Getting Started with Marketing Automation: A Comprehensive Guide
Many people draw a blank expression when they hear about marketing automation. Since there seems to be a lot of confusion around the issue, we put together this detailed guide to help you understand marketing automation a little better. You will also learn some particular functions, see real-world applications, and how marketing automation can benefit your business.
What is Marketing Automation?
The term marketing automation refers to software typically used to automate marketing actions. One of the significant benefits that marketing automation software offers is that it helps in automating many repetitive tasks for your marketing department. This includes emails, social media, webinars, analytics and other website actions. Marketing automation makes these tasks easier by either completely or partially automating all the repetitive processes involved.
Marketing automation can throw you into analysis paralysis with its many possibilities. This is because it typically has many powerful tools that will help your business get the results you want. With so many options, it can be challenging to know where and how to start. In the information below, we will guide you through the exploration of marketing automation to 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 how massively they can impact your business.
We will also include a set of useful links 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 all the possibilities there are. How can you generate more leads for your business? How can you nurture these leads for your salesperson or business development manager? While our ideas are top-notch, we encourage you to go beyond these ideas and strategies to find out what indeed works for you and your business.
Marketing Automation Guide:
We have divided this guide into three different sections, starting from the basics to the advanced parts:
- Introduction – The basic marketing automation tactics that everyone can use when starting.
- Advanced Automation – This is where you can begin personalising your automated marketing for the specific audiences you are targeting.
- Powerful Automation Solutions – This part goes over how to convert the leads you’ve gained
Here, we begin with general suggestions, so if you need specific strategies right off the bat, you can skip ahead to the advanced sections of this guide, 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 customers. This blog is the first step in equipping you with the tools you need 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 will define B2B and B2C to correspond with low and high involvement sales cycles.
When we talk about B2C businesses, we refer to companies with less expensive and/or low-involvement purchases. Most of these businesses have a higher number of sales and bring in less revenue per transaction. Since these transactions are lower value and don’t have many associated risks, 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 to organise a general strategy. Do not limit yourself because of your business category; 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, which are often also more expensive. The businesses in this category record higher 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 of the leads is 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 touchpoints — over a longer period — are covered and not subject to human error or neglect.
In addition to that, 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 and decrease your sales cycle and costs!
1. Marketing Automation Introduction
This introductory section includes some fantastic examples of how marketing automation will be beneficial to your business. We will also talk about some of the most common features of this type of software and what the benefits are to your business, specifically. Keep in mind that if you would like an online demo, you can always get in touch with us by requesting a free trial here.
With VisitorID, we can triple the leads coming to 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 whether 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 many people have visited your site.
Reverse IP can be useful in helping you understand the types of businesses that are responding to your content, or if they are businesses at all. However, this technology is not permutable for private individuals.
The true power of using visitorID technology is tracking people that have consented to use your cookies and have opted-in to receiving emails from you. This way, we can track future interactions with the customer and see what content they have looked at, what other information they may need, or where, in the sales cycle, they are.
Form Submission Notifications
Form Submission Notifications
When you follow up with prospects within the first hour, you increase the likelihood of converting them into leads by 700%. This enforces the importance of identifying when customers are attempting to get in touch with your business.
Setting-up automatic 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, selling different services or products. Depending on which form gets filled out, the appropriate salesperson will be notified immediately by email or even text message. This helps you convert leads quicker and motivates salespeople, as they go after hot leads immediately.
Notify Web & Email Clicks
As it is real life, time is key in sales and marketing! If you can send the right message at the right time, that could mean a sale 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 a phone call, 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 efforts more profitable if they can follow up with cold and hot leads at the right moment. Getting a notification that a hot prospect has returned to your website 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 way to foster a relationship. Setting up “Thank You” emails based on customer behaviours 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 inquiry to thanking someone for a purchase. The next time you plan a “Thank You” message for a purchase, you can think three or six months ahead and create a follow-up plan.
Building Your First Drip Email Campaign
Drip email campaigns are a series of emails sent automatically over a set length of time. They are often used to help inform your lead about the services or products you are promoting. Leads that are at the top of your sales funnel are kept engaged and informed until they are ready to reach out, 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 upsell existing products and services.
Most leads that visit your site aren’t sales-ready. You likely will have a hard time trying to 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, including any additional information you gather. For example, a lead whose contact information is all stored on your CRM, which has also interacted with numerous emails and your website over the last four weeks, will have a far higher lead score than another who 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 that have a low score 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 of the points system associated with a certain touchpoint or information gathered about a prospect. This ensures that leads that are actually relevant to your business attain the associated high lead score. On that same note, though, you may want to think about a delay in the lead score for every week or month that a lead fails 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 that 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 set up a dynamic list of leads with a particular lead score or download 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-commerce is the abandoned cart list. Simply put, this list consists of people whose details you have managed to capture but did not complete a purchase.
