By Dolly Howard

inbound marketing email automationYour new inbound marketing plan is in full effect. You’ve aced Part 1, and Part 2 is being implemented as we speak. You’ve collected and/or produced some great content, and you soon will convert your visitors into leads through your new call-to-action, landing page and form placed throughout your website. And, even better, you’re all-in on moving your small business forward, so you’ve purchased customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Now that we’ve started collecting leads, let’s keep this inbound train moving, and bring in the third part of the inbound methodology - we need to close those leads into customers.

Before we begin, let’s do a quick recap of inbound marketing: attract visitors to your website, convert visitors into leads, close leads into customers and delight customers into promoters. For this posting, we’ll focus on step 3 - closing customers:

Closing Customers

We close customers by sending follow-up content based on the information they provided on forms, their webpage visits and their activity on social outlets (like retweeting something on Twitter). We want to make sure we keep leads engaged, and that we’re sending the right information to the right people to move them along in the buying process.

Remember that CRM we’ve been talking about? That’s how you’ll keep track of all these stats. No more spreadsheets, databases and handwritten notes scattered around multiple desks and computers. Hosting information in one place will make your business more efficient, the pass-off between marketing and sales more fluid and result in better lead to customer conversation. And BONUS… you can track it!

Utilizing the information we’ve been collecting, emails and marketing automation can give you that next point-of-contact with your leads. And, if done well, could convert those leads into customers.

Emails and Marketing Automation

You’re probably familiar with opening a new email message in your email program, writing it and pressing send. You may even use a template, which could speed things up, but could also result in Mary’s email going to Jake. Either way, could you do this for every lead you get… a personal email with additional content included? You have a business to run, and you may be the only employee or have a small staff. Do you really have time for that?

Let’s imagine, for a moment, having an automated system to send that email out for you. It’s like having an extra employee working for your 24/7 who knows what the lead downloaded, what her challenge is and follow ups with her with a personal email and additional content that relates to her download.

Emails and marketing automation allow you to do this. You set the personalization, timing and content rules, and your new employee does the work.

You Keep Mentioning Content…

Yes, content. It’s very important to inbound marketing. And the type of content REALLY matters, too.

In Part 2 we provided content like eBooks, whitepapers, webinars and checklists for our call-to-action. That’s because those are TOFU – Top of the Funnel – offerings. They provide your visitor an experience beyond your products and sales.

When we start emails and marketing automation, we change our content to match where the customer is in the buying process (or funnel).

Are they still a lead, follow-up with another TOFU item? Did they show some interest and are now in the MOFU – Middle of the Funnel? We should send them something like a free webinar, catalog or brochure. And, lastly, have they continued down the funnel and are qualified leads? Try a free trial, demo, consultation or coupon BOFU offer. (You guessed it, Bottom of the Funnel.)

Check out HubSpot's Small Business Marketing Hub for case studies on small businesses who've implemented inbound marketing into their business.

What are some TOFU, MOFU or BOFU offerings you’ve provided to leads?

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Dolly Howard

About the author

Dolly Howard was formerly Director of Marketing for SmartBug Media. Previously she worked as a senior marketing consultant leading SmartBug Media clients in strategy for lead conversion improvement and total marketing ROI. As a past HubSpot employee, Dolly is excited to share her knowledge and help enterprise companies grow their business. Read more articles by Dolly Howard.

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