Marketing automation is not a flash in the pan promise that offers little on delivery. It’s an approach that continues to grow in importance for marketers in virtually every industry. Those that know how and when to use marketing automation can qualify prospects, increase conversion rates, build customer loyalty and ultimately grow their business.
One outstanding issue is that many marketers are not benefiting in the way that they expect they would from marketing automation. And that’s a shame. Read on to learn about some of the potential pitfalls, beginner mistakes to avoid and how to capitalize from strategically incorporating marketing automation with your marketing strategy.
So Why Marketing Automation?
Staples of a well-executed marketing strategy include a strong social media presence and ongoing outreach to specific target audiences. But after creating that initial engagement with a prospect, marketing automation plays a vital role in turning interest into a purchase.
It helps you take your hard fought leads from vague curiosity to customer by educating them about how your products and services uniquely meet their specific needs.
By segmenting leads based on their identified interests, marketing automation can build trust and awareness by delivering additional content, resources and consistent on-brand messaging at the right times in the sales process.
Prospects are scored by their interactions and contacted when they are prepared to buy, having already learned about the ins-and-outs of a product line or service. Best of all is that this is done without requiring the time and energy of the sales and customer service staff.
Marketing automation allows companies to make better use of the time and resources that they have without sacrificing personalized attention to leads. Use it to:
- Nurture leads from initial inquiry through to initial purchases. Tailor messages to where a prospect is within the purchasing cycle. Hold their hand and meet each need as it arises.
- Reduce time spent on basic questions. Emails do not intrude on an individual’s personal schedule and can be opened at the prospect’s convenience. Identify and answer typical questions before they get asked. Provide other useful information such as reminders about limited-time offers and webinar dates.
- Qualify leads so that when they contact you, they are ready to buy. Well designed content, personalized to different stages, educates clients on their time.
- Build a loyal customer base. Keep delivering contact that matters to your audience even after their initial purchase. When content matters to customers, it is shared with others in their circle. This helps to create additional leads and turns customers into brand ambassadors. Deepen the relationship with your clients.
- Review and reflect on the open and click-through rates of your communications. Find out what messages, channels, and times work for your audience and “rinse and repeat” without starting from scratch.
How much is one customer worth to you? Could leads be slipping through your fingers because of not knowing how to use all of the features in your marketing automation platform?
High Performing Organizations Know Best
Be a part of the minority. Many B2B business fail to use the full scope of marketing automation functions. A study by Holder Schulze illustrates that in many cases, only the email functions of marketing automation platforms are used by marketers. Other components such as nurturing leads, analytics and scoring are being overlooked. We’ll take a deeper look at these layers in a future post.
[Tweet “Best-in-Class organizations outpace competitors by 165% in tracking content consumption data”]
Aberdeen’s report, Content Marketing Tech 2015: Optimization with Marketing Automation, shows that the Best-in-Class organizations track content consumption data, use analytics for segmenting content and personalization of messages. Best-in-Class organizations outpace competitors by 165% in tracking content consumption data. 76% of top performing marketing automation users use reporting and analytics for content segmentation and personalization. Tracking and reviewing data is essential for knowing what messages to address to different types of prospects. Are you ready to be counted amongst the top performers? Review your process if the questions below make you think twice.
- Do you have a lead scoring process in place to qualify leads? According to a stat provided by Direct Marketing News, 84% of companies that have a CRM use a lead scoring process to determine the quality of leads.
- Are you using a full-featured marketing automation solution? Forrester Research estimates that only 5% of marketers are capitalizing on the benefits from tapping into all of the features.
- How quickly can you respond to clients? Automation allows a company to respond instantly to queries at any time. Research, as reported from InsideSales.com, shows that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.
- Are you nurturing those leads? MarketingSherpa discloses that 79% of marketing leads fail to convert into sales, and this is attributed to a lack of lead nurturing as a common cause.
Double your sales-ready leads at two-thirds of the cost. How does that sound? Marketers that know how to use marketing automation platforms fully can see more revenue and higher response rates from relevant, nurturing emails. Provide sales teams with qualified and purchase-ready leads.
Build Relationships with Marketing Automation
It seems like an oxymoron. Can it be possible? All of this data from automated platforms can help to foster budding relationships with customers that you have never met. People emotionally yearn to connect with other people. Is it possible that automated marketing can both use less time and still create a bridge with customers, earning their trust and loyalty?
