Marketing Automation. You’ve heard the buzzword. You’ve probably been inundated with ads and offers from vendors trying to sell it to you. But you may still be wondering what exactly it is, and what it can do for you.
What is Marketing Automation?
“Marketing automation” refers to using a software platform to create a system that automates some of your marketing activities for you with a desired outcome of nurturing prospects through the sales funnel.
Why Would You Want Marketing Automation?
There are many reasons why organizations choose to implement marketing automation systems, including:
• Reduce costs – Marketing automation reduces the labor necessary to complete repetitive marketing tasks.
• Improve efficiency – Marketing automation can make processes that would otherwise have been done manually (or not at all!) much more efficient.
• Expand possibilities – Marketing automation can make processes that would be nearly impossible to implement manually possible.
• Improve timeliness – Marketing automation can ensure prospects receive information and attention when they are most interested in your products.
• Increase conversions – Marketing automation can ensure that people receive the timely responses, targeted content and on-going nurturing that can increase your conversion rates.
What Can Marketing Automation Be Used For?
Marketing automation can be used in a variety of ways, such as:
• Segment customers – Based on the rules and criteria that you define.
• Respond to inquiries – With targeted messages, chosen based on the prospects’ actions and behaviors, which arrive at just the right time.
• Implement drip-marketing campaigns – To keep your name in front of prospects and customers with automatically triggered messages.
• Alert your sales people – Ensure hot prospects get immediate calls.
• And more
We all want to receive customized, meaningful information. Marketing automation can make this possible, time after time after time.
How Does Marketing Automation Work?
Although there are a variety of ways that marketing automation can be implemented, in many organizations marketing automation is used to monitor marketing campaigns, website activities, inquiries and other available input, put the pieces together and then take action based on that information.
Setting the system up requires that you:
• Define your goals for the system. Be very clear about what you want to accomplish.
• Define how you want to segment and/or score your customers and prospects. For example, prospects who visit your website once and download one report on digital cameras may go into one segment and be assigned a relatively low score. Those who visit five times, do a deep dive into your entire camera segment and download three pieces of content might go into another segment and be assigned a higher score.
• Create the rules that will drive action. For example, prospects in segment A who have shown an interest in product B will get email C. If they click through to the associated landing page and download the content there, then three days later they will get email D. If they do not click through to the associated landing page, then one week later they will get email E. Etc.
In my next article I’ll discuss the seven things you need to do before you launch a marketing automation project. In the meantime, if you need help evaluating, planning and implementing a marketing automation program, give us a call. We’re here for you.