The Benefits of Marketing Automation, and How to Get Started at Your Community

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Mar 23, 2016 | Marketing & Branding

Who among us hasn’t wished for higher-inquiry-to-tour and tour-to-move-in conversion rates? “When you’re in charge of sales operations for a senior living community, continued follow-up with prospects can be challenging at times,” says Jason McCloud, Vice President of Digital & Integrated Strategy at SageAge. “Marketing automation can be a powerful tool to augment and bolster your sales follow-ups and lead-nurturing efforts.”

What Is Marketing Automation?

‘Marketing automation’ is exactly what it sounds like: it’s tools, software and techniques for making certain marketing actions automatic, to bolster and support your existing sales and lead nurturing efforts.

Marketing automation has become a bit of a buzzword among marketers lately, and for good reason. When used well, it can do wonders for your marketing operation and provide a whole slew of benefits – we’ll get into the details of those in a bit.

But, to be effective, marketing automation must be personalized, targeted and specific, and part of a well-constructed, thoughtful marketing strategy that takes into consideration all touch points for your users. If done correctly, it can be a very powerful tool. Consider this: According to Marketo, triggered email messages (aka those triggered by marketing automation processes) average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% more click-through rates than traditional email marketing messages.

The Benefits of Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is not a magic bullet; as mentioned, it must be instituted smartly, as part of a thorough marketing strategy in order to be effective. Automatically sending your users too many emails because you didn’t closely examine the triggers for those emails is a bad idea, as flooding potential customers with unwanted communications is a surefire way to turn them off.

Use marketing automation software for good, though, and you could reap some serious benefits. Here are the main ones:

It can increase revenue.

Marketing automation software (Hubspot is probably the best known tool out there) can be very expensive. But, if used properly, it can pay off tenfold. High performing marketers attribute much of their success to marketing automation, according to surveys done by Hubspot, and can give talented marketers the brainspace and time to devote their energy to nurturing sales prospects that are further down in the sales funnel. Automating portions of your sales funnel can improve your conversion rates rapidly, turning those prospects into sales more quickly.

It improves customer retention.

Once you have a customer, keeping them is a whole different ballgame. Marketing automation can help quite a bit to foster ongoing professional and family referrals. Rather than trying to remember when you last spoke to a customer, or what it was you shared with them, marketing automation tools can automatically follow up with specific groups of customers at certain intervals, or when they perform a specific action. That means less tracking for you, but also a better experience for your existing customers or professional referral partners.

It’s trackable.

Marketing automation tools provide you and your team with something invaluable: data. You can use the data gleaned from your automated marketing outreach to determine what’s working in your sales funnel process, what isn’t effective, and what might be falling through the cracks. You can see what content and calls-to-action (CTAs) really pique people’s interest, what content they’re clicking on, what they’re ignoring and what email subject lines really get them to click “open.” Then, you can tweak and perfect your message and marketing flow accordingly. Another important bi-product of marketing automation is intelligence; many marketing automation platforms allow you to receive real-time notifications via email or text when a prospect or influencer is engaging with your content. Whether they open an email and click to download a brochure or venture back onto your website, customized notifications can be sent to you and your team.

How to Get Started with Marketing Automation

Marketing automation can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. To get you rolling, here are some simple steps to take.

Revisit Your Goals

Implementing a marketing automation plan should be done in the context of your larger goals. Before implementing one-off automation processes, you must first look at your overarching marketing goals and identify which can be helped (and which may be hindered!) by automation.

Educate Yourself

As mentioned, ‘marketing automation’ is a bit of a buzzword right now. The upside to that is there’s a ton of information out there about best practices. Do your homework, read up on what experts tout as “best practices” in the industry and get in touch with us to talk more about your goals with regards to your community specifically.

Be Specific and Targeted

The biggest mistake people make with marketing automation is being too general. It requires more upfront work, but you must identify the different populations of people you are reaching out to – prospects, influencers and professional referral partners – and come up with clear, personalized and targeted messaging for them.

Start Growing Your Sales & Marketing Response Today

Marketing automation can be a powerful tool for you and your sales team, but as such, it’s not something to be taken lightly. Talk to us at SageAge Strategies about how we’ve set up thoughtful marketing automation processes for our client-partners to support their existing efforts and the benefits they’ve seen as a result!

SageAge Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that provides multiple strategic growth solutions. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / adrienne@sageagestrategies.com.

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