A Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Automation
It is purely a mild thing to say that marketing automation is a completely complex topic. It looks simple on the ground, but the reality is that it is overwhelming when you go in-depth with it. Moreover, it is extremely difficult to describe even if you work on it on a regular basis.
When utilized in a correct manner, marketing automation can assists sales and marketing teams for performing their jobs in an effective way so that they can accomplish their goals. However, there are many misconceptions about the exact definition of marketing automation. In this post, we will try to have a great understanding of what marketing automation is and how it can assist a company.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation can be defined as the utilization of software for delivering personalized messages to the leads as well as customers. You will be allowed by the software to develop a dynamic set of messages for sending to your contacts. The message got by an individual is decided by the factors specified by you, such as how they spend money on their habits, where these people are in the buying procedure and which interactions they have in the past with your website.
You will be assisted in building stronger relationships by delivering content that caters to the needs and interests of a person. Moreover, it will assist in increasing revenue and conversions. You will be assisted by the marketing automation in accomplishing this type of things while simplifying your operations.
If we talk a bit broader, then we can say that there are many different characteristics of marketing and business development that consist of conversion rate optimization, lead generation, email marketing, and content development.
What are the advantages of using marketing automation?
By far, the biggest advantage of marketing automation is its ability to assist sales and marketing teams in working more efficiently. Personalized content is loved by the people and sending them personalized emails can assist in creating six times more revenue as compared to sending non-personalized emails. However, it isn’t practical to send customized messages to the contacts manually. The mundane and repetitive work that can deliver personalized content can be handled by the marketing automation platforms. It gives better sales and extra time to the marketing professionals for targeting things that are more challenging and interesting.
Marketing automation not only makes the process of delivering messages easily, but it also makes it a lot easier to find out where the individuals are in the process of conversation. There is generally a lead score feature came in the marketing automation programs that can assist the users in identifying which leads are ready for the sales in a quicker manner.
One of the most well-known reasons for why marketing automation is considered by the businesses as the first choice is due to the fact they desire to make their conversion rates and revenues better. It is an ideal method for encouraging the customers to stay engaged for a longer period of time that increases the chances that they will stay around long for convert. The organizations that utilize the marketing automation have more than 50% higher chances of better conversion rates and a growth in annual revenue of about 3% as compared to the organizations that don’t do this.
Moreover, marketing automation can assist in boosting up the process for products and services that have longer conversion cycles. As per the recent example posted by Venturel Harbour, the conversion time of Thomson Reuters was reduced by 72% with the help of marketing automation software.
What are the main applications of marketing automation?
There is no doubt that marketing automation has lots of different applications in this industry. However, some of the common ones are lead generation/ nurturing and email messaging.
Yes, you have heard it right, email can still be used as a marketing tool. While it’s not difficult to do things like “everybody is on Instagram/ Twitter/ Facebook”, but it isn’t the reality. However, almost every internet user has at least one email address. When compared to the social media feeds, the email inboxes moved at a much slower speed. It gives you an ideal opportunity for having a direct connection with all your contacts.
There is a great variety of methods through which marketing automation can be utilized with email:
- Product retargeting
- Personalized product recommendations
- Welcome messages
- Abandoned cart reminders
The above list is just some of the names from the list.
Lots of organizations utilize marketing automation to circularize feedback from their contact base, no matter they are converted or not. No matter, it is asking individuals to send comments directly to them or sending out surveys, the details they get can be extremely useful to guide modifications that will assist in improving their revenues in the late run.
Following the fact that greater revenue is generated by the personalized emails as compared to the non-personalized ones, the marketing automation can be an incredible method for boosting your leads. As per Marketo, approximately half of the total leads in every system don’t remain ready to shop and nearly 75% of total new leads never reach to the sales. The mission to give people something about the value when they require it the most so that they likely to get convert can be possible with the marketing automation. Around 50% more sales-ready leads can be generated by effective lead nurturing at 35% lower expense. In addition to that, there are chances that nurtured leads results in better purchases as compared to the non-nurtured leads.
