- Marketing Automation - how to start? (Marketing automation to start with)
- Understand Inbound marketing first
- Is e-mail marketing dead?
What is it?
As the name indicates, automation marketing is all about how to automate marketing, based on the tools, services, mechanisms optimizing and increaseing our marketing activties. Briefly, it is about how to make your marketing strategy created by machines and robots to achieve the upward growth and a substantial business revenue. Keep it in mind that automation marketing is not spaming! Neither cold, nor inhuman.
Who is it for?
79% of the top companies that have been using marketing automation for more than two years (‘Q3 Marketing Automation Benchmark’). What is more, According to the survey SiriusDecisions ‘B-to-B Marketing Automation Study (2014), the number of companies that automated their B2B marketing activities increased 11 times comparing the same result to 2011!
Marketing Automation involves the most popular e-commerce solutions but it also harmonizes well with the elements of content marketing, e-mail marketing or generally, inbound and direct marketing.
Marketing Automation is great for:
- small and medium-sized enterprises (SME);
- companies without a dedicated IT department involved in the collection and analysis of user data;
- for those who like solutions based in the clouds;
- for those waiting for the tools easy to use, that do not require large amount of time and number of employees.
Why to use it?
We can determine some of the main purposes which automation is designed for:
- Firstly, we can better evaluate the customer’s purchasing potential through automation, and we have the ability of segmentation our target groups.
- Secondly, automated marketing helps to personalize messages.
- Thirdly, in terms of engaging users and customers with marketing automation, we can increase the interaction with the users of our website.
- The last but not least, it is all focused on increasing sales. With marketing automation we can effectively sell the products and services and thus, increase ROI.
1. Marketing Automation - how to start? (Marketing automation to start with)
If we talk about marketing automation, at the beginning it is worth looking on the data from the ‘Marketing Automation Strategies for Sustaining Success’ report. Marketo customers report that the main factor influencing their automation marketing strategy is sales increase (53%), lead nurturing (43%) and customers engagement (43%).
It is also worth adding that the biggest problem is the price. Most of the systems that support the marketing automation are willing to meet the customer’s need while offering as great numbers of features as they could with the impeccable quality.
However, it all results in higher prices, which customer absolutely despise. A conclusion arrises –costumers expect the lowest price for a good quality service.
Keep it in mind that choosing a system to automate your marketing efforts is worth taking into consideration to look not only at the price, but on the usefulness of specific functions that are offered to us.
Each website or online store is unique. Selecting a free trial is the best choice while looking for the best solution.
- Follow up the trends in automation marketing on sites like VentureBeat, or in McKinsey and Adobe studies.
- Try to understand how the marketing automation works and specify the cradle of the budget -> (How much can you spend for your campaigns and automated marketing tools support?).
- The worst trap is building a perfect strategy - never do!
- The most important is to start and streamline your campaign while gaining your experience -> there is no guide that will teach you as much as your own successes and failures.
2. Understand inbound marketing first
Inbound marketing is a form of marketing which consists of seeking new clients for your website through various communication channels and by various techniques.
Understanding the mechanism of inbound marketing is crucial in creating an automation marketing strategy.
Pay attention to:
- how you create content for your website,
- your landing pages,
- how to run and how you plan your social media,
- how you have managed your website and users analyzing so far,
The key is to learn which channels are key channels in your niche, how your competitives do it and, most importantly, what kind of actions have so far attracted the most of your customers.
- Analyze with your team what might be the best effect of your actions.
- Check how your content is seen by such tools like ahrefs.com (powerful) or buzzsumo.com (social media shares counter).
- Monitor keywords and mentions of your website in real-time through such tools as brand24.net.
- Forget about stereotypes like overestimation of social media -> do not focus all your energy on the campaign in social media -> be active, but social media do not give you such benefits for your business as it is everywhere emphasized, accoring to researches. Since we do not use them as customers, but as friends or family members.
- Pay attention to the content on your blog or website.
3. Is e-mail marketing dead?
E-mail marketing is the most popular and most effective form of marketing. Definitely not dead yet! Dashburst data shows that up to 80% of customers open up the majority of mails, even the junk ones. We live in the personalization age. E-mail marketing allows you to personalize your e-mails and send them en masse in the same way as if you sent them individually!
Adobe studies show that the rate of return on investment (ROI, Rate Over Investment) to one dollar for shipping mail is even $40. Comparing this to the cost-intensive and non-organic directories and $ 10 can save up to $327! Impressive? Of course, these are just statistics, but showing a visible difference in effectiveness between these two channels of advertising.
