Running a small business is challenging, requires a lot of work, and often doesn’t come with enough workforce and resources. Following up and tracking all your leads can quickly become a daunting, nearly impossible task to manage. But, if you don’t contact your leads in a timely fashion, they will drop out of the funnel and you will lose potential sales. On top of that, how do you maintain the relationship with your existing clients when you have no time on your hands?
Truth is, you can’t buy time, but you can certainly invest in marketing automation that will save you a lot of time. But, it’s not a magic bullet, and it does require constant attention and optimization efforts. Let’s talk about why you should consider marketing automation, its uses, benefits, and some things you should watch out for.
What is marketing automation?
Simply put, marketing automation is a process of automating everyday marketing processes using dedicated software. This includes sending follow-up emails and ranking the quality of leads, for example. There are plenty of platforms that offer this service, including HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, Mailchimp and etc.
All of these platforms offer marketing automation to a different degree; some are more robust than others.
The choice should always be tailored to specific needs.
How to use marketing automation?
Email is probably one of the most popular uses of marketing automation. Basically, it involves sending automated messages every time someone performs a specific action, such as download an eBook, sign up for a newsletter, buy an item and so on.
Of course, you can set up custom triggers/conditions and determine what emails to send at what time. Note, these are just a few examples, but there are certainly more uses of marketing automation in emails.
Lead nurture/drip campaigns
Going back to the question in the first paragraph: how do you maintain existing relationships with your clients? It’s not that difficult; all you have to do is keep in touch with them. And yes, when done manually, keeping in touch is overwhelming, but with marketing automation, the task becomes less time-consuming and relatively easy.
So how do you keep in touch? Let me give you an example. Do you know those emails that you receive periodically from your favourite companies? Most—if not all—are automated. This is exactly how big companies get customers to return and buy more products later. The best thing is that you can create your content and schedule emails weeks or months in advance.
Doing lead nurture will maintain your relations with your clients and will also encourage them to contact you if they are serious.
How do you determine if a lead is even worth pursuing? You should naturally be chasing leads that are more likely to generate profit, but the problem is that there's often no telling which lead is more serious than the other. Let's face it, many of the leads that download your resources have no intent of making a purchase; they are just there to learn.
If you were to chase every lead with the same amount of effort, not knowing whether it will or not generate sales, you would waste a lot of time and revenue. Marketing automation can help you avoid falling into that trap.
So how does it work? With marketing automation, you can set up a scoring system that ranks the leads based on specific actions. For example, you can assign a higher score to a lead that completes a specific action on your site, compared to someone who just visits your site. The possibilities of automated lead scoring are endless and should be tailored to your goals and needs.
Automation software allows you to see what actions people have taken within the emails you send. You can see whether they opened, read, skimmed, or clicked on a particular link. This visibility is especially useful when you want to put your audiences in specific segments. You can group audiences based on the actions people have taken on your website.
The advantage of automated segmentation is clear: it allows you to send highly-targeted messages to specific groups of people, rather than generic messages that people either don’t read, or even worse, mark them as spam.
Personalization is key to good marketing.
Marketing automation is useful to businesses of all sizes. No matter which platform you decide to choose for your needs, it will help you save time and give you the opportunity to deal with other things, no matter what they could be.