Generally, marketing automation platforms are also utilized for creating landing pages, managing social media campaigns, and conducting ongoing A/B testing.
B2C vs. B2B marketing automation
Businesses of every size can potentially take advantage of the marketing automation. However, whether a business with B2C or B2B is going to make an effect on the kind of messaging utilized in their campaigns. While both kinds of businesses would have the main target to improve the revenue and conversions, there is a great difference in their technique to reach that target.
When compared to the B2C sales, B2B sales inclines to have longer conversion cycles and often include products or solutions that need a better long-term commitment. However, there are some exceptions here. Due to this, there is a greater emphasis made by the B2B messaging on long-form content, such as e-books, whitepapers, and case studies. There are several individuals involved in the decision-making process when the majority of purchases are measured for a business. So, we can’t say that it isn’t like winning with a single person every time as it is in the case of B2C sales. It is mandatory for a business to establish themselves for selling as an authority in their respective industry- providing deeper and detailed content is a perfect method to do that job.
The content utilized in the messaging of B2C sales is generally many simples as it moves at a faster speed. For instance, Ciachin clients wouldn’t have any interest in long case studies regarding a product or service, but they might be interested in a half minute video that demonstrates the technique to utilize a product instead of that. For B2C organizations, there will be more focus on the brand building and give some reasons to the customers for coming back and that’s why their messaging generally consist of things, such as personalized product recommendations, abandoned shopping cart reminders and provides catered to particular kinds of customers.
Although there are lots of unique characteristics of marketing and business development that is combined with the marketing automation, the complete process is ultimately boosted by some of the core things.
A conversion funnel can be defined as a method through which individual moves towards becoming a client. Now, it isn’t so difficult for finding reviews about the product and shopping nearby, there are many people who don’t buy products from the very first time they check it for sale. Marketing Automation is a method for keeping the individual engaged so there should be some greater chances to convert.
The conversion funnel can be divided into some general stages that are mentioned below:
The customer initially becomes known about an organization, product or service. This time can be tagged very soon for an individual to reach a decision, but your business has reached to their mind.
It is possible that all the people who know about a product or solution should require it. The individual who has an interest will begin to have a better engagement at that time by performing things, such as signing up for a free trial, requesting some quotes, following a brand on social media, reading blog posts or even start looking for the reviews on the website of the company.
An individual will start to become more aware of a brand for knowing what they really offer by this time. They aren’t completely ready for making a decision, but a brand is running in their mind.
It is that time where an individual makes a decision for conversion. You have won their heart and now, they want to make a decision with you.
Generally, when individual converts once, they will become convenient with their choice that they will happily become a repeated client. However, there are chances that some of the people will reduce at every level while moving through the conversion funnel, no matter they do it just a single time or multiple times. In reality, only 3-5% of the total individuals entered a conversion funnel actually reach to the conversion. The drop out of the people is called churn. There is no doubt that some of the churns is inevitable, but its reduction can be done by marketing automation. If you understand the requirements and interests of the individuals at every stage of the conversion funnel, then you should be capable enough to engage them by offering the type of content they have deeply interested in.
For instance, let’s think about firm installing vinyl windows and it has been advertised largely in the local media. There are chances that a great portion of the thousands of individuals watching their ads won’t respond to it after seeing one at any given time as they mightn’t require new windows or due to the fact that they are residing in a rented house. No amount of extra messaging will help you in winning these people. As we all know, replacing older windows with the new ones can be very costly, the individuals who actually do require them typically used lots of their time in performing research for ensuring that they are selecting the right kind of window and receive the best price. If this firm were to send extra details regarding vinyl windows to the individuals who are contacting them for getting an estimation, they might become capable of convincing more number of individuals to convert.
