Businesses are constantly looking to find ways to streamline their marketing processes and save money on their bottom line, but such efforts have often been ineffective… until now.
The marketing world is always flooded with new strategies for maximizing your bottom line, but there’s one particularly prevalent buzzword today: marketing automation.
Automated marketing systems promise to streamline your marketing process, nurture new leads, provide personalized content to customers and increase your ROI. All the while, marketing automation software requires little additional manpower. Does it sound too good to be true? In some ways, it is. But savvy businesses that use marketing automation wisely see all these benefits and more, while businesses without a solid grasp on how to use automated marketing will flounder when they reach their system’s limitations.
What Is Marketing Automation?
Automated systems are steadily emerging across most industries of today, and when it comes to marketing, the best automated systems are those that guide your leads through the buyer’s journey with personalized content that ripens them for conversion.
Here’s an example of how marketing automation can work for you. Let’s say you’re in the landscaping business, and you have a list of contact emails from your inbound marketing efforts. You can send an email to everyone on your list of contacts offering a range of landscaping material available for download.
One contact downloads your white paper on geraniums. Your automated marketing system can now tag that person as being interested in geraniums. You send your contact a thank you note for downloading your white paper and offer them a case study on geranium propagation. If they download this next piece of content, they’ll be flagged for being ripe for conversion. At this point, you can offer them a special discount on geraniums or encourage them to check out your book on geranium cultivation. Here, your sales team can step in and provide personalized customer service to close the deal.
The Benefits of Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is primarily credited with streamlining the buyer’s journey without too much manpower. Effective automated marketing systems can help convert your contacts into leads and convert your leads into customers. Marketing automation also frees up your time so that you can focus on other aspects of your inbound marketing strategy. Finally, marketing automation can provide you with an excellent return on investment, generating new revenue with minimal hands-on effort.
Conversions don’t come from the general email blasts that some automated systems provide, which are notorious for decreasing the perceived value of your brand and having little to no impact on consumer engagement rates. Instead, increased conversions come from the ability of marketing automation software to personalize outreach based on each potential customer’s position in the buyer’s journey.
Why Your Marketing Automation Efforts Are Failing
A 2015 survey conducted by Venture Beat revealed that only 5 percent of businesses currently use an automated marketing system. With all of the supposed benefits that automated marketing can offer, what’s stopping businesses from implementing these strategies themselves?
According to the very same survey, comprehension may be the culprit that is dragging down automated marketing adherence. The biggest challenge of integrating an automated marketing system is understanding the differences in platform functionality.
Here are just a few of the reasons why not all businesses see ideal results with automated systems:
- While automated marketing systems can nurture your leads through the buying process, they won’t generate new contacts. Therefore, marketing automation should be integrated into your inbound marketing strategy.
- Businesses lack the infrastructure necessary to integrate new systems into their company, resulting in them only utilizing parts of the system that don’t provide the full benefits that make them worth the investment.
- The “one-size-fits-all” approach that many marketing automation platforms offer doesn’t provide the customized responses that automated systems need to function effectively, and businesses often lack the ability to adapt these systems to the unique multi-step processes their customers require.
Although successfully implemented marketing automation can make a huge difference in your revenue, it’s not entirely about the bottom line. Instead, the personalized and highly engaged consumer relationships that come from implementing these systems can nurture customer-business relationships, generate brand loyalty and maximize your conversions in the long run. When your customers feel valued and understood by your business, your competitors will have a hard time trying to tear them away.
When properly utilized with supporting infrastructure, automated marketing systems can provide your business with enhanced levels of efficiency, decreased costs, lead generation, and customer outreach that was never before possible without a significant investment of employee manpower. But be sure to understand the limitations of marketing automation and the level of involvement required by your team to see the most success.
How has automation helped your marketing success? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!