Businesses invest a great deal of thought and effort in maintaining the all-important online customer experience. But many organizations fail to put the same amount of effort into the brand experience of prospects and online community members. Marketing automation software can help create a consistent brand experience with prospects and brand community members without needing to scale up your workforce.

Marketing Automation Software Basics

Using marketing automation software is like working with thousands of couriers who deliver the right content at the right time to all of your Internet-based prospects. All your team needs to do is pre-build great content into your marketing funnel, and the software takes care of the rest. The software delivers this content to prospects via email to constantly move your prospects down the marketing funnel and eventually convert them to customers. To fully grasp the value of using a marketing automation software, understanding the marketing funnel structure is essential.

The Marketing Funnel

A marketing funnel is built around the concept of the classic sales funnel. Its shape illustrates a natural consequence of the sales and marketing process, in that there will be more leads going in the top of the funnel than sales coming out of the bottom. Each prospect receives specific content, depending on what content drove them to your website and the current marketing funnel segment in which they reside.

Funnel Segments

A prospect's position in the marketing funnel falls in one of three segments: Top of funnel (TOFU), middle of funnel (MOFU) and bottom of funnel (BOFU). TOFU prospects know very little about your company. These are not prospects that you hand off to the sales team for a phone call. Instead, these prospects should be further educated about your industry and your brand. White papers and research reports work well as TOFU content.

MOFU prospects know a little more about your brand, but they're still too high in the funnel for a sales pitch. These prospects should receive content that educates them more about your organization's expertise in areas of interest for each individual prospect. The marketing automation software knows the interests of each prospect and can serve the appropriate content on an individualized basis. Case studies and other client examples are great examples of MOFU content.

BOFU prospects are very educated prospects that are close to a buying decision. These prospects should receive content around very specific offerings, which may include example proposals or client examples. Only BOFU prospects should be considered for sales calls.

Making It Work

It's extremely important to remember that marketing automation software is only the messenger. It's up to your content team to fill your marketing funnel with interesting and engaging content that converts prospects into clients. Be sure to download the Essential Guide to Internet Marketing and jump-start your inbound marketing strategy.