Feedback loops and metrics
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. It is one of the physics law that we all are aware of. There is a similar type of concept applied to the marketing automation universe and it is called a feedback loop. When a message is sent to an individual, the recipient will give some kind of reaction to it, even though it has nothing to do at all. This type of reaction is a component of your feedback loop and you have to pay attention to your metrics for receiving a brief information about what those reactions are.
Feedback loops and metrics are real indications about the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. No matter, a person converts, ignores your message, tagged it as a spam, clicks on your website or unsubscribes from your email list that shows you something regarding the way recipient feel about your message.
While checking your metrics, you will ideally desire to look high click-through rates, open rates and they may see much more forward as it shows that your content is valuable, engaging, useful and don’t annoy your contacts. It is inevitable to see some unsubscribe and abusing reports, especially when there are many people who get confused regarding the difference between these two. However, it doesn’t mean you should avoid them as they are not what you wish to see. If there will be an increase in either of them, then it could be an indication of too aggressive strategy and demands some modifications.
While conversion funnel can be defined as the method that takes in the path of converting, the user flow is referred to the set of pages visited by a person prior to taking an action.
When there is traffic that reaches to your website from a range of sources, such as social media, email messages, and PPC ads. You wish to direct the users to those pages that makes them easier for them to take the action you wish them for taking, no matter it is signing up for a free trial, shopping something, or joining an email list.
You should keep in mind the individuals often have their own requirements that depend on the way they reach a page. So, you will look to do your best for ensuring that they are being transferred to a page that looks appealing to them. For instance, it is completely normal if someone directly transferred to a service page after performing a search for the long-tail keyword as they want something specific and more likely remain ready for conversion. However, things are different when someone clicks on a PPC ad and complete a form on a landing page that means they want more details prior to making any decisions. That’s why it isn’t the ideal time for giving them a tough sell.
Workflows can be defined as the place where the automation component of marketing automation plays its part. Your workflow is the set of triggers created by you for delivering messages. Developing a workflow including taking yourself through the whole process and asking yourself a question,” If this condition arises, what should I do next?”
Workflows include several different triggers, such as interactions you have with an individual, amount of time it has been since a person has taken an action or actions previously taken by them on your website. Some of the common workflow types utilized by the retailers are reminding people about reviewing their products after some time for enjoying their purchase, sending discount codes to the customers who haven’t buy anything in a while, and sending reminders to people who have added items to their cart and didn’t make any purchase.
Necessary steps for developing a marketing automation strategy
1. Defining your mission
It may look like an obvious step that you have to make, but prior to performing any other step, you have to make a decision about what are your expectations from the marketing strategy so your strategy can be planned according to that. Are you looking to create an increasing number of leads? Want to create a business from the frequent customers or looking to foster sales during an offseason? All these goals should need a different kind of strategy, so it is very vital that you should be completely aware of your main objectives.
2. Identification of the people you want to target
It is essential that you should know about the requirements of your clients at every point of the conversion operation. This step needs to be added at all cost. However, it solely depends on what kind of goals you have in your mind and you have to spend your time and efforts targeting individuals who are at a particular point of the operation. For example, if your process with the lead generation is going smoothly, but you wish that number of people should convert your time and efforts would be better used targeting the lower and middle components of the conversion funnel.
3. Map user flows
If you are utilizing the power of marketing automation, then it is obvious that you want that the people should take some type of action. Blueprinting the user flow is the best method for visualizing the steps individual required for going through to become capable of taking that action.
On the basis of the arrival of a person at your website, some individuals may require additional details than the others prior they perform any action. You will never wish to make individuals going across additional steps than that is required for doing something, but you don’t look to target the people having a hard sell too fast either. According to the recommendation of Peep Laja of ConversionXL, the state diagrams can be used for blueprint the user flows so that you can check out how the individuals reach a page and the number of steps taken by them for taking the required action.
