Even the smallest of businesses knows the value of using an Email Service Provider (ESP) to deliver timely messages en mass to their clients and prospects. Many users of popular services like Constant Contact or MailChimp enjoy ease of use at an affordable price. But industry buzz over the last few years has been around Marketing Automation and it raises questions for ESP users. What is marketing automation, is it right for them, and is it worth the investment?
The Limitations of Email Service Providers
It’s not that ESP solutions don’t work. MailChimp, Constant Contact, iContact, and others are great solutions for sending out batch messages and communicating important information. Many ESPs offer basic analytics so you can see who opened your emails and if they clicked on a link in the message.
But ESPs often lack the sophisticated tools needed to create multi-channel, strategic follow-up messaging. If your goal is to effectively nurture your leads through your funnel where new and repeat sales is the end result, then delivering relevant communication should be a key component of your plan. The cold hard truth is that an ESP just can’t do that for you.
What Exactly Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation allows users to streamline the process of developing a 1-to-1 relationship with prospects and customers that leads to new and repeat sales. Marketing Automation (MA) tools can manage the media you send across your content, social media, and email marketing channels. Once prospects and customers engage with your media, your MA tool can effectively segment your leads and customers and allow you to automate the process of sending back relevant, customized messages to them.
Your MA tool can provide sophisticated analytics so that you see where your leads are in your funnel. This gives you the ability to know what your next steps should be in order to ensure a closed sale. MA tools also allow you to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and easily determine your ROI.
Why Businesses Need Marketing Automation
Many people are tempted to think that Email Marketing and Marketing Automation are the same. They sometimes use the terms interchangeably, simply because like an MA system, an ESP system can broadcast messages to large audiences. But overall functionality alone should be the biggest indicator that the two are not the same. ESP systems don’t offer the tools to transform communication to a higher engagement level like an MA system can.
Think of ESP systems as if it were a flip phone; you can make calls and send text messages very clunkily using 9 buttons. That’s ok. But by comparison, an MA system is like being a smartphone: you can make calls and send text messages with a QWERTY keyboard (can you say upgrade?). PLUS, you can browse the internet, take pictures, make video calls, and Netflix and chill!
10 Signs to Know if You’re Ready for Marketing Automation
While Marketing Automation systems offer a lot more functionality than an ESP, the timing and pricing may not always right for every company and every situation. Some companies are a little weary of the “shiny new object” syndrome, having invested in strategies and software in the past that didn’t live up to the hype.
So how can you know if switching to a Marketing Automation system is right for you? Well, have you been dealing with any of these challenges:
- You have a hard time accurately determining ROI on your marketing campaigns.
- Your lead to customer buying process is more than a week.
- Your email blasts are not resulting in direct sales.
- Your leads have specific interests that are varied and you need to send more customized messages.
- Your marketing team is short on time and needs a better system for mass communication.
- You have different messages to send to different to different roles at your customer and prospect’s companies.
- Your business targets more than one industry.
- Your Sales team is looking for higher quality leads.
- It’s hard for you to plan for next year’s marketing budget because your results have been unclear.
- You want to be able to prioritize your leads (lead scoring) so your sales team can focus their efforts but don’t know how.
If you’re been mulling over any of the above issues, it’s a good sign that it’s time to start exploring marketing automation tools.
If you’re ready for a no-pressure conversation to discuss your options, give Blytheco a call today at 800.425.98473 or email email@example.com. We will take an unbiased look at what you are currently using, how you work, and will take time to understand the issues you want to address and goals you want to achieve. We can help assess which solution might best fit your needs.