Many people draw a blank expression when we talk about marketing automation to them. Since there seems to be a considerable amount of confusion around the issue, we put together this more detailed guide to help you understand marketing automation a little better. We are also going to show you some very specific functions as well as real-world applications and how they can benefit your business.
What is Marketing Automation?
The term marketing automation refers to software that exists to help automating your marketing actions. The value in marketing automation software is that it help automate many repetitive marketing department tasks. Marketing tasks such as emails, social media, webinars, analytics and other website actions. Marketing automation makes these tasks easier by either completely automating all of part of the repetitive processes involved.
Marketing automation can throw you into analysis paralysis with its many possibilities. There are powerful tools that will help your business get the results you want. With so many options, where do you get started? In the information below, we will guide you through the exploration or marketing automation so that you can gain inspiration for your own marketing strategies.
The foundational automation ideas are ours, but they are just a springboard for you. Learn best practices that our customers use in marketing automation, and you will see what a massive impact they can have on your business.
We will also include a set of useful inks to some specific concepts so that you can draw inspiration from them for your own business. There are going to be many ideas that we showcase in this quick guide, but remember that marketing automation only has the same limits as those of your imagination. Our goal is to ignite your imagination and get you thinking about the possibilities. How can you generate more leads for your business? How can you nurture these leads for your sales person or Business Development Manager? While our ideas are top notch, you should go beyond these ideas and strategies to find out what works for you and your business
Table of Contents
- What is Marketing Automation?
- Marketing Automation Guide:
- 1. Marketing Automation Introduction
- Basic Notifications
- Basic Automation
- Basic Segmentations
- Customer Relationship Management System
- 2. Advanced Marketing Automation
- Advanced Notifications
- Advanced Automation
- Advanced Segmentation
- Advanced Analytics
- 3. Powerful Automation Solutions
- Expert Notifications
- Expert Automation
- Expert Segmentations
- Expert Analytics
Marketing Automation Guide:
In this guide, we are going to divide it into three different section which increasesin difficulty.
- Introduction – The basic marketing automation tactics that everyone can use when he or share getting started out.
- Advanced Automation – This is where you can start personalising your automated marketing for the specific person or business you are targeting.
- Powerful Automation Solutions – This part goes over how to convert the leads you’ve gained and proves
Here we start out with general suggestions, so if you need specific strategies right off the bat, you can skip ahead to the advanced section of this article, and if you need any help, one of our account managers is standing to answer your questions. Simply use the chat function in the bottom right corner.
The reason marketing automation is so powerful is because of its ability to deliver custom marketing messages for a business or person based on their unique sales model, products, marketing funnel and each lead’s unique behaviour. Using technology like this will help you to adapt your marketing strategies and messaging to really speak to your customer. This blog is the first step in equipping you with the tools needed to customise these strategies to suit your unique set of business circumstances and service/product offerings.
Throughout the rest of this marketing automation guide, we are going to define B2B and B2C to correspond with low and high involvement sales cycles.
When we talk about B2C businesses, we are talking about businesses that have less expensive and/or low-involvement purchases. Most of these businesses have a higher number of sales and bring in less revenue per each transaction. Since these transactions are lower value and don’t have much risk associated with them, the sales cycles generally happen quicker and don’t involve a sales team.
When businesses have a high lead frequency, marketing automation helps with relationship building through segmentation. Each customer gets a tailored message that is unique to their needs or where they are in their customer journey. Depending on your business and circumstance the frequency and tone of that messaging will change.
However, it does not matter if your business is defined as B2B or B2C, you should review both parts. We will be using the B2B and B2C categories in this guide as a method to organise a general strategy. Do not limit your self because of your category but instead, think about ideas from both parts and apply them to the specific situation.
