By Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner

Leveraging automation is an increasingly popular way to grow your online brand. Technology never stops growing, and with that growth come exciting new chances to show off your website to potential leads. There are opportunities to add some form of machine learning to virtually every aspect of your business.

I'd like to take a look at how successful business owners are drawing in high-quality leads using machine learning. The two main areas we are going to cover are how to use machine learning in your email marketing campaign and on the front end of your website.

Install a chatbot.

Chatbots are excellent tools for generating high-quality leads for your website. Drift's 2018 State of Chatbots report asked respondents to answer questions about their experiences using the technology. When consumers were asked why they would use a chatbot, 35 percent said to get detailed explanations or answers, 22 percent said to add themselves to a mailing list and 22 percent said to get product recommendations.

In other words, customers are looking to this technology to get answers to their questions and concerns and to easily execute on other web functions. You could be turning away a ton of leads by not having a chatbot available to quickly address consumer needs. The best part about a chatbot is that customers will be able to ask questions and get immediate answers 24 hours a day. As it turns out, 64 percent of people find that chatbots being available 24/7 is the top benefit.

Offer personalized lead magnets.

One of the best parts of automation is that it can offer potential leads the right deal at the right time. There is marketing software available that allows you to set triggers on your website, which sparks a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a value proposition that converts a casual reader into a subscriber.

After you create the magnet content and set up your triggers, automation finishes the job for you. Here's how it works: Let's say someone lands on your gardening website and they check out your blog. If they read articles that fall into a specific category, like growing flowers instead of vegetables, you can set your system to automatically send the new reader an offer for a free checklist for flower gardeners, or top 10 flowers currently in season.

The goal is to convince the reader that you're offering something of value and that they should subscribe to your website for more great content.

Create an email drip campaign.

When talking about high-quality leads, I don't just mean new leads. You can take leads you already have on your list and turn them into more meaningful subscribers through automated email marketing campaigns. Often, when people sign up for an email list, they will get a couple of emails and then the company they subscribed to will fade from their memory. You can use automation to turn your stale leads into interested customers again by creating an email drip campaign.

An email drip campaign is a series of emails that go out to subscribers at certain intervals depending on how long they've been a part of your email list. There are multiple ways to use a drip campaign to keep your leads engaged. The most common type of drip campaign involves sending out periodic valuable content, usually two to four helpful blog posts, followed by a transition email and, finally, the closing email through which you try to convert the lead into purchasing a product or service, attending a webinar or buying a membership.

Some businesses create automated campaigns that target customers after long periods of inactivity. You'll find this trend in SaaS companies and paid blogs. Overall, email is one of the best uses for automation technology.

Every business owner can benefit from automation in one way or another. When you're thinking about implementing automation into your campaign to generate stronger leads, think about the context that would benefit your customers. If you sell a variety of physical products and services about which customers have a lot of questions, you may benefit from a chatbot. If your company sells a digital product or service, you're going to want to focus more on your email marketing campaign to stay top of mind in their inboxes. Every company could benefit from automation -- it's your job to find where this technology fits into your business model.

Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site that helps small businesses start their website.

Published on: May 29, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.