Online marketing has improved in the 21st century with the use of marketing automation software, designed to reduce human error in repetitive tasks and help make mass communication more efficient. Marketing automation is useful in analyzing campaigns and managing leads through scoring, generation and qualification. The software can also evaluate demand and sales effectiveness.
Marketing automation software evaluates customer data and finds leads based on the information they provide through email inquiries. The data may include specific products in which a person has shown interest, along with their purchasing history, how many times they have visited your site, clicks and landing pages viewed. It can track many other metrics associated with your site.
This identification triggers email messages sent to qualified leads instead of sending spam to unknown prospects. This software, however, is not yet able to do a complete analysis of consumer tastes to accurately find ready to buy customers from other online places such as social media. The software does help speed up sales activity by narrowing down leads.
At some point marketing automation software will need to evolve beyond email since most customers start with search engines then ask questions about products through social media, which is beginning to overshadow email for product inquiries. Another growing factor affecting online purchasing that automation software hasn't picked up on yet is that reviews are playing a big part in shaping purchase decisions.
Leads can be tracked with marketing automation software, but a major limitation is that customers are now bypassing email and shaping their decisions from social media without necessarily contacting a marketer. In other words, much of the metrics that marketers want to track is happening in people's minds more than on computers. The most innovative sales and marketing software is starting to pick up on the fact that over-communication and alerts can actually hurt lead conversions.
The goal of lead management is to generate leads and nurture leads that are close to purchasing or show indications that purchasing is possible. After a filtering and scoring process, leads are distributed to personnel who work on converting them to sales. Part of lead management is directly contacting leads and documenting which ones need attention. This information is stored in software systems so that sales personnel know the status of each customer.
Marketing Campaign Management
The role of automation software in a marketing campaign is to connect with as many prospects as possible through email. Since the advent of this software, new trends in marketing have moved toward personalized communication. This fact means marketers need to overcome the temptation of relying on generic emails from software, as consumers are more likely to respond to emails that address their specific needs.
Even though automated software can generate emails, marketers realize they must add a personal touch to each email. If left alone the software will send the same message with the same subject line to many different people who may have different needs. That's why marketers still need to fine tune each email's subject line and email text so that the customer feels their needs are addressed. Relying completely on an automation system for marketing without customizing emails may actually lose customers.
There are several different marketing automation software programs to choose from. Some of the popular brands that are used by small businesses include: Hubspot, Salesforce's Pardot, PlanPlus, Infusionsoft, Marketo, Eloqua, Silverpop, Optify, LeadMaster, Etrigue, SalesAchiever and Aprimo. Most of these programs cover the basics of marketing automation and some combine sales and marketing tracking into one platform. Most modern marking programs offer personalization features.
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