When asked about their inbound marketing campaigns, 40% of businesses cite marketing automation as one of their top priorities. Research also shows that most marketing automation fails because the foundation for lead generation is insufficient.
The Problem with Many Marketing Automation Efforts
As with many terms associated with inbound marketing, marketing automation has become a buzzword, something amateurs throw around to impress friends and associates after signing up for an email subscription service.
Marketers, too often, seek out sophisticated marketing automation software under the impression that all digital marketing tasks, including those needed to generate new leads, can be done through marketing automation. This misconception leaves many marketers with sophisticated tools that automate the middle of their funnel, but limited means for generating new leads.
In possession of slick, and sometimes costly, tools to nurture leads that don’t exist, amateur marketers become desperate to justify their software purchases. This desperation leads to inefficient, short-term solutions like buying leads instead of cultivating long-term processes for consistently acquiring qualified leads.
Takeaway: Marketing automation plays an important role in efficient inbound marketing campaigns. It does not, however, work if one’s inbound marketing efforts cannot consistently produce and generate qualified leads.
What Marketing Automation Should Look Like
While still a marketing expense, marketing automation creates feedback loops and automation steps that allow sales to follow up on “ready to convert” opportunities.
Marketing automation uses software and strategies that allow companies to nurture prospects with highly targeted, valuable content that helps convert prospects into customers and turn customers into delighted customers. It makes the buying process automatic and generates significant revenue and excellent return on investment, but only if done expertly.
Despite the number of companies that get marketing automation wrong, it’s not an impossible task. It can be compared to growing a fruit tree. You look at a seed and you’re tempted to think there’s no way this tiny thing could ever become a fruit-producing tree.
Then you realize there are literally millions of fruit trees in the world. And if you want to grow one, you ask a farmer what’s needed and carry out his advice. If you want to grow a hundred or a thousand, you ask a farmer and then find a way to systematize the work.
If you want one sale, ask someone who’s sold something. If you want hundreds or thousands of sales, you figure out how to sell and find a way to automate the work.
Takeaway: In order to exponentially multiply sales without exponentially multiplying work, you need to automate. Your marketing automation will only work if it’s done correctly. Bash Foo has transformed marketing automation from a strategy to an art by discovering and understanding the marketing automation needs of each business it serves.
Automated Email Marketing Best Practices
According to Ascend2’s 2017 State of Email Marketing Survey, effective email marketing.
- Message personalization
- Meaningful calls-to-action
- List data segmentation
- Testing and optimization
- Social sharing
- Mobile responsive design
- Automated campaigns
Although automation comes in at the bottom of the list, the astute marketer understands that without using best practices with your automated campaigns, you’re just automating failure. Simply put, marketing automation multiplies the effectiveness of best practices.
Takeaway: Marketing automation is not a stand-alone fix for generating leads and increasing revenue. It’s a way to magnify what you’re already doing well. That’s how Bash Foo helps small businesses. They implement best practices and automate your campaigns to produce substantial growth.
Common Features of Automated Marketing
Before addressing the common features of automated marketing, it’s important to eliminate common and inefficient practices that many businesses associate with marketing automation.
Marketing automation is not a fancy name for email marketing. It simply incorporates marketing campaigns across multiple channels. It combines analytics from your CRM, lead management system, web analytics platform, and other systems. Marketing automation is not the same as spamming your leads, although more than a few misguided marketers have commandeered automated marketing technology for such nefarious acts.
Marketing automation delivers value, but not without effort. Common features and functions of an automated campaign include the following:
- Email Marketing. Email provides the message delivery aspect of marketing automation in most cases.
- Landing Pages. You need to generate leads by convincing people who visit your site that you have something valuable enough to give them.
- Prediction/Scoring. All leads are not equal. Your emails shouldn’t be either.
- Lead Management. Having a big list of leads does you little good if you don’t have a management system in place.
- Customer Relations Manager (CRM). Every lead is an individual. You’re going to need help managing the needs of every individual who becomes a lead.
- Marketing Analytics. Find out what works and what doesn’t. This can only be done through analytics.
Takeaway: Marketing automation requires effort and skill. When done correctly, it provides a huge return on investment.
The Foundation of Inbound Marketing
Your marketing automation efforts will only produce positive results if you’re automating something actually worth automating.
The first and foremost responsibility of inbound marketing is to produce value and attract your target audience. You should be nurturing qualified leads with valuable content that solves problems. The hard-sell approach does not work. Avoid the hard sales pitch in favor of personalized, relevant content that aligns with what your customers and prospects are looking for.
Takeaway: When you’re aligning marketing content with customer needs, then marketing automation becomes a lot easier and a lot more effective.
The marketers at Bash Foo help small businesses generate high-quality leads. And with marketing automation, BashFoo helps businesses identify what actions leads are taking and how to help them progress through the sales funnel.
Contact us and discover how we can help transform your small business’s inbound marketing.