Posted by Bethany Handy ● September 29, 2013

Marketing Automation Software Basics

Marketing automation software can be very helpful to small and medium sized businesses in helping create and maintain a relationship with customers.

It does have some pitfalls, but it certainly is useful.

It can be very difficult to keep on top of all the possible online marketing techniques, but these software packages can help with that.

What kind of software is available?

There are three basic types of software of this kind:

  1. Marketing intelligence software lets you track the behavior of people interested in your product to help figure out what their intent is. It tracks things like what search items people use, or which ads they click on. This helps build a portfolio of what is most effective so that you can adjust and target your marketing accordingly.
  2. Marketing automation is focused on moving leads into sales. This is what this article is predominantly interested in. It scores prospective leads, and then presents them with a drip campaign devised to funnel them through from first interest to an ultimate sale. The drip campaigns can by via email, social media, or some combination.
  3. Advanced workflow automation is largely an internal structure helping you to maintain your workflows and make sure things are followed through. They certainly can be useful, but are outside the scope of this article.

What are the benefits?

  • Marketing Automation software allows you to maintain effective demand generation and manage leads. Instead of needing to individually and manually respond to every prospect, this software allows you to mostly automate that process. It means that you can be sure that you are responding and communicating with customers in a timely and effective manner.
  • The Internet means that people have an unprecedented ability to research things and meet their preferences. Previously, people were limited to what they were immediately exposed to, but nowadays they can go hunting for exactly what they want. This is a two pronged thing. On the one hand, you need to make sure that if you are that thing, you are easy for them to find! And on the other, you want to make sure that you’re giving them the exact information that they need quickly and easily, because if you don’t, they close the tab and move on to the next one. This software helps you to optimize your information to make sure you are getting the maximum benefit from people who are looking for you, both in terms of being easy to find, and in terms of telling them what they need to know.
  • The marketing automation software also lets you create specific focus messages. In other words, you can aim the right information at the right people. It lets you create optimized information for different markets.

So what’s the catch?

Well the catch is that no matter how good it is, it’s still automatic, and people are getting better and better at filtering out noise (using priority in-boxes and ad-blockers for example). You still need to add a personal approach in order to keep people interested. This software goes a long way to helping turn marketing into sales, but at the end of the day, nothing is better than the personal approach, and so it is good to temper it with that.

 

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