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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2018-01-17

According to a new report from ActiveCampaign, 41% of U.S. small business marketers feel that marketing automation is out of reach. Of those not using marketing automation, when asked why not, 33% cited cost, 25% admitted they were not familiar with marketing automation software, and 21% confessed they didn’t even know where to start.


These may sound like surprising numbers, but at OMI, we see how SMBs struggle with marketing automation on a regular basis. To remove some of the fear, uncertainty and doubt, this blog post is dedicated to helping these businesses understand the basics in order to leverage the power of this mighty marketing tool in 2018.


Essentially, marketing automation software helps automate repetitive tasks – email, social media, website actions – making them easier to accomplish. As an example, think Amazon: if you shop on their website but don’t purchase, you will receive (automated) ads or messages with the items you looked at or what’s still in your shopping cart. Using marketing automation, Amazon is nurturing your purchase with highly personal, relevant content intended to turn you into a paying customer. Marketing automation can also be used for email, such as sending an automated message when a prospect downloads your video. (See my previous blog post on using automation with email.)


The benefits to using marketing automation are many, and include:


  • Nurture leads: Marketing automation allows marketers to target the right customers with the right messages at the right time – maximizing your chance for a sale. That might mean sending a prospect a message in response to an action (e.g. signing up for your newsletter) or other criteria (e.g. amount of time since they’ve visited your website).


  • Identify the best prospects: Marketing automation can enable lead scoring based on data (e.g. job title or industry provided in a completed form) or action (e.g. response to an email offer). By automating lead scoring, your sales team is assured they are provided the best, “hottest” leads right away, so that additional follow-up can be conducted ASAP.


  • Scale marketing efforts: Once a marketing campaign has been successful for a particular region, product line or customer segment, you’ll likely want to adapt it to other areas of your business. Marketing automation can be a great alternative to manually segmenting prospects via spreadsheets and email lists.


  • Optimize marketing activity: Marketing automation can save you from having to manually organize data and nurture and score leads. It can also optimize and scale campaigns for maximum effectiveness, enabling SMBs to focus on more strategic endeavors and creative ideas.


  • Cross-sell / up-sell: Marketing automation also helps extract maximum value from your existing customers as well. This can be done through, for example, automated renewal notices or communicating additional products or services that might make their experience with your solution more helpful or successful.


Marketing automation is a topic that might take a bit of investigating to identify the right application for your business. There are many articles online for those beginners who would like to learn more about the available platforms. Vendors such as Act-On, Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot, Eloqua and many others also offer an abundance of resources as well on how to get started.


The bottom line is that marketing automation can make marketing processes more streamlined, efficient, and successful – and help deliver real, incremental revenue to your company. And that’s something to be embraced and not feared.


Do you have a marketing automation success story or platform that worked well for your business? Tell us about it!

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At OMI, we believe good things happen when you share your knowledge. That's why we're proud to educate marketers at every level - in every size and type of organization - about the basics of email marketing and the contact data that powers it.

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