The two major keys to inbound marketing are creating high quality, targeted content and engaging potential customers on a personal level. This is a very involved and often rather delicate process. And like all involved and delicate processes, there’s now software available to help you do it better.
Marketing automation software helps you monitor and manage your inbound campaign from content creation through sales. It can keep track of your potential customers and their interactions with your site. It can send automated e-mails to leads based on those interactions. And it can organize a vast amount of information to browse at a glance, or compile automated reports for you based on the data. There are a number of important marketing tasks that can be handled by automated software, including…
- Lead Generation. The right marketing automation platform can help you build landing pages simply and track which leads come from where, in order to categorize them based on their interests.
- Lead Nurturing. Automation software can recognize specific actions by a lead and interact with them based on those actions. Did your lead visit a page on your website? It can send them an automatic e-mail offering new content based on the page they visited.
- Lead Scoring. All this information that’s collected and compiled on a lead, including their interests, actions, etc., can be plugged into a formula to determine when they’re ready to be transferred from marketing over to sales, for the final push toward a purchase.
Many marketers swear by automation software, saying that it helps improve their leads and sales tremendously. Others, however, have criticized it as being too impersonal, and thus detrimental to your inbound strategy. Automated communication with potential customers can easily be dismissed as spam or caught by a variety of priority filters. It can lead to sending the same e-mail multiple times accidentally to a single person. And it can cause marketers to lose focus on quality content in favor of software gimmicks.
So, is automation software the future of inbound marketing, or will it lead to its eventual downfall? That depends. Marketing automation is a tool. The results you get from it depend entirely on how you use it. If you use it to send automatic spam e-mails to your leads instead of nurturing them properly, then those e-mails will be largely ignored, and you’ll lose sales. If you try to be lazy and use your software as a cookie cutter solution to every task instead of taking the time to do things right, then you’ll end up with a weak and ineffective marketing strategy.
But if instead of using it to do your work for you, you use it as a guide to help you do your own work better, marketing automation software can be very beneficial. It can help you organize and analyze vast amounts of information in order to make better marketing decisions. It can save you time and effort on a variety of repetitive tasks—time which you can then put to good use creating more and better content. It can send automatic form-letter e-mails to leads based on certain triggers—or it can be programmed to alert you to those triggers, so you can connect with your leads personally.
Is marketing automation right for you? If you go in with a clear marketing strategy and use automation software to help you accomplish it, then it can be. But if you try to use the software to define your strategy for you, or to BE your strategy in and of itself, then you’re destined to fail. The choice is yours.