What is marketing automation?

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Written by Penni Stanton

Marketing Automation is a talking point. In some form it has been around since the 1980s, and has been adopted by large multinationals for some time. But it is evolving and growing. It is becoming more relevant for a wider range of business sizes and types. As more and more marketing automation solutions start to appear, it is a great time to be thinking about what might work for your organisation.

A definition of Marketing Automation

"Marketing automation software replaces separate systems for email, web visitor tracking, lead scoring, nurture campaigns, campaign management, reporting and other core components with one solution that streamlines marketing processes and shares data with sales.” (Gleanster)

Traditionally marketing automation has been used as a lead nurture tool. Imagine returning from a trade show with a long list of leads. Without marketing automation, your marketing team could send emails, individually score actions (such as those who opened the email), and pass the top leads straight over to your sales team. But what about those who don’t interact with this email? Blindly email them again? Ask your marketers to call each one and qualify them?

You could set up a marketing pathway before you ever head to the trade show. This could be set up to send a series of emails, with different email paths depending on how each lead reacts. It can include scoring when a lead visits your website, or interacts with you on social. And when the lead hits a set score, it can automatically be assigned for a follow up call.

That’s a simple example of the benefits of marketing automation. If you find yourself with too many leads to follow up individually, or a long sales cycle, it can step in and move those leads through the funnel. And leave your marketers free to improve your automated cycle, work on original ideas and new ways to generate leads.

Marketing Automation through the Customer Lifecycle

Marketing automation is for more than just nurturing existing leads! It can be used throughout the entire sales cycle – from identifying and capturing new leads right through to up-selling to your existing customer base!

Lead Capture 

95% of website visitors leave without making contact. Marketing automation, combined with website visitor tracking, helps you to identify the best of your website visitors and turn them into leads. It’s easy to set up web page scoring, and automatically create activities in CRM to call and capture interesting leads.

Lead Nurture

Once you’ve turned that visitor into a lead, it’s time to nurture them until they are ready to buy. Pop them into an email series, score their interactions, and set up automatic activities in CRM for the right person to make a call at the optimum moment.

The idea is to generate and nurture leads by sharing your knowledge. Content gives you something useful to send out in your emails, offering blogs, whitepapers, infographics, case studies, etc.

Welcome New Customers

Great, now we’ve turned the lead into a customer, it’s time to get the experience off to a great start! An automated Welcome Series promises all customers feel appreciated, know where to go for help and reinforces their buying decision. A series of emails over their first couple of weeks, followed by a telephone call from their Account Manager is the best way to initiate your customer experience.

Event Invite

Managing events can be a headache! Marketing automation makes it simple to set up an email campaign, and then let it go to work in the background. Set up a series of invitations, excluding anybody who has already booked, to gain maximum bookings. It’s also easy to set automatic event confirmation emails when attendees book, as well as event reminders and instructions. Set it all up on day one, then sit back and watch the bookings fill up!

Up-selling

If you sell complimentary products, it makes sense to up-sell these when a customer purchases. Bought a table? Maybe you’d like these matching chairs. Purchased a ticket? Maybe this event is also your thing. Set up an automated campaign, and every time a customer purchases a table they will receive an email promoting the chairs. You can exclude any customers who have already purchased chairs easily too!

Annual Reminders

Do your customers need an annual check-in? Maybe there is a service, appointment or renewal every year? These tasks are often difficult to remember, or forgotten entirely. Set them up at the beginning of the year using Marketing Automation, and you can rest easy knowing all of your customers will receive their notification at the right time. Easy!

Want to see Marketing Automation in Action?

If you are a current Gold-Vision customer, visit our help site to see step-by-step instructions to set up the customer lifecycle we've described above. We’ve also got free webinars for all of our customers if you’d like a little extra help.

Not a Gold-Vision customer? Tell us your marketing worries today, and we’ll show you how Gold-Vision can make life easier!