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I like the definition in Wikipedia….
Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.
The key concept here is the automation of repetitive tasks.
When combined with some “if this, then that” logic, it becomes a very useful tool.
This post is part of a series and here is the link to the main glossary page.
From lead capture to sale
To help tie ideas together, inbound marketing is about attracting visitors to your website and converting website visitors into leads.
And marketing automation is about nurturing those leads through your sales funnel.
The image below shows the general idea.
You “capture” a lead when a website visitor fills out a form for some reason, and the marketing automation tool then reminds people they have an interest in your products or services whether they ever bought from you or not.
Notice there is a strong similarity to the image above to a sales funnel. The purpose of marketing automation is to nurture leads with little to no manual intervention.
The magic is in “if… then…”
Marketing automation tools contain “if… then…” logic that allows for a high degree of personalization in the messages you send out.
For example, if someone visits a page on your website that displays a specific service of yours (Inbound Marketing training for example) but they do not buy, subsequent email’s can remind them the service is available and suggest they sign up for the free preview.
If the service is seasonal (example; cleaning gutters) or something that should be done at regular intervals (example: resealing granite countertops) your system can send out messages based on time of the year, or time since last service.
And now, a pitch for a product I have no stake in
For what it’s worth, I’m a huge fan of ActiveCampaign as it’s amazing how much functionality you get for so little money.
In terms of their sales funnel, they got me to the “tell others” stage.
An example of the power (and complexity) of marketing automation
These tools track both website visits and interactions with emails.
When someone fills out a form and becomes a lead, an email is sent, and the software tracks whether or not they opened it, and if they did, whether or not they followed the link in the email.
So right off the bat there are three possible “branches” the marketing automation can take, depending on what the lead did or did not do.
And this concept occurs at every step with every reminder email.
What happens next depends on what the lead did or did not do in response to the last email.
That is both the blessing and the curse of marketing automation, because while there is great power in that level of configurability, getting it setup to that level of complexity is much more involved that an email DRIP campaign.Check out our Digital PR Platform