With the correct approach, marketing automation can be an invaluable tool for businesses of all sizes across a range of sectors. As well as increasing sales, marketing automation can also simplify the tasks of marketing teams to help them to meet their core objectives more efficiently.
As there is a significant degree of misunderstanding regarding what marketing automation actually is, let’s take a few moments to delve a little deeper into its inner workings and uncover precisely how it can help businesses in both the short and long term.
What is Marketing Automation?
Fundamentally, marketing automation is a term that refers to the practice of using specialised software to deliver personalised communications to both leads and customers.
As this software allows businesses to create genuinely dynamic messages, the communications any one person receives will be determined by a series of specific factors that you will retain full control over. Examples of these factors include:
- Their position in the purchasing funnel
- Their personal spending habits
- The past interactions they have had with your website
The benefits of delivering tailored content to leads and customers are myriad. Demonstrating an understanding of specific interests, requirements and personal tastes puts you in a far better position to nurture a series of meaningful interactions based upon trust and mutual respect. In turn, this has the potential to contribute positively to increased conversion rates and additional revenue.
Crucially, marketing automation can help you to streamline your strategies whilst also propelling you further towards accomplishing core goals and objectives far more efficiently than you and your team could do alone. You will see improvements in your productivity, efficiency and lead generation in addition to the creation of genuinely relationship-focused marketing campaigns.
Benefits of Utilising the Power of Marketing Automation
As personalised emails generate six times the revenue of their non-personalised counterparts , it is clear that consumers respond well to personalised content. Sending out individually personalised messaging obviously simply isn’t feasible, especially on a long-term basis, which is where marketing automation comes in. Marketing automation software handles the repetitive tasks that go into the delivery of personalised content. As well as streamlining your marketing process, this software will help you to ensure that you have the time you need to dedicate to some of the more challenging tasks that are vying for your attention.
The marketing automation market will be worth more than $5 billion by 2019 . Businesses utilising MA software report a variety of benefits, but the ability to conduct an analysis of big data and the amount of time saved are cited frequently . With the ability to encourage customers to remain engaged with your business, marketing automation can work to transform leads into converting customers. In fact, almost 80% of the top-performing businesses have been using marketing automation software for at least three years .
Many marketing automation programs have an integrated lead scoring feature which can help businesses and marketing teams to efficiently identify sales-ready leads. Additionally, although some services and products have naturally increased conversion cycles, automation software also has the ability to both streamline and speed up this process. To provide some context for this statement, marketing automation software allowed Thomson Reuters to shrink its conversion time by more than 70% .
Key Parts of Marketing Automation
While there are a wide range of individual business development and marketing aspects that contribute to successful marketing automation, the process as a whole is primarily driven by a handful of central concepts.
1. Conversion Funnels
This term describes the process an individual will take in the journey to becoming a converting customer. The prevalence of online product reviews and the vast choice that is now available across every sector means that consumers very rarely make a purchase in the first place they look. As keeping audiences engaged is becoming more important than ever before, marketing automation software is becoming a more enticing option for an increasing number of businesses. To illustrate its usefulness here, let’s briefly break down the fundamental stages of a typical conversion funnel:
If you want to maximise your conversion opportunities, you need to understand how to guide people from their initial awareness of your business, service or product right through to their emergence as a loyal brand advocate at the end of the funnel. Marketing automation will help you to present them with the content they most want to see precisely when they need to see it.
2. Metrics and Reporting
Your metrics should ideally demonstrate that your clickthrough rates, open rates, and potential forward rates are high. If this isn’t the case, you are going to need to invest some time into making your content more valuable and engaging.
3. User Flow
This term refers to the journey a user has made through a series of specific pages before deciding to complete an action. When your website is securing traffic from a range of different sources, you need to know that users are being directed to pages that make it as simple as possible for them to complete the particular action you most want them to take. Examples of these actions include:
- Signing up for a free trial
- Joining your email list
- Making a purchase
As different people will often have their own unique needs, aiming to ensure that each individual is presented with a page that will specifically appeal to those needs and requirements will be highly beneficial for your business.
This term refers to the series of triggers you will create to successfully deliver automated communications. The creation of an effective workflow will require you to walk through the whole process on a step-by-step basis, ensuring that you are continually questioning what needs to happen next.
Workflows can be comprised of a range of different triggers including:
- Previous interactions you have had with a person
- Actions they have previously taken on your website
- The time that has passed since a person last took an action on your website
Creating an Effective Marketing Automation Strategy
1. Defining your Goals
You need to know what you want marketing automation to do for your business. Without this vital input, it is simply impossible to create an effective strategy.
2. Identifying your Target Audience
Understanding your customers’ needs regardless as to where they are in the conversion funnel is important, but your primary goals might also mean that you should really focus on those who are at a specific point.
3. Mapping User Flows
This will help you to visualise the steps people will need to take to complete a specific action, ultimately allowing you to create compelling prompts to encourage those actions.
4. Segmenting and Rating your Leads
Since not all leads are equal, segmenting and rating them will help you to determine which would benefit from additional nurturing and which can be forwarded to your sales team ASAP. Marketing automation software will allow you to assign value points to specific actions and calculate a score for each individual lead.
Best Practice For Implementing Marketing Automation Messaging
- Endeavour to make your point clearly and concisely.
- Ensure that each message adds value to the recipients inbox.
- Create messages to be nurturing to the audience but also active in tone to effectively encourage your audience to act.
- Know where people are in the conversion funnel to ensure that you present each lead with content that is personalised, relevant and valuable to them in that moment.
- Avoid spam at all costs. This means not overdoing it on the capital letters, too many links, or even the colour red.
- Remember that you don’t need to send messages to your entire contact list, especially those that have been not engaged with your communications.
- Your aim is to deliver highly targeted communications to your most engaged leads to drive them to action.
HOW TO AVOID COSTLY MISTAKES
Get the free download – 4 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Up Marketing Automation Sales Funnels