By Tracie Rollins with Infusionsoft

Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to nurture leads as well as keep your customers in the loop, but it’s certainly not the quickest of all marketing strategies to set up. It takes time to create and schedule messages, track who opened them and follow up appropriately. If you’re doing this manually, you’ll find yourself in an administration nightmare spending way more time managing email than working on building your business.

With marketing automation software, you have the capability to set up a single campaign that will last a lifetime with a few minor tweaks here and there. Think about information that your audience would normally pay for and freely offer it on your website to entice them to share their contact information with you. This can be done by creating a webform that requires contact information before access is granted to the free offer.

Marketing automation will assign a label, which is also called a tag to the contact record. This helps you know how they found you, but more importantly which follow-up campaign you’ll assign to them. You’ll probably start with one simple email campaign, but over time you’ll discover how your audience segments themselves and can add additional elements to respond directly to their actions or inactions.

Your follow-up emails are more important than your initial offer because these emails help build upon the relationship. Most people aren’t going to buy your product or service right away unless you are in a very niche market without competition. In fact, it’s likely that they’ll search for alternatives prior to making their decision.

You’ll want to continue to stay top-of-mind and available to answer any questions they have. The best way to do this is by sending out frequent communications. Too many and you’ll lose subscribers. Too few and you’ll lose market share. Experiment with frequency and make adjustments based on the data that is unique to your audience.

As your leads engage with your content by opening your emails and clicking on your links, your automation software can assign point values to their actions. This is often called lead scoring and helps you qualify your leads before you call them. Because your time is limited, you can spend it with those who are most likely to purchase today. Automate communication with those who aren’t ready today until they reach your score threshold.

To talk about all the benefits that marketing automation provides would take a more time and space than we have in this post. Instead, let’s put it this way: if you are happy with the leads and deals you’re generating via manual e-mail campaigns, consider how much more delighted you’d be when you make the switch to marketing automation.

About the Author:

Tracie Rollins has focused her professional efforts on bridging the gap between knowledge and performance. She applies over 18 years of experience to marketing strategy, research, and development of content that educates, influences and improves the lives of others. She believes that education provides knowledge, knowledge drives actions, and actions change the world.

As the Content Strategy Manager at Infusionsoft, Tracie Rollins helps small businesses succeed by developing e-learning and authoring content for small business consumption and application.

As an entrepreneur, Tracie has appeared on KTVK’s Good Morning Arizona show, and has been featured in the Institute for Industrial Engineering magazine, Woman’s World, Arizona Republic and multiple local publications. She and her husband, Lonny help small business stand out amongst the competition with The Rollins Advantage, LLC.You can connect with Tracie online at LinkedIn or on Google+.

Why You Need Marketing Automation in Your Small Business