The purpose of marketing is to generate revenue by attracting prospects to your website, converting them into leads, and finally closing them as customers. Marketing automation software, such as Hubspot or Infusionsoft, is designed to take care of repetitive marketing tasks, such as sending a series of emails to prospects, in an efficient way. This allows your staff to focus on more important things while your leads are automatically followed up with.
Marketing Automation ExplainedInbound marketing methodology involves four phases - attracting traffic, converting traffic into leads, closing leads into customers, and delighting customers so they become raving fans. In the close stage, marketing automation allows you to create highly segmented and targeted email communications that are sent to just the right prospects at just the right time in their buyer's journey. We call this lead nurturing. For example, consider this simple lead nurturing campaign:
You send an invitation to download your latest ebook, "How to Get More Customers on Facebook", to prospects who have expressed interest in social media marketing.
You send a "Thank You" follow up email to everyone who downloaded the ebook, and include links to some blog posts you have written about Facebook marketing.
A few days later, you send them a link to case study that highlights how you were able to help one of your clients generate 10 leads per month from social media.
When someone downloads the case study, your sales team is notified so that they can follow up directly with the prospect. If some of your prospects don't download the case study, you send them an alternative offer for another valuable piece of information.
With automation, your sales staff doesn't get involved until the prospect is ready to talk, allowing them to focus on sales-ready leads.
Is Your Company Ready for Marketing Automation?
Here are three questions to ask yourself to determine if your company is likely to benefit from marketing automation software.
How many leads are you generating online?
I see this happen a lot. Small companies who are just getting started with a website, decide to go all in with an expensive marketing automation implementation. They build out complex workflows and follow-up marketing campaigns, but are only getting a handful of online leads per month. This is a waste, or as I like to call it, marketing automation to nowhere.
We recommend that before you make an investment in any online marketing software, you take a good look at these three numbers:
- Your monthly web traffic
- The number of leads generated from your website
- The percentage of those leads that turn into customers
If your traffic is low, should first focus on generating more traffic through blogging, social media marketing, or pay per click advertising. If your traffic is good but you are not getting a lot of leads, you need to invest your marketing dollars into developing attractive content offers that will entice your visitors to convert. Only when you are generating more leads than your staff can effectively nurture should you invest in marketing automation software.
If your company is not yet generating lots of traffic or leads, we recommend you start with inbound marketing software and then add marketing automation on once you are generating enough leads to justify the additional investment. If you find yourself in this situation, I recommend HubSpot,* which has tools to help you automate all of the phases of inbound marketing, and which allows you to add marketing automation tools when you are ready.
Do you have the budget for it?
Marketing automation software requires an investment of at least $200 per month and it could be as much as $2,500 per month depending on the software you choose. If you don't have an in-house marketing professional who can create the campaigns and set up the software for you, you will need to hire a marketing agency to help you. Agency fees vary, but a good one will customize a package of services that is designed to help you meet your goals.
Are you committed to go the distance?
Implementing marketing automation is not easy. Even if you hire an agency to do if for you, you will need to make yourself available for meetings, design of the automation campaigns, content approval and account reviews. It also takes patience, especially if you start with a list of less than 1,000 contacts and low website traffic. Most software requires an annual contract, so you should be willing give your efforts at least that long to bear fruit. Inbound marketing works, check out this case study, but it takes time to show results.
- Find out if your website is working. If you don't have your website traffic, leads and sales numbers, set up a Google Analytics account and track these numbers for a month.
- Schedule a free inbound marketing assessment. We will take a look at your website and give you our best ideas for how to make it work harder for you.
*Note: Pepper Inbound Marketing is a Certified HubSpot Partner and an Infusionsoft Referral Partner.