If you haven’t already your business should consider how it can better target prospects with appropriate messaging that’s relevant to them. No longer a must-have solution, Marketing Automation (MA) will allow your business to develop prospects and leads with targeted and relevant content which will convert them in to customers.
These new customers receive personalised, value added content that develops the relationship to help retain them, increase their lifetime value to your business through renewals and encourage further purchases.
WHAT DOES MARKETING AUTOMATION DO?
Marketing Automation is far from new. It's been about for a while now but many businesses started taking serious notice in 2016 and this year its gained momentum as it gets tougher to target the right customers and prospects. Essentially Marketing Automation platforms are very similar, offering a number of options at different levels depending on business size. Unfortunately some of the leading options like Pardo from Salesforce and Marketo, may be too expensive for many businesses. But there are some low cost options available. Typically most marketing automation platforms offer some or all the following functionality: Lead Nurturing Lead Management Email Marketing Landing Page Templates Analytics and Reporting Social Platform Integration CRM Integration Lead Scoring Marketing Calendar
THE DETAIL IS IN THE PREPARATION In order for Marketing Automation to be effective and the investment worthwhile, businesses first need to assess the following areas: · Timescales – How long it takes to implement an effective Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) · Pipeline - A healthy lead pipeline needs to be in place · New Leads - Create a clear strategy to increase lead numbers and lead quality · Sales team integration – to fully understand the process of lead generation/nurturing · CRM integration - costs need to be considered to maximise the benefits of MA · Content - A defined content production strategy should be established · CMS - A robust content management system (CMS) must be in place · Resource - costs required to manage an effective MAP should be agreed · ROI - MAP measurements should be agreed beforehand It’s common for marketers to talk about Marketing Automation and email marketing interchangeably. The fact is that email marketing is a component of Marketing Automation, but the two are far from the same thing. Marketing Automation combines disparate customer acquisition and retention channels to conform to your company’s conversion funnel. THE BUYING CYCLE Any company’s buying cycle will span multiple touch points. For instance, a customer may find your company through search. He may decide to ‘like’ your company’s Facebook page and then come back to your site to read a recently shared blog article. Conversion paths are unique. Marketing Automation allows a marketing team to chase down hundreds of them which would be impossible otherwise. So we recommend you fully understand what you want to achieve before you start your Marketing Automation journey. Before you commit budget and resource you also need to ensure you select the right platform for your business. Here are three to think about: As I mentioned earlier, some platforms may be too expensive for some but I have included them with a good low cost/no cost option. It's important to way up the benefits especially when you may already be using Salesforce as your CRM.
Hubspot A good starting point as its a robust and easy to use CRM with marketing automation integrated for a seamless lead management system. You can sign up for a preview. Pardot Part of the Salesforce platform, Pardot is a well-rounded MA system helping you manage and market to leads through a variety of channels. There is an excellent video showing what MA is all about and a blog that explains everything very well. Marketo A dedicated MA platform helping you manage leads through any channel. Highly regarded as an excellent platform for lead nurturing, I would suggest looking at their blog and comprehensive video tutorial.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I'm Stephen Moore FCIM, a Strategic Marketing Consultant and part-time Marketing Director living in beautiful Suffolk. I support businesses large and small in Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and London. I have been writing about marketing developments for 20 years with articles in The Metro, City AM, Fresh Business Thinking, AllWork, The Marketer and Marketing Week.