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[dropcap]M[/dropcap]any marketing departments have long realized they need to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. It’s nearly impossible to personally reach out to each and every new lead, but a giant, impersonal email blast is pretty much destined to be ignored. The secret to solving the mysteries of the untouched email, the unclicked call to action, and the once-promising lead that simply went MIA, may be marketing automation. Marketers should be looking to develop relationships with buyers at all stages of the sales funnel, and use marketing automation to create highly personalized relationships with new and existing leads. Let’s face it, we’ve all got pretty jam-packed inboxes, and even perfectly personalized emails offering incredible, highly relevant deals sometimes get lost in the shuffle or the “spam” folder.
The Landscape as it is
At its best, marketing automation is simply software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell effectively, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. The practice has shown amazing results for both B2B and B2C businesses. A 50% increase in overall conversion rates have been reported on average. However, most won’t have the ingredients they need for effective marketing automation because they first have to have a steady flow of organic leads coming through their funnel. Many invest in marketing automation before they have fertile ground for lead nurturing campaigns to blossom. It’s an uncomfortable truth in the marketing world that most leads go nowhere. Too many marketers spend their time figuring out how to take the tiny fraction of the market they already have as leads and squeeze more out of them. While they’re doing that, their competition is figuring out how to get more out of the 99.99% of the market that’s still out there. The efficient implementation of marketing automation technology can effectively increase operational efficiency by allowing for more precise use of all your companies data.
Marketing automation allows a brand to send the right message to the right person at the right time, in a way that’s scalable.
Automation uses every bit of a customer engagement to trigger the right touch for the right customer at the right time. How many nudges did it take before you decided you had to have your last online purchase: a targeted ad on social coupled with an email reminding you of the sale price or was it a push notification letting you know there were only a few left in stock? Now does it seem weird to rely on automation to create more personalized relationships with leads? Absolutely. However, think of all the information about clients that is gathered as they sign up for newsletters, click through web pages, or even view items online. Marketing automation allows a brand to consolidate all that data in order to produce meaningful, personalized pieces of content that will help convert leads. Imagine you’re trying to grow a plant. First, you need fertile soil for the growth of your plant. Next, you need seeds, and last you need water and light in order to nurture those seeds into a lush, blooming plant. It’s not foolproof, but it’s not impossible. In essence, effective marketing automation looks just like nurturing this plant does. At the end of the day, the hope is we’ve nurtured our leads the seeds well enough to produce actual paying customers or a lush, full-grown plant.
Use Automation to Get Personal
While it’s become standard practice to begin by asking leads for an email address, using marketing automation to analyze total customer data can lead to much more beneficial relationships for both buyers and brands. Now let’s say you have 5,000 new leads. It’s highly unlikely that all 5,000 are interested in the same aspects of your business. Most automation is based on analytics measuring the impact of an entire campaign across the various segments and channels. The practice could potentially set off a chain of responses, from a welcome email to a call from a member of your sales team. Marketing automation done right typically generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on the investment required. Though it’s not the easiest marketing initiative to execute on, marketing automation is certainly not impossible. With the data, you already possess you can identify segments and opportunities you never dreamed existed. Why stop at obvious factors such as demographics, when you can instead break your prospect base down according to how they use your site, the offers they accept, the articles they linger on. Through your strategy begin to customize landing pages, widgets and other elements of your website; identify customer’s needs based on their interest rather than simply asking for an email address.
The term “marketing automation” has become a buzz-word, where marketers seek out marketing automation software under the impression that all of the digital marketing tools necessary for growth, including those needed to generate new leads, roll up under the hood of marketing automation. This misconception leaves many marketers with sophisticated tools to automate the middle of their funnel, but no solution to generating new leads to nurture in the first place. The consequence is that marketers begin buying lists of email addresses to nurture instead of generating inbound leads. Digital marketing automation has its bloodline in simple email marketing. However, it is way beyond the email marketing.
It takes personalization far beyond blasting a coupon or special offer to every lead on your list, regardless of where they are in their purchase journey.
In our plant analogy, it’s sort of like using artificial chemicals or enhancers to make your plants grow faster. Sure, it seems like a good, quick fix–but it doesn’t set you up for future, long-term success. While using automation platforms, many marketers must still create exciting, multi-tier lead nurturing campaigns. Successful multi-channel efforts generally include marketing automation, email marketing, retargeting, social media, and sales outreach. In a world where customers feel more empowered to make purchase decisions than ever, using marketing automation to offer solutions before they ask can be crucial; today’s digitally empowered consumers are loyal to the companies that address their needs most effectively. The most effective marketing automation not only collects data from multiple channels but also uses those various channels to send their marketing messages as well. That means the success of your campaign relies less on the email and fully utilizes the various channels that influence a buyer’s decision.
Amazon is the King of Marketing Automation
From their amazing retargeting that never lets you forget those jeans, you were undecided on a couple weeks ago, to their spot on suggestions based on previous purchases. Amazon will even let you know what your neighbors are buying, so you’re never the last in the know. Amazon’s marketing makes it easy for its customers to buy things, to the point where some Amazon customers don’t realize they’re out of toothpaste until they get a reminder to buy more. Amazon is second to none at listening to their customers through passive actions such as web browsing, to purchase history, to actual feedback through surveys and customer service.
An automation update for your brand requires integrating new technology into your day-to-day business operations, which obviously comes with a few pain points. However, once you’ve got your automated marketing system running like clockwork you will see the value in letting your marketing automation system do the heavy lifting. Remember marketing automation isn’t simply a quick fix for finding new leads. Instead, it’s a long-term strategy that enables growth. In nonprofessional terms, marketing automation is all about optimization. Make sure that when your automation pays off, and you are getting those leads you’ve been looking for; your marketing strategy calls for even more personalized lead nurturing which never feels robotic. The scope of marketing automation is beyond simply automating the marketing department’s repetitive tasks, it optimizes the time of your staff. It can even hint at which new avenues your sales team concentrates their endeavors.