As a small business, you likely have frequent communication with a lot of your current customers. However, as your business grows, it is impractical to maintain individual connections with everyone.
In time, the scale of your business’s sales, marketing, and customer service activities will become too vast to be adequately monitored with only Gmail and spreadsheets.
That’s where marketing automation comes in.
What is Marketing Automation?
Digital marketer and entrepreneur Neil Patel offers this simplified definition of marketing automation:
Using software to carry out customer segmentation, customer data integration and campaign management, that are usually done by hand, is referred to as marketing automation.
It is correct to say that not all businesses are prepared to use automated marketing software. How can you tell if your business is ready or not?
Is Marketing Automation Right for My Small Business?
These are some signs that suggest you might get a lot out of using marketing automation software.
- You don’t have a CRM, or you have a CRM that doesn’t allow you to track people through the sales process. A marketing automation software is not only going to house your contacts in an organized fashion but will also let you move them through the sales pipeline, from lead to customer. The process can be automated, meaning the contact can be moving from stage to stage based on their clicking and opening behavior. You only need to be alerted when they have become a “hot” lead or opportunity so that you can follow up with them.
- You have trouble following up with leads and staying in touch with your customers. A marketing automation software can send an automated email campaign that you have designed to all of your leads, prospects, and customers. While you don’t have time to manually follow up with everyone, putting your customers on a quarterly stay-in-touch campaign will accomplish the same thing, without you having to remember to do it yourself. Putting your leads and prospects on a nurturing campaign can send them educational material on your services and products and trigger tasks for you to call them.
- You have no way of tracking actionable behavior that may indicate a prospect is interested. Tracking clicks and opens is a key component of marketing automation. Sending a campaign is one thing, but being able to trigger a task to call a prospect because they clicked on a link within your e-mail is VITAL. This indicates to you that they have some level of interest and if you don’t touch base, they may buy from someone else.
- You aren’t utilizing your website to the fullest and capturing visitor information. Your website should have a contact capture form on it somewhere. Ideally, this form offers something of value, such as a whitepaper or discount for the contact to fill it out. The more enticing the offer, the better your turnout will be. Having a form setup through your marketing automation software has some benefits. First, you can set specific follow-up actions after someone fills out the form. Beyond that, they will go straight into the stage (lead, prospect, etc.) that you designate into your system and therefore are entered into your sales funnel without you having to do any work yourself.
The Perks That Come With Marketing Automation
Still not totally convinced? Let’s examine the clear advantages that come from utilizing automation for your marketing.
1. Guesswork Is Removed
Do you know which of your blog entries has been observed the most times? Which landing page on your website has the highest conversion rate? Being sure rather than attempting something blindly is far more enjoyable, as well as beneficial, for your budding company. Marketing automation eliminates the need to hypothesize which content is most successful, applicable to different potential customers, and how long to pause before sending another email to a prospect.
2. Errors Are Reduced
Everybody messes up, which is why information typed directly into a customer relationship management program is typically not right. Automated marketing programs fill out online forms for you, which makes it much less likely for mistakes to be made, and gets rid of the need to do a lot of tedious typing.
3. Communication Is Improved
Marketing automation allows you to have more efficient communication with customers and prospects by providing you with tools that help reduce the time it takes to answer their questions.
4. Communication Is Personalized
Messages that are specifically customized for the person they are intended for will have a much greater effect than ones that are sent out in bulk to a broad audience. It is probable that they will be consumed more often and build a sense of loyalty to your organization. Without an automated program to record each customer and contact’s background and behaviors, this would be an incredibly difficult challenge. But with marketing automation, it’s efficient and effective.
5. Pressure Is Eliminated
You can set up your system to send individually tailored emails to prospective clients that can provide them with knowledge about your product and help them to become familiar with your business gradually. It is possible to monitor email conversations and classify and arrange contacts efficiently – based on status, particulars, or any particular requirement.
6. Data Is Leveraged
Marketing automation records and makes use of a huge amount of advantageous information, monitoring each experience with customers and potential customers. It examines the data, which enables you to figure out how successful marketing efforts are so you can increase involvement and purchases.
7. Playing Field is Leveled
It used to be only large companies had the resources for marketing automation software, but products specifically designed for small businesses—like Hatchbuck—make it affordable and easy to implement, allowing the smallest businesses to market like the Fortune 500.
What is marketing automation software?
Marketing automation software assists marketing teams to convey, computerize, and analyze marketing processes and activities, including the generation of leads, segregation, lead assimilation, and support. Marketing automation makes it possible to cultivate leads via properly directed material in order to make them into contented purchasers, augmenting customer retention and allowing access to thorough data.
Rafal Kloc, head of product marketing at LiveChat, mentioned that these solutions enable marketers to streamline recurrent assignments and communications for marketing efforts that are more effectual. Typically, automation tools are utilized to perform functions such as introducing new products, driving reactivation efforts, getting feedback, and executing cross-sell strategies. These tools speed up the workflow and make it easier to transfer data, ultimately providing clients with a more personalized experience.
Marketing automation software can be used to complete several key marketing tasks, including:
- Tracking and optimizing user engagement
- Converting leads into customers
- Fixing a “leaky” sales funnel
- Lead qualification
- Closing marketing inefficiencies and tech gaps
Marketing automation won’t do everything for you, though. The software is created to help with tasks that would normally need to be done by hand, but it will still require personnel from sales and marketing departments to provide input.