Now let’s have a look at survey data, showing a comparison of the most effective marketing tactics in March 2015. According to American e-commerce businesses, the most effective form of marketing is the e-mail marketing, chosen by 56% of respondents.
We love to read, send and communicate by mail in every case. You can be sure that it will not change soon.
Another thing on which you should focus you attention on, during your email automation campaign, is not to forget about movile devices. According to the ‘Top 10 email clients’ study by Adestry,we know that the most common emails are opened through:
- mobile devices (45%).
- desktop (36%).
- webmail client (19%).
How to check the effectiveness of the e-mailing campaigns?
E-mail marketing is definitively not dead. It is is just radically changing, I guess. It had to. Nowadays, we focus more and more on personalization.
Tools for marketing automation offer many opportunities. Many services that automate e-mail marketing offer not only great personalizaton, but also allow effective tracking. What is ment by that? Sending an email and seeing what your user has been doing on your site.
Start your e-mail marketing campaign -> Users click on your link or Call-To-Action button -> you can track them using marketing automation tools.
The message before being personalised seen on the desktop looks like this:
It is also worth checking how your users will see the message on a mobile device. You can already notice that if your message is intended for viewing on the desktop, it does not have to look so nice on mobile devices. Have a look on that:
Finally your personalized e-mail could have looked like this one:
- Check the Mint case that shows how they gained 700,000 subscribers and how to collect 100,000 emails in one week - try only with legal and fair practices!
- Ask the right questions.
- Build consumer personas.
- Model and test your mailing campaigns using eg. tools such as FulcrumTech.
- Personalize your days and hours of mail’s dispatch eg. you can assume that usually students reads their mail during the night, and accountants in the morning hours)
- Never ever spam!
- Do not write poor quality e-mails. If you are going to do so, it is better not to write any at all. See, how to write e-mails in a good way
- Do not forget about mobile devices.
User tracking and real-time interactions
Cooperating with e-commerce shops often includes comparing their online store revenues, number of clients etc. with the store operating in a chamber location. The questions is: how do you feel being a customer coming to an empty the store without being able to ask the seller for assistance?
The same is true for every website. The involvement of users is crucial. There are many ways to communicate with users of your site in real time and to involve users. One of the most cost-effective is the live chat.
According to Econsultancy research 83% of consumers wish to be supported when purchasing online. Live chat goes to meet these requirements. But it’s not about chatting anymore… It’s more like the laconic messaging of the early mobile era when you paid significant money for each SMS.
Technological solutions allow you to track your users in real time. This can be very useful while using live chat. Each person who comes to your site can be analyzed, as well as get an automatic, but a personalized message, which is invaluable when engaging users.
Tracking of users (User tracking)
Learn information about your clients. This way you can see:
- If your campaigns reach the appropriate audience.
- What is your user’s profile, where it comes from, how it moves on your website.
- What kind of behavior is expected from every individual user.
- Find out where your users click and thus optimize your marketing strategy (https://crazyegg.com).
- Befriend your users!
- Do not ever put a robotic-like messages!
- Do not ignore your customer feedback.
5. Marketing automation in E-commerce
Marketing Automation is a great solution for small and large e-commerce businesses. Marketing Automation helps to minimize the rate of abandonment, and to engage your customers on your website.
Most of the problems and questions from customers is repetitive and similar to the most e-commerce stores. Just pick them up to date, and learn from your own experience. The aim of e-commerce sites is to insert products into the cart and make user pay.
Automating your marketing efforts is a great solution for performing your user through the entire path of purchases and at the same time minimize the abandonment rate.
What does e-commerce need?
There are plenty of things that automation marketings comes with:
- automated chat messages
- messages based on the URL including that what comes from the user (eg. the link with the promotional code)
- personalized pop-ups
- resembling personalized e-mail messages based on activity, location or other characteristics of the user
- organization of abandoned shopping carts
- information about where they come from your customers
- ‘all forces driving human behavior’
- explanation of your business
- building communities around your products and services
With marketing automation you can lead the user from A to Z (A to Z tactique). So you'll know where you made a mistake on your e-commerce site. You start with a welcome message and then step by step you drive users actions to the point you want them to have achieved. That it is usually the purchasing and payment as the final step.
- check your oponnents,
- treat your customers better.
- do not look at e-commerce website as a normal page (it is a shop!),
- do not be pushy to your customers (be patient!).
Trigger is a message sent to the users through various channels based on their behaviors, which is intended to encourage them to specific actions (buy product, subscribe). Triggers can be called in different ways as automatic messages, proactive messages, proactive chats, targeted chats, tailored messages or triggers.
