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5 Essential Features Of A Marketing Automation Platform

Marketing is undergoing a major change. Inbound marketing and the shift to online is forcing marketers make changes to their marketing infrastructure.  This means a reduction in agency design fees and trade publication advertisements in favor of marketing software to boost lead generation and lead management.

Marketing Automation tools should be part or a larger inbound marketing tools set. When looking specifically at marketing automation features, marketers should keep these five key features top of mind.

5 Essential Features Of A Marketing Automation Platform

1. Click Tracking – It may seem simple but one of the core functions of a great marketing automation system is click tracking. As a marketer you need to understand the click-through rate for the links in your marketing automation campaigns. More importantly you need the conversion events attributed to marketing automation campaigns if they triggered the conversion as oppose to another source like direct traffic.  

Blogs Seen As One of the Best Inbound Marketing Tools for Agencies

Inbound marketing encompasses a lot of Internet territory. It includes blogs, e-mail marketing, social media, content marketing, SEO and more. Best put, there are less areas of Internet marketing that do not fall under the umbrella of inbound marketing than do.

One nuance in inbound marketing is something that happens in every area of business: not everything works well for everyone. What works for a traditional B2C company may not work for a B2B company. What works for a company looking for new prospects may not work for solopreneurs or smaller shops. Sounds simple but many overlook the fact that there are inbound marketing options that simply work better in certain verticals than others.

Apparently in the agency world social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc) don’t work nearly as well as the time tested (and too often dismissed) blog. This data from research done by RSW/US and RSW/AgencySearch and reported by eMarketer shows just how valuable blogs are to agencies looking to find new leads in the online space.

Report Says Retail Paid Search Conversion Rates Dropping

When you think about paid search advertising on a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo do you care about how much is being spent there in total or are you focusing on your conversions?

Most marketers will say conversions rule the day for obvious reasons. That’s why a recent study from IgnitionOne is interesting in that it shows a Q3 trend of increased spend on paid search by the retail sector in particular but a significant decline in conversion rates. This is good news for the engines on increased revenue but will that be sustained if conversions are not taking place? Here are the numbers from the report (AOV is average order size).

Inbound Marketers Win With Respect

In marketing, practitioners are tasked with taking a company’s message (usually in the form of a product) and putting it in front of the right people (their defined target market) in the right place (where they may be more likely to buy), at the right time (when they are ready to buy) so the target prospect has the best chance to become a lead which grows up to be a paying customer.

That’s how it has been done for quite some time. It’s marketing’s equivalent of a fishing expedition done without the aid of radar. In other words, you go where you think the fish are, drop your line or nets and hope for the best. Often you come up empty but sometimes you catch a few. Do this enough times and you might make a living. Might.

Companies Cannot Live on Websites Alone

You have probably heard it said that man cannot live by bread alone. In case you are wondering, that wasn’t said by a nutritionist who was promoting a more well balanced diet but instead from an offer of something bigger than what we think we need. It’s a good subject to consider but for now let’s keep the discussion to the web.

It appears as if companies may be making a similar mistake in that they are somewhat disenchanted with the performance of their website as a lead generation tool. The chart below comes from a study conducted by Demandbase and shows that the biggest point of concern is the website and lead gen.

Five Great Ways to Segment Your Leads for Effective Marketing Automation

Changing how you segment your leads using marketing automation could make a great impact on the success of your campaigns. There’s no reason to limit yourself to information from form fields, when the best information you have is about the behavior of your leads and the actions that they’ve taken. Specifically, segmentation gives you the opportunity to target more closely and effectively, and send them unique messages. Here are five creative ways to segment your leads:

  1. Social Behavior – Some people prefer to interact with a company socially, through your Twitter presence, Facebook, and more. Consider creating a campaign that targets those people with the goal of having them revisit your website.

The Trouble With Marketing Automation

In its purest sense the idea of marketing automation is a good thing. The more you can automate a process to help achieve a desired result the better. Boiling marketing and sales down to repeatable and scalable events is the dream of all marketers because we all know the pressure to get more from less these days. Automation is supposed to help people do more with less so marketers are flocking to it.

As with most theories, however, the reality of the situation soon comes to life and the chinks in the marketing automation armor can be exposed as quickly as they can be celebrated. The trouble is that while it’s easy to sit back and say “if person X does Y then we give them Z to complete the sales process” those pesky people aren’t as similar as is required for a process to be repeatable AND successful over and over again.