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A beginner’s guide to marketing automation

25 July 2013 Danielle Stagg (0)

Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects are recording over a 450% increase in qualified leads, says Garry Davis of Digital Marketing Agency, Grow Online Marketing, specialists in Marketing Automation. Here he tells you all you need to know.

Marketing automation can bring a host of significant benefits to organisations keen to target their marketing more accurately – but too many companies don’t yet know about this exciting new technology.

What is the definition of marketing automation?

Marketing automation is a term for software that is used to capture the data of the people who interact with your brand online and then nurtures those leads until they are ready to be converted into sales.

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The way marketing automation software works is to record the email addresses of everybody who fills out a form on your website and then by ‘tagging’ all their other activity, from the pages they look at on your website through to their engagement with your social media profiles. Using this technology, marketing automation software can build a more comprehensive picture than ever before of how people interact with your brand. It’s the next step that makes marketing automation software so exciting, however, because it sends follow-up content to those leads based on their individual habits.

For example: a travel agency sends an email to its database containing a pdf attachment of its latest brochure. Joe Smith is one of the recipients and clicks through to open the brochure. He’s interested in holidays in Greece, so he goes straight to that page. He has previously visited the travel agency’s Facebook page. The software has tracked all of this, and is able to send him automatic follow-up messages containing offers on holidays in Greece, and incentives to become a fan on Facebook. The travel agency is communicating with Joe based on his actions and preferences, thus achieving a unique balance between inbound and outbound marketing.

Automation vs. personalisation

The word ‘automation’ may seem intimidating at first, but in some ways it’s a misnomer, because this tool actually enables your brand to communicate in a far more personalised way than has ever been possible before.

Recent research from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) revealed that 70% of consumers find traditional attempts at personalisation superficial. Marketing automation, however, allows you to personalise your email campaigns in a way that is genuinely helpful and relevant to each prospective customer. The unified approach to tracking is also exceptionally useful in solving the famous problem of social media attribution, because all social media activity is tracked and marketing automation tools can therefore allocate a lead to social media even if the engagement with social media was in advance of them providing any data to the business.

Crunching the numbers

The evidence clearly shows that marketing automation tools can have a direct impact on the bottom line:

  • Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads
  • Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate leads at 33% lower cost than those who don’t, and generate 50% more sales ready leads
  • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads There is an estimated 5% reduction in marketing waste through automating fulfilment Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months

What are the issues?

Like any business solution, there are potential stumbling blocks to consider when looking at marketing automation tools. There are three main issues that tend to crop up:

  1. Not enough content
    Some organisations may struggle to resource the level of content production that is required to make a success of marketing automation.
  2. Lack of analytical skills
    It can be challenging to cherry-pick the important analytics that will be generated by marketing automation software, because it is necessary to make decisions based on that information.
  3. Lack of system understanding
    Many organisations simply do not understand how to use marketing automation software. Proper training is essential.

A final thought

Technology and marketing are becoming ever more entwined, and marketing automation is a great example of this principle. In its simplest incarnation, marketing automation allows your company to identify prospective customers and tailor your content to their preferences, in order to obtain (and retain!) their custom. It’s practical, personal, and perfect for driving sales.

Topics: Marketing Trends, Marketing Agency, Marketing Automation

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