Monday, January 26, 2015

What's Automated About Marketing Automation?

by Dan Freeman 
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Note, this blog post was originally published at Reach Marketing.

You’ve all heard of marketing automation.

It’s what we call that class of software that helps marketers nurture and quantify leads.

But the term marketing automation does not do justice to the software it’s named for.

Tracking visitors, sending emails, scoring leads, creating workflows, generating sales alerts…all of these automation features are critically important. But the real value behind marketing automation software lies in its ability to reach and engage with more prospects and to covert these prospects into leads, sales opportunities and customers. These benefits extend well beyond automation.

Here’s a synopsis of how marketing automation software can help your business.

Discover

First and foremost, marketing automation software helps you discover more about who your prospects and customers are. You can track and expand your prospects’ profile data, including demographic and firmographic info that you can use to better segment and target the marketplace. Profile data can even include attitudinal info obtained from surveys or form questions that can provide powerful insights into prospects’ intentions and/or authority.

By tracking what was previously invisible—the interactions your prospects have with your content—you gain a much richer view of your audience and how your content meets their needs.

Reach

Armed with a greater understanding of your prospects, you are in a position to expand your market
reach. With automated outbound messages, whether in the form of newsletters, messages triggered by site registrations, or intricate automated nurture campaigns, you can exponentially increase touch points with prospects and expand your marketplace presence.

Engage

More touch points mean more interactions and a deeper knowledge of your prospects—who they are and what content they consume—and you have now primed them for engagement. Engagement starts with understanding the buyer’s journey, the process that a buyer goes through from awareness to research to a purchase decision. You can now create content to better meet your prospects’ information needs at every stage of their journey, and track their level of engagement.

Convert

As marketers, your ultimate goal is to convert visitors to leads, and leads to sales opportunities and profitable customers. Marketing automation software enables you to convert anonymous visitors into qualified prospects using features such as reverse IP look-up and real-time website personalization. You can then track and score these leads and convert into sales opportunities based on agreed upon lead scores and activities that reflect their level of engagement.

So, the next time you hear the term marketing automation, think about these benefits.