What is marketing automation? We're glad you asked! As is often the case, buzzwords tend to lose meaning after they've been repeated too many times without context. (Pencil. pencil. pencil. pen-cil. Pen Cil... wait am I spelling it wrong? Is that even a word??)
In short, marketing automation is a way to nurture leads by using the information with which they have provided you to deliver the right content (at the right time and over the right channels) needed to convert them into customers. Based on the collaboration of automated emails, workflows, contact lists and social tools, marketing automation is personalized marketing at its best.
Inbound marketing automation provides prospects with information based on what your database knows about them. While traditional marketing automation builds campaign segments based solely on what a website visitor chooses to click, however, successful inbound automated marketing requires a more comprehensive understanding of your leads. Rather than launching an email campaign based on a single online action, create marketing messages with a real person in mind. Nurture them based on their unique needs, interests, and preferences — not just their click through data. Build a list of your different Nurture your buyer personas so that you can organize your contacts based on their specific characteristics rather than on a single action that they took on your website. This will help you to build marketing campaigns that are highly personalized and actually helpful to recipients.
In addition to gaining a thorough and realistic understanding of your leads, it is also important to recognize that marketing automation is simply designed to streamline successful marketing efforts, and cannot do your lead generation work for you. You must support automated marketing campaigns with lots of traffic -- your messages will be an ineffective method of nurturing if you have no organic leads to begin with.
This being said, buying email lists does NOT count as top of the funnel strategy! Your campaigns will lack direction without the context provided by organically-generated lead information. Realizing at this very moment that there's room for improvement in your lead conversion strategy? Before you move on to learning more about marketing automation, brush up on your lead generation approach with our free eBook, which will give you 30 tips to improve your conversion rates.
In order to use marketing automation successfully, you must take everything you know about your leads and prospects (data from forms, imported info from offline sources, web analytics, social media info, etc.) and use it to create a personalized experience for contacts that spans all of the various channels through which they interact with your company. The result is that contacts receive only the information that's pertinent to them, which will build trust in your brand and move them down the sales funnel.
If this sounds like a lot to keep straight, don't worry. It is, but luckily there are platforms like HunSpot that integrate every aspect of your content management system (CMS) and customer relationship management (CRM), so that all of your content creation and contact intelligence resources are in one place.
Remember, marketing automation is meant to serve the customer. Don’t bother contacts by cluttering their inboxes with useless emails or promoting offers that are of no value to them. Instead, build your marketing automation campaigns off of the information you have collected from top of the funnel lead conversions and subsequent interactions with leads and customers to close sales and delight customers!