As we explore elsewhere, Marketing Automation is essentially the toolkit that enables you as a user to automate and link set elements of your marketing-related actions, analyse the results of these activities, and improve and augment your communications as a result, all-in-all leading to a deeper and more meaningful conversation with your customers and prospects and ultimately, a very visible improvement in your bottom line.
These actions and activities are programmed for instance by using the automated flows, autoresponders and triggers available in the MarketingPlatform FlowBuilder. The objective always being to minimise the intervention required to ensure the flow of meaningful communication with your audience continues unhindered.
Implemented well, you will find yourself naturally nurturing your prospects, and bringing them on an increasingly relevant and engaging journey that will see them converted to loyal lifetime customers.
Marketing Automation is therefore, by its very nature, not only designed to save you time, but to tangibly improve and enrich how and with what you engage your audience.
Where will Marketing Automation help me?
Automating your content
A simple thing such as creating campaign templates sits at the most basic levels of marketing automation, but there are still those that will insist on reinventing the wheel.
By all means test new templates (again using automation) but remember that your customers and prospects are looking to learn your brand, don’t confuse them unduly.
Of course, there may be a different template for a different kind of email campaign, whether it is something like a welcome flow or a post-purchase confirmation flow, but always aim for consistency in tone and delivery.
Then invest a little time upfront to save yourself hours later by using automation tools such as our FlowBuilder<link> to populate these templates with personalised and relevant content.
Scheduling your campaigns
Again, it might seem patently obvious, but time and place are of paramount importance to your customers and prospects.
And again, there are those that utterly forget this.
Automation can link and co-ordinate your campaigns across channels and platforms. Use it to ensure that you are sending out your material at the best possible moment for your individual audience member. And never forget they are individuals, so use your flair for marketing automation to demonstrate how fully you understand that fact.
The where and how?
As we explore in this <link> article, segmenting is a skill well worth developing if you are looking to grow your business effectively. This does not, however, need to be, and indeed should not be, something that you necessarily do with each and every campaign individually.
Not only would this become extremely laborious, it is an utter waste of your time, when you can use automation tools to implement and use pre-configured segments or combined segments to tailor your send-outs for exactly the right audience.
Dynamic & Personalised Content
The benefits of personalising content, from your email campaigns, through to social posts, and landing page content are established beyond doubt. Research shows that businesses that deliver personalised offers and content based upon their browsing and shopping histories see an average increase in sales of 20%.
Remember, by simply automating your email campaigns with personalised content you are very likely to see up to 6 times higher transaction rates.
And marketing automation can deliver personalised content through things such as adaptive CTAs, customised visuals and personalisation tokens for use in emails and webpages that can be used for delivering personally relevant content to customers, leads and the passing visitor alike.
Sending the right email at the right time can be the very thing that closes the deal with a new or existing customer.
Depending upon where the audience member is in their purchasing journey you can automate the delivery of targeted emails that will urge them towards content and resources that gives them an impetus for moving further down the sales funnel.
Companies that automate lead nurturing with well-timed emails consistently see at least a 10% increase in revenue, and Experian have further revealed that something as simple as an automated personalised birthday email has been shown to generate 342% high revenue per email than standard promotions.
Lead scoring is a perfect time-saving automation tool for helping with lead nurturing. 68% of B2B marketers are employing both behavioural and demographic scoring, and even purchasing information, to help them identify sales-ready leads.
Automating this process can help you to identify the people who are ready to be contacted and those that are still on the fence.
Post Purchase Email Flows
These not only save you time, but also money.
Badly handled post purchase flows can effectively mean you end up “resetting” a relationship with a customer, having to win them back again, rather than nurture the relationship to even greater benefit.
And this is insane as it costs exponentially more to acquire a new customer than to retain one. More than that, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, whilst that of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%.
Automating post purchase email flows, and populating them with relevant content, is therefore an immensely powerful way to engage and even upsell both those hard-won new customers and your existing loyal purchasers.
And whilst we’re on the subject of upselling, SamCart, the eCommerce software business found that businesses that use automated 1-click-upsells when marketing their products online, both immediately after the purchase and in subsequent mails, can increase their average order size by 360%.
Social Media Publishing
Automating your social posts and scheduling them in conjunction with your email campaigns, will save huge amounts of your time with your social media management, whilst also ensuring your SoMe profiles are updated with fresh and relevant content.
Of course, not every post should be automated, but mixing in both automated and freshly created and curated content and using them as part of an automated campaign, will keep your social media presence alive and vibrant.
As with email campaign automation, be wary of going overboard though. Once you’ve figured out how to automate these processes together with your email campaigns, you will have to reign in the temptation to whizz out content every half an hour.
Your average daily posting schedule might consist of posting up to 3 non-promotional updates, up to 3 items of brand content such as resources, blog content and landing pages, as well as sharing content created by influencers or other brands with which you would like yours associated.
The smartest of content marketers know the importance of influencer outreach, and by automating this outreach, reply rates can increase by up to 250%. Responses always amplify your presence, and automated follow-up emails or social media messages will mean you reach more influencers.
Coupon, Offers, Incentive & Loyalty Programmes
To avoid the first of these, reward the loyalty of your customers with the second (amongst others) – use automation to give them reasons to keep coming back to you.
Provide them with content and offers that reflect the holistic nature of their profile with you, drawing from not only their purchase history, but also their browsing, their dislikes and their demonstrated interests and expectations.
Scheduling appointments and reservations
Automated calendars allow you to show times that you or your team are available for meetings or appointments with customers. They could also be used for scheduling deliveries or pick-ups.
Using such automation, you enable your customers to select and book such meetings without the need for a direct response or input from you.
But most importantly, however they are used, they allow for an informed automated email response, continuing the conversation and further developing the value of the relationship with your prospect or existing customer.
Marketing automation is the process by which you are able to communicate with your customers at the time that makes the most sense for them. It allows you to connect with your customers and prospects both faster and in a more targeted, engaging manner.
Quite apart from saving you time, the benefits of marketing automation are myriad and powerful. It:
- Improves your customer experience with tailored, personalised campaigns
- Empowers both you and your team to improve your results
- Increases average order value
- Recovers lost revenue
- Boosts ROI on staff costs and training
- Both predicts and shapes customer behaviour
It is the way to support, manage and organise your marketing strategies, and as you apply it more and more creatively you will find you are saving many hours of work personally and across your team, allowing you all to focus on creating and delivering ever more engaging and effective campaigns.
Finally, whilst automation might feel a little “hands-off” to you at first (and it probably will), bear in mind that if done well, it absolutely won’t feel that way to your leads and customers.
Far from it.
They will feel listened to, understood, engaged and valued – and they will become ever more loyal to your product and your brand.