I’m sure you know from your own prospect list that most qualified leads aren’t ready to “buy now” – they need to be nurtured and educated first. Unfortunately, we often let these opportunities slip through the cracks because they aren’t going to close in the next thirty days.

This is why there is a business case to be made for lead nurturing as part of your online marketing strategy:

  • 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy; Gleanster Research
  • 80% of prospects deemed “bad leads” by sales teams go on to buy within 24 months; SiriusDecisions
  • Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost per lead; Forrester Research

Wouldn’t you like these results in your business?

Marketing AutomationHow? Marketing Automation

In order to effectively lead nurture, without it being a huge burden on the business, you need the right technology.

Marketing automation has become one of the most important tools in the online marketer’s toolbox. These are powerful systems that, once set up to reflect your specific sales cycles and target markets, determine each customer’s needs and interests and communicates with them accordingly.

Marketing automation isn’t just about sending emails, although that’s an integral part of these platforms. These systems also integrate with social media marketing, provide analytics, integrate with web sites, automate communications and gather insight about each contact.

As leads and customers interact with a marketing automation system, it learns more about them and sends them the right information at the right time depending on where they are in the decision-making process. It can even be configured to generate reviews or to cross-sell products after a sale.

Marketing automation tools have scoring systems that identify where contacts are in the buying cycle, and sends them relevant, engaging information – leading to positive responses, and ultimately sales.

Click here for our previous post, “What Is the Difference between Email Marketing and Marketing Automation”.

Marketing Automation Solves Business Challenges

1.       Too Many Databases

A lot of companies have jumped into online marketing with both feet – but haven’t done enough planning. As a result, they end up having too many databases or lists of contacts. It can be overwhelming to manage all of this data in so many places.

Marketing automation brings everything together, giving you one profile for each contact and allowing you to mark it with whichever “tags” are relevant to that person; for example: a landing page lead, business associate, previously bought a specific product, etc.

Once you have this integrated database, it becomes much easier to use the data you have collected in an intelligent way. You will know who is receiving which communications, track how they respond to it, and tailor communications to answer their questions and meet their needs.

2.       No Time to Engage in Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing can be very time-consuming, and sometimes it just makes more sense to go after prospects who are closer to making a purchase decision. However, companies who aren’t effectively nurturing their leads are missing out on a lot of potential business.

Setting up a marketing automation flow will ensure all leads are given the information best-suited for them, and nurtured automatically. 

3.       Sending Too Little or Too Much Communication

Blasting customers and prospects with too many sales offers and emails can turn them off; but, failing to send enough can cause them to drift away and make a purchase somewhere else. As you use marketing automation, you will be able to refine your processes to ensure you are sending the right amount of information to the right contacts at the appropriate time.

For example, a customer who is highly engaged may be receptive to an email asking them to leave a review, whereas one who is not may decide to opt-out of your communications altogether. The goal is to communicate enough to keep people interested, but not overwhelm them.

The Bottom Line
It’s easy to see why marketing automation is forecasted to grow at 10.7% annually over the next several years. There are affordable options that meet the needs of small and mid-sized businesses.
Marketing automation can have a big impact on your business growth; you should take advantage of the power of these systems before your competition beats you to it!

>> Core Online Marketing can work with you to implement a marketing automation system that reflects your specific sales cycle and business strategy. Contact us today or sign up for our free online marketing seminar.

Download our free resource guide: Top 5 Social Media Management Tools for Small Businesses (some of them are free!).

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