Business owners today have their finger on the pulse of technology, so you know that you must incorporate today’s technology if you want to adapt to the changing times.
However, not all technological innovations are worth your time, money and effort to incorporate. Some business owners are holding onto beliefs about marketing automation that are simply not true or are skewed in some way.
Marketing automation is the use of software platforms and technologies that are designed to streamline marketing on different channels. This may include email, social media, websites and more. Automating repetitive tasks can help you to save time while converting leads and turning those leads into customers. By debunking some common myths, you may see why now may be the time to automate some of your marketing tasks.
Myth no. 1: Marketing Automation is Expensive
There is some truth behind the myth that marketing automation is expensive, and this truth lies in the fact that automation technology was originally invented for large corporations to use. This means that the customized solutions were indeed expensive.
However, the technology has developed over the years, and it has become more affordable for smaller and mid-sized companies to use. In fact, according to Gleanster research, 68 percent of top-performing small businesses use some form of marketing automation, because they’ve recognized the importance that the adequate lead management has for business success.
Some automation technology is available with tiered platforms, and this means that you can choose a solution that is best-suited for your needs as well as for your financial means. Essentially, you can make marketing automation technology a worthwhile investment by choosing the tier that conforms to your needs.
Myth no. 2: It’s Time-Consuming
Learning how to use new technology is time-consuming, and this holds true for all new processes when they are first introduced. It is necessary to learn the basic functionality of automation solutions if you want to produce significant results from using it.
In addition, as is the case with any other business process, you must spend time revising, adjusting and optimizing the solution so that it is a best-fit for your needs and produces the desired results. However, those who take this process one step at a time find that it is not nearly as time-consuming as they thought. You can begin by creating a rather basic lead-generating campaign to gain confidence and learn the ropes, and you can add onto your skills when time allows.
Myth no. 3: It Requires more Staff
The belief that acquiring the skills necessary to handle marketing automation is time-consuming inevitably leads to the assumption that it also requires an increase in headcount.
As implied in the previous point, marketing automation will initially require some extra time and energy until it’s modified to a particular business set-up. After that, the platform can readily be utilized to automate some repetitive marketing processes, enabling the department to deal with the more creative and demanding aspects of their work. In other words, marketing automation serves to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the overall sales process, not the other way around.
Myth no. 4: It only Works for Email Marketing
Another common myth associated with automation solutions relates to the belief that it only works for email marketing. It is true that automating email marketing efforts is one of the most common options for this type of process, but it is effective for use with many different channels as well. This includes pay per click campaigns, social media marketing and third party platform integration.
The best results from automating are when you maximize the capabilities that automation provides. Regardless of the type of marketing channels that you use with automation, you will find that you can speed up and simplify processes that can be used to generate leads and convert them to paying customers. There are some components that you can integrate into your automated marketing methods, and this includes customer relationship management or CRM, behavior analytics, website visitor ID, email automation and campaign optimization.
Myth no. 5: It’s Spammy
Many marketing automation campaigns haven’t been thought through carefully and ended up giving the impression of being (accidental) spammers. However, it’s wrong to stigmatize the whole process because of a single negative use. The aversion towards spam came about because of its nature — it’s irrelevant, inappropriate or annoying — not because of the way it’s distributed. Regardless of the channel you chose to deliver your content to a prospective audience, if it doesn’t resonate with them, they will consider it spam.
Marketing automation just supports your underlying strategy and helps you achieve your underlying objectives. It enables you to continually deliver relevant information to your prospective buyers, taking their preferences into account, and connecting with them while you guide them through the sales funnel. That way you are more likely to end up with qualified leads making it through the funnel, which in turn means more success for your business.
Myth no. 6: My Sales Team Can’t Benefit From It
This is a common myth, but it is derived from a narrow-minded outlook on the business process. All of the processes in your business are intertwined, and efficiency in the marketing realm of your business will be based on project management and communication, as well as process definition, technology requirements and vendor selection.
When you consider the latest trends in project management, you will benefit from the bigger picture of the components that set your business up for success. You have to decide what your sales goals are before moving forward in the sales cycle. By applying certain project management techniques you’ll be able to strategically organize your sales objectives, set the desired short- and long-term goals in the form of milestones that need to be reached, but also track the progress with greater ease.
In the big picture outlook, marketing automation drives the entire sales cycle by nurturing leads with content throughout the cycle. In fact, there is marketing automation technology that is designed specifically for this purpose. Even after the sale is final, keep in mind that nurturing leads continues on to produce referrals and other sales.
Myth no. 7: It’s Cold and Impersonal
There was a time when improper and inefficient use of marketing automation technology led to mass email blasts to unsegmented lists of leads, and this led to the belief that marketing automation technology is cold and impersonal. When used properly with a direct approach, marketing automation technology is not cold or impersonal.
The starting point should be the creation of buyer personas that reach out to customers in a personalized way. Marketing automation technology will allow you to further develop your approach and establish more dynamic contact based on factors related to interests, location, interaction with the business and more.
Myth no. 8: It’s Set and Forgotten
It’s often believed that marketers abuse automation and end up disregarding engaged visitor responses. That’s because many companies rely on the automation to do all the work for them and neglect to give it the necessary care and attention. Marketing automation has to be considered as an extension to your existing sales strategy that only serves to enhance your processes.
Test your strategy to see what catches your audience’s attention the most and make sure you respond to your engaged audience. That way, you’re more likely to keep them engaged for the long run, which serves you at many different levels.
While there are some myths associated with marketing automation technology, the reality is that this technology can be used effectively and in a cost-efficient manner to help your business grow. You can scale your use of the technology based on both long and short-term goals. Take time today to revise your marketing strategy so that you take advantage of the benefits it provides as you reach for success.
BIO: Natalie Smith is a freelance writer and copywriter from Seattle. She’s keen on keeping up with the new emerging trends in the business world and marketing. You can reach her @Natalie Smith