Monday, 27 October 2014 11:03

Marketing Thought: Content Marketing & Marketing Automation

In today’s world most of us are privy to basic digital marketing practices – social media, email marketing, and SEO (search engine optimization), but often times we (FiG) find that a lot of our clients overlook two very obvious things that tie it all together: content marketing and marketing automation.

Content Marketing is: the process for developing and distributing relevant and valuable content in order to attract, acquire, and engage a defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Basically, content marketing is everything you put out into the digital abyss in hope to lure in potential customers. Everything from a basic email newsletter, to an informative blog on your website, or even a simple Twitter post can be considered content marketing if the end objective is to bring people to your site and inadvertently hook them into your brand or services.

The greatest sales person is the one who convinces you that you need their product and has you requesting it, rather than trying to force it on you. You’ll walk away from a sale with them without ever having felt as though you’ve been sold to, and that buying the product in the first place was completely your idea. Content marketing can make this happen in a number of ways:

Don’t make your content directly about selling, so people won’t be turned off.

Make your content helpful and informative, so readers aren’t faced with things that aren’t relevant to them.

If your content is interesting, people will want to share it with their friends (social networking). By this, your content is delivered to others by peers and is more likely to be read than unsolicited content.

Use your content to drive people back to your website, where they can find other informative content. People will spend longer browsing your website and reading what you have to say.

With the right content and calls to action, your traffic can be converted to sales.

Frequently updating your website, emails, and other media with relevant, quality content will have a positive impact on your search engine rankings. So, as well as being a direct tool for promoting your brand and services, content marketing makes your website easier to find indirectly by others.

Marketing Automation refers to lead generation software designed for businesses to more effectively market on multiple online channels (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate the repetitive tasks involved with each. Marketing automation not only allows for these things to be done automatically, but also ties them all together — allows everything to connect with each other, speak to each other, and in-turn help you better understand what actions should be taken to improve your lead generation and nurturing efforts.

Most businesses have a sizable client list (be it patrons or prospects), so it’s important to define goals and expectations while handling this data. Marketing automation not only streamlines this process, it reduces human error and increases efficiency. Ultimately, the goal is to get insight into what your clients and prospects are interested in and measure their intent… through lead scoring. Lead scoring is: assigning a value to a user based on their actions around your content. With lead scoring, you’re essentially using automation to regulate your content [marketing] and assess the value of each piece and person so that your sales funnel can be improved. This is why both content marketing and marketing automation go hand-in-hand.

An argument that we sometimes hear when proposing marketing automation is: “I am already using an email distribution program, and a website analytics tool, so I am already able track my online customers. Why do I need a marketing automation software?” That’s all fine and well, and it’s great that you are making the effort to better understand your [potential] customers, but by this means you are only seeing half of the picture. With a lead nurturing/marketing automation software, your emails, website, and other digital assets work together. Without it, you don’t get the full story. For example: if you send out an email and a person opens it and clicks a link (to go to your website, no doubt), you can likely see that action in your email distribution program. But what then? Do you know how long that particular individual spent on that page? Do you know if they visited additional pages? Do you know at which point they exited the site? Were you able to send them a follow-up email that catered to exactly what their interests were while they were browsing your site? The answer is no. Even if you were able to make this distinction, it would require you to manually track the user’s path, make a guess as to what their interest and intentions were, and manually follow up, which would ultimately be super time consuming. And, if you have a large client list, and/or a growing list of leads, do you really have time to individually track every single person and follow up? Even then, how do you determine who is the better lead to follow up on— who is more worthy of your time? With marketing automation, this kind of guesswork is eliminated, leaving you free to make the connections that are going to produce sales.

Thoughtful content with marketing automation is something that all businesses should be integrating, especially if a businesses’ website is the driving force behind generating sales (which, it should be for most). Automation takes out the human element of the sales process — there’s no need to constantly follow up with clients, determine what info is right for them and send it. Marketing automation software analyzes the actions your potential clients are taking and automatically sends the necessary information to push them through your sales funnel.

By using marketing automation in conjunction with quality content creation, you will effectively drive sales with less effort. Automation allows for all of your marketing tools to work together to profile leads and deliver relevant content that aligns with your customer’s interests. This approach will not only provide added value to your online properties and accelerate sales, it will also give you measurable ROI (return on investment).

If you are interested in how FiG can help you learn to use marketing automation strategically to become more efficient, and grow your business, please contact us for an evaluation.