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Why do businesses need marketing automation? And what does that even mean?
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Why do businesses need marketing automation? And what does that even mean?

Technology has changed nearly every aspect of our lives, and has significantly impacted the speed at which we digest media and information, and communicate with our world. We have been forever changed by the creation of the Internet and its adaptation to mobile electronic devices, such as smart phones, tablets, and Wi-Fi enabled portable computers.

Widespread use of Internet-enabled devices has also shifted our expectations as consumers. We want, no, we expect information fast. Really fast. In this environment, it is imperative that businesses communicate with customers and potential customers quickly and effectively. Companies that fail to adapt with the shift in how our society communicates will lose ground to those who already have.

 

Never Heard of It

You may not have ever heard the phrase “marketing automation” before, but you are certainly aware of it. Like the air we breathe, we are touched by automated marketing systems, largely without knowing it is happening. Have you ever received an email from a retailer a day or so after visiting their website? Just as you’re thinking about that thing they sell, you receive a coupon made just for you. Strange, right? Most likely, that wasn’t a coincidence. The business you visited, which just sent you the promotion, knew you were there and it triggered an automated response.

Large companies have been using automated communications for years and until recently, those tools were too expensive and complicated for smaller companies. These automated marketing tools go by many names, but historically, they all take significant resources to develop, set up and manage. However, like all other technologies, they are becoming both affordable and user-friendly over time. There are options available now that provide a long list of features at a cost that nearly any business can comfortably handle.

 

What are Marketing Automation Tools?

Marketing automation tools are applications, mostly cloud-based now, that speed up and manage communications with your customers and potential customers using emails and text messaging. The delivery method isn’t what is exciting though, it is the “who” and “why” that makes it effective.

Marketing automation applications can help in three areas:

1. Create more opportunities
2. Convert opportunities into sales
3. Report on campaign performance

These tools work around scenarios personalized for any business or sales process. A company can select certain parameters or actions that will trigger an email or text message to be sent to a page visitor. The tools will then track how the contact interacts with your business, like when they read an email, click on a link within the message or travel through the company’s website, and send tailored responses if they visit an important page. They may even notify a salesperson of the lead’s behavior and likeliness to buy.

 

Increase the Effectiveness of Paid Search Campaigns

Eliminate the wasted money and efforts! Paid search campaigns, like Google AdWords, are very effective but can eat up your marketing budget in no time. So, what do most marketing managers and business owners do with the visitors who fill out an online form? If the lead they paid to get didn’t buy something right then, most business owners write them off and just hope that they come back, but the last thing you should do is to stop communicating with them.

Automated campaigns will continue to follow up with leads that inquired about your product or service but didn’t purchase. It will remind the prospect of all the wonderful features and affordable pricing that is unique to your business and its offerings.

The third area marketing automation can help with is reporting. Now that your campaigns are integrated with a marketing automation tool, it is possible to see which campaigns are generating revenue. It sounds obvious, but most of the businesses we talk with aren’t measuring the ROI of their marketing campaigns. Nearly every marketing automation tool boasts the ability to track the return on investment from each. You are no longer guessing, but instead working with information to make data-driven decisions on what is performing well for your business.

Marketing automation tools can work for nearly every business model. Automation works to capture new business and to keep customers coming back. Find an application that fits your business or work with an agency to execute a strategy on your behalf and discover the benefits of automated marketing.

 

Steven BuckSteve Buck is the president and co-founder of Black Tie Digital Marketing. Learn more at BlackTieDigital.com

 

 

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