Marketing Automation – are you ready for it?

by Joanne Dolezal on 15th April 2016

Are you ready for marketing automation?

The ability to automate (and schedule) your marketing communications activities, including email marketing and social media updates, can save you a lot of time.

It enables you to attract prospects (visitors) to your website and then guide them through the sales pipeline, with a set of prompts or messages designed to convert them.

Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua, DotMailer, Infusionsoft et al are highly sophisticated marketing automation platforms and whilst I respect and admire the brilliant brains behind them, many businesses just aren’t ready for them (and may never be).

“You see, it’s a bit like giving a ten year old, who loves driving their go-cart, the keys to a Lamborghini and seeing if they’d like to take it for a spin up the Autobahn.”

Unless you know what you’re doing, you’ll never even get it off the driveway and out of first gear. And as with almost all software (and hardware) purchases.  Most of us will only use a fraction of the capabilities at our finger tips and end up wasting money.

What these software platforms have done beautifully though, is to practice what they preach. The internet is now awash with selling messages (in one guise or another) extolling the benefits of marketing automation.  The pressure to buy is definitely on.

What can they teach us?

  •  lead by example – using their own software platforms to publish original content
  • educate us, their market place, with free guides and content marketing (HubSpot excel in this area)
  • demonstrate the breadth and diversity of content formats
  • demonstrate the platforms that selling messages can be published to
  • create a sense of urgency (FOMO) – we don’t want to be left behind

So how do you know if you are NOT ready?

1. You don’t have any or enough contact data (thousands and thousands) so you can’t email or text prospects easily

2. You don’t have enough customer data so are shooting in the dark. Customer data tells you what customers buy, when they buy it, how and where (online, face-to-face, through a third-party). It also tells you why. Why it, why you.

3. You don’t have a product or service that can be scaled quickly and easily to the levels that would warrant an investment of £600 plus per month just on marketing automation software. Graphic design and copywriting could easily double or treble that figure.

3. You don’t know enough about the people on your mailing lists to know what you have, that they might want.  Customer insight takes time to build and will need the input of every customer facing team.  Your sales team will need to be involved in shaping content.

4. You don’t have the internal resources (people, time, money, know-how) to get it started, let alone keep it going. Even the best agency will need your time, ideas and input to do a good job for you.

5. You’re not ready to apply a content or inbound marketing strategy to your business and/or give it the necessary time (typically 6 – 9 months) to start taking effect.  Our Content Marketing courses cover: strategy, OVP, Buyer Personas, SEO, content generation, publishing and amplification.

6. You don’t plan to grow your business above a certain size in terms of turnover or personnel – and that’s absolutely fine.

So, is Marketing Automation only for the “big boys”?

No.

You can definitely start small, with automated email sequences, fantastic for onboarding new subscribers, customers or service users.  It’s also a powerful lead generation tool for MOFU (middle of funnel) and will be available on most paid email marketing platforms.  MailChimp has a great Automation function.

We use this at Dolezal Consulting and have helped a number of clients set up their content marketing and automation streams.  We’re not an agency or a software reseller, so can offer impartial advice and consultancy.

We are always happy to talk to you about your current and future business plans. and would love to help you explore all that marketing can do for you.

 

Photo by Freddie Marriage on Unsplash

Joanne DolezalMarketing Automation – are you ready for it?

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