What is Marketing Automation?

The “CMO Cheat Sheet: What is Marketing Automation? Marketing Automation, defines marketing automation as “the use of technology to generate, nurture, score and qualify leads, and drive sales, using customised, multi-touch marketing communications tailored for each contact’s profile, level of interest, behaviour or place in the buying process.”

Put simply, marketing automation is a way to automatically connect and build relationships with both current and potential clients and customers.

Top benefits of marketing automation:

  • Attract buyers
  • Send potential buyers to sales
  • Nurture leads and drive them down your sales funnel
  • Drive revenue and profits
  • Marketing automation helps marketers:
  • Attract leads
  • Capture valuable data sets
  • Nurture clients and leads by providing relevant content
  • Track your leads and marketing efforts
  • Qualify leads based on tracking and analytics
  • The many components of marketing automation:

Lead Generation:

  • Websites
  • Landing pages
  • Content management
  • SEO
  • PPC (Pay per Click)
  • Webinars
  • Social media marketing
  • Banner advertising
  • Website tracking
  • Lead/Customer Management:
  • Auto-responders
  • Phone follow-ups
  • Attract leads
  • Capture valuable data sets
  • Nurture clients and leads by providing relevant content
  • Track your leads and marketing efforts
  • Qualify leads based on tracking and analytics
  • The many components of marketing automation:
  • Lead Generation:
  • Websites
  • Landing pages
  • Content management
  • SEO
  • PPC (Pay per Click)
  • Webinars
  • Social media marketing
  • Banner advertising
  • Website tracking
  • Lead/Customer Management:
  • Auto-responders
  • Phone follow-ups
  • Content creation
  • Webinars
  • Lead scoring
  • Lead nurturing
  • Mobile marketing
  • Drip campaigns
  • CRM integration
  • Personalization
  • Reports and analytics

If you have a complete and integrated software to manage each of these components, you will be able to successfully implement that beast we call marketing automation. Now, let’s explore What Marketing Automation is in more detail. There are many components of marketing automation.

2. Lead Generation

In this section we are going to go over the many different aspects of lead generation and how you can implement them into your overall strategy.

Websites

Your website is your online business card. According to a study by BIA/Kelsey and ConStat, a whopping 97% of consumers, use online media to shop and search for products. This is a huge shift in how businesses sell, so if you are not on the Internet, you are most likely missing out on ample opportunities. To compete in today’s marketplace it is an absolute necessity to have a website. There are plenty of sites that allow you to build a professional looking website for a relatively low cost. However, many website building platforms are limited in their customisation and capabilities. They will often be unable to capture incoming leads as well, which is a key ingredient in marketing automation and a fundamental business need.

Landing Pages

A landing page is a single webpage that a person ‘lands’ on once they have clicked an online advertisement, a link from an email, social media, or another attractive offering, such as a ‘Free Trial’. Landing pages always contain signup forms to capture leads or convert site visitors into potential customers and clients. Depending on your goals for your landing page, you should request specific information such as, address, name, age, gender, title, company, etc. Of course, you want to capture the email address, as this address will be used for your marketing in the future.

The landing page should have a specific call to action (i.e. Request more information or sign up for a free demo). Once a person enters their email into a landing page signup form, their email is automatically entered into a database management system, hopefully, an integrated CRM.

SEO

We all know the benefits of SEO, however it has evolved since people first started buzzing about it. Now, it is really all about the amount and the quality of content you produce coming from your website. Optimizing your website, so that it ranks higher in search engines involves editing content, HTML, as well as a website’s coding.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

PPC is an advertising tactic aimed at directing traffic to your website or landing page. You’ve probably noticed advertisements on the right side of the page when you do a Google search, or a banner advertisement on a website. This is pay-per-click advertising. Most of the time, when a person clicks on your ad or banner, they will be directed to a landing page that you have already set up. This is where you will capture their information, as discussed earlier in this section.

Webinars

Webinars can be used for lead nurturing or lead generation. If you have ever attended a webinar, you most likely registered with your name and email. Guess what? Now that company has your name and email for future targeting purposes. Since you attended that webinar, it is likely that you are interested in something that company offers, right? Well, now you are a sales lead.

They did it, and so can you. Host informational webinars that people will want to attend, not just because they may be interested in your product, but because they may simply just be interested in the topic. Down the road, they may become a client!

GreenRope happens to integrate with GoToWebinar, allowing a business to pull in the information of all those who attend, enabling automatic follow-up emails, surveys, thank you’s, etc to be sent out. Just another way marketing automation can make you look good in front of your leads, while saving you a ton of time!

Social Media Marketing

We are not going to spend a lot of time on this one since there are about a million blog posts and articles raging about the importance of social media for lead generation. Again, social media is great to share your webinars, promote your landing page links, lead people to your website, and increase your overall SEO. Remember, search engines, like Google, love social network sites (especially Google+. Wink.wink).

Banner Advertising

Banner advertising consists of embedding a banner or advertisement onto a webpage. I am sure that all of you have come across a banner ad at one time or another. They are all over the Internet. Companies pay to place their ads on websites to attract traffic to their own websites. This is a great way to bring in revenue if you place ads on your own site, or a great way to generate leads by placing a banner ad on another high traffic webpage. Generally, you want your banner ad to link to a landing page or signup form that enables the viewer to get more information from you immediately. Strike while the iron is hot!

Last, but certainly not least, it is ALL about content. The more content you put out the more likely leads will find you. This content can be distributed via the outlets above, and should certainly be published on your company blog.

3. Lead Management

In this section, we are going to explore the different ways to manage leads once they have made their way into your pipeline. This is called lead management and nurturing.

