Marketing is the lifeblood of any business, and tons of resources are dedicated to carrying out this function. Many of the tasks in marketing are repetitive and predictable regardless of the size of the business operations. These tasks may include basic functions such as scheduling email messages and social media posts, organizing the contacts directory and managing content. A feedback system and the ability to track customers’ activities as they move through the marketing funnel are some of the functions that have been automated to generate data that can be analyzed to measure the impact of marketing strategies.
Goals of Marketing Automation
Different types of marketing automation software have been proven effective in automating repetitive tasks for more efficient deployment of client-focused strategies. Aside from enhancing efficiency, marketing automation software is used to deliver information and personalized content based on pre-defined triggers. Leads are guided through the marketing funnel using various strategies. Analytic tools are used to gauge the effectiveness of the marketing strategy in addressing perceived issues.
Enterprise Marketing Automation Solutions
Businesses that sell goods or services to other businesses typically have higher price points and much longer wait times to complete a sales cycle. Enterprise marketing automation solutions are designed to generate interest in the product or service by nurturing a relationship with the business customer. This means keeping the brand in front of the customer by providing information at strategic points to keep the potential client engaged in the process. Using relevant content and a drip email campaign and other strategies, the client is nurtured until they can make the decision to buy.
Marketo is a comprehensive marketing software from a large software developer. It features email marketing, lead generation, digital ads and inbound and event marketing. For a ready-to-go marketing campaign, Marketo includes on-demand webinars, virtual book clubs and customization along with mobile marketing solutions. The platform also includes marketing analytics to measure client engagement. Other options include Act-on and Oracle Marketing Cloud that offer the same essential features.
Marketing Automation for SMBs
Small to medium businesses typically focus on marketing to consumers. The pool is much larger and the sales cycle is much shorter when marketing to end users. In this case, the focus is on engaging the customer with the brand and the product rather than nurturing relationships. Essential features of a marketing automation software include viability of bulk email campaigns, consumer-focused promotions and shopping cart abandonment signaling lost sales.
Yodle is a marketing automation software for small to medium businesses that offer three distinct levels of its services. Depending on the preferred package, services may include a search engine and a mobile optimized website, email marketing, directory listings, pay-per-click advertising. Aside from Yodle, consider Leadsius and In-touch software,which are both highly rated in terms of usability and features included.
Choosing the most Suitable Marketing Automation Software
It is important to consider platforms that are compatible with the size and nature of the business. Enterprise software would include features that SMBs may never need. Software costs vary, but expect enterprise software to be pricier than marketing automation software for SMBs. Conduct a needs assessment survey to identify the marketing automation issues that require a solution and from this survey, determine the tools needed to resolve the issues. Many of the software providers offer a free trial period, so take advantage of this to test the suitability of the actual product based on the company’s needs.