What is Marketing automation?
Marketing automation is pre-scheduled content marketing as a series of repetitive tasks that are automated, and most commonly consist of email marketing drip campaigns, reporting and analytics, and lead nurturing.
A drip campaign – and in large part, email automation – happens when a lead enters a campaign by giving their contact information to you, and then receives personalized content in deliberate intervals over a specified timeframe.
An automation strategy works in conjunction with your overall marketing strategy. A prospective client becomes part of the automation process when they give personal information by way of joining a list or filling out a form. This triggers a scheduled email and puts them into a particular “workflow” based on the information requested.
A workflow is made up of a series content pieces set up in advance and set to be delivered to the prospect as determined by your strategy. It could look something like a client requesting a coupon code. The request could trigger a workflow in which they will immediately get the coupon code. If they haven’t used it in two days, they could get a reminder email. If no action is taken, they could get another reminder in three days with some featured products. If they do use the code, they may get an email in three days with corresponding products. This is how leads are nurtured.
An automation workflow reminds a warm lead that they showed interested in your product or service based on a direct action they took to get more information.
How does it work?
When a user visits your site, they are pixeled through an automation system to be uniquely tracked by IP address. All activity they take on your site, from which pages they visit to how long they stay there, is tracked.
At this point, tracking is based only on an IP address – the real life personal identity and information about the user is unknown. If the user fills out a form or converts to a lead in another way, they become a more personal prospect with their real name and profile that could contain information like their company, type of business, and contact information.
With this data, you can see how leads find information on your site, and what answers or solutions they are looking for. When contact is made with them, you can be best prepared to engage with the specific needs and concerns of the lead. Are they concerned about price? Do they worry that your services will be difficult to deploy? Do they keep coming back to a page where you explain the value of a particular service because they are on the fence about whether yours is the right service for them?
Automation reporting will track the user experience, then allow you to organize them based on where they are in the sales funnel. Many marketing automation systems also include a scoring system that can be applied to users who enter the funnel. Lead scoring is what sets many systems apart, as it becomes much easier to determine lead quality and allow sales teams to focus on leads who are score well and likely fit as a strong prospect.
Should I hire an agency to handle automation?
A large part of deploying an automation campaign will be time invested in learning the software and best practices for specific campaign types. Partnering with an agency that uses their expertise to build and execute an automation campaign will save you time and money, and drive more success. More importantly, agencies often have experience with multiple marketing automation systems and can provide insight into the best solution for your lead-generation and sales funnel.
Of course, we think working with an agency that specializes in automation is a smart business move. Aside from having access to automation software, which costs money to deploy and hours or days of time to onboard, an agency will already have familiarity with the entire process across a spectrum of industries. Additionally, agencies have seen a variety of strategies and tactics work for specific industries and can save you time and money by getting you closer to your objectives much more quickly and easily.
With marketing automation, the goal is to deliver high-quality content to well-qualified leads and continue to nurture your sales prospect. Effective marketing automation is a collaborative effort between you and your agency partner, but rest-assured your agency can provide the technical expertise to optimize your lead funnel and automation system setup. That leaves you to focus on content development and evaluating the results with the sales team and management… oh, and get the credit for a job well done!
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