4. Leads should be segmented and rated
It is an extremely important to don’t forget that every lead can’t necessarily be same when it comes to quality. Your contacts database will inevitably remain a mix of individuals who are on the edge of shopping, individuals who are still checking out what options they have, and individuals whose chances of conversion is almost zero. That’s why there is no chance that making such broad messages that will somehow look attractive to all kinds of individuals. You will be greatly assisted by rating your leads. It will help you in figuring out who require your further encouragement and who is here to hand over to a sales team.
You can get an overview of how ready the person is ready to convert through the interactions they had with your content and the actions taken by them on your website. An individual who has checked a pricing page has the most chances to buy as compared to the one who has simply read a blog post on a website. There is a clear indication given by a person who visited a website several times over the period of some weeks is more interested as compared to someone who only visits your site few times in a year. You will be assigned values to particular actions and interactions with the marketing automation software so that a score can be calculated for that lead.
You will also be allowed to segment your contacts database by the marketing automation to a very high level so your messages can be delivered to very particular kinds of people. For instance, a marketer may wish to focus messages to the people with particular job titles while working with B2B businesses. In the B2C sales, a retailer may wish to segment their lists for giving specific offers to the individuals who have already invested a particular quantity of money with the organization or sending product suggestions to the individuals living in particular locations.
Creating and maintaining a contact database
There is no easy method to build a high-quality contacts database as it takes lots of effort and time. Once you have already created a fair size database of contacts with whom you can work, the marketing automation came into play. However, you still require adding new names to that database on a frequent basis.
An effective and useful method for building a database of highly qualified contacts is by developing informative content. Blog content is perfect for offering high-level details and it assists in building business trust and establishing themselves as an authority in their industry. On the side of the coin, things such as e-books and whitepapers are ideal to attract the individuals who are looking for in-depth details on a subject and are more inclined to be interested in what a business is providing, which is the main reason for this gating this type of content. The contact details of a person are important for accessing the price with the gated content.
If we talk about businesses that provide a service, free trials are a perfect method for getting contact details as the individuals who sign up for them obviously have a better interest in what’s being available.
Just say “no” to the purchased lists
No matter, whatever action you take, never get tempted for buying a contacts list. It is possible that you may get a quick boost up with the purchased lists, but they will be harmful in the late run.
Firstly, there are no chances that high-quality contacts lists will be on sale. Instead of that, this type of list that you can shop or rent is generally full of abandoned and invalid email addresses. Moreover, if the person becomes capable to check your message by any chance, they will likely either be skeptical or won’t be interested to do business with a firm about which they don’t know anything.
If you begin sending messages to a list that is full of questionable quality contacts, then there are strong chances that you will likely to end up with low open rates, high bounce rates, lots of unsubscriptions, and many abuse reports. There is a special attention paid by the email service providers to this types of metrics and if they begin seeing them on a frequent basis, then they will start seeing you as a spammer. It will make it tougher for you to take your message to more qualified leads after having them.
Ideal practices for marketing automation messaging
Reach the point
Be prepared to make your point in a quicker manner and be sure it is crystal clear. Every day, we all have a very limited amount of time and one thing the individuals have no patience is long messages. They generally want to check what is included in that message for them. How their problem can be solved by your solutions? What’s different regarding their products or services?
Keeping it active
You are trying to improve the engagement of the people by applying the marketing automation strategies. That’s why your messages should have an active tone and capable to encourage the recipients for taking some type of action, whether it’s reading a blog post, downloading a whitepaper, making a purchase or watching a video.
Don’t forget where people are in the process
You should remember that some types of content will be more attractive as compared to the others depending on where an individual is in the conversion funnel. Individuals who are just beginning to know regarding an organization or product aren’t going to be happy if they have to deal with a tough sell, but highly promotional content can be truly effective on the other person who is a bit down in the funnel.
