Innovate May 2017

Automate Your Marketing

Written By: Michael Remer

Unless marketing is your business’s business, it is usually a difficult task. To make marketing more manageable, many larger businesses rely on marketing automation. This reduces time, effort, energy and management. New technology that has recently become more attainable for smaller businesses makes implementing a marketing automation strategy for all businesses a reality. The benefits include:

Less Work Per Lead
For instance, using Google Analytics or another service that provides feedback from your website allows you to get real-time information on how and if people are interacting with your website and what is drawing them in. Or, once you’ve added contacts to your marketing list, you can stay in the front of prospects’ minds through automated email campaigns that simultaneously provide them with helpful information and further educate them about your company along the way.

Faster Email Responses
Utilizing automation means no one will ever have to wait for a “person” to respond to email messages. When a lead or referral comes in via email, you can have a custom, automatic response sent out immediately, letting potential customers know that their emails have not gone into a “black hole” and that someone will be following up timely. In that automated response, you can include helpful links to your website and/or blog that would give your potential customers more information and further incentive for partnering with you. Working with your web developer, you can even send out specific information based on what page your potential customers are on when they click the “contact us” link.

No More Phone Tag
Utilizing a CRM (customer relationship management platform1) immediately gives your business an edge. Phone calls, as well as emails, can be automatically logged to your CRM system. Follow-up emails can be automatically sent out if you’re still awaiting a response, and follow-up phone calls can be automatically scheduled. With the proper integration, these follow-up actions can even be scheduled on your calendar so you never miss a beat — all automatically, without much, if any, effort on your part.

No Need to Type Contact Information
I don’t know a single person who relishes the thought of manually inputting contact information from the stack of business cards they got at their last networking event. Now, CRM platforms like Zoho and Microsoft Dynamics allow you to simply take a picture of those business cards (one at a time, mind you) and they automatically read the card, convert it to text and upload it to your database. Based on criteria you set up, you can immediately, and automatically, start marketing to the freshly scanned-in contacts. The contact information for the potential customers doesn’t have to originate with a business card. Depending on your CRM system, inbound calls can also have their contact information, company information and other demographics automatically populate.

Better (Sales) Team Work
With the flurry of email, phone calls, meetings and follow-ups, it can be pretty difficult to keep track of which team member is working with which customer. Marketing automation software limits that frustration by automatically assigning inbound leads to your team members based on geography, specialty, or other demographics — this means they can start building a relationship, and hopefully adding to your profits, right away.

Spread Your Knowledge
We all get tons of email — your potential clients are no different. How do you set yourself apart from the rest? Offer your knowledge in the form of “how to” guides or “return on investment” tools in exchange for contact information.

Creative writing and a web form is really all it takes to lead potential customers back to your product and service offerings. Your marketing automation software can deliver content to anyone who provides contact information and provide you with valuable marketing analytics that you can use to fine-tune your marketing efforts.

If implemented correctly, automation can lead to efficiency, freeing your sales team up for more high-quality conversations with individuals who have shown an interest in doing business with you. Talk to your IT partner about options for managing your marketing efforts, what platforms and products are best suited to your industry and how best to streamline the process.

MICHAEL REMER is founder and president of ComputerCare LLC, an IT services company providing a full spectrum of IT solutions and services to small and medium businesses.

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