As reported in Entrepreneur, 75 percent of US senior-level marketers and agency decision-makers believe that:
“Personalized one-to-one marketing is the future. Not only that, agency respondents reported better response rates and increased sales as the top results of personalized media programs. Not only are consumers more likely to interact with brands that implement target programs, they’re also more likely to spend money with brands that implement targeted programs. As the data shows, custom marketing communication helps companies forge real, engaging relationships with their customers.”
Marketing automation allows prospects to learn about you, discover the why behind the products and services and get answers to tough questions, without even picking up a phone. After 3-7 “touches”, or interactions, potential customers begin to feel a connection with your company. It is the responsibility of marketers and operations to come across as genuine and to think of building long-term relationships based on authenticity and being of help to prospects. If you provide relevant, valued information, customers will engage.
Organizations that communicate and nurture their leads benefit from the relationship. The Annuitas Group reports a 451% increase in qualified leads when marketing automation is used to nurture prospects. People connect with other people. Be real. Be useful. You might be surprised with the results.
The future is near. Within Marketing Automation, by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship without talking to a human. That is less than five years away, and the push is happening now. People want to connect with others on their time in less traditional means that do not require speaking to other people.
How often do people text instead of call, or simply post or respond on Facebook? The relationships are real, but the means of communicating with others have expanded, and there exists a shift to using digital technologies to do the “talking” for us. Benefit from the change, but don’t totally discount the power of a good old fashioned face to face conversation.
Avoid These Behaviors Like The Plague
English poet Alexander Pope’s proverb, “To err is human; to forgive, divine,” doesn’t always apply in the world of business. Mistakes will be made, but they come at a cost, often to the bottom line. Others before you have already taken the following missteps. Learn what not to do with these six common errors:
1. Heavy investment in marketing automation before generating traffic and leads. When there isn’t enough traffic for marketing automation to make an impact, don’t neglect those demand generation needs.
2. Sending the same message to everyone, regardless of their needs. Failure to segment and not being aware of different concerns that prospects are likely to have along the conversion funnel will have people opting-out or reporting your content as spam. The content has no value to them and only serves to annoy people that you are looking to engage.
3. Engaging in list buying for leads. Organizations purchase lists when traffic to sites are minimal. Top-of-the-funnel channels are not being used as necessary. Marketers hope that lists will help make up for meager traffic trickles. Messages become spam-like and directed to an audience that has little interest in the company’s product or service. Where are those individuals in the conversion funnel? Nowhere. Contacting them is like opening the phone book (remember those things?) and cold-calling the first number you see. What return do you expect? They have not searched or clicked on anything related to your content. Do not expect sales to explode. You have to begin at ground zero with individuals that never knocked at your door in the first place.
4. Using a database with data that is not as clean and clear as possible. According to Forbes, a CRM should only include valuable data. Your analytics and results will be thrown off by duplicates, old dead leads, and unproductive data. Scrub away and only keep data that is viable for engagement. This is another reason to not buy a list. Many have dead leads and older information that require filtering.
5. Insufficient testing of platforms. The needs of organizations must be met, and current technologies must communicate with the platform selected. Take the time to research the platform considered and implement small-scale trials before going all in. Learn how to adapt to any bugs when testing it out in the roles of a marketer and a prospect.
6. Sending emails that don’t work on mobile. Your audience is mobile. 48% of emails get opened on mobile devices while a mere 11% of emails are optimized for that platform. If your emails are not readable, expect customers to tap delete. A few helpful tips from HubSpot to consider for mobile-friendly emails:
- Use design elements that do not require re-sizing
- Use fewer photos
- Make links simple to click
- Bullet important information
- Use paragraphs that are easy to read, no chunks of text
- Keep the message simple
Do not waste time, effort and money running for the finish line without preparing for the race. Get ready to fully engage leads and provide reporting to stakeholders that demonstrates the success of a campaign and clearly identifies the areas requiring improvement.
How Does App Data Room Increase the Value of Marketing Automation?
App Data Room augments the value of utilizing a marketing automation platform through our key integrations. For example, one feature of our HubSpot integration allows for leads to flow automatically from the sales call into segmented lists, keeping contact data fresh, relevant and complete. Decision-makers can get a full picture of a lead’s online and offline activity, not just hunches and feelings.
This is just the beginning to what is possible with marketing automation. Get started today and expect a learning curve. High-performing marketers work to get there. Where are you at in the journey? Comment below or tweet us @AppDataRoom