Marketing automation is the implementation of software designed to automate a myriad of marketing tasks for you.
But don’t worry, it won’t put you out of a job.
On the contrary, automation helps you do your job more efficiently by prioritizing tasks and streamlining your marketing strategies.
When used properly, marketing automation software will free up some of your time, relieve you of the duty of performing mundane tasks, and help you grow your business at a faster rate.
Needless to say, you’re in business to make money, and the best way to make money nowadays is to drive traffic to your website and to convert that traffic into leads and customers.
Marketing automation offers the greatest opportunity for increasing your conversion and closing rates, which is often the greatest challenge facing marketers.
Here are several ways you can use marketing automation to your advantage and raise the ROI on your marketing content.
1. Send specific content to a highly-targeted audience
The definition of insanity for marketers is sending out the same general email blast after email blast to the widest possible audience while expecting the alarmingly low conversion rate to change. In other words, performing the same task over and over and expecting a different result.
Long gone are the days when it made sense to flood the internet with general, non-targeted marketing messages. It was never a good idea to begin with, but it was the best we had at the time, and we had only rule of marketing to work with: bigger is better.
Nowadays, marketing automation makes sending a broad message to your contact list obsolete, which saves you time, money and needless intrusions into your contacts’ inboxes.
Limit the danger that one ill-targeted email will land you and all of your future correspondence with a given company in the spam box by properly segmenting your audience and sending them the appropriate content.
2. Give the people what they want
Narrow down your audience by tailoring the messages to specific segments of your contact list, and give them what they want – content they can use.
Let’s say a customer has shown an interest in some products on your website. Perhaps they’ve even viewed an online demo. If your message somehow further triggers their curiosity or presents a related offer that they can’t refuse, this could be an excellent scenario for an email to push them over the top and convert them into paying customers.
If your next contact with the customer is a promotion for an unrelated product, it could also be a turnoff. The customer may feel either that their info was “sold” to another internet marketer or that showing an interest in your brand will lead to more spam than it’s worth.
By not catering to the needs of your leads, you’ll lose potential customers; by not catering to the needs of your customers, you’ll lose your business.
3. Use custom redirects to see what your customers are clicking on
Custom redirects are shortened tracking URLs that give insight into your audience’s tastes and preferences, and few marketers take full advantage of this information.
It’s easy to see which links are getting clicked on and which ones are being ignored when you track their preferences with custom redirects. Then you can use this data to tailor future campaigns, keeping up with customers’ needs at all times.
Another function of custom redirects is to figure out the success of various strategies through A/B testing, which can help you determine which exact wording and visuals are producing the best results. This affords you the most bang for your marketing buck.
4. Establish a scoring system to rate leads
You’ll often hear that “inbound” marketing shortens the sales cycle. This can be true. But what you don’t hear is that now the marketing cycle is longer.
Marketing automation tools are the best way to sort leads into “hot” and “cold” with a rating system that adheres to your definition of a valuable lead.
For B2B lead generation the criteria for rating a good lead may include the respondent’s job title, industry, and the size of his or her company.
Through the magic of marketing automation, a marketer can further break down the scoring system to include additional information which is equally important but often overlooked, such as:
- Number of pages viewed
- Time spent on each page
- Webinars attended
- Content downloaded
- Email open rate
- Social media activity
The more information you have to segment your contact list, the more relevant your messages become and the higher your conversion rates will climb.
5. Always keep your repeat customers in mind
In any business, regular customers are the pillars of the company, so remember that customers who have already purchased from you are worth their weight in gold. It is much easier to sell to someone who has already been converted because they are open to your suggestions (assuming you’ve delivered on your brand promise and have a trusting customer relationship).
Let marketing automation keep you in touch with your regular customers and keep up the good will by sending highly segmented customer-only content that will distinguish you as a source of accurate information and as a reliable reference.
Not every email and contact has to be sales-driven or product-related. If you use marketing automation programs to educate and engage your customers, they will appreciate it.
6. Use marketing automation to improve your strategy
The last thing you should do is use marketing automation to make the same mistakes you’ve been making, only a lot faster. A key purpose for automation is to take care of mundane tasks to free up more of your time. You that time (and the data your marketing automation gives you) to analyze, segment and prioritize your messages. You can further tailor your campaign with the help of A/B testing data monitored by the marketing automation software.
Instead, when many marketers first get their hands on marketing automation programs, they just try to automate exactly what they are already doing.
For content marketing, the goal has always been to generate high-quality leads, and the advent of marketing automation provides a whole array of invaluable marketing tools for the novice and seasoned marketer alike.
Take advantage of marketing automation to make your content work smarter, not harder.
We are a Certified HubSpot Silver Partner and highly recommend HubSpot for marketing and sales automation. However, if you’re not ready to invest in a system yet, talk to us about how we can set this up for you using our agency platform.