The B2B strategies in this guide are based on purchases that require higher involvement for the sale of products or services, these are often also more expensive.. The businesses in this category have high-value transactions and most often have longer sales cycles. Each lead is generally more expensive to get and the value of the transaction to the business is higher. So in this scenario it is particularly important to ensure none off the leads are lost or ‘go-cold’ due to inaction or failing to communicate with them in a timely fashion. When leads need more information before they purchase it automatically extends the sales cycle. Thus using marketing automation will ensure the touchpoint over a longer period are covered and not subject to human error or negclet. Plus, it allows your sales team to prioritise which leads to focus on first.
When your company starts using notifications, dynamic lists, lead scoring and email automation; marketing automation will help you convert more leads into sales as well as decrease your sales cycle and costs!
1. Marketing Automation Introduction
This introductory section includes some fantastic examples on how marketing automation will be beneficial to your business. We will also talk about some of the most common features for this type of software and what the benefits are to your business specifically. Remember, that if you would like an online demo you can get in touch with us by requesting a free trial here.
With VisitorID, we can triple the leads we can provide your business. VisitorID can identify visitors that come to your site but do not fill out a form. The leads will be reported to the key contacts in your business. Depending on your region and wether you fall under the new GDPR directive, we can sometimes even identify likely individuals from the business. The technology works by using a reverse IP address and understanding what businesses are registered there. This then forms the basis for helping you understand how may have been on your site.
Reverse IP can be useful in helping you understand the types of business that are responding to your content, or if they are businesses at all. This type of technology, however, is not permutable for private individuals.
The true power of using visitor ID technology is tracking people that have consented to using your cookies and have opted-in to receiving email from you. This way we can track future interactions with the customer and see what content they have looked at and what other information they may need, or where in the sales cycle they are.
Form Submission Notifications
When you follow-up with prospects within the first hour, you increase the likelihood that you will convert them into a lead by 700%. This enforces the importance of identifying when customers are attempting to get in touch with your business.
Setting-upautomatic notifications for your sales team is the ideal solution to take advantage of this incredible statistic. You can have a series of forms placed on your site that may be selling different services or products. Depending on which form gets filled out, the appropriate sales person can be notified immediately by email or even text message. This helps you convert leads quicker and motivates sales people, as they are going after hot leads immediately.
Notify Web & Email Clicks
In sale & marketing, as in life, timing is key! If you can send the right message at the right time, that could mean a sale that you wouldn’t otherwise have created. Imagine a prospect has downloaded some information from your site and then went cold. Now think of how powerful this could be for your sales team to be notified the minute that person returns to the site with an overview of the pages they looked at. You could either place phone call, or send an email, or even trigger an automated email with some additional information and a call to action to get back in touch.
Your sales team will be more efficient and profitable if they have the ability to follow-up with cold as well as hot leads at the right moment. Getting a notification that a hot prospect is on your again website again can be one of the most helpful marketing automation tactics you will ever employ.
Automating Your Thank You Messages
Your business can build relationships with each lead and customer through the power of marketing automation. Showing gratitude and saying thank-you is an easy away to creating a relationship. Setting up thank you emails that go out depending on the behaviours of the customer is one of the simplest ways to automate messaging, You will be well accustomed to messages like this from a variety of e-commerce shops. Thank-you messages range from acknowledging an enquiry to thanking someone for a purchase. The next time you plan a thank-you message for a purchase, why not think three or six months ahead and plan a follow-up.
Building Your First Drip Email Campaign
So, what are drip email campaigns? Drip email campaigns are a series of emails which are sent automatically over set amount time. They are often used to help inform your lead about services or products you are promoting. Leads that are at the top of your sales funnel are kept interested and informed until they are ready to engage, pick a product/service and work with your company. They are also used to help build trust in your brand, For example a series of educational emails will help position your company as a subject matter expert and make it easier to sell your first product or service to them, or indeed upset existing products and services.
Most leads that visit your site aren’t sales ready. You will have a hard enought time to try and get their details in exchange for some great content, let alone get them to buy into your product or services immediately. The best way to maximise your conversion process is by nurturing leads through targeted communication as they move through the sales funnel and until they become sales ready. Using drip emails as described is one the most effective ways to do this.
