Marketing automation refers to the use of software and technology to automate all marketing campaigns and activities, with an end result of increased lead generation. Marketing automation software automates the entire marketing process, thereby resulting in shorter sales cycles, increased ROI and improved productivity. The 5 main features of marketing automation include:
1. Lead Generation
Lead generation is a type of marketing process which involves generating and initiating interest amongst customers for a particular product or service, with the objective of getting more sales. Lead generation is one of the most important activities in the sales pipeline as hot leads ultimately result in greater revenue and profits. Marketing automation is a quick and effective way of lead generation. Using marketing automation tools, companies can effectively get more leads and prospective customers. A common way in which marketing automation is used for lead generation is sign-up forms. Customers fill up a form with their name and email address, to sign up to receive communication from a company. Email marketing automation is commonly used to generate more leads. Prospective customers are encouraged to opt-in to a mailing list, after which emails are sent to pique their interest. Marketing automation tools are used to track the responses and activities of these prospective customers (checked out an item, made a purchase, abandoned cart without purchasing etc). Based on their activities, personalized marketing campaigns are designed, and further marketing communication is made.
2. Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing is one of the most important features of marketing automation. Not all prospective customers are ready to complete a sale. Lead nurturing refers to the process of building a long-term relationship with prospective customers by sending them targeted content, to ultimately convert them into buying customers. Marketing automation software is used to build customized marketing campaigns which effectively target and capture the interests of the prospects. A crucial step in designing these campaigns is content creation. The content should match the customer persona and be in line with the customer’s activities, to ensure that it is of interest to the customer. A common method called drip marketing is used in the lead nurturing process. Drip marketing is a marketing communication strategy whereby relevant content is “fed” to the customers via email.
3. Lead Scoring
Lead scoring is one of the most useful features of marketing automation. It refers to a marketing process whereby available leads and prospects are ranked or given “scores” based on a points system, to determine which leads are hot and ready for purchase. Marketing automation software uses a points system to score and rank leads. The definition of a hot lead varies from company to company. Lead scoring is done with the help of marketing automation, thereby marking which level of the sales funnel a customer currently occupies. Once hot leads have been identified via lead scoring, marketing automation tools alert the sales and marketing teams. Appropriate action, like sending offer emails to the hot leads, can then be taken.
4. Email Marketing
Originally, marketing automation only included email marketing automation. Email marketing is an important and useful feature of marketing automation software. Email marketing automation refers to the process by which relevant and personalized emails are sent to prospects when they take some action, in order to convert them into paying customers. Sending mass emails without any relevance will ultimately result in customers opting out of your mailing list. Email marketing automation ensures that the emails you send out make sense to the prospects and prompt them to take some action. For example, if a prospect clicks on a particular product or service on your website, an email can be sent informing the prospect of some offer on that product or service. While setting up email marketing automation, time needs to be spent analysing the audience and designing automated and relevant emails to be sent out based on actions taken.
5. Audience Segmentation
Audience segmentation refers to dividing a large, heterogeneous group into smaller, homogeneous chunks based on certain predefined factors like demographics, interests, purchasing decision, psychographics etc. Email marketing would be unsuccessful without proper audience segmentation and profiling. Marketing automation tools can help in profiling your target audience. Once segments have been created, relevant and targeted emails can be sent to these groups with the help of email marketing automation. Customized email campaigns for particular audience segments result in higher CTR and conversions. Email marketing automation with audience segmentation can also help in getting new leads.
Marketing automation includes many features which can assist in increasing ROI and profits. The above 5 features of marketing automation are some of the most important elements of marketing automation software which will definitely result in more hot leads, greater revenue and more conversions.