Six Reasons To Embrace Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is a buzzword you hear tossed around a lot in marketing circles these days. You may be skeptical about its real value: Does it live up to the hype?
The fact of the matter is that marketing automation can be a game changer when used effectively. It makes it easier for you to manage the many daily tasks that come along with running marketing efforts. And when you know the mundane tasks are being handled properly, it frees you up to focus more on strategy and big picture decisions.
Today, we’ll take a look at the six ways a great marketing automation tool can help streamline your whole approach to marketing. Whether you’re using the tool for yourself or to help your clients integrate automation into their marketing efforts, there are plenty of reasons to embrace marketing automation.
1. It Shortens Your Sales Cycle
B2B businesses typically have longer sales cycles. Because the products and services are more costly, there are more hoops that B2Bs need to jump through to woo prospects. Plus, there are company budgets and approval processes to manage before prospects sign on the dotted line. This means that all B2Bs (including marketing consulting firms) should be focused on ways to shorten those cycles.
Fortunately, marketing automation allows you to do this in a number of ways. First, you can go about the process of behavior scoring (also known as lead scoring) your prospects so that you can identify your most promising leads. Those whose behaviors match up most closely with your existing clients are more likely to convert, so those are the prospects you should spend the most time and energy following up with.
Additionally, automating the follow-up process takes some of the onus off of your team. When they first reach out to a promising prospect, they can actually set up a series of follow-up emails that are scheduled to go out at regular intervals. This ensures that the prospect will continue to hear from your business, which will hopefully spur them to ask for more information. No matter where in the series of emails they do reach out, you can use your marketing automation tool to turn off the rest of the email series once they’ve responded.
2. It Creates a Cohesive Approach to Marketing
Marketing teams and consultants today have to juggle a lot of channels—from social media to email to website and offline marketing efforts, it can be a lot for a human to handle! With a marketing automation tool, you can more easily manage cross channel marketing campaigns.
Marketing automation tools allow you to program certain responses to specific customer behaviors. Let’s say your customer is a florist. They have a prospect who clicks on the call to action button on their website that invites them to learn more about pricing structure for wedding floral arrangements. This might then trigger a follow-up email that contains photos of different floral designs from your client’s past wedding projects, with an invitation to arrange a free consultation call at the end.
Then, you’ll want to be sure that when that prospect logs onto their Facebook, they’re seeing paid ads related to your client’s wedding floral design services.
This level of personalization for each customer across channels would be near-impossible for a human to manage. Luckily, marketing automation tools allow you to segment a company’s entire contact list based on attributes and behaviors. All prospects interested in wedding floral designs get grouped together. Prospects who are interested in flowers for a corporate event are grouped together. Existing customers who used your client as their wedding florist are grouped together.
Then, moving forward, it’s easy to target these specific groups with personalized messages. The brides- and grooms-to-be get sent a discount code to attend the wedding expo where you’ll have a booth. The corporate event managers receive messages at the start of the fall offering to help them with floral design for their corporate holiday parties. The former wedding clients are targeted with Facebook ads around Valentine’s Day reminding them to buy flowers for their spouse.
3. It Shows You the Value of Each Marketing Campaign
With a marketing automation tool in place, you can easily manage the value of each marketing campaign. And I don’t mean “value” in an theoretical sense; I mean that when you analyze the data and see how successful each aspect of your marketing effort is, you can put a dollar amount on the cost of customer acquisition and retention.
Whether you’re analyzing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns for your own business or for a client, it’s easy to see why this information is important. It allows you to direct future marketing dollars to the channels that get the most traction with your audience, and helps you to understand the messaging that resonates most deeply.
As a marketing consultant, the ability to ascertain the value of each campaign becomes even more important, because it allows you to put a concrete value on the work that you do. When you can show that your marketing efforts lowered the customer acquisition costs and saved your client money in the long run, they see your value and will be more likely to continue using your services.
4. It Helps You Identify Your Weaknesses
Just as a good marketing automation tool can help you identify your cost-saving wins, the data and analysis of each campaign also allows you to identify weaknesses in your approach. Perhaps you notice that prospects are converting at a lower rate that you hoped. This might be because your ideal customer profile is slightly off and you’re targeting prospects that are not quite in your wheelhouse. Or maybe it’s because you’ve directed marketing dollars towards paid advertising on a social media platform that your prospects are using less and less.
It’s up to you as the marketing expert to discover the why behind the problem, but a marketing automation tool can alert you to the existence of a problem much sooner than you would find it on your own.
5. It Enables Website Personalization
A website is the heart of any business’s online marketing efforts, and so when you’re able to provide users with a personalized experience on your website, this can help to convince the prospect that you really do offer the best solution to their problem.
Marketing automation tools allow you to personalize the experience that a visitor has on your website. This starts with customized landing pages that are targeted at specific users. Let’s say your client is an electrician. You can design a number of different home pages for visitors to encounter based on their profile or behavior. Visitors coming to the site from a Facebook ad about home renovation are presented with a splash page featuring your client’s lighting work on a brand new kitchen, while visitors who click through a Google ad about repair services are met with information about their quick turnaround time and a calendar so they can check soonest availability for a service call.
6. It Changes Your Email Marketing Game
Email marketing remains a wildly effective way to reach your audience. Ninety one percent of all consumers in the U.S. use email daily, and McKinsey reports that email marketing is nearly 40 times as effective as Facebook and Twitter combined in acquiring new customers.
Email segmentation and automation, though, is what can take your email approach to the next level. Marketing automation tools empower you to effortlessly segment your audience. While it’s possible to create different lists on most email tools, creating detailed profiles with numerous attributes is not possible on your standard mailing list manager. This means that it’s up to a person on your team to create and update these lists, and once you get into parsing email campaigns by multiple attributes, this becomes an impossible task for a person to manage.
Marketing automation not only makes sending emails to users with certain identifiers a seamless process, it also allows you to send emails that are triggered by a specific behavior. Did someone click a call to action button on your website asking for more information on SEO best practices? Send them an email inviting them to your upcoming webinar on the topic, with a code to sign up for free. Did someone just abandon a shopping cart on your client’s e-commerce website? Send that person an email encouraging them to complete their purchase and offering to upgrade them from standard to two-day shipping at no additional cost.
No matter what channel you’re focusing on at the moment, there is a way that marketing automation can help streamline and enhance your marketing efforts there. Not only that, it allows you to bring all of your marketing channels together under the same roof, making it easier for you as the marketing expert to see the big picture and design a more cohesive strategy. Finally, it allows you to measure and demonstrate the real value of your work, whether that’s in what it does for your own marketing consulting business or the positive revenue change it can create for your clients.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Marketing Automation.