The Top 5 Perks of Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a critical tool when running a tight budget. Here are a few marketing automation tools that I find especially useful.

There are no downsides to getting on board with the right software.

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!

Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

By now, most business leaders and marketers fully understand the importance of having a marketing-automation software. However, that doesn’t mean all of us are actually using one. Being an entrepreneur means you have your hand in basically everything happening within your company. This gives you little time to research enabling tools and products. But if you want your teams to save time, nurture leads effectively, track success from their efforts and consolidate materials and strategy into a comprehensive, linear space, it’s time to take the plunge.

Entrepreneurs, in particular, need to maximize every effort, every second and every person on the payroll. That makes marketing automation a critical tool when running a tight budget. Whether your marketing is account-based, B2B or B2C, you can almost certainly implement a few more automated marketing perks into your cycle. Here are a few that I find especially useful.

Related: Digital Marketing Hacks for 2020

1. Transforming site visitors into leads

This is one of the very basic perks that every marketing automation software offers. That aside, it caters to a very specific concern most entrepreneurs have: acquiring leads. These two facts alone are why this perk is probably the most important. Every one of your website visitors should have a simple way to learn more about your company. Whether it’s a sidebar contact form, a recurring email newsletter pop-up or a call to action at the end of every blog post, the main goal of your site is to convert visitors into leads.

Your software should help you set up these various lead-capturing capabilities pretty easily. You must check your landing pages, forms and blog posts at least monthly to see how well they’re doing with conversions. If improvements are needed, tweak their design or wording and check back again. A/B test the heck out of them, so by the time they’re hitting conversion numbers you’re happy with, you can focus on other matters while still bringing in leads.

A good CRM will offer form actions to segment your leads into distinct categories, corresponding to a different drip campaign. By that point, half the work is already done.

2. Launching re-engagement campaigns

Every company is sitting on loads of lost leads — people who seemed interested and dropped off the radar or customers who stopped using your product actively, but haven’t necessarily signaled that they don’t want to hear from you again. Many don’t know what to do with these leads or haven’t fully figured out how to use them in a beneficial way. These lost leads are just waiting for you to turn them into an opportunity.

As entrepreneurs, we don’t like the feeling of hopelessness, and the simple truth is that if you’ve still got lost leads’ data, then there’s still hope. Re-engagement campaigns are not only useful for reigniting old flames; they’re also cost-effective ways to find “new” leads. Better yet, automation is perfect for these types of initiatives, since you can reach out to these leads on a wide scale while still personalizing your outreach. You can easily create campaigns that can spark re-engagement and incentivize them to either start using your product again or start a conversation about your product.

3. Making individualized drip campaigns easy

Drip campaigns are a given. You want to keep in touch with people who’ve bought your product, and you’ll obviously segment your lists because no list is worth maintaining without proper segmentation for a personalized experience. But with marketing-automation software, you don’t have to stop there. You can convert standard customer-engagement drip campaigns, including calls for reviews or feedback in exchange for coupons, into greater drip campaigns, such as occasional newsletters or mailing lists.

For entrepreneurs spearheading new businesses, keeping their brands top-of-mind is critical, and well-organized drip campaigns are a big part of that. You don’t have to spend tons of time manually segmenting leads and assembling series of emails. Your automation tool does it all for you so you can focus on other important things, like keeping your business thriving.

4. Keeping you in touch with leads

Going from meeting to meeting to meeting is just another reality for most entrepreneurs. We don’t have much time to organize a follow-up, but we all know how much we need a reminder. Your software allows you to set up alerts so that your follow-ups don’t become a casualty of your hectic schedule. What’s more, these alerts are configured to hot leads’ buying behavior, so you can be sure only to approach them when you’ve got a hint that they’re interested.

A good CRM will let you set up alerts for leads, such as when they hit specific tag scores, click a particular link, download a product demo, attend a webinar or visit a unique URL on your site.

Related: 4 CRM Hacks Every Entrepreneur Should Be Using

5. Indicating your profitable channels

Spending money on ads that don’t deliver isn’t something new businesses can afford (literally). This is why having an analytics dashboard that shows exactly where your marketing efforts are succeeding is a major perk of marketing-automation software.

