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What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is a category of technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.
Do you need Marketing Automation?
Do you have a product and/or service that has a high cost? Does your product and/or service take more than 30 days from initial connection from a prospect to a sale? If so, you should be using marketing automation. We recommend that businesses selling to other businesses (B2B) should all deploy marketing automation to increase acquisition, sales, and growth.
Pretend you are a consumer looking to purchase a new pair of boots. If you look around online for boots, those e-commerce store ads will follow you around the internet for 30 days with ads for boots, because they believe that you will purchase a pair of boots within the next 30 days. At first you are aware that you need a new pair of boots. Once you start browsing, you consider your options. That consideration phase typically takes up to 30 days for a consumer. Then comes the decision. This is an example of a business to consumer(B2C) buyer or customer journey (see below). Most B2C companies don't need marketing automation, because the cost of the product/service is typically under a couple hundred dollars and the decision happens much faster.
For B2B, the cost of the product/service is much higher, typically requires more research, and may entail additional decision makers, which means the decision takes longer. Most of your potential customers are browsing the internet for information, research, and anything else that can assist them in making a decision on their purchase.
Your goal is to be the company that can provide all of the information your potential customer needs in one place. Keep that potential customer engaged with your content, your videos, your brand. Keep your brand on top of mind. That is what marketing automation does, it's your engine for your inbound marketing efforts.
Components of Marketing Automation
- Content - Content is the king of any message, and the most successful marketers today spend 40% of their marketing budget on it, according to the B2B Content Marketing Report. It is important that your content is powerful and delivers what it has promised. Creating content that helps your buyers to solve their problem or educate them about the product/service/industry is likely to increase more traffic than promotional or normal content. Content can take the form of a pdf, ebook or case studies, articles, blogs, or videos.
- Lead Magnets - A lead magnet is a free offer you make in exchange for an email address and sometimes additional information. Lead magnets are also called signup incentives or offers and have always been a powerful tool. They’re especially golden in the digital age because you can satisfy the reader’s request in an instant.
The purpose of a lead magnet is to inspire the people consuming your content to get on your email list. You’ll aim to convert them to customers in the future with lead-nurturing tactics, most notably, email. Offering lead magnets is a vital part of the content marketing formula that builds a more loyal audience, and, in turn, effectively builds your business. Personalization is key, because if you can't get their attention, you won't get their email address.
- Landing Pages - A landing page can be an entry point for a website or a particular section of a website. It is a standalone page distinct from the main website and is designed to promote content in order to drive traffic to those pages. Marketers should design mobile-friendly landing pages for each offer and campaign (it will be more consumer-friendly). The main reason is to take the visitor directly to the relevant page without making them jump from one page to another; it guides visitors to useful content. Every landing page should have a form to capture leads, and all automation platforms have an easy-to-use form builder to capture the details.
- Website Tracking - 98% of web visitors remain anonymous because they don’t fill out forms. But now there’s a solution – you can transform your business with website visitor tracking. VisitorID tracks visitor IP addresses with reverse IP lookup and identifies the companies that visit your site. Get crucial insight on your existing web traffic to convert leads to sales. Turn your website into a two-way communication tool with website lead tracking. Track and notify sales when a lead currently in your funnel comes back to the site to check out your pricing or download a white paper. Send real-time notifications so your sales team can spring into action, prepared with detailed knowledge about the lead, their business and their previous behavior on the site. Use B2B website visitor tracking to add a personal touch to your sales approaches.
- Email Drip Campaigns - A drip campaign is a method used in direct marketing to acquire customers through lead nurture programs. It involves sending marketing information to prospects repeatedly over longer periods of time to nurture prospects or leads through the marketing and sales funnel.
Drip campaigns are often executed through email marketing, where pre-written content is automatically sent at predetermined times to engage these contacts. Marketing automation can be your primary email marketing software, so you won't need a separate email marketing software. Any email campaign strategy should include drip campaigns.
- CRM - A CRM is a customer relationship management platform which organizes your business, automates tasks so you can do the thinking, centralizes all your data and analyzes it. They’re designed for sales, marketing, and service. Many of the marketing automation providers offer CRM integration if you currently have one. You can segment lists based on the content or service/product you offer.
- Social Media Management - Some marketing automation platforms offer social media management to integrate your social media platforms and post from one place. The benefits include lead scoring for prospects touching your marketing assets. You may be spending money on a tool to help with your social media marketing today, if so, you can opt to manage social media within your marketing automation platform.
Marketing Automation Brings in More Revenue to Your Business
In a benchmark study by eMarketer, research found that B2C marketers who are using automation – including everything from birthday emails to cart abandonment programs – have seen conversion rates as high as 50%.
Furthermore, 95% of companies reported some benefit from marketing automation, according to Nuclear Research. They found companies can expect to increase marketing staff productivity between 1.5 and 6.9% and increase sales productivity by an average of 4%.
Marketing automation software brings value and ROI to all of your marketing efforts. The right marketing automation platform, combined with smart organizational and process alignment, makes it possible to connect the dots between that promotional email you sent last month, that webinar you hosted last year, and the revenue your CEO sees this week or expects to see next quarter.
Our Preferred Marketing Automation Companies:
Our Preferred Marketing Automation Options:
For Large Businesses:
MailChimp and Constant Contact are best used for strictly email campaigns. They won't have a CRM built in to follow the life of the lead and many of the other automation features from the companies above.
What is the Cost of Marketing Automation?
Software - The cost of the software can be anywhere from $400 a month to $10,000+ a month. Most small to medium-sized businesses pay around $800 to $2,000 a month depending on the features. In most cases there is an upfront onboarding fee and a one-year commitment. There are options to do month to month as well, again, depending on what you're looking for.
In most cases, our marketing automation agency believes SharpSpring is a great solution for most small to medium-sized businesses. Contact us today to learn more about our marketing automation solutions.
Consulting & Support - This will depend on the Minneapolis marketing automation agency you hire. They will either charge per hour, a block of ours or a monthly retainer.
Do not get marketing automation unless you have a specific marketing plan for using the software. At 301 Madison Consulting, we’ve come across too many companies that are using marketing automation but either not utilizing it the way it should be or they don't need the software. Support is also important. Most companies don’t have a marketing automation expert in house, so relying on the digital agency you hire is essential to handle all things marketing automation.
Marketing automation has changed our entire business. We needed something to keep our content in front of potential customers. Cale and his team have been amazing, they have helped us with questions and support along the way.
VP of Marketing
We are a small company, but we knew we needed a jolt in our digital marketing. 301 presented us with marketing automation options and we couldn't be happier.