As a marketer, what is your greatest challenge? It’s pretty safe to assume that any company trying to market their services to customers face similar challenges. How do we reach our customers in an engaging and relevant way? And how do we we do this in such a fragmented market where your customers can connect with you in a multitude of ways.
A vast majority of companies focus on the tried-and-true methods of reaching customers. You create ads to run in the traditional or digital space. You send emails to your customer list. You might try to tackle the SEO space, hoping to increase visitors to your website. You might even send some direct mail to a purchased list. While all of these can be effective methods for reaching your customers, you need to be doing more.
Are you are doing any of the following?
- You send email blasts, not engage in customer dialogues
- You create all your campaigns manually.
- You rely only on google analytics to provide the data needed to make marketing decisions.
- You have no idea if your email or other marketing is actually driving sales or conversions.
- You have to send the same message to every person on your email list.
Why you should use it?
Before you can understand what automated marketing is, it’s important to understand why you should be using it.
“Every business has one thing in common: the desire to achieve higher revenue and faster growth. But many companies struggle to align their people, processes, and technology to achieve these goals. – Marketo”
In this day and age, any company, whether large or small, can’t afford to only rely on traditional methods of reaching customers. In our cluttered marketing world, relevancy is crucial. Your customers expect to be talked to like you know them. They want to have conversations with you and they want messaging to be tailored to what they care about.
Can you do any of the following?
Identify, track and, engage individual buyers online?
- Look at a list of customers and prioritize them based on fit and likelihood to buy?
- Filter leads based on level of engagement and interest?
- Measure the revenue contribution of every single one of your marketing campaigns?
- Can you do all of these things without wanting to tear your hair out?
If you had marketing automation, you could.
Marketing automation is not just a new shiny object that all people in marketing should be using, it’s a system that is proven to show results. Here are some stats.
- Automated Marketing you can save upwards of 6 hours per week that can be used for other important tasks
- Businesses who show dynamic content on their website based on user profiles can see an average increase of 20% in sales or conversions.
- Personalized emails deliver 6X higher transaction rates, but 70% of brands fail to use them. marketingland
- Companies using marketing automation see 53% higher conversion rates from initial response-to-conversion and a revenue growth rate that is 3.1% higher than non-users. – Aberdeen Group “Marketing Lead Management Report” (2012)
The great thing about automated marketing is that companies of any size can use it. In order to be successful you don’t need to have large marketing budgets or a large marketing staff. You simply need to have the right tools—tools that give you detailed insight into your sales process, tools that allow you to more effectively understand when your customers are ready to buy. In today’s marketing culture these abilities absolutely essential.
“Without marketing automation, you are just guessing – just hoping that people will take the bait and be ready to buy your products. Statistics show that buyers don’t do that. They want to learn at their own pace and be reached when they need more information or are ready to buy. A well-constructed marketing automation strategy makes that a reality.”
– John McTigue, Kuno Creative
What is Automated Marketing
Now that you understand why should be using Marketing Automation, let’s dig into exactly what it is.
Let’s start with what it is not:
- Marketing automation is not a fancy name for email marketing. While email marketing is a core component to any marketing automation platform, the benefits of automated marketing go far beyond just sending an email. Marketing automation turns your marketing efforts into highly tailored, data-driven, conversion-oriented messaging that is personalized, relevant and measurable.
- Marketing Automation is not a tool that will blast messages to random email addresses. It’s a piece of technology that will help you talk to your prospective customers in a more relevant way that builds relationships and trust.
- Marketing Automation does not eliminate effort. It’s not the “Easy Button” of marketing. Automation software takes thought, strategy and effort.
A great definition of marketing automation is provided by Marketo, one of many service providers in this space. “Marketing automation is a software platform that streamlines, automates, and measures marketing tasks and workflows. This allows you to be more efficient, increase revenue and grow into a more powerful marketing team.”
These tools allow you to uncover details about your customer that you would not be able to discover using traditional methods. These details allow you to tailor messaging that is more relevant to your customer and encourages them to continue down the sales funnel.
Just about every marketing automation platform provides the following tools
- Email Marketing
- Landing Pages
- Campaign Management
- Lead Generation
- CRM Integration
- Lead Scoring
- Lead Prediction
- Marketing Analytics
These tools allow even non-technical users to create smart, data-driven messaging that will resonate with your prospective and current customers, inspiring them to take the actions you want them to take.
Here’s a simple scenario of how marketing automation works.
Suppose you are retailer of outdoor equipment. A user visits your website and subscribes to your blog. When they do, an email is automatically sent to the user, welcoming them and provides links to the sale area, clothing section and kayak section of your site. When the visitor opens the email and clicks on the link to access the clothing section of the site, they are automatically added to an email chain where they are notified of the latest clothing arrivals. If the customer then looks at 3 different items on your website, they are automatically sent a coupon for free shipping if they order $100 or more. This is simple example but you get the idea. By tracking your customer’s engagement with email and your website, you can automatically tailor messaging that is relevant to their place in the sales cycle. Not matter where your customer is in the conversion process, they’ll always get optimized messaging.
How to implement for your business
Now that you know why you should be using Automated Marketing and understand what it is. The obvious question is how.
1. Choosing a platform
There are a number of excellent software options you could choose from. Marketo, HubSpot, Infusionsoft, Act On, Pardot, SharpSpring … the list could go on. Each has their there own sets of benefits and challenges.
Before you start thinking about which platform you want to use, it’s important to be aware that each one has it’s own pros and cons – for example many offer a tiered pricing model that can get expensive in a hurry as your database grows. Others (SharpSpring for example) have a more approachable model.
It’s also important to understand the feature set of the application. How technical is the system. Can it be utilized by non-technical marketers. Do you really need all the features they are promising? All important things to think about.
Our best advice is to to balance the feature set of a platform with the long term costs of using that platform.
2. Creating an implementation plan
Unless you have previous experience using marketing automation, it’s best to have a resource that can help you create the strategy and implement the technology. There are 2 steps needed for all platforms:
- Technical implementation: Tracking code needs to be installed, landing page and email templates need to be added.
- Automation strategy and setup. Personas need to be created. Automation rules need to be set up. Reporting needs to be configured.
Once these steps are created it’s always helpful to have a resources that can help optimize and refine the strategy to make sure it’s working for your business.
So what’s next? Thinking about how to use Marketing Automation for your business might feel daunting but fear not, that is why we’re here.
We’d love to connect with you and have a conversion about how Marketing Automation can work for your business. We can provide a platform that won’t break the bank. In fact, the automation platform we use is designed for small to medium businesses. It matches the feature set of all other marketing automation platforms with one significant difference. The price won’t change as you scale your list so your future costs are contained, allowing you to use your budget for activities that will grow your business. We can also help formulate an automation strategy and partner with your during the implementation process and beyond. Our team is loves this type of smart, intelligent marketing and we’d love to help you grow your business.
We can show you how our automation tool works and talk about how it can help your business grow.