You may have heard the term marketing automation buzzing around over the past couple of years. It seems to be one of those “buzzy” terms that get tossed about in marketing blogs and guides as the next big thing for your business. But what exactly is marketing automation? Today we are going to take a look at one of the newest “old” trends in digital marketing, and how it can help advance lead generation for your business.
What Is Marketing Automation?
The concept of marketing automation is pretty simple. In the most basic form, marketing automation refers to software platforms or technologies that automate repetitive tasks. This allows companies to more effectively market across multiple channels such as email and social media platforms. The goal is to nurture prospects with highly personalized content. This both solidifies a company’s authority on the subject and also helps to woo prospects to convert them into satisfied customers. By automating several contact points in the marketing funnel, business can offer a personalized outreach to their customers without adding hours to their marketing efforts.
Who Can Benefit?
This may seem like a silly question, after all, wouldn’t everyone benefit from a marketing automation campaign? The process is not for everyone. That is not so say that most businesses wouldn’t love to see a steady flow of qualified leads. In reality, some businesses are not ready to automate some of their marketing processes. So how do you know if your business is ready to pull the trigger? First, you need to ensure that you business has a clear understanding of the marketing funnel for your clients. What problems does your product or service solve? Who is your target audience? What messaging motivates them into action? Does your company have a good lead nurturing process in place?
If you know the answers to these questions, then you have a solid understanding of your target client and your company may be a good fit for marketing automation. That is not quite enough, however, to begin the process. It is important to understand that marketing automation does not replace a good marketing plan, it simply helps to scale it up.
Where To Begin?
Creating the right automation plan takes a lot of work. Many people are surprised at the amount of content and planning that goes into place before anything can begin. The number one factor that can make or break any digital marketing campaign is the understanding of the person engaging on the other side of the computer screen. Every bit of content created, every pop-up coded, every social media post executed must be written with the end user in mind. How are they going to receive this message? What do I want them to know about the company? How do I encourage them to seek out more? Step one is making sure your company has a library of content that is explicitly created to help nurture customers down the sales funnel. These should speak directly towards your customer’s needs and challenges, while offering smart and engaging solutions.
Once you have a smart and well detailed marketing plan in place, then it is time to start looking at the various technologies that can help you build our your automated campaign. Researching your options can be quite overwhelming, although there are resources to help make the process a little easier. Both MyCustomer.com and G2crowd.com offer some insight into the myriad of options on the web. Once you begin digging into your options you can see that both functionality and pricing can vary greatly. It is important not to get too caught up in the bells and whistles. Rather, while keeping your core message and target demographic in mind, look for the software that will help you implement your plan in the easiest way possible.
Some Final Thoughts
Marketing automation cannot fix a broken system in much the same way more air can’t repair a tire with a gaping hole in it. But given the right plan, the right content and the right platform, it can propel your company forward; amplifying your efforts and streamlining the process. When done correctly, your customers feel nurtured all the way through the sales process; while your staff has more time for the business of running your business. In many cases, however, the lead up to an effective marketing automation plan can prove to be too much work. This article in the Huffington Post highlights some of the pitfalls of trying to integrate a digital automation plan on your own. Instead, why not call the experts at Seafoam Media? We can help with your marketing automation, from strategy to execution. Just sit back and let the qualified leads start pouring in. Call us today for more information.