Online Lead Generation, Part 1: Marketing Automation

marketing automation

This is the first post in a series on lead generation. Check back in the coming weeks for more about the most effective techniques for generating leads for your business.

According to the 2013 Lead Generation Marketing Effectiveness Study conducted by the Lenskold Group, 63 percent of companies that were outgrowing their competitors that year were using an integrated marketing automation system.

Also, 78 percent of high-performing marketers say that their improving revenue contribution is due to marketing automation. So if you’re not currently taking advantage of marketing automation, there are two primary reasons why you may want to start: exceeding your competition and increasing your revenue.

How Marketing Automation Works

The right marketing automation solution helps you focus on your customers, move buyers through your sales funnel faster and understand which of your marketing techniques are working and which are not. Because the work of marketing has changed so much in the last 10 years, you must have new technologies and tools to get in front of potential customers. You need to deliver personalized content that will stand out and establish your expertise. This is where marketing automation comes in.

A marketing automation platform will let you track how a potential customer interacts with your company. It will track website visits, email clicks, content downloads and much more. These numbers will provide insight into whether a potential customer is ready to buy. You can then deploy the right marketing messages to accelerate his or her decision.

Marketing Automation Channels and Data

Marketing automation gives you data to tackle each marketing channel with ease. The tools you use to create efficient marketing programs need to be simple and flexible. Some of the marketing channels to use include:

  • Search marketing: 60 percent of buyers start their search for a product by using a search engine. You must be visible in search results when potential customers are looking for the services and products you offer.
  • Social media: Social platforms allow you to share business messages, discover new audiences, connect your channels and generate leads and sales.
  • Email marketing: This is one of the best outbound approaches for business marketing. Marketing automation tools can help you create, personalize, test, send and measure your email campaigns.
  • Landing pages and forms: You can create responsive landing pages and forms that will deliver targeted information to potential customers.

Some of the data you will find useful from marketing automation includes:

  • Lead scoring: This is a trusted method for ranking prospects in terms of their potential value to your business. When done correctly, lead scoring can help you prioritize and nurture your most potentially lucrative leads.
  • Website visitor tracking: Knowing what your potential customers do on your website is important. Marketing automation tools can help determine which visitors are ready to make a purchase and which are simply looking around, as well as the features of your website that have successfully moved your visitors further down the purchasing funnel.
  • A/B testing: Results of A/B tests help you create a marketing campaign that resonates with your target audience. Testing your emails, forms and landing pages allows you to optimize them before you start your campaign by providing data about what works best.
  • Lead nurturing: This is the process of sending steadily progressive communications to buyers who express an interest. Marketing automation can make this easier, convenient, consistent and effective. You can repeat programs you found most successful by including them in tailored marketing campaigns.

Choosing the Right Marketing Automation Software for Your Company

There are four steps that you need to follow to choose the marketing automation software that’s right for your company:

  1. Decide what matters: You need to know what a marketing campaign means to different parts of your business. How much do you want to spend and how will you know it works? When you determine what is important to your business, you can find a platform that will measure it.
  2. Determine your audience: You need to know who your campaign will target, what information potential buyers need and how you will measure a potential customer’s interest and response.
  3. Choose comprehensive software that many departments can use: By using one platform, everyone on your team can be on the same page about your strategies, why they matter and what steps to take next.
  4. Keep it simple: Too much data can be as frustrating as too little data. A tool that clearly presents essential information will help you or your clients understand the value of the data.

Using marketing automation will ensure your marketing campaign is truly and effectively pushing customers through the funnel without requiring you to manually perform all the processes yourself. It will increase your revenue while simplifying the operation of your marketing campaigns.

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