5 Reasons to Choose Marketing Automation for Your Inbound Marketing Business Solution

There are many reasons to use automated marketing to improve the power of your inbound marketing. Automated marketing is proven to help you attract more potential customers, convert them to leads, close sales, and delight customers into repeat customers. Here are 5 reasons to invest in automated marketing today.

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1) Marketing Automation Will Allow You to Automatically Measure ROI

One of the greatest things about marketing automation is that it allows you to track ROI through analytics and reports, so you can easily and clearly prove its value. Analytics can include everything from tracking the results of email campaigns (opens, click-throughs, etc.), website and page visits, digital ad campaigns, eCommerce analytics, forms (new leads, new subscriptions, etc.) and more. Not only can you track results, you can take this data and act on it to improve results and move leads closer to a sale.


2) View and Act on Real-time Results

There is no need to wait for results. Marketing automation will automatically collect data and act on it according to workflows and automation tasks you set-up in advance.

It is exciting to deploy an email campaign and watch the email opens and click-through rate update in real-time and to see your automated workflows fire and do the work for you. It is even more so when you check back just hours later and the numbers have increased again. Finally, it is important to know that if you choose to, you have the power, to act on the intel you get immediately, at any time, in any way you wish and to change your course of action to optimize results.


3) Marketing Automation is Accessible

There are many affordable automated marketing solutions available today, offering a variety of different tools to suit any size of business, type of business, and budget.

Marketing automation is also accessible in the sense that it is user-friendly. Many automated marketing software companies offer plenty of resources and support to clients to help you learn: what the tools are for, how to use them, and how to improve results.


4) Marketing Automation is Reliable

Several automated marketing software companies have proven (and continue to prove) great strength and consistency in helping to generate results, intelligently keep track of data, and improve the marketing-to-sales process.

Because marketing automation is “smart”, as long as you pre-program the workflows, the software will “think” for you and act for you based on the behaviour of your contacts, leads, and customers (often) in real-time.


5) Marketing Automation Will Save You and Your Company Money and Time

By concentrating the efforts of your sales team on a greater number of warm leads acquired and nurtured through marketing automation, you’re likely to see a much greater number of sales. Your sales team will have to spend less time cold-calling and sending bulk emails to unqualified leads, and instead will have more time to invest in leads who are most likely to result in sales.

Marketing automation allows you to get a lot more business while having to invest a fraction of the money and time involved in the traditional marketing-to-sales process.

In addition, many affordable eCommerce-compatible solutions are available to optimize your online sales, such as SharpSpring’s eCommerce integrations, which will help you gather analytics and act on data to increase sales.


BONUS: Blend Traditional Media and Marketing Automation to Optimize Both 

Traditional media isn’t dead. In fact, with marketing automation you can mix traditional marketing with automated marketing in order to optimize the effects of traditional media. For example, (1) create a landing page on your website with a promotion and a form that must be filled out to access the promotion, (2) send a piece of direct mail to a qualified list with a clear call-to-action to the landing page, (3) monitor results, collect a list, send personalized emails to the list.

In short, there are many reasons to choose automated marketing for your inbound marketing business solution. It is reliable, accessible, measurable, and can work together with traditional media to generate impressive results.

Is Your Brand Relevant?


Many years ago, we dealt with a local retail clothing chain that catered to a young demographic. They were very aware of their market’s needs and wants, and the importance of how well their brand reflected that market. The owner was relatively young himself, but a very intelligent fellow with valuable experience and good business instincts. Often, when we presented a campaign, he would stare at it for a while and muse over the creative or messaging. He would say something along the lines of “This isn’t anything like I had in mind… but let’s consider how it might play out and what it can do for our brand.” Nine times out of ten he endorsed the campaign. Only part of the credit goes to our team. A large part of the credit goes to the client: first of all for providing us with the insight to fully appreciate his market; and then to remove any ego from his decision and apply his business and market knowledge to best support his brand.

He understood that his brand wasn’t about him or what he thought was cool. He fully realized that his store’s brand needed to be relevant to his market. And he understood his audience well enough to consider each campaign from their perspective. He figuratively walked a mile in their shoes before deciding whether he felt the campaign was a hit or miss. (Check out Marketing and Sales Strategy: The Need For Focus.)

Regardless of whether you produce a product or provide a service, and whether your focus is B2C or B2B — you have a target market that must somehow connect with you in order to choose to deal with you. In order to resonate with your market, they need to be aware of you and feel inclined to learn more. Branding achieves this by grabbing their interest and effectively communicating that you are relevant to them.

Sounds easy, but it’s anything but. And, like anything somewhat complex, it is a process. It’s not simply a matter of creating a cool logo and tantalizing tagline… not that they are typically simple to do. (Check out The Four Pillars to Building a Brand that Builds Your Company.) Without an actual brand strategy and ongoing stewardship, even well-crafted components are only a façade which your market will quickly see through. In my example above, the clothing store hired carefully and trained their staff extensively so that the in-store experience was the essence of their brand. All material, from promotional signage to applications to staff memos were written and designed to reflect the store’s tone and raison d’être. All staff understood the mission and bought into the vison. They had a comprehensive strategy that considered all the touch points for staff and customers. Do you?

To help your organization in putting together such a strategy, consider:

  • who is your target market
  • what are their wants, needs, and problems
  • why do you care
  • what do you want your message to be
  • why should they care
  • how can you reach your target market
  • what are the touch points to reinforce your brand

This list is not comprehensive, nor should it trivialize the process of establishing a strategic branding plan. It may require a lot of research and planning and writing, and then even more work to implement, monitor and maintain. But it is well worth the investment, for a strong brand is one of the most valuable assets an organization can attain.

What would you add to the list of considerations above?

