by Charlie Van Derven
Have you ever filled out a form online to get a coupon, a recipe, or a guide? When you provided your information, it is likely that you received an email shortly thereafter. In its simplest form, this is marketing automation. The email content was developed ahead of time, and submitting your information triggered it to be sent to you. Depending on how you react to that first email, additional points of automated communication may also be triggered.
The beauty of automated marketing is that your business can be in many places at once—wherever and whenever consumers are online—so you don’t miss an opportunity to attract them to your business. With automated marketing technologies, businesses of all sizes can execute a sophisticated marketing strategy that was once only available to those with large marketing budgets.
What is Automated Marketing?
Generally, marketing automation means using software and personalized, useful content to automatically nurture prospect and client relationships to turn prospects into clients and clients into delighted customers. Compare the following examples:
Example 1. A customer finds your company’s website through a general search or a Facebook ad. They may go on to “like” your Facebook page. They then return to your website to read blog entries and sign up for your newsletter, which they receive the next time you get around to putting a newsletter together. Without marketing automation, their experience with your brand ends when they leave
Example 2. To attract new people to your website, you place digital ads or create a helpful guide that relates to your expertise and provides value for your target audience. Future customers visit your website and provide their contact information, and your business, using marketing automation, automatically provides them with ongoing valuable content via email and social media to nurture the relationship long term.
With an automated marketing program you can track
each action your prospects take online and ensure that your business is presenting meaningful and attractive content at every opportunity. In these examples, automated marketing would help you lead prospective customers to an appealing and user-friendly website, a current and active Facebook page, entertaining and informative blog entries, and a useful newsletter. The more your prospects interact with your brand, the greater the trust that is built and the likelier they are to buy from you instead of your competitors.
How to Get Started
There are many automated marketing software products available to help. Start with a web search to find the software that works for your business and your price point. Companies like Signpost and ThriveHive have adequate entry-level systems. At a minimum, you are looking for a system that will provide ongoing email nurturing to the people from whom you’ve gained contact information. Look for a marketing system that will allow you to build it once and continue to nurture leads long term.
Once you decide which program to use, you’ll have to devote a reasonable amount of time to setting up your automated marketing system. Start with a detailed marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy, at its core, is based largely on four main steps:
Once you have your detailed strategy, outline all of the actions (or non-actions) that your prospects and customers may take when you provide them an opportunity to interact with your business online. Then develop your content for each action and reaction in the workflow to nurture your prospects and customers. Blogging, email marketing, and an active social media presence are key to this nurturing process.
All of this preparation will help you effectively set up your automated marketing system. Once the initial system is set up,
it is pretty much on autopilot, although you should assign an administrator to monitor and measure the effectiveness and tweak the components in the workflow to continuously improve your results.
Sales and marketing communication is changing rapidly. Don’t ignore the cross-channel promotion of your products or services because the task seems too daunting or you don’t feel that you have the resources to compete. Thanks to automated marketing software, advertising and lead nurturing is no longer about the size of your wallet. Instead, marketing and advertising are about the size of your brain and the extent of your creativity. Explore marketing automation. You’ll be nurturing leads in no time.