The Beginners Guide To Marketing Automation

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John Ring

JOHN RING MANAGING DIRECTOR

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Every business needs to grow and generate more revenue, continually expanding its reach. The difficulty for many companies is that they lack the resources to do so. Every organisation has its limitations whether people or technology, and established procedures often impose additional limits. Sometimes the pressures of an existing workload can seem overwhelming without adding to it.

For many companies seeking to expand, the solution is in marketing automation. Marketing automation lets companies use technology to automate, streamline, and measure their marketing processes so they can improve their operational efficiency and increase revenue more quickly.

What Marketing Automation is Not

Some companies have been reluctant to adopt marketing automation because they wrongly associate marketing automation with standardised, computer-generated content. This is not marketing automation. Unlike automation in fields such as manufacturing where machines replace people, marketing automation works with people to make them more efficient. It doesn’t replace people; it simply frees up their time to concentrate on producing great content, and engage with customers.

How Marketing Automation Works

The usual goal in marketing is to grow revenue. Online marketers do this by increasing the flow of traffic to a website, and converting a higher percentage of traffic once it has reached the website. The real benefits of marketing automation are to be found in the area of conversion.

If you regularly email those on your mailing list – without knowing where in the buying cycle these individuals are – it’s time to take stock. This isn’t an efficient way to proceed. You are probably including lots of people who have no interest in buying. At best, this is a waste of time; at worst, it is slowly ruining your list – as members become frustrated with the constant stream of irrelevant emails and unsubscribe.

Marketing automation offers a better way, enabling you to take a personalised approach. You target your contacts based on their behaviour, rather than blindly hoping that the recipient will find your message interesting.

Using a targeted approach you can:

  • Give your customers information that is directly relevant
  • Give them information exactly when they need it
  • Make their decision to purchase easier

A personalised approach will always result in a higher conversion rate than generic emails sent to your entire list. Supplying people with information that is relevant to them, at exactly the time they need it, will not only make it more likely that they will convert, but also that your business will come to be viewed as a reliable source of information, and someone they can trust to answer their questions.

What Does Marketing Automation Look Like?

Now you understand the benefits of marketing automation, let’s look at how it might work in practice.

1. You send out an email inviting everyone on your list to download a free eBook.
2. You send a Thank You email to everyone who downloads it.
3. Everyone who downloaded the eBook receives an invitation to review a case study on the same topic.
4. Everyone who downloads the case study is passed on to your team as a likely prospect to be followed up.

Note how each of these steps becomes progressively more personalised, and the emails more relevant. We are letting the individual qualify themselves by their actions. The more we know about each customer, the more we can personalise our marketing.

Nurture Your Customers

One thing everyone agrees on is this: marketing to new customers is hard work. Getting people interested in your business, and holding their attention all the way through to the sale takes a lot of effort. It is far easier to market to your existing customers. They already understand how your business can help them achieve their goals, and are probably willing to buy more from you if approached in the right way. Maintaining and building a relationship with your existing customers is essential to the long-term success of your business. Create content for your existing customers; keep them engaged with your business by providing useful content that they will want to read. You know what they have already bought from you, so send them content on related topics and encourage them to return and buy more. At the same time you are enhancing your company’s reputation as a Thought Leader in your area of expertise.

Nurturing Not Selling

Marketing automation takes the focus away from selling and moves it towards nurturing. It shortens the selling process through improved list segmentation and providing relevant content to people exactly when they are ready to buy. This requires companies to adjust to a customer-centric approach. The customer must be at the centre of your operations, and you must try to learn everything you can about your customers. The more you understand each individual customer, the more you will be able to personalise their experience, and the greater the likelihood that they will be persuaded to purchase from you. Automation provides the tools you need to learn more about customer behaviour than was possible just a few years ago. Learning to use this information strategically is essential to automation success.

Moving Beyond Email

If you are going to persuade people to buy, you need to grasp who you are marketing to and how you can satisfy their needs. Find out when they want to be notified, and how they prefer to engage with your business. Your marketing automation needs to move beyond email and look at all the ways consumers engage with your brand. You may have a variety of teams responsible for email, social media, and all the different marketing channels you use, but your customer doesn’t see that. To them it is all one brand, and you need to present a consistent image, however the customer connects with you. Data mining tools are effective at gathering customer data so you can provide them with the content they want to read. Automation tools can be used to schedule posts across your social media channels, saving you valuable time. You can use automation to maintain a steady flow of engagement without becoming overwhelmed.

As the rate of traffic reaching your business grows, interaction with your business will also grow. This is where further automation can be used to schedule webinars or other routine tasks that allow you to concentrate on the more creative tasks that require human input.

Adopting marketing automation software is the most efficient way forward for your business. It allows you to nurture existing clients and focus on providing them with whatever resources they need, exactly when they need them. Automation lets you achieve your goals, and increase your revenue faster.

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John Ring

JOHN RING MANAGING DIRECTOR

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Over the past 15 years, I've helped many international companies like Ebay, Intel, Burberry, The AA, Suzuki, Calor Gas, and Lexis Nexis as well as local Irish companies like SSE, Irish Rail and many others with their digital marketing. My role is to lead the Tinderpoint team to deliver outstanding results continuously for our clients.