Marketing automation is a buzzword ringing throughout the marketing industry yet many have no clue what it does or whether the investment is worth it. You’ve probably heard the phrase tossed around by your boss in a recent meeting, and you did your best to mask your confusion. “Of course I know what marketing automation is! I’m on it!” But inside your head, you’re more like: We get it, and that’s why we wrote this blog. With marketing automation being amongst the most piloted marketing technologies of 2015, any marketer hoping to keep up should know the basics: what marketing automation is, the company-wide benefits it offers, and what you can accomplish by implementing a platform. What is Marketing Automation? Marketing automation is a software that allows marketing teams to streamline and automate all of their marketing efforts. By doing this, marketers can better convert prospects to customers and turn costumers into advocates—when compared to doing it all manually! Why Should I Care? If you’re a digital marketer and love using technology to improve not only your day-to-day job, but also your audience’s online experience, you should care—a lot. Whether you’re building up your inbound marketing strategy, working on a lead nurturing plan, or just want to enhance your email newsletter, marketing automation software provides sales and marketing with an endless amount of benefits that at one time was unheard of. Take a look at four key benefits to marketing automation. 1. Segmentation Marketing automation houses everything marketing-related including detailed prospect and customer information. Being able to see customer interactions and behavior history allows you to segment and target the right message to the right person at the right time. Whether it’s opening an email, making a purchase, registering for an event, or skimming your site, marketing automation stores all of this data so the next time you reach out to your customer, you have a clearer understanding of their needs. 2. Time Saver Many marketers spread themselves thin amongst various company projects. By streamlining your marketing processes and storing everything in one place, marketing automation takes care of all the repetitive marketing communication tasks that eat up your time. This maximizes marketing’s productivity with minimum time allocated to tactical execution and gives marketing the ability to shift their focus on other marketing tasks such as creating content. 3. Detailed Reports Marketing automation accurately tracks and measures the effectiveness of all your marketing efforts including emails, landing pages, social posts, and more. Through sophisticated reports and analytics, you can determine the success of your work and make tweaks based on metrics of success and failure. This data also empowers your marketing team to learn useful information about your company’s sales cycle. Example: Report from HubSpot, an inbound marketing software and partner of Boston Digital 4. Ease of Use You don’t have to be tech-savvy to work in marketing automation software. Many platforms don’t require code or design experience to create successful campaigns. In fact, a lot of marketing automation solutions provide ready-made templates, WYSIWYG editors, and a vast amount of resources to help you perfect the execution of your campaigns from start to finish. If you aren’t technically inclined, make sure to keep this in mind as you select a platform. What Can I Do with Marketing Automation? Now that you know some of the key benefits of marketing automation, you’ll want to jump head first into what features are included in most platforms and how these features can help your business Lead Generation If you’re in the B2B space, you’re always on the hunt for new leads. Marketing automation simplifies the process of attracting new prospects to your brand. Used properly, marketing automation keeps your pipeline stocked with a consistent flow of high-quality leads. Thanks to ready-to-go templates and customizable interfaces, marketing platforms enable you to create campaign landing pages, forms, and calls to action in a few short minutes.  Additionally, built-in lead intelligence gives you the power to build targeted campaigns and convert unknown visitors into prospects. Pro Tip: The more landing pages you have, the better! You can expect to increase leads by 55% when you go from 10 landing pages to 15. Lead nurturing Lead nurturing is a great way to educate your potential customers while keeping your brand top of mind. According to Gleanster, 50% of leads are qualified but not ready to buy.  Through the contact database feature on most automation platforms, lead nurturing is a breeze. You can effectively pursue each lead based on their behaviors and preferences and nurture through the path to purchase. Similar to Amazon’s recommendation system, marketing automation enables you to nurture prospects with highly personalized, behavior-triggered content that intersects with their place in the buyer’s journey. Lead scoring Lead scoring is a powerful feature of marketing automation. Instead of your sales team wasting time pursuing unqualified leads, you can use lead scoring to truly know when a lead is qualified. Lead scoring ranks a prospects interest level and sales readiness based on a scoring methodology that the marketing and sales teams develop together. With the proper scoring across a number of variables important to your business, you can ensure that you are passing truly qualified leads to sales. Website Monitoring Buyers have completed more than 70% of the buying process before they ever engage with a sales rep. If you were to provide top-of-funnel content to a prospect  who’s further along the funnel, the prospect is not likely to engage—in fact, he’s likely to get annoyed! Fortunately, marketing automation helps you avoid these scenarios. When you implement your marketing automation software, you can install a tracking code on your website that will capture helpful analytics about your visitors—down to the individual—including pages viewed, time spent on your site, location, content downloaded, and more. By collecting lead intelligence you can turn more website leads into customers by anticipating their needs rather than wait for them to reach out to your first. For example, if a lead is on your pricing page, the automation platform can notify a sales rep, allowing him to reach out. Integrate Your Sales Team When you put your marketing automation to good use, you break down the silos between your sales and marketing teams. Workflows, data, and lead segmentation are crucial to both teams, and a good automation platform helps align teams that often butt heads from time to time. Consider Marketing Automation Hopefully, you are up to speed on the marketing automation craze and understand why marketers are so determined to try and get stakeholder buy-in. After all, who wouldn’t want to increase operational efficiencies and grow revenue faster? What marketing automation platforms do you use?
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