Marketers are always searching for new ways to achieve better campaign results and deliver better ROI for their efforts. The business evolves on a near daily basis, which can make it difficult for marketing teams to reach these goals. Luckily there is something that marketers can use to help their programs run a little smoother while at the same time collecting valuable customer intelligence.
Marketing automation is strategy and software that allows marketers to find and nurture contacts with personalized content streams. This customized content helps to convert visitors into leads and leads into paying customers.
A company can use marketing automation software for all parts of the marketing funnel, not just at the purchasing stage. Leads should be nurtured at every stage, including post-purchase as customer retention and loyalty is crucial in growing a business.
Without marketing automation the process of following up with individual customers and offering an exceptional experience can seem almost impossible, especially for large businesses with vast customer bases. Research from The Annuitas Group found that there is a 451% growth in qualified leads for companies that take advantage of marketing automation software.
With numbers like those, it can be very tempting to make the switch to automation. Here are a few ways to achieve a successful and efficient strategy through marketing automation.
Build a better contact database
Incomplete data is a curse when it comes to developing targeted campaigns. A marketer may want to build an email marketing campaign targeting consumers in a certain industry, only to be stymied by partial or outdated internal data that doesn’t list industry or company names.
With marketing automation software marketers can create forms that capture all of the contact’s important details (and the marketer can decide just what those details are). There is also the added bonus of lead scoring. Marketers can assign points to each activity (such as downloading an eBook or filling out a sales form) and once a contact reaches the designated “sweet spot,” they are classified as a qualified, warm lead for sales to follow up with.
One of the most important parts of any campaign is analysis. Is it working? Is it reaching the right audience? Marketing automation software can generate metrics reports and may offer a dashboard where marketers can manually track conversions and other statistics. Using these numbers marketers can determine the success of campaigns and how to alter them for the future.
A few marketing automation software platforms have social media features built natively into the software while others offer plugins marketers can use to link social accounts with the software. These social features are useful to marketers as they offer one central hub for:
- Posting and scheduling content
- Engaging with customers
- Tracking campaign metrics
Marketers can also use these social media elements to embed social sharing links on a website or landing pages, making it easy for visitors to share branded content online. In the end, these tools allow for the amplification of original content via social media, something that many don’t consider, but should.
Some businesses have to deal with a longer sales cycle than others. A long process can, unfortunately, mean that it’s easier to lose track of prospects (and their dollars) as they go through the sales and marketing funnel.
Marketing automation software lets marketers keep a better eye on potential customers no matter the length of the sales cycle or process. An automation platform may even help move a prospect through the funnel at an accelerated pace by offering the right content at the right time, all while tracking their exact movements, so the marketing team can maintain precise details on the consumer.
Statistics from Sirius Decisions show that by the year 2015, the utilization of marketing automation software will grow by 50%. It is likely that as the technology advances and more marketers become comfortable with it, marketing automation software will become the norm. With the versatility available with marketing automation platforms, it will be easier than ever for marketers to reach their target audience at the right time and develop winning marketing campaigns.
Russel Cooke is a customer relationship management specialist and writer who now lives in Los Angeles, CA. His work often discusses user experience, social media, and content creation. Follow him on Twitter @RusselCooke2.