetitive tasks and processes. It essentially helps marketers create more personalised experiences and improve efficiency. Consider email marketing and automated responses after you sign up to receive a company newsletter or download an eBook. Or scheduling social media posts across multiple channels on a preferred date and time.
What to consider before automating your marketing?
Marketing automation combines strategic thinking with software to nurture prospects. The goal is to deliver highly personalised content to prospects and convert them to customers.
Nurturing leads is like growing a garden.
You need to prepare the soil in advance… think of this as your marketing automation strategy. After you have prepared your strategy, you need seeds to sow – your content. Then for those seeds to flourish and become paying customers, they must be cared for.
A marketing automation strategy should not consider a customer as an end of funnel converted lead. Instead, customers should be at the centre of an inbound marketing flywheel. The flywheel creates an experience based on every individual’s needs. And in turn when you integrate marketing automation with an inbound marketing strategy you send highly targeted content to your audience.
Frequently Asked Questions About Marketing Automation
What does good marketing automation look like?
Good marketing automation sends information that is relevant to your audience. It does this at a time and frequency so you don’t annoy contacts and cause them to opt-out.
For example, an automated email workflow could look like:
- You send an email to a targeted list of contacts to download your latest eGuide.
- Everyone that downloaded the eGuide receives a thank you email.
- A few days later a follow-up email is sent to those who downloaded the eGuide, offering them a case study relating to the guide’s topic.
- Your sales team is notified when someone downloads the case study because of their higher level of interest and personally follows up with them.
Good marketing automation considers the evolving needs of your leads and their interactions with you across all of your marketing channels. Not just email.
Why does marketing automation fail?
For automation to succeed, there needs to be a foundation in place to support middle-of-the-funnel marketing automation.
Marketers need a steady flow of leads to create effective marketing workflows. Without an inbound lead generation strategy, they struggle to attract and nurture new leads. Instead, they focus too much on existing customers without asking: Do I have enough leads in my database to meet my revenue goals? How will I attract and engage with new leads to keep my flywheel turning?
What does bad marketing automation look like?
There’s more to automating your marketing than triggering an email based on an action taken. To execute a personalized lead nurturing strategy, marketers need context about who their prospect is and what their interests are. With limited data, they cannot give them a good experience.
When should you invest in marketing automation?
Consider a marketing automation strategy if you regularly publish content that generates a steady flow of new, organic leads and you want to scale your efforts. This will help you nurture quality leads into paying customers with less effort.
When deciding if automation is right for your business, ask:
- Am I generating a steady flow of new and qualified leads?
- Does my content strategy support my buyer’s journey?
- Are Marketing and Sales touchpoints clearly defined?
- Am I keeping track of my leads at every touchpoint and marketing channel, not just email?
- Is my lead nurturing strategy working and ready to scale?
How do I choose the best platform for my business?
It’s important to focus on your resources and long-term goals when considering an automated solution. Automation can simplify everyday tasks, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of digital marketing. It needs the right amount of effort and investment to deliver the desired results.
Some points to consider when researching automation platforms are:
- Does the platform have the tools and features needed to support your automated communication needs – email, social media, digital advertising, blogging, webinars, SMS and more
- Is it easy to use? Is the interface intuitive and the platform scalable?
- Will it integrate with a CRM so marketing and sales teams can work in unison to nurture leads and close deals?
- What is the cost and what level of support is included in the fee?
Before making a decision, review options and ask questions until you are satisfied. Then settle on a provider and platform that will help you meet your growth goals.
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