Ever wondered what marketing automation is and is it worth the effort? The answers are below. (spoiler alert: It can blow up your business)
Marketing automation is your secret weapon to blasting past the competition. When done right, it can explode your lead generation and business growth.
If you're not in the marketing automation game yet, don't worry. It's not too late. But I wouldn't wait much longer. If you're reading this article, then you're ready to get started. You won't regret it.
Marketing is expected to contribute heavily to revenue growth for companies this year, according to the 2018 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey Report.
For example, 63% of participants said their revenue would grow by 20% this year, and 45% pegged over a quarter of those revenues being attributed to marketing efforts.
However, in order to attract quality leads and keep conversion rates high, it’s incredibly important to streamline your marketing strategy. The best way to do this is with marketing automation, which can save you a lot of time and money.
What is Marketing Automation?
Overall, marketing automation refers to a variety of software options that can automate aspects of your marketing process and strategy. This can include automated email campaigns, social media campaigns and website features.
Since sending countless emails or posting on social media can quickly become repetitive, marketing automation software is a great time-saver that frees up your marketing team for other tasks.
So why use marketing automation? Because it become a standard need in 2018, and is incredibly important to help your marketing team focus their efforts where they’ll have the most impact. Consequently, that leads to more sales and more revenue.
Next, we'll discuss some marketing automation benefits.
3 Key Benefits of Marketing Automation
So why use marketing automation? Below are three key benefits to consider when deciding whether to integrate marketing automation into your marketing strategy.
These benefits can make or break your bottom line. After all, marketing automation has been proven to save money and time, create new leads, close sales and boost revenue when used correctly.
Can you afford not to implement marketing automation when your competition might already be taking advantage of the benefits?
1. It Saves Time and Money
One of the key benefits of marketing automation is the time and money it saves.
Freeing up your marketing team from repetitive tasks like scouting leads, getting contact information, social media upkeep and email campaigns can make a huge difference to your payroll and your revenue.
Instead of worrying about performing these tasks over and over, your team can use their time to qualify leads, create valuable relationships and close sales.
2. It Creates New Leads
Marketing automation software comes with many features, and one of the most popular is lead generation (check out the top lead generation ideas for small businesses here). Email marketing, web forms and landing pages make it easy to create new leads and move them through the sales funnel.
Take this scenario for example:
A potential lead searches for a product or service on the web, which meets the criteria of your offering. A targeted advertisement appears, or perhaps your website appears at the top of the search list.
The lead will then click through to your site, and see a deliverable or other item available if they provide their contact information on a web form. The web form then automatically scores leads and even drops them into different email campaigns, depending on the complexity of your software and marketing goals!
The above example can be fully automated. In addition, by split testing, the process can be optimized to obtain the highest potential conversion rate.
All of the action around creating a new lead happened with minimal interaction from your marketing team. Without the automation software, your marketing team may not have ever received the lead or been bogged down by attempting to contact them through multiple channels. With automated software that attracts leads, your marketing team can focus on vetting the leads instead.
3. It Can Help Close Sales & Boost Revenue
Marketing automation software isn’t just for generating leads. In addition, various touch-points in the marketing software are designed to move the prospective client through your sales funnel, nurturing the lead and resulting in a sale. Sales marketing automation is a huge benefit. It can be done in a variety of ways that depend on your marketing goals.
Whether it’s through relevant content delivered to their inbox or another call-to-action, your marketing automation software can make nurturing your lead easier than ever.
Examples of Marketing Automation Software
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of using marketing automation software, it’s important to discuss some of the available options out there. You can find our complete recommendation list in this article.
The options range from CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software to best practices for content and websites through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and everywhere in between!
Also, don't forget to check out our guide on some of the best marketing automation courses and training here.
Let's look at some quick examples of software that could revolutionize your marketing game.
1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
CRM software has become a staple for most sales teams, offering customization filters and displays to keep track of relevant information about a customer. Everything from previous interactions, buying history, orders, service issues and even social media likes and details are view-able on CRMs.
Furthermore, most CRM software allows for simple and accurate forecasting of the sales history and can even predict new leads coming in based on past data.
Every step from initial inquiry to an actual sale is recorded in the CRM, allowing businesses to tweak their approach and address issues quickly and efficiently.
Finally, CRMs offer a place to store and quickly reference everything about a customer there is to know. Rather than relying on handwritten notes or computer files from multiple departments or contacts and letting phone calls, emails or messages fall through the cracks, all contacts is kept in one place.
CRMs aren’t just for sales either. They can be used for supply-chain management, employee management and more. Depending on a users industry, a customized CRM is most likely available for a relatively low cost. For example, Salesforce is a very popular CRM that a lot of companies swear by.
For teams that rely on lots of apps to get their various workflows complete, Zapier is a wonderful option. This software links and automates functions through some of your most-used business apps, like Gmail, Dropbox, Slack and more. It also connects blog and website hosts like WordPress, and even social media accounts such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and more.
An example of using Zapier is setting a trigger for when you get a new email. You can then set a function to copy the email to Dropbox, and then notify you in slack that a new email was received. This could then even trigger more events, allowing you to automate your processes.
The key benefit of Zapier is connecting the various moving parts of your marketing strategy and automating them. This assists you in streamlining work processes for maximum productivity. One of the best parts of using Zapier is that it does not require a lot of technical expertise to use.
3. Automated Email Lists
Automated email campaign software like MailChimp or ActiveCampaign are popular with many sales-based businesses that rely on email marketing. With this software, you create an email campaign that automates the next marketing message to go out in timed intervals.
By uploading your contact list of desired leads, you’ll move them effortlessly through the sales funnel of your marketing campaign without the hassle of sending multiple emails over and over again. Read more about the benefits of automated email marketing here.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Practices
Implementing an SEO strategy is a priority for most businesses. The goal is to rank high in Google for specific keywords that can lead to more sales.
An SEO strategy is particularly important for automated lead generation, as searchers will usually click through options towards the top of the list of Google and be taken to respective product or service pages. When a page ranks towards the top of the list, has an optimized title, and great content, the website will experience a higher click-through rate and more sales.
If you're a small business owner and new to SEO, here's a great guide on implementing an SEO strategy.
The exact algorithm for page rankings on Google is closely guarded to prevent manipulation. However, there are several practices to ensure your page ranks higher. Website host sites like WordPress have built-in plugins to analyze keyword usage and SEO. These plugins can also flag problem areas..
Investing in Google AdWords is another easy way to automate lead generation. AdWords places ads in strategic locations that promote click-through. One form of AdWords is a sponsored click-through link that appears at the very top of the search result page when a user searches for a related product or service.
Other placements include along the top of websites, in mobile apps, Youtube videos and even unskippable commercials on web content. AdWords is perfect for putting your product or service right in front of your target customer. In essence, AdWords can help lead to new leads and higher click-through rates, interaction, and purchases.
For companies and firms using Google AdWords, Facebook Ads is another incredible option to consider. Facebook Ads works in the same way that Google AdWords does. However, you can get access to sites that Google cannot access. This includes sponsored posts on Facebook and on Instagram, the popular social media site.
Depending on the demographic of your target customer, social media advertisement is great for lead generation. Prospective clients will see your ad and potential take your call to action..
The marketing automation benefits we discussed can increase your bottom line. When used correctly, marketing automation software like the examples listed above can generate quality leads with minimal effort, nurture leads and carry clients through the sales funnel.
Best of all, marketing teams can free up their time to focus on building quality relationships, tweaking existing campaigns for maximum effectiveness and creating new content and campaigns designed to fulfill the needs of their target customer.