Marketing automation is all the rage, and you’ve almost certainly heard something about it. But if you have not yet got involved, you may have a number of questions. Here are 6 questions you’ve always been too afraid to ask to help you get started with your own marketing automation strategy.
1. What Is It?
The concept of marketing automation often causes confusion. So what exactly is it? Marketing automation essentially involves moving contacts from the top of the funnel and converting them into leads at the bottom through automating the process.
As a marketer, you will already know that there are many marketing actions that consist of repetitive tasks, whether they involve social media, emails, or other channels. Marketing automation uses software to automate these processes. while educating prospects through the buying cycle until they become customers.
2. Why Do It?
Quicksprout’s comprehensive guide highlights a number of benefits of marketing automation. One of these is that it improves your communication with your leads because you can send more personalized messages, thereby improving the quality of your campaigns. Personalization is a huge benefit that will make your communications more relevant. For example, you could send targeted offers based on the pages your leads have visited. Or you could segment your email sign-ups to send them more relevant content. By automating your lead nurturing process through the use of campaign management software, you can also save a significant amount of time.
3. Is It Just Spam?
When you mention automation, it’s easy to start thinking that this means it will be less personalized and more like spam. But this is not the case at all, and in fact, it’s the opposite. Good marketing automation is all about tailoring messages around the user experience. So rather than just sending out advertising messages to everyone, you are nurturing your leads through the funnel instead.
It is easy to be lazy with marketing automation. For example, you could just buy lists and send out automated emails. But this is ineffective. Marketing automation is not about being robotic—this is just down to bad marketing, not the practice of marketing automation. Done well, marketing automation allows you to send more relevant messages based on what your prospects want.
4. Is It All About Software?
Using the right software is a big part of marketing automation. Companies like Marketo, Eloqua, and HubSpot have become leaders in this space, and they all provide amazing tools to help you do everything you need.
But there is more to automation than the software.
One of the problems surrounding marketing automation is that marketers seek out a solution for everything. They turn to HubSpot or another software solution hoping that it will have all the tools they need without having to do much themselves. But marketing automation first involves having a detailed understanding of strategies and looking at the big picture. The software will help you get there, but it is not enough on its own.
As a result, marketers end up with these incredible tools that are highly sophisticated, but they are lacking one crucial ingredient: The ability to generate new leads to nurture in the first place. They turn to bought lists rather than nurturing their own, and although this can be a quick-fix solution, it is not successful in the long term. Marketing automation works best when you are already generating a regular source of new leads, and this is where inbound marketing comes in.
5. Is Inbound Marketing the Same Thing as Marketing Automation?
One of the big parts of marketing automation is inbound marketing. In fact, you often hear them mentioned together, but they are not the same thing. Marketing automation starts once leads have entered the top of the funnel, but it is inbound marketing that gets these leads here in the first place.
A mistake that marketers often make is investing in automation before they have their inbound marketing system in place. If you don’t replenish your leads, you are just trying to squeeze more out of your existing leads.
Inbound marketing is a popular practice for customer acquisition, and it involves attracting users by providing them with quality content. By aligning your content with your customers’ interests, you can attract them and engage them. This brings them into the funnel, where your marketing automation system will then convert them into leads.
6. How Important Is Email?
Emails are one of the most important parts of marketing automation. Once you are generating traffic to your site through inbound marketing, this is where your email list comes into the mix. By collecting email addresses, you can get people into your marketing funnel, and that’s when you can start targeting them. Email is so effective because people keep their email addresses for many years, and they check them regularly. You can connect with your leads across multiple devices, and people also use their email addresses to sign up with services and online accounts like Facebook.
However, email marketing is not the only channel to use. In fact, marketing automation is not as effective when you only rely on one channel. You also need to focus on social media, your website, content, and more. Good inbound marketing is focused on the prospect. You use the information that you know about them and then deliver the information they need. You need to measure their interactions across marketing channels, whether that be content they have read or web pages they have viewed. You can use this to understand their needs so you can guide them down the funnel. And while email plays an important role, you should use a range of channels to enjoy the best results.
Are You Ready to Try Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is still a concept that many marketers are trying to get their heads around. If you are ready to set up a marketing automation system with your company, it can have a huge impact on your marketing, so it is worth thinking about. However, the primary focus to start with should be on getting a steady stream of leads into your funnel through inbound marketing. Once you are at this stage, marketing automation is the obvious next step.