Marketing automation has undoubtedly grown since its inception almost two decades ago. According to the Aberdeen Group, companies using marketing automation have over a 100% better lead conversion rate and 40% larger average deal size. These numbers are nothing to scoff at as for many companies, this can mean the difference between success and failure.
Marketing automation was designed to help businesses market more effectively across all channels. When it comes to sales, competition is high in every industry but in today’s digital world, the competition is only getting tougher. Marketing automation can help deliver the right message at the right time to the appropriate audience. However, this doesn’t mean you can just sit back and do nothing as Eloqua so eloquently explains.
“Marketing Automation Does Not Equal Lead Nurturing … Technology will not deliver lead nurturing any more than buying lumber and nails will build a home.”
Doing Marketing Automation The Right Way
Marketing automation software enables you to set up automated workflows with highly personalised marketing messages. These are specially designed to convert website visitors into leads from where they become paying customers. Thing is, you still need to produce the content, set up a marketing strategy and identify your target audience. Marketing automation platforms are only as good as the data collected, content created and strategies implemented.
How To Use Buyer Personas To Identify Your Target Audience
To have the right content for your prospects and customers, you need to understand your customer base. In other words, you need to understand your ‘buyer personas’ in terms of their questions, challenges and needs. There may be several personas depending on the type of business you run but make sure they closely match your prospective customers.
There are three distinct types of data you want to collect from your customers:
- Identity – Age, Sex, Occupation, Social Media Account information etc. Properties the customer may own.
- Behavioural – Clicks, Communication, Downloads etc. The actions the customer takes online.
- Volunteered – Opinions, Motivations, History etc. Information that requires more than a binary answer.
Once you have the necessary information and your buyer personas are ready, you can start building your Marketing Automation campaigns. Personalising your content will help make your clients and prospects feel valued, increase engagement and ultimately lead to improved sales. Putting the right content in front of the right people at the right time makes a significant difference.
Align Marketing And Sales
Knowing your customer base can help you interact more effectively with your customers on their preferred channels. This allows you to build trust and meet their needs more effectively which could lead ultimately lead to increased traffic and sales.
Speaking of sales, marketing teams need to work closely with the sales department for a successful venture. Marketing automation campaigns should be aligned to sales processes allowing your staff to record every point of engagement to the online CRM. This provides invaluable customer profile data that your sales team can use to successfully nurture leads through their buying cycle.
Create Relevant, Valuable and Interesting Content
As mentioned earlier, your marketing campaign is only as good as your content and strategy. While marketing automation allows for highly targeted and personalised communication, delivering the right message at the right time is essential. Content needs to resonate with your audience and appeal to their needs, challenges or burning questions. Great content will not only drive an engaging marketing automation process but will also qualify your leads from the onset. As far as content creation goes, the sky is the limit so be creative, informative but remain within your brand guidelines.
Lead Nurturing Across Multiple Channels
The ever-growing digital world means your potential clients could be active on numerous channels. It’s no good targeting your audience using just one or two marketing channels. You also shouldn’t use the ‘shotgun approach’ to blast campaigns everywhere either. It could be a very expensive exercise with little to no results.
Effective marketing automation campaigns should feature a multi-channel approach with many touch points. These include dynamic website and email content, social media, re-targeting and physical interaction from your sales team. If you did your market research correctly and identified the right buyer personas, you should know which channels to target and at what frequency.
Consistently Test, Tweak and Repeat
Repetition is not something we like to do but it’s become somewhat of a necessity in modern day marketing. As it is, digital marketing provides a constant flow of data to assist businesses in optimising campaign results. Setting up a consistent program of monitoring and improving your workflows will increase your overall competitive edge. Not everyone gets it right first time, every time and variables could change at a moment’s notice. That is why data collection, testing, tweaking and repeating the process can make all the difference in your marketing efforts.
Marketing Automation is fundamentally a data-driven initiative. Greater accuracy and clarity relies on better data management and manipulation. Remember to run any campaign long enough to collect sufficient data and always consider outside factors beyond your control when reviewing the results.
Effective Data Collection And Management
Although content and marketing strategies are important, collecting relevant data is absolutely essential. Without the right data, you might as well shoot clay pigeons blindfolded using a water pistol. It’s also easy to begin seeing customers as nothing more than packets of data, especially when you interact with thousands every day. This is a big mistake and if you don’t continue to provide value, their relationship with the business will deteriorate. Poor content and communication will result in unsubscribes and lost opportunities.
Keep communications open, honest and consistently regular; don’t bombard your audience with random emails. Once again, this comes down to data. To be truly effective, track the type of content that generates the most engagement. This includes identifying the email format that gets the most clicks; the best time of day to communicate and the frequency that provides the best response.
Don’t be afraid to target your content and let your customer know why you’ve done it. If it’s done correctly telling a customer things about them can be a highly effective way to nurture them and show that you care about giving them a personalised service. This is the power of marketing automation and effective data collection.
There are 3 fundamentally important aspects of better data management – Parity, Process and Presentation. It’s not just essential within a marketing automation platform, but also in everyday business.
Implementing Marketing Automation
In the bigger scheme of things, marketing automation is a combination of several different elements of marketing and business development. It includes email marketing, content development, conversion rate optimisation, lead generation, data analytics and reporting.
With some training and marketing knowledge, almost anyone can use majority of the marketing automation platforms. Most of the apps work well for B2B and B2C clients where many businesses include local SME’s such as restaurants, salons, hotels and spas among others.
Implementing a Marketing Automation platform with a built-in CRM means everyone has all the information of a contact at their fingertips. End-to-end analytics help eliminate squabbles over lead quality, sales-team efficiency and overall conversion volume.
Are you ready to find out more about Marketing Automation? Get in touch if you want a deeper understanding of how it can help your business. You can also request a recording of a very informative Marketing Automation Webinar from earlier this year.