what is marketing automation In today’s web-focused business environment, small businesses focus significant efforts on lead generation efforts via SEO (Search Engine Optimization, such as Google search results) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing, such as Google AdWords pay-per-click campaigns). Some companies generate hundreds or even thousands of leads each month through these initiatives.

What Are We Trying to Automate?

Companies that are experienced with online marketing understand how challenging it can be to keep track of lead information. Each inbound lead creates a significant amount of administrative work. If done manually this can consume precious resources and also reduce the likelihood of closing deals. Staff members often do the following activities manually:

  • Data entry of lead information into the CRM system
  • Prospect research on social media
  • Assign lead to appropriate sales representative
  • Initial follow up with the lead via email
  • Lead scoring
  • Lead nurturing via email
  • Pipeline reporting
  • Assign follow up reminders to appropriate team members
  • Customer engagement and satisfaction

Marketing automation is a relatively new concept that allows you to do most, if not all of this via technology. Instead of hoping your team remembers to do all of this, a marketing automation system can be programed to automatically do it for you. Marketing automation systems typically replace or work in tandem with your existing CRM and offer email sending capabilities, lead tracking and scoring, and task management capabilities.

A Real-Word Example of Marketing Automation

The true power of marketing automation software is its ability to tie all these features together into a single, intelligent system. For example:

  1. A lead fills out a form on your website
  2. Their information is automatically populated as a lead record in your marketing automation system
  3. The lead automatically receives a thank-you email
  4. The lead is assigned a score based on which form they filled out, how many pages they visited, previous visits, or other criteria you define
  5. Your sales rep is notified to follow up and a task sequence is set on his or her calendar for future reference
  6. Based on how the lead progresses through the pipeline, he or she is automatically dropped into an email nurture campaign
  7. After the prospect becomes a customer, he or she begins to receive helpful customer emails and solicitations for reviews and referrals

Need Marketing Automation Help?

Need help with your marketing automation? Comment below to connect.

Author

Matt Keener is the original "Executive in Sweatpants," having built a successful online consulting business (from home). His best-selling book offers tips for capitalizing on outsourcing and freelancing. Matt holds an MBA and has been featured by many recognizable brands, including Upwork (formerly oDesk), Elance, Insightly, the Dave Ramsey Show, and Entrepreneur.com.

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