Auto-Responders

Auto-responders are automatic emails sent out to a person who has signed up to receive information about your company. With an auto-responder you can immediately provide a prospective customer with information, as well as set follow up emails. I’m sure many of you have experienced signing up for a newsletter list and immediately started receiving a series of emails, these are auto-responders.

Follow-up Calls

This is pretty self-explanatory. Follow-up calls are a great way for you to develop an ongoing personal relationship with your client. Taking the time to reach out to them and talk one-on-one illustrates that you care about their business and are there to support them.

Content Creation

This is a big one. Content is KING. We say this over and over again, but we cannot stress it enough. Developing and distributing content that is relevant to your leads is a great way to easily stay top of mind, and establish yourself and your company as thought leaders. Content is a key ingredient in inbound marketing because it builds trust and leadership.

Webinars

In part I we discussed webinars for lead generation. In this section we stress their importance in lead management. Webinars serve as a great medium to, again, illustrate your thought leadership, as well as your commitment to superior customer service. For example, GreenRope provides our trial users with weekly webinars, so that they learn how to use the many features of the platform before they purchase.

Lead Scoring

Lead Scoring is a key element in lead management. Lead scoring is the ability to rate your leads based on their activity, engagement with your brand, and demographics.  Access to this data enables you to select the most appropriate follow-up, as well as helps both sales and marketing professionals pinpoint where each contact is in the buying process. Once you are able to assess where your opportunities and leads are in the sales funnel, you can effectively devise and implement a nurturing strategy to move them to the next stage in your funnel.

Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is a huge part of lead management. Lead nurturing is exactly what it sounds like: taking care of the leads in your pipeline. This means sending them relevant blog posts and articles, follow up calls to see how they are doing, as well as webinar invitations, support outreach and more. You want to give your lead that warm and fuzzy feeling when they deal with you. The more cared for they feel, the more likely they are to have a positive view of you and your company, hopefully resulting in a loyal customer!

Mobile Marketing

You must ensure that all of your websites, emails, etc are mobile friendly. You may also want to consider mobile opt-in strategies to get your leads to opt-in for newsletters and information via their mobile devices. Also, having an app for your business never hurts.”

Drip Campaigns

Once you create content and implement your strategy, drip campaigns just flow without you having to touch a thing. Drip campaigns are a series of emails sent out to your leads designed to provide them with the right information at the right time, guiding them down the sales funnel. This is considered nurturing your leads, and an efficient way to do so, I might add.

4. Developing Your Marketing Automation Strategy

The first step in developing a marketing automation strategy is to understand all the moving pieces. Once you get a grasp on the tools you can use, it is time to start planning.

Establish Results

First things first, what is the purpose or goal of your marketing automation? Is it for lead generation? New client education? Lead nurturing? Or maybe all of the above.

You goal is your guiding light and will set the foundation for the automated journey your leads and customers embark upon.

It’s easy to tackle all your objectives simultaneously, however, take one objective at a time and you will have better results.

5. Evaluate and determine your process

Once you have established goals for your marketing automation, it is time to dive deeper and start to determine your strategy.

Step 1: Define your buyers

How can you create content that speaks to your audience if you don’t you’re your buyers and understand what they want? Sit down with all departments within your company and nail down any and all specific details about your buyers. Go beyond demographic information to motivations for buying, pain points, lifestyle, interests, and more. The more detailed specifics you have, the more you have to work with when developing content.

Remember, buyer personas evolve over time, so this is something you will want to revisit every few months.

Step 2: Map out your content

So, now that you have a good understanding of who your buyers are and how they get their information, you can start to plan and develop your content. Keep in mind the different stages of your sales funnel, as content will vary for each. For example, if they are just in the awareness stage, they may just be interested in a more general ebook or whitepaper, whereas if they are further along, they will want more detailed information about  your information about the product/service .

Make sure your content is a mix of everything from email, advertising, video, to social and webinars. If you were thorough in developing your buyer personas, it should be easier to determine which content should go where.

Step 3: Determine your triggers

There are two parts to stage 3, setting up your lead scoring and determining all of your triggers.

The data used in lead scoring is both demographic and behavioral; you will have a detailed picture of what your prospect looks like and what actions they are taking to show interest in your product or service. Access to this data allows for better lead qualification capabilities, and triggers automated actions.

Triggers come in many different forms. Some common triggers include:

  • Forms (newsletter, lead capture, tickets)
  • Website action (pageviews, video, chat)
  • “Phone (inbound/outbound calls/ SMS)
  • Email (clicks, reads, scores)
  • Social (likes, shares)
  • Conversions, purchases, abandonment

These triggers are based off of some sort of action that a lead or client takes, and will set off whatever automated efforts you associate with each trigger.

The actions your leads/clients take determine the content they receive and their level of interest. If they fill out a form requesting more information about digital marketing, your nurturing process may be to send them a series of emails (in a drip campaign) all about digital marketing strategies and your services. Depending on whether they open/click or do nothing determines where they go next on the customer journey.

A few examples of great content ideas for marketing automation include:

  • Instructional and informational white papers
  • Informative articles
  • Webinars
  • Videos
  • Testimonials
  • Blog posts
  • Newsletters/drip campaigns
  • Case studies

Keep in mind that you have to also determine inaction triggers for cold contacts. If a lead/client does not open an email or abandons their cart, there should be automated processes setup to reach out to them to get them back on track and moving along your funnel.

Because automation has become an essential business tool, it is critical that you have a CRM. A CRM houses all of this critical data, so that you can access and utilise it for all of your ongoing sales and marketing efforts. It not only holds all of your daily interactions, but also shows whether contacts opened your emails, perused your website, or attended an event. Even with automation, having this data lets you personalise your automated efforts, so that you can provide the best customer experience possible.

Munro 2017 Marketing Automation Vendor Comparison Tool