What is Marketing Automation?

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By: Michelle CastilloAutomation, Blog

Do you remember the first time you heard the term Marketing Automation? I can’t; it’s such an integrated part of how we promote our businesses...

Doing a quick Google search of the term shows me that Marketing Automation began around 1992, but that it was more widely used somewhere between 2000 and 2010.

If you’re reading this, I’m going to guess that you’ve heard the term and are wondering how it can help grow your business. 

Let’s look into that.

The Definition of Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation is a tool that allows you to automate tasks, such as sending emails and text messages, based on prospects’ and clients’ actions.

Marketing Automation in Action

You were talking with a parent from your child’s soccer team, Emma, who’s a self employed accountant. When you went to visit her website, you were offered a free PDF report about new tax laws affecting small businesses.

This is a very interesting and useful topic for you, so you enter your name and email address to receive the PDF.

In a few minutes, an email arrives in your inbox, with information on how to access the report.

The next day, you receive an email from Emma that asks how you liked the report. You’re also invited to schedule a consultation to answer any questions that you might have about how the new tax laws apply to your business.

This is marketing automation.

You schedule an appointment with Emma, by following instructions via a link in the email. It’s scheduled for the following week and an email confirmation is immediately in your inbox, with meeting details.

An hour before the meeting, a text message alert, to remind you about the meeting, includes instructions to easily access it.

This is marketing automation.

Alternatively, you may ignore Emma’s initial email, with the PDF report.

The next day you would have received an email, inviting you to take a look at the useful information in the report. This email may also invite you to share your favorite parts with her.

Another alternative is if you chose not to schedule a consultation. At this point, you would have received an email from Emma, with a video on how new tax laws affect small businesses like yours. The following email, based on your view time of the video, would have said something like, “Thank you for watching my video. Let’s set up a time to discuss how it affects your business”, or “I see that you didn’t get to finish watching my video. Here’s an infographic about what I covered. Let’s set up a time to discuss how this affects your business”.

This is marketing automation.

Is it really?

You may wonder, how do I know that this is an automated process? It could be that Emma is sitting at her desk, sending me all these personalized emails and text messages.

My response is that I really hope it’s an automated system. Otherwise, Emma can never sleep or go on vacation, not to mention have time to run her business and grow it.

Why you should care?

To grow your business, it’s best to establish systems that prioritize and execute marketing tasks in a more streamlined and efficient way, so that you are not the bottleneck.

In her article, Systems are the Key to Your Freedom, Fabienne Fredrickson, says, Consistency is the key to a self-managing and scalable business, and this kind of business requires a leader with a mindset that embraces process.

Good Marketing Automation software can help with these systems:

  • Automatic networking follow up campaign
  • Capture leads from the stage SMS based campaign
  • Client onboarding campaigns
  • Introduction email sequence to people who are added to your email list
  • And much more

How do you decide which system to use?

According to the Martech 5000 Database, there are currently over 300 companies that provide Marketing Automation tools! That’s a lot to sift through. Some of the bigger names are Active Campaign, ConstantContact, HubSpot, Keap and MailChimp, but which one is best for you?

I suggest starting by listing the features that you’ll need in the next 3 years. Then, pick 3 or 4 systems that you’ve heard about, from trusted sources, and compare them.

When comparing Marketing Automation systems, look at:

  • Ability to deliver on your needs
  • Pricing and how it’s impacted by the size of your contacts database
  • Useful sources to help you implement the system and its features
  • Scalability - Can the tool grow with your business?

It’s exciting to speculate on the growth of your business, especially with Marketing Automation in your toolbox. It can also feel overwhelming, especially if all of this is new for you. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation. We are happy to help you reach the best decisions for your business.

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About the Author

Michelle is an online marketing expert , passionate about helping business owners to benefit from today’s online technology. I provide my clients with hype-free concise advice and services about the reality of what online success requires.

Michelle Castillo

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