hands-1167619_1280Your marketing success begins and ends with content. No marketing automation platform—no matter how wonderful—can overcome the limitations of a weak marketing program. Yet, once your marketing ducks are in a row, marketing automation (MA) has a proven ability to increase your sales pipeline (by at least 10 percent) and revenues by up to 40 percent.

A study by Ascend2 and Marketo found that a whopping 91 percent of the 25 percent most successful MA users (those who rated their marketing automation strategies “very successful”)—of the 50,000 international marketing, sales and business professionals polled—say that MA is “very important” to the overall success of their marketing programs.

Entrepreneurs and small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are not exempt from these facts. MA is as valuable a resource for growing your business as it is for any major brand. A focus on marketing is crucial to every startup and existing business because when your product or service is ready to “ship,” a reliable client base is your true bankable asset. This is why one of your primary initial concerns must be to generate content that represents your brand—from product information to mission statement to value proposition.

Custom content creation begins with you. Only you know the talking points and use cases for your offerings. While you don’t have to write the copy yourself (partner with a content strategy vendor), you are the fountainhead—the original source for your brand’s “voice.”

Without high-quality, relevant content that resonates with your key targets, your marketing automation solution will have no fuel. But once you do have a full tank to run on, watch out: A top-notch marketing automation platform will take your content and your business to new heights. In particular, content is key to your brand’s ability to rank high on search engine platforms, like Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Keep in mind—especially if you’re operating with limited resources, and even if your budget is smallthat not only content creation but even your marketing automation operations can be outsourced, freeing you to focus on your products/services.

So, what’s all this fuss about MA … what’s driving the significant outcomes stated above? Getting the right content to the right customers is the primary goal of marketing—and it is what MA tools do best.

Fortunately for startups, today’s MA platforms aren’t designed only for the big boys. Solutions such as those from  ActOn, SharpSpring and InfusionSoft are suitable for entrepreneurs while providing functionality similar to that of leading MA platforms, e.g., Marketo and Eloqua. These platforms include prebuilt templates that allow you to create emails and landing pages that can automatically initiate conversations with existing and potential customers.

MA tools also gather data to help SMBs identify their prospects, uncover their interests and personalize communications with them based on their unique needs. They also comprise a quantifiable method for assessing lead quality to help users focus on prospects who are ready to buy.

Take your business where you always dreamed it would go; utilize the power of marketing automation to get your custom high-quality content into the right hands at the right time.

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