Concepts like inbound marketing and content marketing are everywhere and discuss modern marketing and sales, and we have also tried to define the differences and similarities.
Content is the focal point, but it is only true when executed correctly as the fuel for your inbound marketing strategy. And inbound marketing can only be effective if you have a system to support it. And here comes marketing automation into the picture.
As the name suggests, marketing automation automates marketing tasks. The purpose is to communicate with many leads in a targeted manner without having to do it manually, which would require more than 24 hours a day.
Marketing automation is at play throughout the sales process, from when you give away some valuable knowledge to a recipient (who exchanges this with his e-mail address and/or other information) to the continuing dialogue between you. A salesperson will take over the dialogue when the automated process has led your lead far enough in the purchase process. When this point is reached, it is determined based on the lead’s interactions with your content in emails, on the website, on social media etc.
Automated and personalized at the same time
Marketing automation software (like HubSpot, InfusionSoft or Active Campaign) makes it possible to design a workflow where the system does much of the labouring ground-work if you ensure the tank (website) is filled with relevant quality content, and you also build good and thought-out processes.
In addition to the fact that it is always very satisfying to streamline an otherwise manual and repetitive way of working, the overriding advantage is that a professional, detailed and automated process will take better care of the customer, customer needs and willingness to buy.
The software can largely tell us what the customer is interested in and how far he is on his purchase, so we reduce the risk of contacting him too soon and annoying him – instead, we can leave him with a sense that we can address a need of his.
This way, automation does not anonymise your communication but can become more personal because you base your communication on the lead’s needs and interests.
Many advantages of marketing automation
So, what exactly is marketing automation, and what benefits are there to work with this? The benefits of working with a marketing automation system are many. Here is a list of some of the benefits
- An integrated tool for all your published information. It is a collection and framework between blogs, call-to-actions, email marketing/newsletters, landing pages, forms and social media.
- Lead Generation. It is a proven process and tool for efficient online lead generation.
- Lead Nurturing. The ability to set up automated and intelligent mail workflows can lead from warm to hot.
- Segmentation. Able to make smart lists based on our lead’s online behaviour. For example, it can be used to trigger a specific email sequence if a lead visits, within a week, three specific pages on the site.
- Lead Score. The possibility of creating a fully customized lead scoring based on company data and the lead’s interaction with the company’s content. This ensures that the sales department can always work on the hottest leads.
- Smart Content. Possibility to personalize what kind of content the individual lead is presented to – you can control which audience will receive that content.
- Progressive Profiling. Opportunity to become more knowledgeable of the lead. Instead of asking for the same information at each conversion, you can, for example, ask for some new information with each interaction and continuously expand the knowledge of the lead’s needs.
- Insight into existing customer behaviour. For example, Key Account Managers may receive an email notification when their customers visit specific pages on the site.
- Integration to CRM. HubSpot has its CRM system (and it’s free) and can also be integrated into external CRM systems, so marketing and sales can be closely linked. It allows for closed-loop reporting, so it is always transparent how much inbound marketing contributes to specific sales.
Simply speaking, Marketing automation is a process supported by a technology platform that helps a company to qualify leads to become so hot that the sales department can take over and easily convert the lead to a customer.
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