Building Your First Lead Scoring Model
What is lead scoring? Lead scoring is an increasing or decreasing value we associate with a contact/lead. The score increases with every interaction we can track online with the prospect as well as additional information you gather. For example, a lead that has all the contact information stored on your CRM and has interacted with numerous emails and your website over the last four weeks will have a far higher lead score as opposed to someone that downloaded a free piece of content and then never returned to your site. Simply put, you will want leads that have a high lead score to be passed to your sales team as a priority. This sort of scoring system allows your sales team to focus on the most important leads first but also allows you to segment your contacts. For example you could add leads which have a low score and under to be added to a special re-engagement campaign, possibly even a drip email campaign as discussed earlier.
Whatever automation software you are using, you will want to make sure you can take control over the points system associated with a certain touchpoint or information gathered about a prospect. Only that way will leads that are actually relevant to your business ahem the associated high lead score. On that same note though you may want to think about a decay in lead score for every week or month that a lead fail to respond to your messaging.
Build Your First Dynamic B2B List
You can segment your customers based on their behaviour, demographics and interests with dynamic lists. The reason they are called dynamic lists is because they are kept up-to-date automatically through our automation platform. When a new lead meets a dynamic list’s criteria, that lead is added to the list automatically.
As with the lead scoring model, dynamic lists can be created and modified to suit your business needs. One of the first tests you can do, is setup a dynamic list of leads that have a certain lead score or downloaded a specific piece of content on your site. Maybe you have a dedicated pricing page, in which case you could create a list of all prospects that have visited that page at least once. One very common list that is used in e-com is an abandon cart list. Simply put this list will consist of people who’s details you have managed to capture but did not complete a purchase.
Customer Relationship Management System
Deal Stage Setup
The most effective way of using marketing automation is to ensure a tight integration with you CRM system. Whether the CRM comes in-built with the automation tool, or you are using a third party tool, you need to ensure that they talk to each other live and that data is kept accurate and up-to-date at all times. Build your pipeline in a way that is going to compliment your sales funnel. As an example, a sales pipeline might include stages like: Discovery, Needs Analysis, Price Negotiation and so forth.
The CRM, automation software or marketing agency you use will help you set-up custom deal stages that best reflect the sales cycle of your business. You can ask us about including custom fields that are relevant to your sales process. Custom fields can be anything that you want to record in a lead’s record. Many people decide to include such things as which product they were interested in, experiences with the competition and how much revenue that lead has brought into the company.
Smart Email Templates for Sales
Smart emails are a great way of making your sales team more productive as well as ensuring leads are properly nurtured. One of the great advantages, part from re-using proven templates quickly, is that smart emails can be tracked. That means your sales team can see when these smart emails have been delivered, opened and links have been clicked. You can also schedule Smart Emails to send in the future, meaning you can make sure an email lands in your prospects inbox at a time they are likely to see it. We recommend including a few basic smart email templates when you get started, and these include:
- Thanks for contacting me
- You asked me to contact you later
- Stay in touch email
- Invite to Social Media
- Ask for recommendations
Social notes are notes your team can include about the lead so that each person knows what has been done or said to that lead as they are passed off from one person to the next. Learning information about the customer relationship can be very important for the sales team member that is trying to qualify the lead. When you use Social Notes, it allows team members to enhance their pitch. The latest automation tools allow you to automatically get notified if a prospect has engaged with one of your companies social media posts. You can even have emails trigger on the back of such an action.
2. Advanced Marketing Automation
Now you have a basic understanding of marketing automation, we are going to be able to build on what you have learned with some more advanced examples and features. The strategies you are about to see will take your marketing, lead generation and sales to the next level.
Notify Lead Score
As we noted above, lead scoring is a way to numerically quantify the position of your leads within the sales cycle. When you get notified because of triggers by lead scores, you canalert your sales team about leads that are going through the funnel. Leads that have a high lead show he or she is ready to buy. Getting information like this to your sales team in a timely and accurate fashion will help them colse more deals and shorten the sales cycle.
