Truly, marketing automation deserves a better name — one that doesn’t evoke robots stamping out taglines like prison license plates.
“Cybernetically-enhanced marketing,” perhaps? How about “marketing . . . smartification”? Well, the quest continues.
Regardless of the opaque terminology, marketing automation is something you need to place on your radar if you’re serious about growing your law firm’s business. Marketing automation platforms can help your firm streamline marketing and customer relations work by delegating repetitive tasks and routine communications to software solutions. They also allow you to foster a personal connection with hundreds or even thousands of prospective clients at once and track the success of your efforts with real-time analytics.
Done right, an investment in marketing automation can seriously boost the efficiency of your lead generation process and create a better return on investment for your marketing budget.
What Is Marketing Automation, Exactly?
Perhaps the single most important thing you need to understand about a marketing automation campaign is that, at the end of the day, its aims are the same as any other advertising or sales process: to take leads from the top of the marketing funnel and escort them through the lead generation and nurturing steps of the buying process, turning them into a sales-ready lead.
The cornerstone of effective marketing automation for most law firms is automated email marketing, which uses the power of email software platforms like SharpSpring to strike up an ongoing relationship with leads using a tailored series of content-rich messages. Email is usually the most direct way for a firm to reach prospective clients with a one-to-one connection, and taking advantage of the impressive advances in email marketing software allows you to build a familiar, trust-based relationship with individual customers as well as a scalable, reliable system for engaging any number of leads at a given time.
Here’s how the email automation process works, at a glance:
- Your marketer (that’s us) creates an email campaign that offers engaging content for prospective clients who may be looking for help within your firm’s practice areas.
- Driven by social media, search, advertising, or word-of-mouth, a potential client visits your website and fills out a form — perhaps to sign up for an ebook or to get other content they might find helpful — turning them into a lead.
- Marketing automation tools track the lead’s browsing data, both retroactively and going forward, to create a picture of their needs and areas of interest.
- The lead begins to receive the email campaign at pre-planned intervals, keeping them engaged and aware of your brand as well as establishing your trust and credibility.
- As the lead continues to visit your website based on encouragement from the targeted email content, marketing automation tools track additional data about their browsing behavior and continue refining their picture of the lead, then deliver additional customized content based on this data.
- The potential client — now a sales-ready lead — contacts your firm.
Marketing automation isn’t limited to email marketing, either. It also allows you to optimize your intake of clients, manage ongoing customer relationships and garner referrals, automate routine communications with existing clients, improve your website and social media presence based on the automation data that you gather over time, and much more.
A Tool Like Any Other
To understand the remarkable upside as well as the potential pitfalls of marketing automation, think about how a contemporary farmer uses technology. Farmers, after all, work to nurture seeds into plants — much like marketers and sales professionals use various steps and techniques to nurture leads into clients.
Rather than applying water, fertilizer, and pesticides by hand, much of today’s agriculture uses sophisticated technologies like robots, GPS, and moisture sensors to automate these routine tasks. This incorporation of new tech isn’t just for large agribusiness operations — small-scale and organic farms often have an even greater need for them, as the New York Times noted in a 2014 piece on advances in agricultural automation.
At their best, these touches of technology don’t take the soul out of agriculture — they make it more efficient and robust, allowing farmers to focus on higher-level concerns like inspecting crops and addressing potential problems, calculating crop yields, and improving overall business strategies. Best of all, they lead to higher quality, more sustainable foodstuffs that consumers can afford.
Marketing automation can work much the same way for growing businesses and their products, and it’s for this reason that it’s quickly become one of the most powerful and attention-grabbing innovations in the digital marketing world. Even though you may not have heard the term before reading this article, most brands you interact with on a regular basis probably employ some form of marketing automation. Consider these recent statistics:
- On average, 49 percent of companies currently use some form of marketing automation.
- 84 percent of top-performing companies between 2012 and 2015 said they use or plan to start using marketing automation.
- Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads.
Of course, without strategy, judgment, and ethics, the mechanization of tasks in any field can easily run amok. Almost everyone has seen the disturbing images from enormous industrial farming operations — sick and dejected cows standing ankle-deep in waste beneath belching smokestacks, rivers of pollution swirling off in every direction. Unless it’s driven by quality content and judicious use of analytics, marketing automation can turn into the advertising equivalent of the same scene: email inboxes brimming with spam, disengaged consumers being hounded at every turn by cut-rate content they don’t want.
Thankfully, marketing automation, when applied properly, doesn’t have to look anything like this as long as you remember that it has limitations like any other tool. It won’t engage your prospective or existing clients without thoughtful content to back it up, and it won’t return value for your firm or your clients without strategy, commitment, and proper use of analytics by a knowledgeable marking team.
For a more in-depth explanation of how marketing automation works and the formidable array of automation tools that LaFleur Marketing can leverage to grow your business, check out our marketing automation services page.
LaFleur: Your Experts in Marketing Automation
Are you ready to grow your firm’s business using the power of today’s best marketing software? At LaFleur Legal Marketing, our marketing automation tools can open up a whole new world of lead generation and client engagement, harnessing the power of analytics to give your customers the experience they’re looking for.
Please contact us today by calling (888) 222-1512 or by completing the brief form on this page to learn more about us and how we can help your firm grow in a scalable, sustainable fashion.
Hanington, J. (2014, January 13). 20 incredible marketing automation stats. SalesForce Blog. Retrieved from https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2014/01/20-marketing-automation-stats.html
Revkin, A.C. (2014, December 4). On smaller farms, including organic farms, technology and tradition meet. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/04/on-smaller-farms-including-organic-farms-technology-and-tradition-meet/?_r=0
van Rijn, J. (2016, August). The ultimate marketing automation statistics overview. Emailmonday. Retrieved from http://www.emailmonday.com/marketing-automation-statistics-overview