Avoid looking spammy
If used in a correct manner, marketing automation can’t be considered as a spam. We will here to talk a bit more regarding why that is just a little bit. But you should never give a bad impression to your contacts. Particular things will always give a spammy impression, like utilization of too many links in the message’s body, typing in capital letters and overuse of the color red. Never use too many of them if you are going to utilize the symbols in your subject messages or lines. Don’t use the words that are known to trigger the spam filters.
If you aren’t familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act, you should invest some time in learning what the meaning of your campaign is. Your subject lines should never be misleading and always be accurate. Firms that send marketing messages via email require offering a physical mailing address. Also, keep in mind that PO Box addresses are also allowed. You also require offering an unsubscribe option in every message and ensure all the opt-out requests are completed as soon as possible.
Sharpen your list
When it comes to contact lists, you can’t say bigger isn’t always good. One of the main objectives for marketing automation is getting your messages for precisely the ideal people. Paying a close eye to your metrics will allow you to know about your most qualified leads are and getting ones who aren’t giving responses anymore.
It is better to have a shorter list of highly qualified leads as compared to the large list where contacts don’t care much. You should remove the ones who haven’t opened your message since months and instead of that, target more on the lead who is interested in you.
Misunderstandings regarding marketing automation
Marketing automation can give a personal touch if performed in a correct manner. In all fairness, it isn’t tough to become aware of how individuals receive the wrong impression. After all, the word automation has a direct relation to the things, such as robots and computerization. However, there is a requirement for staying in touch with a human for making a marketing automation successful.
Marketing automation has the ability to make it easier for you in getting the message out there. It depends on you to create content that will attract people and make the strategy look unique than the others.
Everyone including marketers know how obnoxious spam can be. Marketers also aware of the level of its ineffectiveness. There is no doubt that spam is an unsolicited message that promotes an irrelevant thing to the majority of its recipients, the objective of marketing automation is to give highly relevant messages to the users who have shown an interest in it.
There is also a frequent involvement of non-promotional content in the marketing automation, unlike spam. There are chances that marketing automation messages can have a promotional nature, but ultimately the objective is to boost the positive relationships by providing something of value and that doesn’t always include a tough sell.
You can set it and forget it
There can be another scenario where a bad impression can be given by the word automation. When you thought about a thing that is automated, it’s not tough for thinking you can just set it up, sitting back, and allowing it running on its own. If we talk about reality, marketing automation can be defined as anything but just a hand-off procedure. There is a requirement of constant attention and refinement by the marketing automation for ensuring that it attains as much success as possible. The majority of the individuals utilizes the A/B testing functionality of marketing automation software for running ongoing tests for seeing which type of subject lines, design variations, content and CTAs people ideally respond.
It ’s just emailed marketing
Email is an effective component of marketing automation, but it’s not a new name in the world of email marketing.
Firstly, the kinds of messages included in the marketing automation and traditional email marketing is a completely different. Generally, people think about broad email blasts that will go out to a whole list of contacts when the majority of them thought about email marketing, but that’s the main thing that you have to avoid while doing marketing automation. The messages of marketing automation are much more catered according to the interests and requirements of the users. Although some list segmentation is allowed in the basic marketing programs, the marketing automation strategies allowed you for getting much more hyper-segmented.
Marketing automation and traditional email marketing programs also provide several insights and functionality. Although basic email marketing platforms offer some basic detail regarding how individuals have interaction with your message, there are an in-depth and measurable insights offered by the marketing automation programs.
While there is a great variety of advantages offered by the marketing automation, it’s not going to be a perfect solution for every business. Some kinds of businesses only require basic email marketing. According to the studies, marketers often feel that it’s not worth to have an investment in the marketing automation software, but the majority of the marketers also fail to utilize it to its complete capability or they try using it prior to having a large adequate database of contacts for making it worthwhile. Prior to using marketing automation, the main things that you need to consider are whether or not you have the adequate time and efforts for dedicating to use too about the software for utilizing it to its complete ability.