The term “Marketing Automation” has become a buzz-word, with many marketers under the impression that all digital marketing tools, including those specific to lead generation and overall growth, fall under the category of Marketing Automation. This misconception often leads to unsuccessful automated marketing efforts that do not speak to specific prospect needs and challenges.
It is a common misconception, but let me assure you, that Marketing Automation is not just a fancy name for email marketing! Marketing Automation is any trigger-induced action in a campaign and can take place across all channels – from direct mail and phone campaigns to online and social initiatives.
Marketers must realise that Marketing Automation does not do the lead generation and conversion for you. Genuine prospects must be fed into the marketing funnel in order to see benefits and conversions from automated marketing efforts. Feeding a pre-purchased database of emails the same automated content will only be thought of as spam and isn’t likely to result in genuine leads and customers. Successful automated marketing must draw insights from the myriad of systems available to your company, including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, lead management systems and web analytics to name a few.
The following strategies can help you to utilise Marketing Automation properly:
Drip marketing solves the problem faced by using email newsletters. Whilst email newsletters are a great way to send out your latest announcements, new subscribers only ever see new emails and may never get exposure to your earlier content.
Drip Marketing is a strategy whereby a constant flow of marketing material is sent out to customers over a period of time. The aim being to create sales through long-term, repeat exposure of goods or services that engage, nurture and build loyalty.
These marketing messages often take the form of emails but it is important to note that social media posts, postcards, phone calls, brochures, and printed newsletters are also forms of drip marketing. All of which can, and arguably should, be automated to ensure efficient use of your marketing teams time.
Drip Marketing can be based off a predetermined timeline whereby certain content is fed to the customer at certain times after their initial sign-up, or it can be trigger-induced whereby certain actions will prompt automated marketing materials to be sent i.e. signing up for a service, downloading content or making a purchase could result in certain emails being sent or phone communication being initiated.
Many forms of drip marketing rely on the “Law of 29”, which states that most prospects will not buy something until they see an ad for it at least 29 times [Investopedia, 2015]. Ensuring 29 interactions are made with each prospect would be a huge task for any marketing team! Automating the process makes for efficient promotion and higher conversion likelihood.
By dividing your contact list for lead nurturing based on behaviour, position, industry, company size, geography or any other useful variables you gain the ability to tailor your automated content so that it is more relevant to who you are contacting. One way to determine how you will segment your contacts is to first define a buyer persona, or in other words, who your ideal customer would be. Actionable buyer personas reveal insights about your buyers’ decisions — the specific attitudes, concerns and criteria that drive prospective customers to choose you, your competitor or the status quo. The more personalised your content is to your customer, the higher your chances of interaction and future conversion.
Lead scoring is a great way to segment your contacts for your sales team! Scoring is done by determining a ranking for each contact based on certain variables, such as those listed above, the higher the score the better quality the prospective lead and thus the higher chance that nurturing will result in a conversion. Among companies that implemented scoring techniques to better target their marketing, 38% experience higher conversion rates of qualified leads into opportunities, while 31% saw boosts in productivity within their sales department and reduced sales cycles. [SocialGarden, 2015]
Marketing Automation is just one component in the middle of a successful sales funnel, but if it is done well, it can mark the difference between lapsed or converted leads.