We all know that the old “Mad Men” era of traditional marketing is now obsolete. Nobody sits around waiting for a TV commercial to sell them a product or service anymore. It’s not very often that any of us picks up the phone and talks to a salesperson when you want to know features about a certain product or service. All this was ok maybe 10 or 20 years ago, but nowadays things are completely different. Think of it this way. What do you do every time you need to spend money on something? If you’re like 90% of the people in this world, you probably do the following. You go online and do your research. You spend a couple of hours (or days, depending on what you need to buy) educating yourself on your desired product or service. You compare different options and evaluate why you should buy one and not the other. And this doesn’t only mean comparing prices. You know that other factors are extremely important, for example:
- Is this company environmentally-friendly?
- Do they have good reviews?
- Are customers generally satisfied?
- Does the quality match the price?
- Do they take good care of their customers?
- Are they good with their staff?
Even if you’re not aware of it, you’re already part of a new revolutionary marketing process. It’s a fundamental shift in the way we do business in this super-connected world we live in today. It’s called inbound marketing. When used well and when properly combined, inbound marketing and automation can make a huge impact on your business. How many times have you wondered how you can make money while you sleep? A cleverly implemented inbound marketing and automation process will allow you to close deals even when you’re sleeping. In this article, we’ll explain all about the way inbound marketing and automation work together. Before we begin, let’s make sure we all understand some basic concepts.
What is marketing automation?
Before we dive into what marketing automation is, tell me if this sounds familiar to you. Your marketing team, or maybe it’s just you, work tirelessly every day to drive visitors and turn them into leads. Your sales team spend their time collecting, qualifying, organising, and chasing those leads. Most businesses do this at the beginning and, trust us, it’s not very efficient. Your marketing team wants to go on with what they do best, building and executing creative campaigns. Your sales team wants to focus on what they do best, selling. How do you make both teams happy? The simple solution is marketing automation. By automating all of the repetitive tasks you allow your team to focus on what they do best: bringing more customers in and closing more sales.
How does marketing automation work?
We’ll use an example to illustrate this explanation. Imagine you’re selling Pilates programs. Many people visit your website with various levels of interest. Unfortunately, most of them won’t be willing or aren’t ready to buy your service yet. So, how do you capture their interest? With lead generation. When someone visits your website, you offer them a free download of a product. It could be an ebook, a template, a guide, a video, or whatever you feel your customers would like. To download it, all they have to do is give you their email address and a few bits of personal information. That’s it, you’ve just captured or generated a new lead. Once you generate a lead and they match specific conditions (that is, they match your ideal client) they’re added to a personalised email campaign where you’ll offer them valuable content for their interest. This campaign is designed to warm them up and turn them from cold leads (someone uninterested in your business) to warm leads (someone who’s ready to buy.) This is how this could be set up.
- One day after downloading your freebie, your CRM automatically sends your lead an email with your “six-pack abs in ten minutes” video.
- Two days later, it sends them your “top ten healthy tips” from your blog.
- A few days later, it sends them a “Pilates-at-home routine” from your social media.
By nurturing your customers in this way, not only will you develop a relationship but also engage them with your business and product or service. You will be gradually heating them up as leads. Then, once a lead is warm, you offer them your product or service that you already know they’re interested in. It’s almost a guaranteed conversion.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy focused on attracting, educating and empowering consumers via relevant content that actually helps and guides them until they are ready to buy your product or service. To fully grasp the meaning of inbound marketing, first, you need to understand what is called customer journey. This is an active research process that the buyer goes through prior to and leading up to the actual purchase.
What are the stages of a customer journey?
There are 3 stages in the customer journey: awareness, consideration and decision.
When you feel the first symptoms of a problem, you’re in the awareness stage. What you’d normally do (and of course, your customers will do this too) is make a thorough research to understand or identify whatever it is that you need. Following the Pilates example but this time from the customer’s perspective, let’s say that you identify you’re suffering from chronic back pain from bad posture. Doing your research, you realise that Pilates is a great way of relieving that pain.
You’ll find that you’re now researching your options, discovering and comparing different training activities like Pilates, yoga, stretching and so on. You’ll discover various solutions and you’ll be analysing them all simultaneously. This is called the consideration stage.
Finally, after a long Google search, you’ll reach the decision stage. This is when you’ve ultimately decided on a solution and now you can compare all your options of vendors to make your final choice. Inbound marketing is all about creating relevant and special content specifically designed for your audience at every stage of their journey. By doing this, you’ll be helping the buyer because you understand their problems and you’ve figured out how your brand can truly fit their needs. So, now that we are clear on these concepts, let’s see how they work together.
How do inbound marketing and automation work together?
Have you ever imagined generating leads in your sleep? Well, this is possible through inbound marketing automation. As we discussed above, marketing automation will help you generate leads and inbound marketing will help you identify problems at every stage of your customer journey and create relevant content for them. With inbound marketing automation, you’ll be able to automatically send tailored content to your leads at every stage of their journey. This way, instead of having them research for your answers to their problems, you send them solutions straight to their inboxes. On the other hand, it may also happen that people find you during their online research to solve one of their problems. If you have relevant content on your website, specifically designed to solve your potential customer’s problems at every stage, you’ll easily be able to persuade them into your sales funnel.
What is the best way to implement inbound marketing automation?
The best way to start generating leads (and ultimately convert to sales) from inbound marketing is with a CRM. If you’re not sure how a CRM can be helpful for your business, check out this blog post that will help you. There are many choices of CRMs depending on the size of your business and what you sell. You can learn more in our blog post Which CRM Is Best For Small Business where we compare the most popular software (free and paid.) For inbound marketing automation, we love Keap Pro. It’s suitable for small to medium-sized businesses. It’s one of the most popular CRMs in the market and it will help you organise your customer’s data as well as your business information. With Keap Pro, you’ll get to create stunning inbound marketing automation and email marketing campaigns. So, if what you’re looking for is to spend less time at work and still be able to grow your business, inbound marketing automation is a fantastic solution. Still unsure about implementing this in your business? We’re here to help! Book a Free Game Plan Call with our automation expert.