Marketing Automation programs have been around for a while now, but marketers and business owners alike still struggle to understand the concept; commonly asking ‘what exactly is marketing automation’ and ‘how can it help grow my business?’
1. So, What Exactly is Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation is a software solution that helps businesses track a prospect’s interactions with across their various web properties such as their website social media channels and any email campaigns. In doing this, the program builds a robust series of dynamic lists that allow businesses to automatically tailor their marketing messages to the prospects’ individual needs and stage in the buyer journey.
How Can it Grow Your Business?
2. Marketing Automation Programs Help With Lead Qualification
Most Marketing Automation programs include lead scoring programs that help businesses determine where a prospect is in the buying cycle. This is done by awarding ‘points’ to the prospect depending on their interactions with the business.
For example, a visitor could be given 5 points for visiting a certain website page, 10 points for downloading an eBook, and 30 points for giving their details in an enquiry form. Personalised marketing material can then be sent to each prospect based on their stage in the buying cycle, which is determined by the number of points that they have accumulated.
3. You Can Use Marketing Automation to Reach Prospects at the Best Times
With Marketing Automation in place, you can send communications to prospects as soon as they have completed a desired action. For example, if a customer signs up to your email newsletter, they may receive a welcome email straight away, or a soon as they hit a pre-defined number of points, they may be sent a money-off voucher to encourage purchase. Furthermore, if your Marketing Automation platform offers ‘real time’ notifications, you may even be able to see a visitor looking at a certain page on your website so that you can make a sales call as they browse.
Simply put, Marketing Automation gives marketers the opportunity to take action as soon as they see a prospect with a high level of engagement with the brand.
4. Marketing Automation Makes Closing Sales Quicker and Easier
A smart marketer can apply all of the tools and features offered by Marketing Automation programs to significantly reduce the effort it takes to close a deal. With well executed campaigns and lead-scoring, the amount of time wasted on ‘window-shoppers’ can be considerably reduced, as all sales and marketing efforts can be dedicated to potential customers that have already demonstrated interest in and engagement with the brand. This adds up to result in a more efficient and profitable marketing campaign.
Things to Bear In Mind
5. Marketing Automation Can Be Expensive
Marketing Automation software suites contain several powerful marketing tools, and many are very expensive. There are a wide range of Marketing Automation products on the market, and the cost of each is dependant on the features it has, from several thousand dollars a month to several hundred dollars.
A Marketing Automation platform is also a significant investment in manpower, so before investing in Marketing Automation, you should weigh up the costs against the potential benefit. If you do decide to go ahead, make sure you should do it right, or it could be a costly misadventure for your company.
6. But It Can Also Reduce Your Sales Force
Despite the expense of a Marketing Automation platform, it can potentially save on a number of other costs such as reductions to your sales force. This is because a well-executed Marketing Automation program can reduce the number of man hours necessary for closing sales, which may save your business a salary, as well as benefits, time off and turnover costs of employees.
7. Marketing Automation Programs Don’t Work For Every Business
Whether or not Marketing Automation is appropriate for your business will depend on a number of factors such as the shape and health of your sales cycle, the size of your average sale, the advertising channels you use, your business’s ability to use technical programs and how much time you have to devote to implementation.
Marketing Automation programs don’t come cheap, so before investing in the platform, it’s important to understand exactly how it will impact your business and take time to research the different programs available and their various features in order to decide which of the systems would be a good fit for you.