Marketing automation is vital for any business. If you’re considering growth and expansion, as most organisations are, you need a marketing plan that helps you to grow your bottom line. So, it is imperative to create marketing strategies to attract potential customers. To attract new customers, it is helpful to reach out to them at multiple points during the sales cycle – to gauge their interest, to nurture their curiosity, to peak their desire, and to encourage them to convert. The AIDA model springs to mind (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) when considering this process. Connecting with them at various points and on multiple occasions in appropriate ways with the right messaging becomes an extremely important factor in the sales conversion process. This is the essence of marketing automation. Of course, marketing automation works better for some organisations than others. You will need to consider a variety of factors, such as quantity of customers, volume of transactions, potential for repurchase, cross-selling and up-selling, and so on, before making up your mind if it is necessary for your organisation to invest in a marketing automation solution.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is essentially a software tool that automatically communicates you’re your prospects and customers through a variety of different media, but mostly through email. It is often connected to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, which helps companies to build up personalised communications with their customers in order to deliver relevant offers. This data also helps to build up customer personas that assist marketing departments with understanding how to target audiences in different ways to deliver the most effective results.
What are the advantages of marketing automation?
The key advantage of marketing automation is that you can programme the software to perform certain communication tasks at certain times, and then the hard work is done – although you will still need to manage it on an ongoing basis. Also, it helps companies to improve their marketing strategy and it is a great tool for tactical lead generation and sales nurturing. It can also reduce marketing costs and it provides measurable results and KPIs for both tactical and strategic campaigns.
What are the disadvantages of marketing automation?
Firstly, it requires a lot of effort and commitment to learn how to use it effectively in order to define the target audience and the appropriate messages to communicate to them along the sales pipeline journey. Also, it can be a significant investment, and it can’t fix everything. Despite the major benefits marketing automation offers, it is not a “cure all.” This is perhaps the number one issue we have seen in the marketplace, with some clients thinking that their marketing automation software is their marketing strategy, rather than a tool used to deliver their strategy. We think of this a little bit like the tail wagging the dog…
What is customer lifetime value (CLV)?
Customer lifetime value (CLV) is a prediction of the net profit of your entire future relationship with a customer. It informs you how to allocate your efforts towards the most profitable channels and audiences, thus resulting in a better ROI. Not all customers are equal, and gaining a thorough understanding of their differences allows you to gauge how much to invest in communicating with each one. After you have segmented your audience, the next task is determining how best to connect with target customers at a personal level. Having identiﬁed which high-value customers to address, deﬁned their lifetime value and drawn a proﬁle of their priorities, you can then make informed decisions on which media to use. Marketing automation, when executed correctly, allows companies to market to and nurture customers with personalised and useful content via a multitude of channels.
Some useful tips
Don’t confuse your audience with poorly defined communication channels. There is an abundance of communication channels available to marketers in this day and age. Communication between you and your audience should always be a welcome event (or at least not an unwelcome one). Don’t alienate or anger your audience by forcing correspondence to happen, or by reaching out too often. Always ask prospects to opt in. Not only is it the ethical thing to do, but you’ll also be able to steer clear of any legal issues and reinforce a positive image around your brand to new prospects and current customers alike.
Don’t initiate communication on a channel you cannot use for the entire correspondence. Communication is a two-way street. If you have implemented a well-devised marketing automation process – one that accounts for incoming and outgoing correspondence between your system and your customers with an ability to listen to the other party, you will have a clear picture of their needs and be one step closer to closing the deal. Not having the capability to listen to responses via channels used for customer engagement is a failure, but it is even more so if you lack the ability and the process in-house to follow up. Align sales with marketing. If you ask questions or want responses via the channels you use to engage with your audience, be sure to have the capabilities and process in place to receive them and lead them to the next step.
Don’s smother your audience with irrelevant and unwanted content. During the process of nurturing leads, great marketers uncover a host of intimate details that paint a picture of who they are doing business with. Marketing automation then kicks in and utilises this information to serve tailored and personal content that will push leads further down the sales funnel. Sending content to prospects, especially if you are initiating the action, is quite intrusive, so if this is a part of your workflow you must absolutely make sure that what you’re sending out aligns with their needs and interests. If you don’t know what these are, take a few steps back and review your process of collecting data.
Don’t send duplicate content or correspondence. Flawless marketing automation is difficult to achieve even for the best of brands. It requires a strong top-of-the-funnel base that produces a consistent flow of sales leads. It doesn’t matter if you have to spend a great deal of time carefully reviewing your programmed workflows to automatically send out correspondence. Always ensure you’re not sending out duplicates on any correspondence.
Marketing automation software companies
There are many reputable marketing automation software companies in the marketplace for you to consider, such as HubSpot, Campaign Monitor, Eloqua and InfusionSoft. We recommend you take time to consider which one best suits the needs of your business. Read reviews from other customers to see which ones best resonate with your business needs.