You need marketing automation. But why? It’s easy to make that claim; backing it up, however, is more important. Especially if you are looking to grow your business and connect with your customers, automating your digital communications with interested members of your target audience should be a key part of your marketing efforts.
What is Marketing Automation?
Put simply, marketing automation describes the process of setting up automated workflows that send out regular messages on your behalf. Here’s how HubSpot, a leader in the field, describes the concept:
[Marketing automation allows companies] to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. This type of marketing automation typically generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on the investment required.
Typically, the process depends on emails that are triggered by audience actions. For example, a lead entering your database may trigger a workflow to send them a set of automated emails designed to guide them through the sales funnel and become a customer. Similarly, a customer’s purchase may trigger emails that encourage them to return.
As business communication has increasingly moved into the digital realm, marketing automation has risen in importance. It can be a crucial part of helping your business grow, and here are statistics that back that up.
1) Email Marketing Continues to Succeed
Marketing automation, as described above, relies heavily on mass-customized emails to reach your leads and drive them through the sales funnel. Its success relies on the continued prevalence of email marketing as a whole, which is why it’s comforting to know just how powerful commercial emails can be in today’s digital environment.
A study by the American Direct Mail Association, for example, showed that emails had an average return on investment of $38 for every $1 spent. Especially compared to other digital marketing opportunities, email is relatively affordable; but its continued preference by audiences everywhere continues to drive that success.
Research firm MarketingSherpa found that 72% of customers prefer email as their prevalent source of business communication, far ahead of second-place direct mail. Marketing automation, in other words, works because the medium it uses continues to be successful.
2) Audiences are Cutting Out Ads
Part of the reason email marketing has continued to be so successful across industries is the decline which many digital ads have seen over the past few years. Ad blocking is on the rise, in large part due to the fact that audiences are becoming increasingly cynical toward banners and other types of paid advertisements.
The outlook is bleak. This summer, eMarketer found that almost 70 million Americans use an ad blocker, a 35% growth over 2015. In 2017, the research firm projects another 24% increase.
How do you reach an audience that does not want to see your ads? Simple: through more relevant content that reaches them in a more effective spot. Marketing automation builds on leads who have already expressed interest in your company, and will be receptive to more information. The result is a more attentive audience that will actually process your message.
3) Personalization is Key to Success
Of course, the above is only possible if you personalize your content enough to can speak to individual members of your audience and their needs. Almost three quarters of your audience will get frustrated if your content is not personalized. On the other hand, personalized content, especially in emails, can increase your transaction rates by up to 600%.
As a result, personalization has been the top priority for marketers in the past few years. Here, marketing automation – particularly when set up within a CRM structure – can make all the difference. You already have all the information you need about your leads in your system. Now, you can use that same system to set up an automated email marketing campain relevant for each individual member of your database.
4) Lead Nurturing Leads to Sales Success
The process of nurturing leads in your system to become customers is a core part of marketing automation. And it’s also another reason to implement the practice; in fact, multiple studies have found just how important nurturing your leads is to increasing your customer conversion rates.
According to the Lenskold Group, 6 out of 10 respondents feel strongly that lead nurturing has increased the quality of their leads. And they have reason to believe that: the Annuitas Group found that companies using lead nurturing see a 451% increase in qualified leads, which will make purchases that are 47% higher on average.
5) CRM Usage Continues to Increase
Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of the software necessary to build automated workflows for your email efforts. A CRM, which collects your lead and customer information and allows you to send them relevant emails based on their characteristics, is crucial for success.
It is fortunate, then, that the use of CRM systems especially among small and medium-sized businesses continues to increase. Capterra found that the CRM market is expected to surpass $37 billion in 2017, making it the largest business-facing software subset in the United States.
In addition, a clear correlation between CRM usage and sales success exist. As a 2013 study found, businesses who use CRM software are much more likely to consider their leads to be of reasonable quality than those who don’t. The secret is out: CRMs help businesses succeed, in part through effective marketing and sales automation processes.
In short, the digital environment as well as industry trends and audience expectations have made marketing automation an integral part of many organizations’ digital efforts. Is your company taking advantage of its possibilities? If not, it may be time to start. Given the above statistics, your audience is waiting for it.