When you have automated marketing in place, aside from creating efficiencies, you can see all the data that comes from each effort. Your software lets you check each landing page, gated content and forms to determine which are converting well and generating more leads. Being able to easily decipher which pages of your site are performing best is a great way to inform your ad spend and digital-marketing strategy.

The beauty of automation is not merely in how it enables you and your teams. It’s in the tech that comes with it. Automation, by definition, means you also get the latest digital integrations and analytics data, which can help boost your company and help you avoid wasting time and money.

Amazon Is Marketing Face Recognition to Police Departments Partnered With Ring: Report

Amazon is marketing its facial recognition software to Florida police departments that are currently partnered with its home surveillance company, Ring—arrangements that allow police to request access to video footage captured by homeowners.Emails uncovered by an ABC News investigative team in Tampa Bay (WFTS) reportedly show that Amazon has been pushing police departments to adopt…

Amazon is marketing its facial recognition software to Florida police departments that are currently partnered with its home surveillance company, Ring—arrangements that allow police to request access to video footage captured by homeowners.

Emails uncovered by an ABC News investigative team in Tampa Bay (WFTS) reportedly show that Amazon has been pushing police departments to adopt its controversial face recognition software, Rekognition, while also helping them acquire access to footage taken by Ring’s doorbell cameras via its Neighbors app.

Ring has repeatedly told reporters that neither its devices nor the law enforcement portal through which police request access to Ring footage use facial recognition. (“Ring does not use facial recognition technology,” a spokesperson told Gizmodo last month.) But Ring’s denials do not appear to rule out the possibility that police may, at some point, obtain doorbell footage and analyze the faces in it using a separate Amazon product.

WFTS said it attempted multiple times to contact Ring, which was acquired by Amazon in 2018, in the week leading up to its report. The company did not respond.

Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last year showed that Amazon had been handing out its Rekognition tool to police free of charge. The group says the technology, which researchers and critics call unreliable and racially biased, poses a “grave threat” to communities.

“People should be free to walk down the street without being watched by the government. Facial recognition in American communities threatens this freedom. In over policed communities of color, it could effectively eliminate it,” the ACLU and other groups wrote in a letter to the Amazon.

In August, BuzzFeed News reported that, despite Ring’s insistence that it does not use face recognition technology, the company’s Ukraine arm appeared to be developing a face recognition tool. A 2018 presentation unearthed by reporters even shows that, at least at the time, Ring Ukraine had a “head of face recognition research” on staff.

Police departments partnered with Ring are given the ability to request footage directly from Ring customers, but cannot, the company says, obtain it otherwise without a warrant. It remains unclear whether Ring notifies customers of warrants, even in cases where the customer is not suspected of a crime. (Gizmodo has posed this question to Ring on multiple occasions and received no response.)

Gizmodo reported in July that Ring’s contracts with law enforcement agencies forbid police from making public statements about the company and its products without Ring’s permission. Further Gizmodo reporting found that Ring was seeking access to real-time 911 caller data to use as content for its Neighbors app.

In some cases, Ring has barred police departments from using the term “surveillance” to describe its products, stating explicitly in one email that doing so “can flag user privacy concerns.”

Ring’s police partnerships have drawn widespread concern from civil rights organizations that say the technology poses a threat to privacy and civil liberties. A coalition of over 30 groups, including Fight for the Future, Media Justice, and Color of Change, signed an open letter last week calling on local, state, and federal officials to investigate Ring’s business practices.

“A key component of the partnership turns police departments into marketing agencies and police officers into salespeople for Amazon. Amazon provides officers with talking points to promote their technology and products to residents, and requests departments market the products at city events,” the letter states.

It continues: “In the absence of clear civil liberties and rights-protective policies to govern the technologies and the use of their data, once collected, stored footage can be used by law enforcement to conduct facial recognition searches, target protesters exercising their First Amendment rights, teenagers for minor drug possession, or shared with other agencies like ICE or the FBI.”

In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last month, Senator Ed Markey, who sits on the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, wrote that Ring’s partnerships “raise additional civil liberties concerns” and could enable police to “create a surveillance network that places dangerous burdens on people of color and feeds racial anxieties in local communities.”

“I am particularly alarmed to learn,” he wrote, “that Ring is pursuing facial recognition technology with the potential to flag certain individuals as suspicious based on their biometric information.”