What is Marketing Automation (MA)?

So, apart from the obvious, what is Marketing Automation?

Creating leads whilst you sleep Zzz…

Have you heard the one about coming to the office, switching on your email and ‘hey presto’, leads are popping up whilst you have been sleeping! Sounds like Nirvana, doesn’t it?

This Nirvana CAN be reached!

…and it’s accessible to businesses from the one-man band to the massive conglomerate! Of course there’s a but, but this but can be ‘unbutted’!

So, in a tiny nutshell, MA is a combination of technologies (on one platform) that combine and automate marketing strategies and repetitive tasks – usually Traffic Generation, Lead Capture, Customer Relationship Management, Email Marketing, Analytics and Personalisation & Product Delivery.

But without a strategy, Marketing Automation is a waste of time and money

Automation needs planning, implementing and managing and it’s all relatively simple – when you know how. There is a way that fits almost any business, a strategy that works despite age, size, financial position or current status of your business. All you need to get started is the will to take the first steps.

So without further ado, here is a brief guide to Automating Your Marketing.

The Strategy

Do not be fooled by the simplicity. The strategy is borne out of campaigns run by some of the biggest and best-known brands; it’s how they became successful! Think Netflix, Starbucks, McAfee and even Barack Obama!

It’s all contained in this simple formula: Attract – Engage – Nurture – Delight!

Some people want you to think there’s more to it… so let’s dispel that myth by examining each element.


Since starting my business back in 2005, I’ve been branded “the SEO man”. Most questions I’m asked are about SEO. Most businesses believe attracting visitors to their website/presence is the be-all and end-all of Internet Marketing. But, as you may be aware, this is only the first step.

Yes, you need to attract visitors to your website. But what they find there makes the biggest difference to your business.

if I could deliver 1,000,000 random visitors or 10 visitors who really wanted – and could afford – what you sold, which would you choose? If you chose the first group, think again. A million random visitors might look good in some stats but you’re not guaranteed to make one penny piece. Putting your money on any old horse would return better odds.

If you know every visitor is being “looked after” i.e. finding what they want and accessing all the help they need to make a purchase, you don’t need millions of untargeted visitors; you only need tens of highly targeted visitors! This is where the second section comes in to play…


So you attracted someone to your website. They want, need and can afford to buy – all you have to do is ask for their credit card details. Right?


Would you ask a stranger to marry you? I hope not! But, sadly, that’s how most businesses approach Internet Marketing. Unless you sell a commodity where price is key in influencing purchases, you must dangle a carrot to get their attention because, if you don’t ‘snare them’, your competitor is one click away from stealing their business from you.

Smart companies get this; they realise any substantial, non-urgent purchase needs a carrot to dangle in front of the prospects’ nose. The digital marketing industry like to call this a ‘lead magnet’. It attracts attention, engages the prospect and makes them feel you could be a good choice for them.

Looking for examples? Download my 21 Lead Magnet ideas, here…


You’ve grabbed their attention and offered something of tremendous value. Next is the nurture phase ie your opportunity to generate trust, demonstrate expertise and build a relationship with your prospect.

Let’s nail the concept. Here are 5 ideas to nurture prospects.

  1. Show don’t tell – instead of saying you’re the best in get reviews on independent portals (Which, Checkatrade, Trustpilot) so they can see for themselves!
  2. Case studies – similar to above but ensure they are true, honest and believable!
  3. Empathise – show you understand difficulties and demonstrate ways your clients resolve problems
  4. Introduce your product and explain how it can solve certain problems
  5. Solve problems with information related to your product – but not the product itself

There are many ways to nurture prospects. If you’re looking for ideas, use the contact page to tell me about your business and I promise to help!

In the nurture phase you can introduce your product or service. BUT don’t assume it helps everyone. A well-considered nurture sequence offers your product or components of it (e.g. a trial or taster).


Of course you want to delight customers – potential and existing – but, in terms of marketing automation, the delight phase is where you sell your wares and use offers, upgrades and cross-sells to encourage prospects to move down your funnel. So long as you provide genuine value, it’s OK to sell your product/service at this stage.

Automation: can be used to sell, upsell and cross sell; it’s ideal for keeping prospects in the loop.

Have you purchased something online and been delighted with communication regarding dispatch and delivery? Don’t think this is the preserve of E-commerce. Smart businesses recognise continued communication is key to success.

Let’s use another example. A visitor comes to your site and downloads your lead magnet. You thank them and deliver the lead magnet; you also send a welcome e-mail. Next day you send – by post or email – something of value they’re not expecting. Continue to nurture, help, give away etc until they buy something. Over deliver or, at the very least, keep your promise.

Ask for feedback so you can improve. Welcome any criticism – it’s often the most useful form of feedback! Make every customer feel as though they’re your only customer!

Are YOU ready for MA? Still not sure? Read my next post to see how it can help!

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Published by


Danielle O'Dwyer - Joint partner of Business Growth Midlands