If you’re a small brand, finding time to do everything on your list can be pretty hard. There’s so much to contend with… Instagram posts, social media maintenance, ad creation, and content marketing. All of it can leave you wishing the days were longer. Especially if you want to actually GROW your brand. This is when marketing automation comes into play. But if you’re curious as to what it even is, we’re here to help!

Marketing automation is the process of using software to automate aspects of your lead generation and marketing process. This is done through email marketing. It gives you a much-needed break when it comes to the countless tasks that you need to finish in a timely manner. Not only does it give you more time to do other things, but it also produces better leads without the necessary investment of traditional outreach and sales.

Using Marketing Automation To Generate Leads

A few years ago, marketing automation was new technology and, as a result, it wasn’t widely used. But over the last 10 years, the number of marketing automation platforms have grown exponentially. They’re perfect for all sorts of brands – from bloggers to large enterprises. And since they market more effectively AND save you time it’s definitely something to look into.

It’s always a good idea to start with the basics. So today we’ll discuss how your brand can use marketing automation as a way to efficiently and affordably generate leads for your business. Seriously, if you’re looking for a way to free up some time AND reach your target without unnecessary stress, this ones for you…

What IS Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation uses software to automate a variety of marketing and lead gen tasks that you’re probably already doing yourself. Email marketing is one of the most common – it covers everything from the initial opt-in and follow-up to behavioral email. So when a customer opts in to receive your emails, you can send them a series of follow up messages to increase their interest. As a result, you have the ability to adjust your emails based on their behavior.

Since email marketing is the most common of marketing automation, let’s discuss it a little more.

Each campaign you run has a series of rules that you can create to control what type of content someone receives. For example, if a customer makes a purchase, the automation software can add them to a “buyer list”. Afterward, the customer will receive emails designed to encourage them to make another purchase. Or if a customer visits a specific page on your site, you can add them to a list and send them content related to the subject they’re interested in.

Marketing automation lets you respond to a customer’s behavior in a realistic way. It lets you automate your marketing efforts so you can keep your marketing as relevant as possible.

What you end up with is a highly effective marketing process that can produce leads all on its’ own. That way you can focus on the big picture. Like growing your brand and converting leads into customers.

How To Use Marketing Automation Like A Boss

The most effective way to use marketing automation is with a content-to-email workflow. This lead generating tactic will warm up readers and use a specific piece of content to qualify them as potential customers. Let’s start with the steps, shall we?

Step 1 – Encourage readers to opt-in your email list.

The best way to build your list is to use your website. If your site already receives traffic from social media and search, you’re ahead of the game. You’ll be able to capture email addresses from your readers by giving away content. You can offer a free eBook or re-purpose your existing content.

Step 2 – Deliver on your opt-in promise.

Once a user decides to opt-in, it’s time to start the conversation. The best way to do this is to always deliver on your promise and send the content that was offered.

Step 3 – Offer extra content to identify those highly motivated subscribers.

The easiest ways to make your efforts more efficient is to spend less time on subscribers who aren’t interested. Instead, spend time on those that ARE highly motivated. First, you need to distinguish who the subscribers with the strongest interest in your product are. Then you can send them some more content and use it as a way to turn them into customers.

Whenever a subscriber downloads extra content, you can use an automation workflow to move them to a new list. Drip lets you automatically segment subscribers into separate lists using simple yes/no automation rules.

Step 4 – Follow up with your warm leads.

Now that your best leads are identified and segmented, all you need to do is follow up with the subscribers who downloaded your extra content. Thankfully most marketing automation software will notify you of new leads so you can quickly follow up.

Step 5: Re-engage with your cold leads.

After you’ve focused your time on your warm leads, it’s time to re-engage with the rest of your subscribers. Just remember that most of your subscribers won’t want to immediately receive your extra content. But don’t let that deter you. You can still send interesting and helpful email content before you try to re-engage in the future.

The Best Marketing Automation Software for Beginners

Marketing automation software has a lot to offer. It’s incredibly easy to find great quality tools with your specific needs in mind. Below are some of the best marketing automation tools for beginners. Most of them are either free or pretty inexpensive.

For small businesses

  • MailChimp is a “freemium” email marketing automation platform that includes a range of pre-built automation workflows.
  • ConvertKit is designed for bloggers and content marketers, with one of the best user interfaces of any marketing automation platform.
  • Vero is an event-driven email marketing automation platform that’s perfect for software companies.
  • Drip is a simple but powerful marketing automation toolkit designed specifically for solo entrepreneurs and small, growing businesses.

For mid-sized businesses

  • Infusionsoft is one of the most powerful SME marketing automation tools available, but it has a steep learning curve and requires the purchase of a training package.
  • ActiveCampaign is another powerful marketing automation platform designed for SMEs and startups.

Hopefully, this will get you started on your automated marketing game. Have you thought about marketing automation before? Are you still considering to take the leap or not? Let us know in the comments below, so we can discuss!