One common misconception about marketing automation is that it’s basically a life-support system for scheduling and sending emails. We’ve been told that humans only use 10% of their brains, right? Similarly, most marketers only use 10% of their marketing automation capabilities. It’s actually mind-blowing how many ways marketing automation can be applied to your business.

Small and medium-sized business owners, you need the power of marketing automation to thrive, not only for its time-saving qualities, but also for integral business functions.

Here’s a good example. If someone places an order for a product or an event in person or virtually, and if you accept payments online through a web store or an e-commerce store, these orders can be tied directly to your lead records automatically. This is a bonus!

What if someone wants to schedule an appointment? Send them to a calendar app that you’ve synced with your calendar. Allow them to choose a time and have that appointment tie directly into their lead record and the client can schedule the actual call and/or a GoToMeeting. The benefit is that you can automatically email the client information so that you don’t have to fiddle with your calendar or call details. However, you cannot just use a calendar app for that as many people do. You can be practical by actually syncing those actions into your marketing automation application to tie that information directly into the lead’s record.

In reference to Customer Relationship Management, CRMs can be very intimidating because of their robust capabilities. But the Genoo and WPMktgEngine marketing automation systems have CRMs built into their platforms so that you can easily connect multiple things together. The main benefit is that it allows you to understand so much more about your leads. So not only does automation save you time, it connects actions to the lead’s record, allowing you to better engage your leads.

Better targeting, deeper segments and more efficient responses means you’ll be able to ensure that the right lead gets the right email at the right time. These are only some of the options you have. You also can develop content that you know will resonate with your leads.

If you run webinars, do you send people directly to the webinar provider’s registration page instead of the landing page on your website? The option of having a page on your website that allows people to complete a lead capture form that registers those people into the webinar on the back end is a possibility. You can then track all of their behavior on your website and tie that intelligence into a lead record. Powerful stuff!

Here’s another example. If you produce a newsletter, you can put it on a recurring schedule and have it pull from an RSS feed, grabbing a snippet of the article topic. Then, better yet, you can customize the RSS feed’s copy to help engage your subscribers so that they will click through.

You can offer multiple newsletters customized to people’s interests or a broader newsletter with links to multiple blog posts; each post is targeted to a different interest. This is how leads segment themselves, helping you to target your ongoing campaigns based on their interests.

And producing surveys are a great way to get hyper-targeted information from your potential perfect customers – Genoo and WPMktgEngine offer that capability. You are able to create surveys and segment leads based on how people respond to questions. An email follow-up can be sent regarding the participant’s overall score or specific response. With a segmentation approach, you can bucket responses into specific interest categories. Doing this helps you keep engagement relevant with your perfect potential customers.

There are so many ways to use automation to benefit your business because the automation saves time and effort, because it’s … automatic. Understanding the profiles of your leads will assist you in producing more effective marketing campaigns.

Since engaging your leads and strategizing about how to nurture them is the most important part of the marketing process, marketing automation will free up the time to do this, providing you with data all in one spot.

There are many ways to think about marketing automation beyond just automating an email sequence and waiting for responses. The examples and ideas I’ve provided in this post have shown you a few more ways to make marketing more effective with marketing automation. And I’m just scratching the surface.