Marketing automation allows you to pay individual attention to your audience on a large scale. An effective marketing automation campaign is not just the scheduling and sending of emails or automatic social media posts. It's far more than that, and far more useful to both you and your target market.
What Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation refers to the concept that marketing "actions" can be taken dependent upon the interaction or behavior of a target (customer, potential customer, et cetera). Marketing automation can monitor and act upon the opening of emails, clicking of buttons or links, form submissions, and virtually any other target behavior. Not only that, but timers can be used to send follow up emails or schedule manual sales staff outreach. In fact, marketing automation is so flexible that a visual example is best.
Let's say that you'd like to announce a Fall sales event. With marketing automation, you'd be able to send out an email blast to a group of customers you know would be interested in the sale, and then take actions on a per-target (recipient) basis. Did Ron open the email but didn't click on the button to go to the sales landing page? Perhaps you send him a coupon based upon his buying history. The image below depicts the start to a marketing automation campaign similar to the described.
While the above example is only partial, and quite simple, it's a great example of how marketing automation can address your targets on an individual, highly personalized basis. The key here is to use automation in a non-robotic way. You don't want to send out emails in such a way that seems too industrial or cold. In fact, automated emails should be formulated in such a way that encourages a target to interact or respond.
The appropriate configuration of automated emails includes a reply-to that is coordinated with that target's assigned sales agent (if applicable). This way, sales staff have the added opportunity of receiving a customer reach-out, as opposed to the standard outreach tactics. Below are some examples of more humanized verbiage that can be mixed into automated emails.
- Phrases to Help Humanize Automatic Emails
- Hi, I'm [Sales Agent Name], your assigned sales agent at [Company Name]. I noticed that you added [Product Name] to your cart, but did not make a purchase. Did you have a question or concern that I may help you with?
- As your sales agent, I've noticed that you haven't been opening some of our emails. Do you mind filling out this short survey so we can identify the type of emails you're not interested in and stop sending them to you?
- As your sales agent, I noticed that you recently purchased [Insert Product Name]. I really appreciate your business, and want to make sure you're happy. If you have any questions or feedback, please reply to this email. I'd love to speak to you!
- I've noticed that you've slowed down your purchases from us over the last several months. I'd love to have a chat about the reason for that. Is there something with our products that is concerning to you? I am personally here for you, so please feel free to respond to this email or give me a call.
Using Data to Your Customers' Benefit
One of the most beneficial aspects of marketing automation is its ability to digest your customer data. When customers make purchases, indicate preferences, or use coupons, this data becomes available to you. Truly smart and innovative businesses use this data to provide their customers with more timely and relative outreach material. Chances are you already use various tools and services which are collecting this data. While it does take a professional (Hi! Over here!) to connect the dots, your efforts thus far can play a big role in your success moving forward.
Everyone — you, myself, your mother, my mother — receives plenty of marketing emails, social media posts, and advertisements. How many of those are truly targeted toward who you are? The fact of the matter is that most marketing tactics out there are general-purpose campaigns that target everyone with the singular goal of trying to market a product or service. Sure, the bigger guys have the budget to afford hundreds of thousands of dollars of research and reports, but small business struggle with the costs. The great news is that knowing your customer and using data you already have can give you a major leg-up in the world of marketing. If you're not collecting enough data, the time to do so is now. If you have the data but aren't sure how to connect it, then a professional such as myself can help. Expert recommendations and a solid plan of action is not a far-fetched dream. It's well within your grasp.
Encouraging Customer Reach Out
Marketing automation is great to reach out to customers, follow up on purchases, gently egg on engagement, make announcements, or qualify potential customers. However, it can also be used to encourage customer reach out. Automation is best used for a combination of sales and support. As I spoke about in my previous post Websites vs Web Presences, being "present" and "there for" your customers is crucial. An automated marketing campaign targeted toward customers who purchased a specific product can help to surface customer feedback, facilitate support or repairs, and ensure you stay engaged with your existing customers. After all, retaining customers is far less expensive than gaining new ones.
Demonstrating Loyalty to Your Customers
They say loyalty is a two-way street, but what they don't say is that loyalty starts with you — your business. Marketing automation is is one of many tools available in your War Chest. As with any other tool, you need to understand it and know when to use it. If marketing your business to both potential and current customers is part of your game plan, then taking a long, serious look at your modus operandi is important. You should consider your website and hire a web designer if it's not up to par. You should work to be interactive and present across all digital touch points and provide methods for customers to quickly reach out to you.
Getting Started with Marketing Automation
One of the great aspects to marketing automation is that you can start with a simple campaign. If you reach out to me, we can have a discussion on how marketing automation can help your business. If you aren't using an email service, we can easily set you up with one. It's simple, affordable, and can be very effective. From there, we can discuss what you're doing in terms of social media and advertisements. The benefits to marketing automation will become apparent. The best way to dive in is to start small and steadily increase your efforts. My prediction is that once you truly see how powerful marketing automation can be, you'll start to have ideas left and right. Let's get started! Reach out to me today!