Marketing automation is a digital marketing buzzword thrown into conversations and pitches as often as our favorite acronyms like “KPI” and “CPC.” And rightly so—marketing automation can bring tremendous success to businesses of any size in virtually any industry.
So what is marketing automation?
Marketing automation can be thought of as a combination between a CRM platform and an email service provider (ESP)—except that this CRM/ESP hybrid comes packed with a layer of marketing awesomeness, allowing businesses to consolidate, automate, and track multi-channel marketing campaigns all from a single location. This all-in-one solution solves a number of common marketing problems while increasing the efficiency of your budget and resources.
In recent years, marketing automation has revolutionized the way sales and marketing teams connect with their audiences to drive conversions. 91% of users believe that marketing automation is “very important” to the overall success of their marketing across channels (Marketo). And an investment in marketing automation can truly set your business apart—63% of companies that are outgrowing their competitors use marketing automation (Lenskold & Pedowitz).
Here are six important ways that your business or organization can take advantage of marketing automation to modernize your digital strategy.
1. Discover more about your website visitors.
Basic analytics tools give you the power to say, “Last month, we had 2,509 visitors come to our website.” More advanced analytics reports can allow you to say, “Here is where they came from, and this is what they did.” Marketing automation allows you to dig deeper into the data to follow that up with, “Company X in Washington, DC visited our website six times last week—spending at least 47 seconds on our ‘Contact Us’ page during each visit.” When you start to identify the companies interested in your business and their exact behavior on your site, your sales or marketing strategy becomes that much smarter.
2. Capture real leads from your advertising.
Whether or not you have existing contact forms on your main website or on outside landing pages, marketing automation makes the setup and integration process easy and seamless so your team can start collecting real leads. New leads can be automatically scored and segmented into specific lists based on the information they give you, or even their behavior on your website—helping you stay organized on the who’s, what’s, and when’s so you can focus more on understanding the why’s.
3. Determine lead source to optimize your campaigns.
Digital ad clicks and impressions can help get an overall feel of success. Marketing automation goes a step further by tagging leads to determine the specific digital ads that led them to convert. Better yet, by assigning values to your campaigns, you’ll start measuring the revenue contribution of each digital marketing tactic, so you know exactly what’s working and what isn’t. Combine this with lead scores and other information, and your team can build a customer-centric, data-driven digital strategy to reach your target audience in the places they are most engaged and willing to become your customer.
4. Automate targeted follow-up emails.
When a lead completes a contact form, the last thing they want is to never hear from you again. This puts pressure on a sales team to follow up quickly and effectively to nurture the lead through the sales cycle. Marketing automation can do the job... well, automatically. And remember the segmented lists we mentioned? Use them to design email workflows that send the right messages to the right leads at exactly the right time, increasing their chance of conversion and loyalty (reminders, special offers, thank you’s, etc.).
5. Personalize. Personalize. Personalize.
A proven method to grab attention and add a refreshing touch to your marketing is through personalization—especially when it comes to emails. According to Experian, personalized emails deliver transaction rates six times higher than non-personalized emails. Marketing automation lets you make sure each follow-up message addresses a contact by name, and it can even dynamically render specific messaging that is catered to their needs based on what is known about them, or even a recent action (like a visit to an important page on your site).
6. Move a lead through the sales funnel.
Once a lead has been captured, scored, tracked, and nurtured, marketing automation provides sales staff the ability to go hands-on and close the sale using streamlined CRM functionality. Already have a preferred CRM? Simply integrate the tool with your CRM of choice and watch the data unite.
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