To take full advantage of your inbound marketing efforts, it would be wise to invest in marketing automation. Marketing automation has the ability to enhance the impact of your content, capture lead intelligence, increase conversion rates, foster repeat purchases, and improve the overall customer experience for your brand.
In this blog I want to focus on the ways marketing automation will, when effectively implemented, improve your inbound marketing ROI. I have listed some functionalities of popular marketing automation platforms below that give you the direct ability to increase your ROI.
1. Smart Lead Forms
Introducing smart lead forms to your landing pages allows you to acquire applicable information and gradually build contact records to learn more about your prospects and run campaigns tailored to their specific pain points. For example, in the first visit to your website, a visitor may navigate to a landing page and fill out a form (to obtain a particular offer) with the following information:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Email Address
- Company Name
As we continue with this example, the same visitor (now a lead) comes back to your website to take advantage of another offer, directing them to a new landing page. With marketing automation, you have the ability to remove the fields already acquired, allowing you to ask for additional information without bombarding them with a large quantity of questions (a lot of questions can be intimidating for web visitors and may elicit bounces from the landing page). For an agency like Synecore, we may want to ask questions along the lines of:
- Job Title
- Company Website
- Phone Number
- Are You Currently Using Marketing Automation?
- Are You Currently Running any PPC Campaigns?
2. Establish Lead Scoring
Marketing automation makes it really simple to understand how qualified a particular lead truly is to be passed along to the sales team with a tool called lead scoring. Lead scoring assigns points to predetermined contact characteristics or actions taken by prospects to define their level of readiness to speak to a sales rep.
When setup correctly, lead scoring ensures that the only leads sales reps will be contacting have a purchase-ready mentality. This provides the sales team with the ability to spend their time with qualified, sales-ready leads instead of calling prospects that may not be ready to talk to a sales rep, significantly increasing their rate of conversion.
As time progresses, you will learn more about the differences between a sales-ready lead and a marketing-qualified lead. Then it’s marketing’s job to nurture the marketing-qualified leads down the funnel towards a sales-ready mentality.
3. Lead Nurturing (Emails)
As mentioned above, it’s marketing’s job to nurture the marketing-qualified leads down the funnel towards a sales-ready mentality. Marketing automation gives you the tools to setup automated email lead nurturing campaigns to provide prospects with educational information, promotions, and offers to increase their lead score and overall quality to your business.
4. Personalized Content
Some marketing automation platforms, such as HubSpot, give you the ability to use dynamic, personalized content to further connect with your prospects and provide them with the content and offers they are looking for. With this functionality, you can decide what content or offer each contact in your database will see based on characteristics within their contact record.
For example, if a particular lead has already downloaded the offer you are currently promoting, the automation software can be setup to recognize that piece of history and feature a substitute offer. Additionally, you can personalize specific words on pages with the visitor’s first name or company name. The possibilities are endless.
5. Capacity for Marketing Activities
Trust me; businesses without marketing automation will not have the ability to run as many campaigns when compared to businesses utilizing automation. The utilization of marketing automation significantly increases the capacity for marketing activities.
So what does that mean? Simply put, marketing can run more campaigns, reach more prospects, and deliver more qualified, sales-ready leads to the sales team.
6. Data, Data, Data
This is my personal favorite. Marketing automation centralizes all of your marketing data in one place, making it easy to monitor your marketing activities, analyze data and trends, draw conclusions based on real-life results, and make holistic marketing decisions. You are able to see data for:
- Web Visits (sources, bounce rates, etc.)
- Landing Pages
- Social Media
- Ads (search, retargeting, social, etc.)
Tip: In addition to all of the data you can gather from marketing automation, don’t forget to get feedback from the sales team. The sales reps are in contact with your business’ qualified leads; make sure the marketing team is receiving feedback from the sales reps regarding their conversations with these prospects. This information will help the marketing team ensure the lead scoring is working effectively as well as address common questions on the website and in the lead nurturing email to help shorten the sales cycle and make it easier on the sales team.
Inbound Marketing ROI
Speed round! I will now quickly explain the ROI implications of each point I made above. Ready, set, go!
1. Smart Lead Forms – Enables you to obtain additional information pertaining to leads to shorten the sales cycle and reduce the cost of acquisition.
2. Establish Lead Scoring – Allows you to limit the amount of leads that are shared with the sales team. The sales team can focus on the most qualified leads, using their time effectively to close customers.
3. Lead Nurturing (Emails) – Automated emails are being sent every day to different lists of prospects with educational information and offers, bringing them closer and closer to a sales-ready mentality, all before the sales rep even picks up the phone.
4. Personalized Content – Web visitors are given a personalized experience with the content and promotions they are actually interested in, effectively shortening the sales cycle.
5. Capacity for Marketing Activities – You are able to get more marketing activities accomplished in a shorter period of time.
6. Data, Data, Data – No need to waste time bouncing between multiple analytical platforms looking for the data you need to make decisions.