Even if you run an SMB or a startup, marketing automation offers more than just an easy way to manage routine chores like email follow ups or social media posts. When you deploy automated marketing tools, you’ll meet all of your important KPI benchmarks while getting a substantial ROI and boosting your bottom line.
If you think you can’t afford to invest in advanced tech tools when so many marketing platforms are “free”, consider that you’ll get what you pay for if you ignore the benefits of automation and try to manage marketing campaigns the hard way.
Marketing automation tools give you the advantage of attracting more qualified leads and nurturing them in a more nuanced, sustainable manner.
- Reduce the number of contacts needed to convert leads
- Provide them with a more personalized customer experience
- Gain more granular insight into consumer behavior through advanced analytics and reporting
Access to advanced analytics alone will enable data-driven decisions day-by-day as well as supporting long-range forecasting and business planning.
According to research, even the simple act of automating email campaigns increased conversion rates by 15 percent. What’s more, lead generation increased by 25 percent. The sales and marketing professionals who participated in the study report that their ability to attract quality leads increased by an average of 451 percent over numbers generated by more traditional lead acquisition tactics.
In fact, automated marketing tools improved the most important metrics used by marketers and business leaders across the board.
Among the factors where marketing pros experienced a substantial improvement were:
- Keyword rankings
- Time on page
- Click-through rates (CRT)
- Organic traffic
- Domain authority
Bounce rates and customer churn declined, while customer satisfaction rates and staff morale increased.
So, which automated marketing tools had the most impact on business? Our top five tools and techniques provide a good starting point for your digital marketing transformation.
Double Your Business With Marketing Automation: 5 Proven Methods
1. Deploy Sales Funnel Tools to Meet Leads Where They Are in Their Journey
If you’re looking for a way to warm up a cold lead, you have to meet them wherever they are on their journey from brand awareness to loyal customer.
The traditional sales funnel is no longer relevant. We live in a world where people will search for products online before ever making a first contact or use a mobile device to find local businesses in the moment. In fact, 81 percent of consumers will investigate their options for an average of 79 days before ever contacting a sales associate.
In a fast-paced world, no brand has time to wait for that. In order to remain viable and competitive, you have to find the customers and bring them to you.
No two customers are at the same point on their journey at any given time. Some will jump straight from awareness to purchase right away, while others take a less linear route or need some time and a gentle nudge as they work their way through the purchasing process.
Automating the sales funnel keeps prospects moving rather than creating a bottle-neck of indecision and confusion. Through automation, you can convert the traditional time-based sales funnel into a behavior-based model that collects and evaluates audience activity. With this kind of data, you can tailor your approach to provide a more personalized journey based on the needs and pain points of each prospect.
Begin by gaining a deeper understanding of your audience. What do they need and how are you the ideal company to provide solutions? If you cater to various audience segments, refine each and create a detailed persona.
Once you have all of this information, it can be added to a comprehensive customer relations management platform (CRM) that analyzes the data and helps you create a personalized messaging system that’s meant to engage each audience segment according to where they are on their journey.
2. Use Multi-Channel Tracking to Find Your Audience
Learning more about your audience will tell you what they want. Your next task is reaching them where they congregate in cyberspace. Multi-channel tracking, sometimes called multi-touch attribution, will provide you with insight about which social platforms are frequented by your audience, how they’re used, and how long they engage with each platform.
For example, you’re unlikely to reach Gen Z shoppers from your YouTube channel, but InstaGram or TikTok might be quite effective for generating awareness and interest. Perhaps your audience is comprised of B2B prospects who respond better via email outreach or LinkedIn advertising. With a multi-channel approach, you’ll have this information well in hand.
However, this type of automation tool doesn’t just tell you which platforms your audience is most likely to use. It also provides detailed information about what devices they use to shop or socialize. Do prospects research businesses from their PC, primarily use mobile devices, or take a hybrid approach?
This knowledge will not only save money, you’ll also save time by engaging with customers on the platforms and devices that will give you the broadest reach and ability to create more personalized messaging.
A solid multi-channel marketing campaign should focus in four key areas:
- Client-focused research, which includes segmenting your audience and creating a detailed persona for each audience segment. Where do they live and what are their education levels, careers, lifestyles, and habits?
- Personalization beyond just learning a first and last name. In the example of LinkedIn B2B lead generation, that might include looking at their profile and website and using the information you find to create a personalized email message like:
“Just wanted to tell you that I really like the design of your website. However, I noticed X? Have you ever considered trying Y? My company is Acme Web Solutions, and we specialize in solving this very issue.”
