Marketing automation is software that businesses can utilize to automate and streamline marketing actions such as emails or social media. The software replaces repetitive, manual tasks with automated campaigns or posts. It can also be your marketing hub — where you go to determine which marketing strategies work or don’t work for your company and what you can do to improve — by providing a central location for all of your marketing data and a way to examine and measure it. Additionally, you can use marketing automation software after a project to generate repeat and referral business.

Why is it helpful?

Marketing automation frees up valuable time and resources. By using marketing automation software, you no longer have to spend time sending emails, posting on social media, setting client appointments or meetings or other repetitive tasks, which saves time and increases staff effectiveness and productivity. It also allows you to engage with your clients and prospects on a regular basis without costing manpower, so that you and your team can focus on other duties, such as creative work. Automating follow-up emails with marketing automation software ensures that you are actively reaching out to clients, which can help your bottom line with repeat and referrals.

When should you use it?

Marketing automation is most effective when you have already created a customer journey strategy and you are seeing a regular flow of traffic to your website from organic search results or paid marketing campaigns. If you are generating engaging content to provide to prospects, marketing automation is a great way to personalize your email marketing approach, scale your lead nurturing strategy to establish better customer relationships, automate your sales funnel to grow your conversion rate or implement a gamification program to motivate your customers. It can also help you if you are spending too much time managing social media or if your sales process is manual and your leads are not producing enough revenue.

What is lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the process of initiating and cultivating relationships with customers at every stage of the sales funnel to create trust and establish consumer confidence by concentrating marketing strategies on communicating with your leads to provide them with relevant information and answer their questions at each stage — from the time that you first interact with a prospective client to the time that they are ready to buy. The goal of lead nurturing is to educate your prospects, increase their awareness of your company and what it offers and establish trust so that they are more likely to choose you when it comes time to buy.

Why should you automate lead nurturing?

Effective lead nurturing results in sales. The majority of your leads will not convert to sales on their own — you need to follow up to preserve “top of mind” awareness. A succession of nurturing emails will guide your prospects through each stage of the buying process, ensuring that they stay with your company until the last stage — the purchase decision. If you do not nurture your prospective buyers, they may not remain with you throughout the entirety of the buying process, particularly in the long journey to choosing an interior designer, and you will lose sales — possibly to more attentive competitors. Automating lead nurturing ensures that you follow up with and continue to engage all of your prospects and that each prospect receives the more relevant and effective information at the ideal times.

How do you get automated marketing?

There are many marketing automation programs to choose from including Infusionsoft, Marketo, HubSpot, Act-On and our current favorite, SharpSpring. Many will have a built-in CRM component, and some offer free options with paid versions having greater functionality, of course. The big caveat to implementing marketing automation is that the process of setting it up can be a long one. While it is largely on autopilot after the initial setup, it does require some ongoing attention. Automation will save you valuable time and energy in the long run and allow you to focus your efforts on other duties without neglecting your marketing.

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