With marketing automation, you can send personalized messages to users based on their behaviors on your site, regarding preferences, needs, interests, gender, location, or eg. referals (the URL with they come from).
Very interesting and often unused option is entering users with specific links and / or pages.
"Hey from Facebook!
You get a discount, enter "facebookpromo" code!
Have a nice day!"
Each page has its own characteristics and its own rules. At the beginning, however, remember a few basic things while building your plan:
- Build a plan!
- Prepare unique welcome triggers
- Track each activity
- Smartly follow-up!
- Test your triggered events and ask your team to suggest some
- Do not immitate your competitors
- Create triggers based on customer’s behavior (customer action), but also based on user data (customer data like location, date of birth)
- Segregate your messages on the 5 types:
- welcome message - greet them nicely
- engagement message - engage them in your website and provoke their activity
- feedback message - take care of them and ask them questions - "we miss you"
- abondment message - for those who started a given activity on your site, but it is not finished
- conversion - delivering your intended action
- Analyze and optimize
- Use social proofs (reviews, your experience, your team videos)
Try to build a model to engage users by sending them triggers through various channels. Smartinsight proposed such a strategy:
Try to make them feel special like they are getting something nobody else does.
- Set Up Automated Behavioral Triggered Emails and Messages
- Keep the Message Relevant and Personal
- Schedule your triggers and make them frequent
- Do not try 100 times to send the same trigger-based message to a single user
- Do not ever treat your users like as the masses
7. How to avoid most common mistakes?
Keep in mind, while attempting to your first campaign, this advice: do not try to make it perfect! Of course, you have to put some effort into its preparation, but the most important thing is to analyze and verify its effectiveness.
"I do not know What are referrers?."
Lack of knowledge about your users is one of the main problems of most websites. Define buyer’s personas (build your customer profile and check what determines the behavior of your customer and why) as accurately as you can. Let’s give you an example:
"My website users are mainly wealthy people living in large cities in the age of 25-40 years."
It means no more, no less than nothing. Understanding your users is more complicated. See that mothers will be more sensitive to the content related in any way to the subject of children.
Check for example:
- which contents are sensitive to your users,
- what media are the best to reach them,
- what motivates them,
- what makes them more involved?
Define your exact buyers personas!
"I do not collect data, nor do I analyze. I know what's going on in my business, and I know my users."
Customer and data segmentation is one of the most important things in marketing automation. No clear strategy for the collection, storage and data analysis condemns you to the failure. Even if your e-commerce is in its infancy, yet you want to be successful and hopefully will soon be one of the leading platforms in your niche.
Another very important element is to restrict the data to the most important information you need. Data that is needed much:
- town / district
You do not need at the beginning your user’s name or house number. Of course, the more data you get, the more yout can understand your customers, until you find out what they are really interested in. At the start you can miss to collect accurate data. The time for this will come!
Carefully take care of the details!
Differ good data and poor data!
"I will not try to engage my team into campaign. I can do it myself, after all. It is only a few clicks."
The aim of marketing automation service is to make almost everything by machine. But we are not at a stage yet where the machines fare themselves. The greatest contact with your users are your employees.
Learn not only from your mistakes, but actually from their mistakes. The most common mistake of every employer is blaming employees.
As rightly noted by Blake Morgan:
"The fault is not that of the staff, it’s the leadership that don’t start with the employee experience."
Your team leads you to success!
"I hate spam. I definitely will not spam my users."
Most people think at the beginning of the marketing automation journey that automation (eg. E-mail marketing) is kind of a spam and generates news, information, communication without much impact on them.
You do not have to spam your customers! You can learn a lot, based on their behavior, reaction. Perhaps your buyer persona loves daily tips on news in your niche or you may only need to send a message containg what's going on in the company or send him an e-mail with a great article of your employee.
Do you seriously treat all e-mails arriving as a spam?
Marketing automation is not a spam. It's you who choose what it is going to be.
"Coupons became boring recently. They are no longer as effective."
There are lots of customers that in case they see a place to enter the coupons, immediately begin to intensively search the web. Remember that it is very good psychological grip.
The probability of the transaction or the action by the user who puts effort for several minutes to find a coupon for your site is much bigger! People love taking on the challenges.
Coupons can be used for any kind of business, even if you run a restaurant or you're a cobbler.
Coupons are cool.
"15% of my clients from that year came back to me"
"Attrition rate" (churn rate) is an element that can significantly improve using marketing automation systems. With elements engaging full personalization of communication with users, the probability that they will not lose is much bigger.
