Have you ever complained that marketing and lead nurturing takes so much time?  Running your business would be so much easier if the marketing didn’t require your constant attention.

I feel that way at times about our own marketing.

As business owners, we’re always striving to simplify our lives, not make them more complicated with one more task to complete.

Our prospective customers have a much different feeling.  They want instant communication.  Actually, they’ve come to expect it!

They want to confirm a price or schedule an appointment without having to wait hours to hear back from you.

Adding to our frustration is the need to customize content as much as possible.  Yes, that’s right – consumers need to receive customized content to be inspired to take action (i.e. – make a purchase).

If every message (email, tweet, etc.) you send is exactly the same, you won’t appeal to the different types of buyers who may want your product or service.

The solution: marketing automation

Marketing automation involves building an outreach and follow-up process for your business.  It’s based on what we call trigger points such as an inquiry about a specific product or service.

Marketing automation also involves software that helps you manage and track everything.  It’s designed to help you streamline almost all the tasks needed to move a potential client through the buyer’s journey – from awareness to consideration to decision.

If you haven’t heard of the buyer’s journey, this is what it looks like:

The-Buyers-Journey

When we need a product or service, chances are, we’ll follow the buyer’s journey as we decide exactly what we want. It’s an important part of lead nurturing.

Now, a lot of people hear the term “automation” and they get freaked-out.  It sounds complicated and expensive, right?

In reality, you probably don’t need the same level of automation as a company like Amazon uses.  But developing some basic automation can have tremendous results for your business.

I’ll give you an example.  I’ll use a law firm as an example, but this will apply to nearly every type of business.  We’ve used it for real estate, home improvement, non-profits and more.

A sample automation campaign

A potential customer needs legal representation, and finds herself on your website.  Because she’s still exploring all her options (in the awareness stage) you’ll want to have a free, informational offer available for download – something like an eBook titled “10 Things to Consider When Hiring An Attorney.”

Once you’ve captured her contact information, you can use email marketing to follow-up once a week for several weeks.  You’re moving her through the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey and positioning yourself as the expert.

The trick here is building a set of emails in your automation software that coordinate with the eBook she downloaded.  They are set and ready to go.  You don’t need to manually send each email (although a personal email at some point would be a nice touch.)

The goal is to move her through the buyer’s journey and include calls to action for scheduling a consultation or requesting a quote.

If and when she does schedule a consultation, you can continue to use automation to follow-up quickly and efficiently to confirm the appointment and remind her to bring any necessary documents – text messages might also be a good use of automation as well if you capture that information.

Marketing automation can be used after the sale, too.  You can use it for client onboarding or re-engaging past customers.

Final thoughts

As you’ve probably realized, it does take time to create the system and the content.  But the up-front investment can save a lot of time in the long run.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day to personally nurture each lead, so you want to streamline the process as much as possible.

Have more questions about marketing automation?  Leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to respond!

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