Similar to “social CRM” or “lifecycle marketing,” “Marketing Automation” is a key phrase among marketers today. It seems you can’t go to a conference or do a blog search without these current terms popping up.
Already raking in $3.2 billion by 2010, the marketing automation industry is expected to grow to $4.8 billion in 2015. For the uninitiated, here’s a concise look at what it means, and how you should be using it to your advantage.
What is marketing automation software?
“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.”
“The art and science of automatically managing the targeting, timing and content of your outbound marketing messages in response to prospects’ inbound actions and online behaviors.”
Taken from two of the leading market providers, these definitions together pretty much cover the technical aspect, but let’s get practical. What can marketing automation actually do for you as a businessperson, as a company?
5 ways you should be using marketing automation
1. Start hyperspecific targeting
Targeting select groups of buyers with the right messages increases likelihood of purchase. But don’t limit yourself to simple demographics like age or job title; you also can target leads according to how they responded to your campaigns in the past, or what they do when they visit your web site.
Jupiter Research compared untargeted campaigns with campaigns based on clickstream data, finding that conversion rates can be up to 400% higher for the latter.
2. Smarten up your email marketing
You’re already using email? Great. But is it a one-size-fits-all approach? A study by the Direct Marketing Association found that triggered messages have a click rate 119% higher than other messages.
That means marketers should be programming specific messages to be sent in response to visitor actions, such as purchase confirmation, anniversary or shopping cart abandonment
3. Nurture leads until they’re ready to buy
This is possibly the biggest advantage of marketing automation. You know that most people who visit your web site are just browsing – they’re not ready to buy. But down the line, many will be.
As long as you can capture their details, with a piece of gated content for example, marketing automation lets you set up a series of communications designed to take them through the buying process. Based on their behavior, you can score prospects from “cold” to “warm” so that your salespeople can allocate their time where it’s most likely to be fruitful.
4. Crack the Social Media Mystery
By this I refer to the lack of measurement that often goes with social media campaigns. Last year, a Satmetrix study found that 67% of companies do not measure or quantify social media engagement. For B2B companies, this figure rises to 75%.
The various marketing automation software providers try to solve this problem by providing integrated dashboards, which deliver analytics across all platforms including social media campaigns. As well as traffic, there is often an emphasis on displaying ROI, which helps you to judge which online marketing channels are working best.
5. Get More Personal with Customers
Yes, you read that right. The term ‘”marketing automation” might conjure up an idea of pushing prospects along through a standardized, dehumanized process. But actually, having access to a high level of information about individual behavior, needs and interests should make it easier to personalize communications and service to your customers as well. By providing best practice advice, training or offering enhanced features your customers can get more out of their investment with your products or services. This can improve the value of your brand, customer satisfaction and retention.
For more tips on how to optimize your marketing automation register for our upcoming webinar, “The Five Truths of Modern Marketing: How Marketing Automation Can Help You Fast Forward Your Marketing,” set for this Wednesday, March 20.