I love marketing automation. I love, love, love, love it! I love strategizing about it. I love building campaigns around it. I love the way businesses can expand their sales force by using it the right way.
Why do I love it? Let me give you a few stats.
According to Autopilot, Marketers using automation software generate 2X the number of leads of people using blast email software, and these marketers are perceived by their peers to be 2X as effective at communicating.
And, according to a Regalix report, 64% of marketers say they saw the benefits of using marketing automation within the first six months of its implementation.
I remember when there were about 4 marketing automation platforms in the market when I went to my first marketing conference. Now, there are about 50, though it often seems new ones just change squares to circles or campaign flows from horizontal to vertical to be seen as a “new company”. Whatever you choose to use, know that marketing automation can position you for success.
That is, as long as you understand it. I’ve lived in marketing automation platforms for many years, but let’s be honest… they can be daunting and difficult for many to grasp. If you’re a one- or two-person marketing department (like many are), you can accelerate your marketing reach and increase your lead potential through marketing automation. At the same time, however, you’re juggling a million other programs, requests and campaigns, and it is hard to have the appropriate time to strategize, build, execute, and most importantly, test.
If you’re a business without a marketing department, adding automation doesn’t come without a cost. Unfortunately, the resources are scarce. In a Pepper Global study, 37% of marketers state that budget constraints hinder them from conducting an efficient marketing automation strategy. You can always hire a marketing consultant to choose the best platform and get you up and running, but a word of caution: Make sure there is an internal resource to help maintain and follow up.
With all that being said, the benefits to incorporating marketing automation of some sort into your marketing stack are endless. For example, expect to receive:
- Increases in productivity: Campaigns are on autopilot, and if done right, you still maintain the authenticity and relevance of having the right message at the right time without working 20 hours a day.
- Pipeline acceleration: Get prospects down the funnel faster.
- Better customer retention: It’s all about touchpoints. We have a great knack for marketing the hell out of our prospects until they become a customer, at which point we forget about them.
- More tracking: Data is key and automation helps give you a real-time insight into what campaigns are working and which ones need a little love, or maybe a quick A/B test.
If you are thinking about dipping your toes in the marketing automation pool or looking for ways to uncover new leads, here are the three starter campaigns I would recommend putting on autopilot.
- When: No doubt you have a number of contacts in your CRM, marketing email list or both. The larger your database, the more likely it is that you will have bad, unengaged or simply missed contacts. A re-engagement campaign is perfect to get a quick pulse of your database, and if done right, a few more engaged buyers back into your funnel.
- How: Here’s a quick-hitting campaign that can be done a few times a year (depending on the size of your database). Develop an email that asks your contacts to update their information on a landing page while asking for their interest level in your products or services. Either offer one large incentive to anyone who completes the form and make it a raffle, or give each person a smaller incentive. You could beef this up by asking which services they would be interested in learning more about.
- Why: The primary result of this campaign is understanding which contacts are engaged and disengaged from your current marketing efforts. This is powerful from both a time and resource standpoint. A secondary benefit is a quick segmentation into hot leads (which should be delivered immediately to sales) and warm leads (which should be moved into appropriate drip campaigns).
- When: It’s no secret that the “if you build it, they will come” mentality of website building is dead. If you’re brand is strong, you will get visitor traffic, but not all traffic ends in a contact form being filled out or an immediate purchase.
- How: Setting up a retargeting campaign is a great way to keep your brand in front of your prospect when the time may not be right for them to initially convert. Typically, the home page is the easiest (and most trafficked) page to set for your retargeting campaign on with either the Google display network or Facebook. If you want to get even more targeted, identify an internal page (like Pricing or Product Tour) that could be set as the trigger for your campaign. Then, create a messaging campaign to this audience, and remember: This isn’t “creepy ad” time.
- Why: Sometimes you need to remind your prospects that you’re open for business even after they leave your site. It takes 10–15 brand impressions to get someone to act and cut through the clutter. Retargeting can get the right message to the right prospect. The more targeted your retargeting campaign is (based on the page you mark), the more targeted your message can be to improve recall or encourage action.
- When: Frankly, I am surprised that companies don’t run these campaigns more often, let alone as an automation. As with most businesses, you have grown your company based on your A-list customers. How did you get them? What makes these customers your biggest fans? How do you get more of them?
- How: Asking for the right referrals is about two things: (1) Timing and (2) Finding the right “fan” who could leverage their name or network. I usually ask for referrals 3–4 times per year, usually within a customer newsletter or a one-to-one email callout. These can easily be automated by targeting your “A” customers every six months or possibly according to a coordinated time frame based on when they purchased a product or completed a service.
- Why: Referrals are the easiest and most cost-efficient way to expand your business. As a small business, it is usually your first (and ONLY) true marketing campaign, considering you don’t have the budget for advertising campaigns, list building or a full-fledged content campaign. Social proof is key to penetrating an industry or customer base as a way to move prospects down the funnel faster during the consideration and decision phases, after all.
Make the Most of Your Marketing
As I mentioned earlier, it’s really difficult to just dip your toes into marketing automation. It takes time, resources and most importantly, a strategy. My hope was that I could help get you started with a few ready-made campaigns within buyer journey phases that could help you accelerate your sales cycle in dramatically increase your revenue.
Need a conversation? I offer a free 30-minute strategy session to help answer questions, discuss strategy or talk through a particular campaign. Schedule here. Sometimes we all need a sounding board!