Among the buzzwords we’re hearing a lot lately is one most of us may not really understand: Marketing Automation.
It seems like every marketer on the planet is in love with the idea of reducing the effort involved in getting a message out to their prospects, and clearing a lot of duplicated effort at the same time – and marketing automation is definitely a good way to achieve both those goals.
Marketing Automation refers to a set of tools used to take on many of the marketer’s usual tasks, and make them easier for a potential customer to interact with in a way that’s meaningful – while reducing the business’ overall expenses, time investments, and costs. These tools can automatically send information on a broad (public) schedule, or very narrow (per-client or per-visitor) timeline.
Seems like a bit of a pipe dream, doesn’t it? Well – there are a few clear ways that marketing automation adds value to your communications and sales streams, that you might not immediately think of.
How does marketing automation add value?
1.) Marketing automation allows you to use a different, more personal voice.
This is what most people end up surprised about. Automation being more personal? It can be – by delivering messages automatically, for example via email on a timeline you determine, you can write those messages as if they’ll only ever be seen by that one, specific recipient. Rather than speaking to the crowd on the street, you’re now talking to a friend in their living room.
2.) Capitalize on reusable content, so its effective life is much longer.
When you launch an ad, or place a coupon in your local paper, that coupon’s lifespan is pretty short. You’ve spent time designing it to be appealing, and to provide useful information… But once launched, it’s done – it’s gone – and you’ll never really be able to use exactly the same coupon again.
Because of the way marketing automation works, when you write a series of email messages to follow your visitor’s initial interest, every new visitor who enters the system will see – and benefit from – each message. Whether that’s a day, or a month, or a year after your initial investment in creating that content.
3.) Reduce errors – no more “oops” moments
If you were to manually send every email to every visitor who expressed interest in your offerings – especially those long series of lead-nurturing emails, white papers and eBooks we hear so much about lately – there’s a huge amount of room for error. By automating the process, you’re ensuring that each person who expresses interest in a given track of information receives it in an appropriate order, at the right time – without requiring your input or attention.
4.) Make everything trackable – and we mean everything.
The web is really good at recording information… If you set it up to do so. Marketing automation tools aid this substantially, by allowing for better context when tracking micro-conversions – which will help you understand how people are using the information you’re publishing, and moving through the buyer’s journey towards a macro-conversion, such as buying a product or scheduling a consultation.
5.) Strong use of automation allows for – and promotes revisions and quick iteration of ideas.
We talked about how important this is last week. Moving out of static, project-based web design and online marketing is a key part of preparing for new tools, changes in user behaviour, and growth over time. Automation helps with this process by requiring you to break down what kinds of actions you want your visitors to take – and by giving you the feedback necessary to improve those actions over time.
Bonus Point – If you’re reading this, you’re probably ahead of the curve.
Reports from Autopilot and VentureBeat – respected authorities in this area – suggest that only about 4% of US businesses with 20 or more employees use any kind of marketing automation software. While that’s just one country, and the landscape there is very different than ours here in Winnipeg, it’s a good indication that there’s still lots of room for early adopters to get the most of this practice.
Investment in marketing automation is on the rise – but it’s still not too common among smaller businesses. Now is definitely the time to get in ahead of the crowd.
If you want to learn more about marketing automation, check out HubSpot’s rather large library of automation information – you won’t be disappointed!
Source: Hello BLOG