What is Marketing Automation?
You are hearing these words be spoken and written about everywhere you go, everywhere you click and every page you browse.
You hear other businesses are implementing it and seeing great results.
You find yourself nodding and smiling or listening intently to pick up on any catch phrase that will help you understand this growing phenomenon that is called “Marketing Automation.”
The question that everyone is asking these days is “what is marketing automation?” Here is our definition of marketing automation:
Marketing Automation is the use of a software to automate your marketing strategies such as managing and segmenting leads from sources, email campaigns, following up with leads/customers and customer retention (to name a few).
Many businesses have made it a part of their marketing to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media marketing, follow-ups and more in order to avoid time spent on tedious tasks that can be automated.
With marketing automation, you save time, make processes more efficient and streamline operations to give you more time to focus on selling and driving in more leads and customers.
The key to utilizing the technology of marketing automation is finding the right software that fits your needs. A core component of a good marketing automation software is that a business can execute their marketing from one platform, instead of trying to manage from multiple applications.
What is Your Marketing Process?
As a business is growing, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain that one-on-one relationship with each and every customer that has called, stepped into your store or made a purchase from you.
Marketing automation is helping you maintain that relationship without you spending more time or forgetting to do. Every lead is valuable to a business. You spent all that time, money and energy into driving that lead in and converting them into a customer, but now what are you doing to ensure they continue being your customer?
Have you implemented a proper follow-up or customer retention process?
Lets say you sold your customer the Widget 2001 and a year later, you want to follow up with them to see if they are now interested in upgrading to the Widget 3001 – how will you be able to pull up every customers purchase date and send an email on every customers one year purchase anniversary?
This is where marketing automation comes in.
Marketing automation is made up of many different components that when combined make for one very powerful marketing machine. Marketing automation connects multiple marketing channels including email marketing, social media and landing pages.
The main goal of marketing automation is to track and nurture leads for the long-term.
Every lead that comes in should not be seen as a short-term conquest to convert that lead to a customer. Every lead should be nurtured a relationship should be built for the long-haul.
Lets think about it, you sold that amazing widget to customer A – great work! Customer A goes out for dinner with potential Leads B, C and D and they start talking about widgets that they have used. With Marketing Automation, even after you sold that widget to Customer A, you still keep in touch, send tips on how to use the widget properly, coupons, referral codes and other helpful tips.
Now while at dinner, Customer A will surely mention the amazing widget that they got from you and the great customer service. Now let’s look at this another way. Customer A goes out for dinner with potential Leads B, C and D and they start talking about widgets. Customer A says that they have a widget but aren’t sure how to use it properly and to be honest, they don’t quite remember the name of the place that they got it from.
Without you giving your customers a reason to remember you, why would they? You need to make it part of your marketing to stay top of mind with all of your customers, contacts and leads (especially those who haven’t bought that widget from you yet).
Marketing Automation Does Not Mean Robots are Taking Over Your Business
Marketing automation can still allow your business to offer the “personal touch” service. How you asked?
Let me tell you.
Marketing automation allows you to send personalized, targeted messages and emails to your customers. During the automation process, you can integrate personalization techniques so every message sent will be personalized for each and every customer (for example, “Hi Jessica” or “Jessica, this offer is just for you!”).
With marketing automation, you will be able to send targeted messages based on a customers purchase behavior, significant dates like birthdays, a leads interests and more.
What is Your Customers Sales Life Cycle?
Every business has a different type of customer life cycle or sales pipeline. For example, a customer may have found your business through search, social media or through your blog.
The path to convert that website lead into a customer is unique for every business.
So what if you could define that path and set up automated processes to ensure that lead is moving along the right path and not stuck in that pesky fork in the road?
Lets face it, every business owner or manager gets busy, forgets to do their phone calls for the day or send out that follow-up email. It gets very difficult to manually chase down every single lead.
But what if there was a system that did all of this for you? (This is where I imagine a bright light shining down from the skies with the lovely sound of “aahhhhh” – come to the light, you know you want to).
Take a Different Approach to your Marketing
Marketing automation will help you think differently about your sales process and about your leads.
With marketing automation, you will be able to segment and categorize your leads and customers based on purchase behaviours, demographic details, source and more.
You are probably thinking, why is this important?
It is important because these days you can’t send out the same email to every single lead that you have had stored for the past 3 years.
You need to target your marketing and your messages for your leads. For example, send out an email offer for 10% off your first purchase to all of those leads that came through the website but never did make a purchase. And at the same time, send out a customer appreciation day email to all of your customers that have made a purchase in the past, offering them 10% off their next purchase.
See how I did that?
I created two separate emails with the same offer, but I changed the wordings to target each group. A new customer will take advantage of the 10% off their first purchase and for your existing customers, who doesn’t like a day to appreciate them?
Marketing automation lets you get creative.
Before, when you thought about being creative with your marketing, you saw dollar signs because you thought the only way to be creative is by spending a lot on tv commercials, print ads and mail outs. Well not anymore.
Now you can be creative with your marketing to your customers and test out different variables to see which works best for your business and your customers.
You can automatically test different variables like email send times, subject headings, body content, different offers and more.
Marketing automation is all about the software and finding the right application for your business.
Your goal as a business is to use this software to grow your potential leads, build your email list and increase the customer retention rate.
How do you know which software will do all of this for your business?
How will you know which marketing automation is right for your business?
There are many different types of marketing automation software out there. Check out our article on Selecting the Right Marketing Automation Software for Your Business.
Hope I was able to shine some light on the topic of Marketing Automation so you can see the potential it has for your business.
Regardless of the industry, size of your business, number of employees – every business needs leads, customers and sales.
And nowadays, that sign on your door or that flyer you send out every 6 months is just not going to help you stay competitive or help you keep the lights on.
Take a hold of your business, get creative and drive in your own leads and retain your customers for the long haul.