- Choosing the right medium. Not all marketing platforms are created equally. Some are more compatible with text content, such as SEO oriented blog posts, knowledge bases, and product descriptions. Others depend upon video or images to draw their audience in and keep them engaged.
- Optimizing your content. Once you drill down on the platforms you’ll use to reach your audience, decide which media will be most effective for your audience on that platform. You can also double-dip or repurpose your content for multiple platforms. For example, creating a blog post on a trending topic, posting a blurb or excerpt to Twitter or Facebook, and linking it to a video clip that supplements the information or provides more context.
- What kind of content connects with your audience on an emotional level? Do they respond better to brand stories or user-generated content like images and video of customers enjoying your brand? Case studies? Tutorials?
Finish by providing contact information and the best time contact you or telling them how they can learn more.
Automation can help you with this through targeted email messaging, searching for prospects on platforms using filters, and other techniques.
3. Increase Conversions Through Email Marketing
Of all the marketing platforms, email is still one of the most effective. In fact, it has the highest ROI and conversion rates of all other platforms. That’s partially because because not everyone is using social media regularly, but almost everyone and their grandfather has an email account. It’s also the first digital platform that people check when they wake up in the morning, and they check it more often than other platforms.
Email is also the marketing platform that’s most conducive to adding automation. In fact, there are so many ways that automation can be incorporated into your email marketing campaign that it’s almost a list in itself.
Here are a few hints to get you started.
- First, optimize your email for mobile use. That means shorter subject lines, larger fonts, and a single-column format. Make your call to action slightly larger and prominently displayed dead center at the bottom of the message. Include a clear directive about how you want the recipient to act.
- Next, you’ll want to segment your subscriber list. Gone are the days when you can buy a list and just spam users with a generic, bulk email solicitations. For one thing, email providers are taking a more proactive approach to weeding out spam, phishing attempts, and other black hat practices. Users are also savvier and less likely to open unsolicited emails.
- By using approved opt-in methods such as forms or signup sheets, you’ll organically build a list of prospects who are already aware of your brand, even if they aren’t yet interested in becoming customers. Once you’ve compiled your list, automation can segment it so that you can create multiple mini email outreach campaigns that are targeted toward each audience segment according to metrics you choose.
- Automation can also be used to add new subscribers, remove inactive ones, and generate follow ups according to where customers are in their journey.
4. Leverage ROI Data to Identify Leads That Convert
The analytics available with marketing tools are a rich source of intent data you can use for all other aspects of your marketing strategies. Intent data is information gained through automated tools that informs you in great detail about consumer behavior online.
Armed with this information, you’ll have a handle on:
- What a potential customer is likely to purchase
- The platforms they frequent and how they interact with these platforms
- What media they consume
- Past activity, searches, and purchasing decision
Armed with this information, you can create more detailed buyer personas, nurture leads through their journey with personalized outreach, and identify new opportunities to make connections and, ultimately, sales.
5. Use Automation to Up-Sell and Cross-Sell
Another great collaboration between marketing and automation is the ability to upsell and cross-sell to existing customers. Your automation tools supply information that identifies opportunities, such as a customer making a purchase or searching for a particular product.
Once a prospect has committed to a purchase – or at least expressed interest in your product – your automation tool can suggest an additional purchase, a higher tier of service, or a similar product. For example, buyers of athletic shoes can automatically receive an offer of half-off on socks or other related gear.
Automated marketing tools can also prevent customers from leaving your site by offering an incentive to finalize their purchase, such as a pop-up offering a flash discount. Combine this approach with email solicitations by sending offers, discounts, or introducing new product lines to previous buyers.
Marketing is all about building brand awareness and transforming it into customer relationships that last. When you want to attract qualified leads from prospects that are ready to convert, automation is an indispensable tool.
It provides you with technical support to handle data-intensive activities like refining and segmenting leads. But, it also offers creative ways to initiate customer interactions and initiate follow up contact once your audience is primed to make a decision. You’ll even have detailed reporting and analysis at your fingertips so you’ll know where and when your efforts pay off.
Best of all, it gives you freedom to forge and nurture those important customer relations once you have the prospect’s attention.
Automation isn’t a substitute for customer care. It’s an invaluable aid that allows you to effortlessly plan and manage your marketing strategies. With the best tools and up-to-date data at hand, your team will be empowered to provide accurate information, make spot decisions that can save a sale, and close faster.
You don’t need to implement all of these tools at once. Staff, vendor, and customer buy-in are essential for success. Analyze your business to determine where these tools will be most useful now, and then integrate them one-by-one.
Your growing list of very satisfied customers won’t be the only ones thanking you. With each of your successful campaigns, sales teams will feel more empowered and productive, too.