Keep in mind that a regular customer is a treasure, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer:
On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
Befriend your loyal customers.
"E-mail is enough."
According to the report NewVoiceMedia even 60% of customers switch contact communication because of what they do, and which businesses they have to deal with.
Offer your customers all the possible forms of contact:
- advanced live chat,
- contact form,
- provide FAQ.
Live chat seems to be the cheapest and most effective form of communication for your team and the whole business. You can easily improve communication with customers through live chat, inter alia automated messages. It is also cheaper to operate than mayother tools of communication. One agent can handle several chats simultaneously.
Implement live chat and make use of all of the data you can gather.
- KISS rule: Keep it simple, Stupid!
- Learn from your experience
- Don’t be always perfect
- Don't overautomate
8. Is it seriously efficient?
The most enjoyable part of your campaign, of course, is to check its efficiency! You will do it after you test appropriate tools and choose the right ones. Consult it with your team to set goals and start the campaign. This is not that easy, but we assure you that quite pleasant and interesting. Let's look at some actual data collected from different research centers.
According to the report Ascend P2 "Marketing Automation Strategies for Sustaining Success" from 2015, the best reflection of your actions is to study the conversion rate, says 70% of those using marketing automation.
This is definitely the fastest form of measurability of your campaign, but remember that your campaign should assume long-term goals. Which is why the analysis of traffic on your site and any activity paid by the users should be profound and often repeated.
According to Forrester Research (2014) ‘The Forrester Wave Lead-To-Revenue Managamenet Platform Vendors' marketing automation increases your sales-pipeline by 10%. This indicator, of course, have to be measured in the long term.
The report PR 20/20 (2014) claims that marketing automation high performers have an average of 60% higher lead-to-sale conversion rating. These high performer rate costs of customer acquistion (COCA) 1,4x stronger.
While The Lenskold Group in its report, "Lead-Generation Marketing Effectiveness Study" collects some interesting conclusions, that companies that have implemented elements of marketing automation, are doing better than those, who have not implemented any element of marketing automation.
The Lenskold Group stated, among others, that among the companies that used automation marketing:
- “45% regularly repurpose content for efficiency, compared with 28% of companies without marketing automation
- 54% capture intelligence for the sales team, compared to 25% without marketing automation
- 49% customize content to the Buyer Journey stages, compared to 21% without marketing automation
- 59% can use intelligent targeting to trigger content, compared to 17% without marketing automation”
9. Wrapping up
Now, the most important question: what you want to achieve through marketing automation? We approach this question a little from the other side, because the information that we offered here definitely will help you in the demarcation of your campaign objectives. And hopefully will help you choosing the best solution.
In our opinion, a very important part associated with the marketing automation performance is the ability to integrate other marketing technologies platforms.
The complexity of technology integration is one of the most troublesome obstacles to the passage on the way to success, as indicated by 50% of companies. Only 25% of companies have impletmented advanced, marketing system integrations. Nearly as many (22%) have not integrated their marketing technologies at all.
Technology integration complexity is the most challenging obstacle to success, 50% of companies Indicate. The result Is That only 25% of companies have extensively integrated marketing technology Their disparate systems. Nearly as many (22%) have not integrated Their marketing technologies at all (Ascend2 "Marketing Technology Strategy" (August 2015).
While VB Research Insight "Marketing Automation, how to make the right buying decision" (2015), shows that despite the fact that most of the tools for automating such as *:
- Hubspot (from $ 200)
- InfusionSoft Pricing (from $ 199)
- Act-On Pricing ($ 500 per 1000 contacts)
- SalesFusion Pricing ($ 750)
- Marketo ($ 800)
- * the guide prices
They are not the cheapest, customers are really satisfied with them.
Again, let's go back to the research center Ascend2 (2015), which draws attention to the fact that 63% of companies, which to some extent achieved their goals after their campaigns, decide to enlarge the budget for such tools.
The share of the use of marketing automation systems most visited websites by Datanyze:
Marketing automation is the future. Its development will certainly go hand in hand with the development of Internet of things and Big data. Before you know it, your marketing efforts will have to be really intense to stand out from the competition. We live in a data age. It means something.
If you're new to marketing automation, and you have a small or medium sized business, start with small tools, link them and integrate them.
At the beginning you can set your campaign as:
"Learn about me" so you start to get to know their new users better.
- Start your first campaign!
- Use your experience and the experience of other companies to more quickly achieve your goal!
- Use case studies to prove your point.
- Be prepared for a variety of problems that you might encounter.