Get Notified About Returning Visits
Your sales team should know when an important lead comes back to the site so they can close the deal. The agency you are working with helps you set up alerts so when a working lead comes back to your website; the sales team canmake a phone call to the lead.
Targeted Drip Email Campaigns
In the initial section of this guide, we spoke about email drip campaigns. You can create drip campaigns for each of your customer segments, andyou can brainstorm for the best ways to do that. Segmenting your pipeline into customer segments and speaking to them with a specific drip campaign raises your conversion rate and allows you to bring in more revenue.
Hot-Lead Burst Campaigns
When you use our lead scoring model, you will be able to identify leads that are closer than others to makinga purchase. These leads are “sales ready” leads and can be converted to sales easier with frequently delivered messages that encourage them to make a purchase.
When you use burst campaigns, they are different fromdrip campaigns. Drip campaigns are meant for people that need information and nurturing, but burst campaigns are meantfor people that are almost ready to buy. Burst campaigns focus on social proof, credibility, and purchasing incentives. These messages come in bursts and are meantfor closing the sale.
One of the examples we will use is replicating the Amazon.com experience. Your drip campaigns can be usedfor sending emails that help your potential customers by recommending products or services that are similar to things they have bought in the past. These emails are like Amazon.com’s recommendation engine experience.
How does this work?
Let’s say a dynamic list of leads haspurchased or shown interest in three products. They could get emails about an additional product that is often purchasedwith the other products they bought.
Automation of Confirmation & Appointment Reminders
Whether the transaction you are making is going to be large or small, missing an appointment can cause major problems in your business. Confirmation and appointment reminders are courteous gestures, but they can also improve the attendance atmeetings and even drive sales.
Segmenting your lists is key. The deeper you can segment, the better you can speak to them and recommend products and services to meet their needs.
Segment by Products
Emails that speak to specific interests cause more engagement and build stronger relationships. You can organise your leads through the product pages they have visited.
Segment by Demographics
When you have leads fill out forms for events like webinars or gated content, you will be able to collect more details about who they are so you can segment the leads based on their demographic information they input.
Segment by Lead Scores
Creating dynamic lead lists based on lead scores allows you to measure how many leads you currently have in each stage of your marketing funnel. Knowing how many leads you have in each stage of your marketing funnel is important because it will help you see how many leads are ready to buy and how many are only starting their research. Having current information regarding your marketing funnel will help your sales team know what they need to do at any given time.
Track Webinar Analytics by Using Dynamic Forms
We offer integration with WebEXand GoToWebinar which allows you to use our forms to capture leads and track that lead’s behaviour without interrupting the webinar platform.
Optimise & Measure PPC
Tracking your PPC campaign and identifying keywords that generate revenue will allow you to stop spending money on keywords that are no ROI positive. You can build a list of negative keywords for your campaign to avoid, or you can identify long-tail keywords to optimise your campaigns.
Measure Your Email Campaigns
Email marketing is still king when it comes to digital marketing. Both in terms of converting customers and being able to communicate on a one-to-one basis with your leads. however, you need to be able to keep track of your open and click-through rates. This will help you refine and improve subject lines, as well as the copy within your emails and your call to action.
Measuring Specific Engagement
When you keep track of certain behaviours, you can see how successful your various strategies are. One example would be, when you are hosting a webinar, you can set up a list to track who registers to attend and who actuallydid attend. You need to understand what content is driving leads and bringing in revenue.
3. Powerful Automation Solutions
Now that you know more about marketing automation, you can take your marketing to the next level. This section will allow you to combine the tactics you learned above to create even more powerful solutions. You can stop thinkingabout segmenting your list based on demographics and behaviourswith dynamic lists or notifications. Now you should think about combining the tactics to created personalisedsolutions that are effective revenue drivers that increase your marketing ROI.