Who uses marketing automation software?
Marketing automation software can be utilized by any type of business, but those with a significant web representation tend to make the greatest use of it.
Kloc asserted that marketing automation software could be beneficial for all departments, particularly for marketing, sales and product teams. These teams will typically choose to put in place these solutions when they observe a regular pattern of contact with the customer which can be mechanized.
The top industries using marketing automation software include:
Firms that conduct business between each other (B2B) provide their goods and services to corporations. Marketing automation software bestows B2B companies command over who they are targeting, their customer information, and how successful their campaigns are, all while minimizing the risk of squandering money on campaigns that do not turn out well.
Primary B2B adopters of marketing automation software include:
- Software and internet companies
- Telecommunications companies
- Computer and electronics companies
- Financial services companies
Organizations that provide products or services directly to customers (B2C) make use of marketing automation software to upgrade their multi-channel marketing tactics by recognizing areas whereby growth can be achieved, tracking progression and streamlining trivial duties. Marketing automation is utilized by B2C companies to reduce expenditures, attract potential clients and gain insights into data.
Primary adopters B2C adopters of marketing automation software include:
- Retail and e-commerce businesses
- Manufacturing companies
- Real estate companies
Main components of marketing automation software
There are four main components of marketing automation software:
- A central marketing database: This is where data on prospective leads, customer interactions and user behaviors are stored and analyzed to help you segment and tailor your marketing messages to customers.
- An engagement marketing engine: This component is where you create, manage and automate your marketing processes and conversations on all of your channels, both on and offline.
- An analytics engine: This is how you will test, measure and optimize your marketing ROI and revenue impacts. This engine helps you see what is working well, what isn’t working and which areas of your marketing strategy need improvement.
- A marketing technology stack: Also referred to as a MarTech stack, this stack comprises all the other applications you use (SaaS platforms, social media tools, content management systems, communication tools and analytics tools) to accomplish your marketing goals.
Marketing automation features
It is essential to recognize what functions are necessary for your business when selecting a marketing automation software package. For individuals who are not conversant with the program, here is a concise description of the most typical functions.
Segmenting customers or viewers into smaller subcategories based on demographic information, purchase tendencies, needs, or interests is known as segmentation. Segmenting your market assists you in delivering promotional material that is engaging and pertinent to people who are your target customers.
Marketing automation software helps make sure your content can be viewed on mobile devices and is designed to be scrolled through. This is an important factor to think about in terms of SEO, so your web content can obtain a good ranking in search results.
A/B testing, sometimes referred to as split testing, involves running two versions of the same marketing initiative. The objective is to evaluate spectators and find out which rendition is more effective. Marketing automation technology dispatches trials, evaluates the results and spontaneously transmits the version that performs better to the remainder of your clients.
This function of the software keeps a record of, divides up and interacts with your potential buyers in order to shift them from prospects to customers. The degree of lead-nurturing support that a provider offers ranges from basic to advanced. Fundamental abilities encompass division and lead rating; more modern abilities involve keeping track of participation across channels and trip pathways.
With automated campaigns, clients receive a number of prearranged emails or messages that urge them to perform precise tasks, such as buying a product or signing up for a bulletin.
Task automation and alerts
This feature allows employees to be informed when a task is done or requires their attention. An alert can be sent to the relevant employee to double-check that a drip campaign was properly dispatched to the designated groups when using marketing automation software.
The ranking of potential buyers depending on certain criteria is referred to as lead scoring, enabling organizations to identify how likely it is that they will interact with them and purchase products or services. The lead’s score is determined by what kind of communication they receive from the business, how often they get it, as well as their profile data and how they act. A score allows one to identify when it would be most appropriate to get in touch with a potential customer while they are going through the purchasing process.
Automatic lead assignment
The software can be programmed to distribute the lead to one of your salespeople, so they can progress it through the sales cycle.
You can discover who is looking at your website, how much time each visitor is spending on each page and what material the viewer is involved with through visitor tracking. Keeping track of who visits your website can help you determine what types of people are most interested in what you have to offer, as well as which content is the most successful.
Marketing content hosting
This feature permits you to place content on your webpage with the aid of the marketing automation tool.
Marketing content tracking
Using the software, you can keep tabs on the performance and viewership of the content that you provide. This data can give you fruitful insights on what material is successful and what requires changes.
Using forms to capture leads can be effective, as long as the form isn’t overly long. Progressive profiling reduces the amount of data fields necessary in forms, thereby lessening the amount of time leads have to spend on filling them out. Once the initial form has been completed, the user can pick extra fields to input data into.
Your website can show varying content which is tailored to the individual viewing it when you utilize dynamic content. Landing pages, emails, web forms, and templates can all feature dynamic content.
Managing contacts maintains and arranges your contacts in order for you to separate and obtain contact data for your public. This feature allows you to check out customers’ purchase and contact details as well as jot down any info from sales personnel.
Being able to collaborate with other applications can increase your efficiency and upgrade the features of your marketing automation program. The most common connections are web conferencing applications, social media sites, link condensers, communication apps, sponsor ads, and a Customer Relationship Management system.
Analytics and reporting
Analytics and reporting are essential components of a marketing automation platform, since they give you an idea of what is and isn’t successful, along with thorough details regarding campaigns, expenses, and followers.
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