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What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is using software to automatically perform marketing tasks that would otherwise have to be carried out manually. This allows even a small marketing team to ‘punch above its weight’ by being able to do more with less. It also gives you the means to continually fine-tune the way you connect with customers, for instance by experimenting with different offers and messages, so as to increase conversions and sales.

What type of business can use marketing automation?

Any size or shape of company, small to large, B2B or B2C, and across all industries can use marketing automation to grow and increase sales.

Isn’t it a rather impersonal approach when ‘personalization’ is increasingly important in marketing?

Far from being impersonal, marketing automation allows you to tailor your marketing so that it’s trigged by a customer’s behavior, giving them the information they need to make a buying decision in your favour at exactly the right time. Using marketing automation isn’t a ‘hard sell’, it’s about nurturing your customer’s interest and building trust, so that you move them ever closer to making a purchase.

What’s the difference between marketing automation and email marketing?

Marketing automation can be applied to many different channels, including social media, content marketing and even offline channels such as direct mail and phone campaigns. Email marketing is just one of those channels.

What about using it with CRM software?

Marketing automation is a fantastic way to make sure you are continually adding new leads to your CRM database, which is incredibly important when that database is degrading at a rate of up to 25% a year. Also, by using marketing automation with your CRM software, you can gather more information about potential customers, which you can then use to create increasingly targeted marketing.

Will marketing automation make the sales process shorter?

Absolutely. Marketing automation will help you convert customers faster. For example, after international media and information group Thomson Reuters began using marketing automation software, they cut lead conversion time by almost three-quarters, which in turn led to a 175% increase in revenue. It works the same way for much smaller companies too. For example, you could create a set of rules that identifies and qualified leads coming in, enabling you to focus only on those most likely to convert.

How would you use marketing automation with social media?

You could, for instance, take information from your CRM system, then using marketing automation, schedule different messages to be sent to different groups, or even individual customers.

Do you have a digital strategy in place?

Marketing automation is a fantastically powerful business-building tool, and one you should be using. However, to get the most from it, it needs to be part of a comprehensive digital strategy that also includes such elements as CRM and email marketing. Other ways to boost your business include cloud-based accounting, and the use of online software such as Office 365.

Discover your Digitalization Index

To help you do this, we have created a Digitalization Index that enables you to measure your current ‘digital footprint’ against 60 different criteria covering such things as online presence, social media activity and SEO, so as to identify how you could specifically increase your profitability by digitizing further. So why not see what more you could be doing to build a better, more successful ‘digital business’? Discover your Digitalization Index right now.

Marketing Automation – Glossary

Behavior-based marketing automation – a system that triggers emails and other communication based on what a customer or site visitor does.

Buying life cycle – the steps that a customer goes through before they are willing to buy from you.

Content marketing – using high quality, relevant and information-rich content to engage with your would-be and existing customers.

Cross-channel marketing – employing multiple marketing channels and strategies so that you can ‘touch’ your customer at all stages of the sales journey.

Cross-channel analytics – tracking a customer’s behavior across multiple channels, like your website and blog or in social media.

Drip marketing – also called lead nurturing. Usually a series of emails that seek to qualify leads, keep them engaged, and gradually push them down the sales funnel.

Interruption-based marketing – traditional marketing where a marketing message interrupts what someone is doing. TV commercials are an example.

Inbound marketing – attracting customers to you by creating quality content and then making it available through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, newsletters, white papers, physical products and social media to attract and convert people into customers.

Outbound marketing – the traditional way of marketing through print advertising, trade shows, leafleting, cold calling and untargeted email blasts.

Permission-based marketing – where someone is asked if you can market to them, for instance when they sign up to receive a newsletter or subscribe to a blog.

Personalization – incorporating information into your marketing messages that is directly relevant to the recipient. This could be anything from using their name to making reference to a personal preference or one of their previous purchases.

Segmentation – using specific criteria to split your audience into different groups so that you can market to them in a more targeted way.

Split testing – conducting controlled experiments to see how a change in your marketing improves click-through rates, sign-ups, purchases and other metrics. Also called A/B testing.

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