As a business owner, staying in touch with your customers is the key to solidifying those vital relationships and growing your business. You want to be able to have a conversation and convey your brand so they’ll return to you for their needs, rather than go to your competitors. But penning a personal message to a customer (and being able to anticipate when you might need to) can consume a lot of time.
Marketing is a core function of any business or nonprofit organization and it should be high on the list of your resource investments. But that doesn’t mean it has to consume all of your work time. An effective way to keep communication open while consuming less time is through the use of marketing automation.
What Is Marketing Automation?
Wikipedia defines it as the use of an automation platform to streamline sales and marketing efforts by replacing high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated solutions. Essentially marketers can do more in less time, with greater efficiency, allowing them to focus on high gain activities while the technology delivers effective marketing results. Most marketing automation solutions today are cloud-based applications that enable marketing professionals to seamlessly integrate off and online media, such as Direct Mail, Email, Web, SMS (text messaging), Social Media, and Mobile, to create highly personalized and unified experiences across multiple channels.
With an automation campaign, you develop content that the application sends to your customers when it is most effective to do so. The technology allows you to give your messages a human touch and make them as personal as you’d like them to be, so your customers will feel connected to your brand.
The components inherently built into a typical automated marketing campaign include:
- A trigger, most often an email, direct mail piece, or both.
- A campaign-branded landing page, with one to a few qualifying questions, either with or without a download deliverable like an eBook, white paper, or other offer of value.
- Thank You or follow up touch(es) to continue the conversation or close the loop. Throughout the entire process, personalization is employed to greet and engage.
This process gives marketers keen insight into the level of interest and/or stage in the buying cycle the customer or prospect is at. The qualifying information gathered forms a higher level lead for your sales team to evaluate and act on. This saves companies and nonprofits time and money by focusing on leads that have a higher probability of advancing in the sales or donor cycle. Whatever goals you have for your business, marketing automation can help you meet them through the development of targeted campaigns that will get you results.
Marketing automation is also a means of scaling your marketing outreach by being able to reach all or segmented parts of your contact list at once in a highly personalized fashion. This allows you to accomplish your objectives of building brand awareness, educating your customers, prospecting for leads, asking for referrals, and client nurturing.
Marketing automation is an effective tool that you can use as part of your marketing mix to not only generate leads, but generate QUALIFIED leads… and this is an important distinction to understand. Since the number one goal of most marketers is demand generation for their sales organization, one of the key opportunities of investing in marketing automation is to be able to develop well-executed lead nurturing programs. The added capability to create rule-based multi-touch drip marketing campaigns, leading to improved results, is one of the reasons why marketers embrace the solution.
Employing this strategy, the marketer is able to deliver “Sales Ready” leads to sales for immediate follow-up, while the remaining prospects are nurtured until they move to the “Sales Ready” category. This approach leads to significantly improved revenue results and marketing ROI. In fact, Forrester Research reports that companies leveraging this approach generate 50% more sales-ready leads (key revenue producing opportunities), at 33% less marketing cost.
4 Essential Benefits of Marketing Automation
While automation is a complex and layered process, here are four main reasons to invest in it.
- Do More in Less Time: While setting up your automation software takes time upfront, once you have developed your content, you’re saving time in the long run. Rather than crafting emails individually, the software contacts customers and leads for you, leaving you with more time to focus on high-gain activities and develop new areas to market and grow your business. You’ll be able to generate more revenue, from increasing the number of leads who convert to customers as well as the extra time you’ll have to enhance your marketing strategy.
- Target Leads More Specifically: Customers and prospects will receive content in a timely manner that is targeted to their needs, interests, and content preferences. You can reduce the quantity of cold calls by generating a supply of qualified leads.
- Increase Action: Since content is specific to where each customer is in the sales process, it increases the likelihood of that person taking the intended action.
- Enhance Communication: Being in contact with your customers more often and more specifically increases your connection with them and can help to create more of a dialogue, as you learn customer preferences, needs, and behaviors.
Marketing automation is essentially using applications software to automate your marketing efforts. It is a digital tool that executes a predefined marketing campaign that, once the launch button is pressed, so to speak, delivers your marketing message in a systematic, consistent, and timely fashion.
While not all automated marketing campaign applications are created equal, the more robust applications, like those employed as a service here at Paw Print & Mail, are capable of effectively using cross-channel touches, like email and direct mail, working in harmony to put your message in front of your customers and prospects in an orchestrated fashion. Contact us to get started on marketing automation for your business.
Subscribe to our email list so you never miss a post from Paw Print!