What is Marketing Automation?

marekting automation header imageBefore we go on to talk about what Marketing Automation is, let’s just clear up what Marketing Automation is not.

  • It’s not a great way to produce mass generated generic messages to your whole contact list
  • It’s not a system that allows you to press one button and it does everything for you
  • It’s not a quick way to reduce your headcount in the marketing department

Automation, in this context does not mean ‘no work’ or ‘no input needed’.

It’s a common misconception that wherever the word ‘automation’ appears it means you can get rid of human elements of a process. In some manufacturing applications that may well be true, but when it comes to Marketing Automation this doesn’t apply.

Marketing Automation does allow you to send emails and content to your contacts based upon what they’ve done before. This can help you to use your staffing resources better, but you have to put the work in up front to tell the system what to send, when to send it and based upon what actions. Basically, in the simplest terms, Marketing Automation allows you to engage more effectively and on a more personalised level based on the actions of your client or prospect. It can help you track activities and make solid decisions about when to pick up the phone to someone.

It will enable you to align your sales and marketing teams more closely. It will help your sales teams to see what their prospects are looking at or downloading from your site, blog and landing pages. It will help your marketing teams to see what content is working and what is not, allowing them to make changes swiftly to materials. It will help your brand to personalise your messages to your existing customers and to your prospective ones.

To send those personalised messages you need the right content. You need email templates, blogs and content like whitepapers, case studies and any other pieces of information that may be relevant to your audience. Someone needs to create that content. Now, you may have some of that already, but I can guarantee when you give some thought to what you want your clients or customers to do next when they visit your website or blog, you will find gaps.

As an example, if someone went to a page on your website about a new product and downloaded an information sheet about it, what would you want them to do next? How are you going to encourage them to take that next step? At the moment, they’re just a person showing an interest in that product – how are you going to find out just how interested they are? You could maybe give them some time to digest the information and then send them some further additional information about the product. You may even ask them a few questions to allow you to further personalise your next contact or send them an offer. At some point their actions (which you can see in a marketing automation platform) may even prompt you to pick up the phone and introduce yourself.

To be able to have the right content for your prospects and customers you need to have an understanding of your customer base; you need to understand your ‘buyer personas’ – and they may be many depending on the type of business you run. Once you have that, you can start to build your Marketing Automation campaigns that will allow you to get the right content to the right people at the right time.

Personalising your content will help make your clients and prospects feel valued, increase engagement and will ultimately lead to increased sales.

Ready to find out more about Marketing Automation? you might find Experience in Automation – 5 Tips for beginners useful.  Or, if you want to dig even deeper to understand how it can help your business, get in touch.

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Nadine Thomas

About Nadine Thomas

Nadine works across the full range of the digital marketing spectrum, but spends more of her time helping clients with their content marketing strategy and content. By it's very nature, content marketing utilises all aspects of a clients online presence, from their website to their social media presence, campaign materials and marketing automation campaigns. And of course, all this has to align and complement their offline marketing efforts.  As a business owner herself, she understand the needs and motivations of clients when working to generate revenue and increase profitablity.  In her spare time Nadine is actively involved in her local rugby club where she coaches children's rugby union and has done for 18 years. If you wish to contact Nadine please email her at nadine.thomas@wsi-emarketing.com You can follow me on Google+