S.M.A.R.T Marketing Goals

It should come as no surprise that goals are important for your business and marketing strategy. They drive you forward and act as the X on the proverbial map to the buried treasure of success. However, it’s never quite so easy to stick to that advice. Day to day operations shorten your vision, making it hard to keep goals in mind. If you’re not constantly engaging with your goals, then the old adage “out of sight, out of mind” applies — and your business suffers.

That’s why S.M.A.R.T. goals are so important. By breaking them down into specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely steps, you’re more likely to keep them in mind and put them on place when looking at your business processes. As a result, you make strides towards them and reap the rewards.



Relate it to directly something in particular that you want to achieve. A website goal could be specific in terms of visits or conversions. Try to be as small as possible for each goal, so they don’t get overwhelming. If you want to focus on both visits and conversions, write a separate goal for each.



Make sure it has a number. You can’t tell how well you’re reaching your goal if you don’t have a yardstick for what “reaching the goal” looks like. It also should tie into metrics you can gather on your site; if you’re not gathering metrics on your online properties, you have no way of knowing if you’re succeeding or not.



If your goal is more ambitious than the top 25% of companies can attain, or even more than your direct competition is doing, then you may never reach it. While there are some people who change the game and break all barriers, those are the anomalies. You’re better off starting realistic and working your way up to game breaking strategy.



It should relate to what you do. If your business goals are about sales, you want goals that measure how many sales you make. Social engagement is nice to know about, but unless social engagement ties directly into your sales funnel, a goal focusing on it is irrelevant. That being said, don’t ignore something that is genuinely relevant.



As the old saying goes, “a goal without a deadline is just a wish.” If you don’t set a time limit for when the goal should be reached, and don’t hold yourself to that deadline, then your goals will continue slipping out of reach.



Breaking down a goal along the S.M.A.R.T. checklist creates more manageable steps that you can actually achieve. If success is the buried treasure, S.M.A.R.T. goals are the instructions on how to get there.

The New Mobile-Friendly Website Imperative: What All Top Businesses Already Know

A mobile-friendly website is more important for businesses now than ever. To be mobile-friendly, a website must be designed with Responsive Web Design (RWD) in mind – meaning the content is designed to automatically adapt and restructure itself to work on smaller mobile screens.

Until a couple weeks ago, it was simply considered good business practice to become mobile-friendly, but Google has officially made it an online imperative. A couple weeks ago, Google’s search engine made a change that strongly and automatically prioritizes mobile-friendly sites over those that are not. This means that those without a mobile-friendly site will be pushed down the search results pages, making them not only harder to find, but also potentially landing them beneath their mobile-friendly competitors. This change can result in less web traffic to non-mobile-friendly sites, potentially resulting in lost sales.

A non-mobile-friendly site now says one of a few things about a company, either: it cannot or will not spend the money to go mobile, it doesn’t care, or that it is completely oblivious to the needs of its market. The future is changing and its time to adapt or face losing out on missed opportunities.

If this hasn’t convinced the undecided, here are a few more of the many other reasons to become (and suggestions for becoming) mobile-friendly.



1)   Make it easy and straightforward.

A company should make navigating their website as effortless as possible. This will allow users to have a positive experience and encourage them to more fully engage with the brand. It will also encourage them learn about the company and allow them to easily find what they are looking for. Annoyance caused by a difficult to navigate site can translate to them leaving earlier than you would have liked (or expected).  Whether or not there is great content on the site, if it is difficult to find, view or interact with on mobile, it won’t matter. The great online content in the world won’t appear so wonderful if it is hard to access and difficult to read. It’s not just what you say, the method and framework you use to convey it is equally important.


2)  Focus on mCommerce: Don’t limit yourself to eCommerce

If you do eCommerce, it’s become even more of an imperative to focus on improving your mCommerce (mobile online commerce). In fact, by the end of 2015, mCommerce is projected to account for 40% of all global eCommerce transactions, and 1/3 of all U.S. eCommerce transactions. The numbers are on their way there already: in Q1 2015, smartphone share of mCommerce transactions has grown more than 10% in the U.S.

Importantly, in Q1 2015 in the U.S., while the conversion rates are higher with desktop, smartphones garner much more traffic than desktop, resulting in more paid online transactions overall.

Other non-western markets see mobile mCommerce conversions accounting for as much as 4x more transactions. Improvements are being made everyday in Western markets by companies to improve the mobile shopping experience and improve their mobile conversion rates. This Q1 2015 Criteo report on the State of Mobile Commerce says a focus will be placed improving the product browsing experience and mobile payment process in Western markets.

Another insight from the report: Mobile purchases tend to happen during consumers’ leisure hours before and after work, while desktop transactions tend to happen at work. So, if you want to capture consumers outside of work hours: be sure to go mobile-friendly.


3)  Heed the Rule of Thumb.

Two fingers (thumb and pointer finger) are required to expand small text and images on non-mobile-friendly sites. If people need to do this to navigate a site or consume online content on a smartphone (or tablet), then they will feel that it requires too much effort. If a company’s online content is not easy to select and use with a fat thumb (or single finger), then they should think about RWD. Today, more and more people prefer to use their thumb (sometimes thumbs) to text and to click on online content from a smartphone. (And, while a single pointer finger might be used more often on a tablet than a thumb would – a single digit doing less work is preferred).

Finally, think about how and where people use their smartphones. Many people hold their phone in one hand, and use the other hand to do other things, such as: hold onto the subway bars or carry a coffee. This makes using two fingers to expand and read text nearly impossible. It is key for companies to optimize their sites for this “in-between” time, as well – time that customers could be spending on their websites becoming more familiar with the company or making a purchase.

In short, the mobile imperative can no longer be ignored. Companies who were waiting for a time to act must do so now, in order to stay competitive in this ever-evolving online world.