What is marketing automation?

What is marketing automation text graphic

Marketing automation is the use of a software platform to automate repetitive marketing tasks. These platforms are typically associated with email marketing but can also automate tasks within lead segmentation, lead scoring, and sales processes.

You interact with marketing automation every day. If you’ve ever left something in an online shopping cart for more than a few hours, you’ve almost certainly received an email trying to pull you back to the purchase. If you still don’t return and complete the sale you may have even started receiving offers and discounts to your inbox trying to sway you back. These marketing events were triggered by your actions and sent autonomously from an automation platform.

As you visit sites and engage with companies online, your actions are most often recorded and segmented so the company can help you along the buying process effectively. If you visit pricing pages, download eBooks, subscribe to newsletters, and more, you’re helping the company understand who you are and how they might earn you as a customer.

What does good marketing automation look like?

Good marketing automation is an organic and natural extension of the company/customer interaction.

Typically, marketing automation begins when a customer exchanges their contact information (name and email) for something that they perceive as being valuable such as an eBook or blog subscription. This process is called lead generation.

When the customer subscribes to your blog they’re expecting to receive content similar to that which led them to subscribe. They’re expecting valuable, relevant information. They didn’t give the company license to endlessly fill their inbox with deals and promotions. When you do send this valuable, relevant content, you might link to further learning about your product or service.

If the customer does start visiting pages about your product, then sending resources like FAQs, webinars or other comparable content can be helpful and timely.

Maybe, the subscriber starts visiting competitor comparison pages, perhaps even pricing pages. You might send them an email asking if they have any questions about your product. And you might send an email from one of your sales representatives with their calendar availability. Testimonials, video demonstrations, and more can be helpful and powerful content to receive when making a purchase decision.

All of these actions can take place autonomously. With little to no sales engagement. Helping your customer along the sales process naturally and empowering the customer to make decisions.

What email marketing can accomplish:
Attract and build a list of leads and potential customers
Automate repetitive tasks like rescheduling and abandoned carts
Automate CRM tasks like lead status, customer type, and buyer stage
Provide timely updates and promotions directly to interested buyers
Nurture and propel leads through the buyer’s journey
Build and nurture customer relationships through timely and helpful content

What email marketing won’t accomplish:
Email marketing doesn’t open the door to list-buying. Cold-outreach may still have a place in some sales plans. But it’s widely considered ineffective and self-damaging to buy lists and perform cold-outreach.
Email marketing won’t move customers directly to ready-to-buy stages. Only 27% of leads sent to sales are qualified to buy. Email marketing helps customers move from stage to stage in the buyer’s journey; it doesn’t move buyers straight to the ready-to-buy stage.

How does marketing automation fit into the customer journey?

Every business is different, so exactly how automation fits into your buyer’s journey will be unique. But for most businesses marketing automation is the framework that sits between almost every marketing event.

Marketing automation can help capture new leads, nurture leads, close deals, boost up customer support, and encourage customer evangelism.

What is the value of marketing automation?

Effective email and marketing automation is consistently one of the highest-return marketing actions. This is because email marketing is one of the few channels that businesses typically can access where they can go to the customer instead of waiting for the customer to come to them.

By meticulously assisting your customers through the buyer’s journey, you build trust and empower them to make purchasing decisions. According to the Direct Marketing Association, companies typically see a $42 return for every $1 spent with an effective automation strategy. With marketing automation, you can build a business that creates customers for life.

How do you get started with marketing automation?

If you’d like to learn more about how marketing automation can help you and your business, and how to get started, you can read more from our eBook on the marketing automation fundamentals.

If you’d like to speak with an Epic Marketing representative about what we could do for you, fill out the form at the bottom of the page, and we’ll get in touch!

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