Customer Relationship Management System
Deal Stage Setup
The most effective way to use marketing automation is to ensure tight integration with your 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 vital metrics like 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 and ensuring the proper nurturing of leads. Aside from re-using proven templates quickly, another great advantage is that you can track smart emails. This 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, which helps you ensure that emails land in your prospects’ inboxes at a time they are likely to see them. 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 emails
- 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. Knowing more information about the customer relationship can be very important for the sales team members trying to qualify the lead. When you use Social Notes, it allows team members to enhance their pitches. The latest automation tools will enable you to automatically get notified if a prospect has engaged with one of your company’s social media posts. You can even have emails trigger on the back of such an action.
2. Advanced Marketing Automation
Now that you have a basic understanding of marketing automation, we can easily 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 can alert your sales team about leads going through the funnel. Leads with high lead scores show that they are ready to buy. Getting information like this across to your sales team in a timely and accurate fashion will help them close 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 faster. The agency you are working with helps you set up alerts so when a working lead comes back to your website, the sales team can make a phone call to the lead.
Targeted Drip Email Campaigns
In the initial section of this guide, we touched on email drip campaigns. You can create drip campaigns for each of your customer segments, and you 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 make a purchase. These leads are “sales-ready” leads and can be converted to customers easier with frequently delivered messages that encourage them to purchase.
Burst campaigns are different from drip campaigns. Drip campaigns are meant for people that need information and nurturing; they are meant for people that are almost ready to buy. Burst campaigns focus on social proof, credibility, and purchasing incentives. These messages come in bursts and are meant for closing the sale.
One of the examples we will use is replicating the Amazon.com experience. Your drip campaigns can be used for 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 has purchased or shown interest in three products. They could get emails about an additional product that is often purchased with the other products they bought.
Automation of Confirmation & Appointment Reminders
Whether the transaction you are making will 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 attendance at meetings and even help 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 based on 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 to help you segment the leads based on the demographic information they provide.
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 vital 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 not 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 actually did attend. You need to understand what content is driving your leads and bringing in the revenue.
3. Powerful Automation Solutions
- Having learned more about marketing automation, you have what it takes to take your digital marketing results to the next level. In this section, you will be able to combine the tactics you learned above to create even more robust solutions. You can stop worrying about segmenting your list based on demographics and behaviours with dynamic lists or notifications. Now you should think about combining the tactics to create personalised solutions that are effective revenue drivers that increase your marketing ROI.
Notify Specific Products Interest
When anyone has a good purchasing experience, it is tailored to 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, and this 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 lead completes a form, or 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 need referrals and upsells, especially new businesses or startups. 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 has passed since closing the deal.
Automate Social Invites & Interactions
The footprint and reach of your social network are directly related to the success of your social marketing strategy. You can 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
The moment you close a new deal, you automatically acquire an advocate for your company/business. Also, setting up an automated email to ask for referrals, is a cost-effective way 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.
If you’ve made it to this point, you most likely are getting the hang of marketing automation already. The best part is that you can use dynamic lists to go through data and discover more valuable insights:
- 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 evident on the site to drive more leads?
Get into Campaigns
You have all 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 at the top of your funnel.
Our set of analytic tools will allow you to track the leads that enter your business through UTM codes or referrer IDs (or a combination of the two), the “how did you hear about us?” question, and dedicated landing pages. You can also use these tools to optimise your marketing spend throughout your entire funnel.
Review Your Data Through Closed-Loop Analytics
The digital marketing agency you are working with will allow you to review your data through closed-loop analytics. This means that you will be able to see all the sales that are closed and what sales and marketing strategies lead to those sales. By looking at data from the perspective of all the sales closed, you can see what campaigns might be wasting money.
Let’s say that you have a campaign that generates one hundred leads at the cost of five 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 clearly much less than the first campaign. You will need to sit down and carefully calculate your campaign’s impact on the bottom 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 to 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 even more creative with what you’ve learned in our guide and take advantage of the opportunities that come with knowing this information. This information should help you build dynamic lists that allow you to give your leads a person-to-person-like experience.
Finally, as we promised initially, we’d also like to introduce you to a library of tools and resources that will help you continue learning marketing automation. 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 Marketing Automation Vendor Comparison Tool to find out more. We are happy to help you learn more about Marketing Automation and how it will help you grow your business. At Munro Agency, our prime focus is your growth, so we love talking about your business. Take a look at some more features and ask about a trial.
Here are some handy links to other rich resources on marketing automation: