Every year, HubSpot publishes its list of the top challenges marketing teams face. And, from one year to the next, that list remains relatively unchanged. At the top is generating leads and website traffic, followed by demonstrating return on investment (ROI) of marketing dollars and budget concerns.
Near the top of the list is identifying the best technologies to help marketers do their jobs. This challenge is one that can make or break your business. Why? Because technologies like customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation will markedly improve customer engagement and free up your marketing team to do what they do best.
WHAT IS MARKETING AUTOMATION?
For most marketers, there aren't enough hours in the day to complete all the tasks on their list, everything from maintaining websites to creating powerful lead generation strategies to pushing out unique content and engaging emails. Marketing automation, when you do it right, can do most of these tasks for you. This lets you focus on the game-changing activities that move the needle on business growth and profitability.
As HubSpot points out, the power of marketing automation is in its ability to complete time-consuming tasks for your marketing team while simultaneously enhancing customer experience (CX) and engagement:
"Marketing automation is all about using software to automate marketing activities. Many marketing departments automate repetitive tasks such as email marketing, social media posting, and even ad campaigns -- not just for the sake of efficiency, but so they can provide a more personalized experience for their customers. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier."
HOW CAN MARKETING AUTOMATION HELP YOUR BUSINESS?
Although every business is unique, most realize substantial benefits by harnessing the power of marketing automation software. Consider for example these marketing automation metrics from Learning Hub:
Businesses that leverage marketing automation see an average increase in qualified leads of more than 450%
More than 90% of marketers in a recent survey said marketing automation was "very important" to the success of their marketing campaigns
Almost half of businesses that implement marketing automation see a return on their investment within 6 months—and more than 75% see ROI within the first year
On average, marketing automation improves business productivity by more than 20%
Almost 75% of marketers say the biggest benefit of marketing automation is saving time
HOW CAN AUTOMATION STREAMLINE YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING?
Those metrics reflect average performance, which means of course that some businesses do much better, while others don't do nearly so well. The companies that achieve optimal success with automation are the ones that leverage best practice automation strategies, including the following 3:
1. IMMEDIATE FOLLOW UP ON NEW LEADS
What happens when someone fills out a contact form on your website? The answer is important, because (according to Vendasta) almost 80% of consumers buy from the business that responds to them first. With automation, you can push out a welcome email to new leads within seconds of their completing a contact form on your website.
2. LEAD NURTURING
The fact that someone fills out a lead form doesn't necessarily mean they're ready to talk sales. In fact, consumers on average will view 5 or more pieces of content before they're willing to talk to a sales rep — and businesses that effectively nurture their leads sell 50% more products, and for 33% less money. Using marketing automation, you can set up drip campaigns that send a series of personalized lead nurturing emails that build trust and lead to more sales opportunities.
3. LEAD SEGMENTATION
The needs of prospective customers change as they move through your sales funnel. For example, someone who fills out a contact form knows little about your business, while someone who downloads a case study or requests a demo is likely closer to making a purchase.
With marketing automation, you can classify your leads (for example, as new, marketing qualified or sales qualified) based on the actions they've taken and send them the content most likely to build interest in your products and services.
These are just a few of the ways marketing automation can streamline your digital workflows, save time, increase customer engagement and boost sales. If that sounds like something that will help your business, your next step is to identify which automation tools best align with your marketing objectives.