A lot of people are asking about the benefits of marketing automation vs email marketing these days. They hear all the buzz but still they have concerns. “I want to use email and my website for lead generation but I don’t want to pester my customers.” We hear this concern from our customers a lot, and for good reason. It takes a lot of time and effort to gain subscribers to your emails and not much annoyance to have them click that unsubscribe button. You can’t bombard them with canned emails.
But even if you aren’t losing a lot of subscribers, email click through rates aren’t what they used to be. Don’t get me wrong. This is not going to be another “Is Email Marketing Dead?” post you see so many places these days. The benefits of email marketing are real and it still works for many businesses. And actually, since email marketing is a major component of marketing automation, it’s not really a question of either-or as far as email marketing goes.
Email will be a part of any marketing automation initiative you create. In fact, Salesforce Marketing Cloud just released their 2015 State of Marketing Report, which reports that over 73% of marketers believe that email marketing is core to their business. So rather than making the choice, it’s about what you can do to maximize the potential benefit of email and whether an investment in marketing automation is right for your business.
What is Marketing Automation?
Basically, marketing automation is a system that provides a software platform and supports a methodology for creating and distributing content on multiple channels including email, social media, blogs, websites, etc. It’s combined with a CRM database so you can nurture any leads you generate.
In the world of marketing automation platforms, the big names you’ll hear about are Hubspot, Marketo, Act-On, Pardot, Eloqua and Infusionsoft. Each system has its own specific strengths and weaknesses and pricing varies significantly based on your needs.
Lead Nurturing, Not Lead Smothering
Marketing automation recognizes that most consumers spend significant time researching their purchases online and that this has changed the buying process. Inbound marketing with marketing automation helps you adapt to these changes by integrating several different marketing tactics under one umbrella. The ability to build relationships and nurture leads with just the right amount of contact is the key to marketing automation. But it is not a small investment either in time or money and it’s not right for every business.
How do you know if you should make the leap from a stand-alone email marketing strategy to marketing automation?
Marketing Automation makes sense when:
- You have products and services with a long buying cycle.
- There is a strong educational component to your sales process.
- Your current email campaign is no longer driving sales.
- You market to multiple segments who are in various stages of the funnel.
- You need to bolster your web presence with stronger content promotion.
- Your current prospecting techniques are providing poor quality lead generation and wasting your sales team’s time (purchased email lists, old data, etc.).
- Your marketing efforts are siloed making meaningful analysis of your results difficult.
Converting to a marketing automation system can infuse a tired marketing strategy with new life but it is a significant investment. The time you take to determine if you should make the jump and if so, what kind of marketing automation system you need, will pay in the end.
Choosing the right platform can be very profitable and a bit magical if you know how to execute your plan. The key to marketing automation success is quality content. Download our eBook, A Practical Guide to Killer Marketing Content, for help developing the kind of content that resonates with your customers. Or if you'd like to talk about whether marketing automation is right for you please call or email us directly. We'd love to hear from you.