Notify Specific Products Interest
When anyone has a good purchasing experience, it is one that is tailoredto the unique needs and interests of the lead. The sales team can get a notification when a lead is visiting a specific product or service page andthis will allow the sales team to adjust their pitch around the product and build a sense of urgency that will encourage the purchase.
Notify High-Value Behaviours & Form Submissions
Form fields and web tracking can be used to qualify leads instantly. When a form is completed by a leador if they behave a certain way that says they are a good customer, you can send a notification to your sales team and allow them to close the sale.
Notify Referral and Upsell Reminders
Businesses have to have referrals and upsells. While this is true, most sales reps don’t have the time to request referrals or to pitch upsells. You can help your sales team by sending them a notification after a certain duration of time haspassed since closing the deal.
Automate Social Invites & Interactions
The footprint and reach of your social network isdirectly related to the success of your social marketing strategy. Use automation to connect all your high-value leads, customers, and contacts to each of your social networks.
Automate Customer Feedback
Consider automating the delivery of surveys to capture valuable information from customers throughout your sales and customer lifecycle. You want to find out how your leads and customers feel about their experience. You can set this automation up one time and collect actionable data.
Automate Referral System
Once your company closes a deal, you have created someone that can advocate for your company. When you set up an automated email to ask for referrals, it is a cost-effectiveway to generate leads that are high quality. You can also notify your sales team about these leads and automate emails to ask for referrals at specific intervals such as once every six months or once a quarter.
You are getting the hang of marketing automation now, andyou can use dynamic lists to go through data and discover insights that are valuable to you.
- Are the customers who are interested in product A also interested in product B?
- If a customer downloads a lead magnet, are they more likely to purchase a product?
- Are leads from a specific demographic more likely to buy?
- What is the most valuable content (ebooks, white papers, case studies) to the sales process? Can that content be made more obvious on the site to drive more leads?
Get into Campaigns
You have all of the tools for tracking anything and everything you could ever want to know about your marketing efforts. Tracking your marketing data will allow you to see what is working and what isn’t working. You can use the knowledge to eliminate activities that aren’t working and do more of what is working. When you do more of what is working and less or none of what isn’t working, you’ll be able to drive more leads into the top of your funnel.
Our set of analytic tools will allow you to track your leads that entera businessthrough UTM codes and/or referrer IDs, the “how did you hear about us?” question, and dedicated landing pages. You can use these tools to optimize your marketing spend throughout your entire funnel.
The agency you are working with will allow you to review your data through closed-loop analytics. What this means to you is that you will be able to see all the sales that are closedand what sales and marketing strategies lead to that sale. By looking at data from the perspective of all the sales closed, you cansee what campaigns might be wasting money.
Let’s say that you have a campaign that generates one hundredleads at the cost offive pounds per lead, but only one of those leads becomes a sale, your acquisition cost is 500 pounds for that campaign. If you compare that campaign with a campaign that generates twenty leads at the cost of ten pounds per lead, you will see that the cost per acquisition with this campaign is twenty pounds. The cost per acquisition of twenty pounds is obviously much less than the first campaign. You will need to sit down and carefully calculate your campaigns impact on the bottoms line through closed-loop analytics. Our clients can work in pounds, dollars, and any other currency for that matter.
Your company needs to see the progress you are making, and you can export the data you have collected from your marketing campaigns so you can share the reports with key people via email. This is an easy and fast way to help you plan your next profitable marketing automation campaign.
While this guide is coming to an end, this is just the start of your path with marketing automation. You can get creative with what you’ve learned in our guide and take advantage of the opportunities that come with knowing this information. You now know enough to build dynamic lists that allow you to give your leads a person-to-person-like experience.
There is a library of tools and resources that will help you continue learning marketing automation and these resources include tools for selling your products and services and strategies for campaigns and technical support
If you are looking at Marketing Automation providers, we have put together a handy online comparison tool. Simply follow the link to the Marketing Automation Vendor Comparison Tool
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Some handy links to other resources about marketing automation: