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What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is a software that automates your marketing actions. There are so many marketing tasks that are repetitive, like emails, social media, and various website actions. A marketing automation tool serves to make these actions easier.There are too many marketers who believe (and rather strongly) that using a marketing automation tool will give them a steady inflow of leads instantly. Although marketing automation tools promise lead generation, but that can happen only when you have enough fertile grounds for your leads to blossom.

Marketing automation tool needs implementation, deployment, and strategies to function

Many believe marketing automation is a tool that will help them bring leads. Yes and no. Marketing automation tool can help you bring a lead but not unless you create a proper strategy to make that happen. Most marketers think that buying an automation tool will instantly change the face of their business with not much effort from their end. Sorry, but that’s not how it works.

Marketing automation involves a series of functions, planning, and strategizing. It requires deployment, implementation, and proper strategies. For a marketing automation strategy to succeed, you need various marketing features integrated within one system, like lead scoring, lead management, ad orchestration, email campaigns, mobile marketing, social media marketing, et al.

Marketing Automation Strategy

 

Before your tool shifts to the automation mode, you need to feed in all the conditions, features, integrations, set up and implement it, manage your servers, and set a proper marketing goal (and budget). Without these, you will never get desired results.

Gone are the days when customers would discover new products over a 30-second television ad. Today, customers get to know about new products via emails on their phones while traveling to work, or via text messages while paying the bill at a shopping mart or through display ads while browsing through their social media platforms. To capture the attention of your ideal customers, your marketing strategy must encompass multiple marketing channels. If your marketing department is not focussing on lead nurturing across multiple channels, you are failing to provide the expected customer experience.

Brands that embrace an automation tool to increase customer loyalty and to drive in revenue will ensure that the implementation is done correctly and the marketing strategies are in place. Consumers need to experience a seamless journey across all channels right from the time they visit your website. Only a marketing automation tool can help you provide that.

When and how does marketing automation help?

Most marketers end up picking a marketing automation tool for a negligible number of existing leads and try to squeeze more out of it. The result is that they end up being highly disappointed and conclude that marketing automation is not right for them.

There are marketers who don’t reach this conclusion instantly. They try to mend matters by buying email lists and sending out unsolicited emails. Although list-buying looks like a quick fix, the result boils down to be the same: low ROI and disappointment.

A marketing automation tool ideally enables a business to create an unparalleled buying experience for their leads with personalized content and marketing tactics. It nurtures prospects to convert into leads, share useful content and resources to turn them into customers, and finally delight these customers to retain them. This type of marketing not only creates a good buying experience, it also opens up doors for more referrals from existing happy customers. When done correctly, marketing automation can incur excellent return on investment.

Marketing Automation - Lead Score

Email Marketing Automation

Dynamic list segmentation helps in bucketing your prospects and leads properly. Once you have your leads segmented, you start with your automation campaigns. Emails offers a one-to-one relationship building for brands. Creating personalised and relevant email marketing automation campaigns help businesses bridge the gap with their target consumers. You can create automated email workflows within a marketing automation tool by setting specific behavioural triggers. Based on these triggers, you can decide whether you want to start a drip campaign or trigger an autoresponse. Using a powerful call-to-action button within your email or embedding a quick form can help you capture leads faster.

Lead scoring

Each lead follows a different pathway. One lead can go back and forth from your homepage to pricing page and back to the feature pages. Another lead can visit the homepage first, followed by the blog, then the pricing page, and then might just quit. These two leads can have similar total lead score, but by tracing their browsing pathway it is evident that the former lead is more interested in your brand. Lead scoring refers to assigning specific activity scores (including negative scores) to your leads. Based on how they engage, your marketing automation tool will keep a tab on the cumulative score within a specified time span. Leads that have the highest score are termed as the most potential ones.

Chat Bots

Integrating AI to make communications more personalised and real-time, businesses are using chatbots that are very intelligent. They talk and function like a real humans, almost blurring the line between robots and man. A chat bot can resolve issues without the need of human interference. Not just this, you can trust your chat bot to give you regular updates on how many leads acquired and such status. They are becoming popular because they trigger a sense of urgency and shares timely reminders and links directly to the user’s Facebook Messenger, SMS, etc. If your users are on messenger apps, chatbots can really save a lot of manual work for you.

Geolocation Campaigns

Geo Location Campaigns can be used to segment your list based on the location. Not only does it allows you to select the area you wish to send ads but also gives you an option to exclude the regions you think wouldn’t be useful to you. For instance, you’d not want to wish all your leads ‘Happy new Year’ at the same time, because with global leads you might end up wishing new year to few leads who are yet to step into 1st January! Using the geolocation feature can help you schedule your campaign based on the location of your leads, so that all your leads enjoy your new year wishes exactly at the right time.

Marketing automation: what it is, and what it is not?

 

A marketing automation tool requires a fertile ground to function. When marketers buy email lists as a last resort to increase the ROI, it backfires badly. This is because you are buying email lists (which may or may not be verified). Add to this, you are sending out unsolicited emails to these leads who have never agreed to receive any emails from you. In other words, you are spamming their inboxes. The future of irrelevant and spam messages always end up in getting blocked or being reported by the receiver. If any of these happen, then your email reputation gets hurt badly. Overall, things get more messed up and your ROI remains low.

So, the first heads up is: You need a proper inbound marketing strategy to get things rolling. You might want to scale up quickly but marketing is a matter a patience. It will only pay-off when done correctly.

There is another scenario that marketers often get stuck in. Many marketers do have top-notch leads filling up the funnel. Yet they see low ROI at the end of the day. Why?

Let’s trace backward. Low ROI is a result of marketing automation done incorrectly. When you are choosing to implement a marketing automation software, you must be aware whether that tool will give you desired results. Not all tools are perfect for all businesses. You have to don your analytical hat to understand whether your top-notch leads, when converted to customers, are enough for your marketing automation to function and show results. This brings us back to square one. Even if you have high-quality leads but in a very few numbers as compared to the market share, your excellent marketing automation strategy will not work.

Key Takeaway: You need a larger database for marketing automation to function in the bottom part of your funnel.

NB: Many marketers believe that buying email lists can help in creating a large database quickly. But you already know how that will take your business ROI downhill in no-time.

Know your consumers’ point of view as well

Your consumers are well-informed today. You cannot dish out any information and expect them to acknowledge it.

Businesses want to know what their consumers are looking for and give them exactly that at the right moment. Marketing has evolved to become a practice of serving the right information to the right prospect at the right moment. If that moment is gone, you lose that prospect. It has evolved to become smart and targeted.

Hence, it is no surprise that marketing automation is all about behaviour-based marketing practices. The core functionality of a marketing automation tool lies in consumer behaviour tracking.

When a sales rep connects with a lead right when that leads want to talk, there are more chances of creating conversions. However, salespeople come into the picture a lot later in the present marketing funnel.

 

Understanding and implementing marketing automation

A marketing automation tool requires a fertile ground to function. When marketers buy email lists as a last resort to increase the ROI, it backfires badly. This is because you are buying email lists (which may or may not be verified). Add to this, you are sending out unsolicited emails to these leads who have never agreed to receive any emails from you. In other words, you are spamming their inboxes. The future of irrelevant and spam messages always end up in getting blocked or being reported by the receiver. If any of these happen, then your email reputation gets hurt badly. Overall, things get more messed up and your ROI remains low.

So, the first heads up is: You need a proper inbound marketing strategy to get things rolling. You might want to scale up quickly but marketing is a matter a patience. It will only pay-off when done correctly.

There is another scenario that marketers often get stuck in. Many marketers do have top-notch leads filling up the funnel. Yet they see low ROI at the end of the day. Why?
Let’s trace backward. Low ROI is a result of marketing automation done incorrectly. When you are choosing to implement a marketing automation software, you must be aware whether that tool will give you desired results. Not all tools are perfect for all businesses. You have to don your analytical hat to understand whether your top-notch leads, when converted to customers, are enough for your marketing automation to function and show results. This brings us back to square one. Even if you have high-quality leads but in a very few numbers as compared to the market share, your excellent marketing automation strategy will not work.

Key Takeaway: You need a larger database for marketing automation to function in the bottom part of your funnel.

NB: Many marketers believe that buying email lists can help in creating a large database quickly. But you already know how that will take your business ROI downhill in no-time.

Dealing with Corporate Leads: Account-based marketing

When you do B2B  inbound marketing, you generate leads of three types – corporate/enterprise leads, medium-sized businesses, and small businesses. The enterprise section comprises of about 4-5% of your entire leads generated. These are the leads that expect a leader-to-leader communication.

Corporates have multiple decision makers sitting in various hierarchies. You cannot send regular email campaigns or push campaigns to get them converted. For these leads, you need a separate marketing, termed as account-based marketing.

Most automation tools come with account-based marketing feature, giving the tool a marketing edge. Corporates require specific detailed and to-the-point emails from a leader (like a CTO or VP or CEO). They need crisp PPTs and direct communication. Account-based marketing merges with an automation tool with features like lead scoring. Since there are multiple decision makers, it is important to monitor the cumulative score for an organization as well as individual scores of each of these decision makers. It wouldn’t be wrong to state that at this level, the VP of sales team might actually take the lead in the buyer’s cycle.

Marketing Automation - Dynamic Content

Lead Management

Lead management begins right from the time a prospect gets converted into a lead. The first step is segmentation. Lead management is not just about nurturing of leads, it is also about managing the entire process – handling leads within the CRM, creating automation campaigns, monitoring and tracking leads, and analyzing lead behavior through reports. Lead nurturing is not a one-day wonder. It takes a lot of time and monitoring. Features like lead scoring and lead tracking helps in creating more targeted campaigns.

Dynamic Content

If you are looking to create an automation strategy that is “Amazon-like”, then dynamic content can be a great aid. Can you recall any emails or push notifications from Amazon that did not align to your buying or browsing pattern? Correct, that has never really happened. Using dynamic content gives you ample scope to nurture your leads with content that is relevant and based on your lead’s behavior, location, preferences, and other such factors. You might send the same ‘sale’ message to two of your leads, but based on their purchase activities in the past, few wordings may alter.

Ad Orchestration Sync

Send targeted ads to your leads, but with a twist. You can add constraints or a set of certain conditions with respect to the prospects you are going to target. Imagine what happens when your social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages gets synced with the marketing automation tool? Your ads will be visible to only those leads who match your pre-set criteria. You can also segment your leads based on their behaviour or purchase pattern, and then show relevant ads. This saves time, energy, and gives better ad outreach results. We termed this as ‘ad orchestration sync’.

Mobile Marketing

We are now living in the era of Mobile devices and almost everyone owns a smartphone. You cannot simply ignore the increase in mobile usage particularly when 40% of users’ internet time is spent on mobile devices. Mobile Marketinginvolves the mobile ads that appear within your cell phone. With mobile marketing you can design personalized marketing campaigns based on your customer’s interests. It can either be in the form of SMS text messaging, MMS multimedia messaging, through push notifications, and through mobile web sites.

Integrations

Marketing automation tools offer integrations with various websites and mobile apps, CRMs, content management systems, social media platforms, third-party apps, and various other plugins. With several integrations that are ready-to-use within your marketing automation platform, you can reach out to your target leads and customers seamlessly. The most noted is the integration with a bi-direction CRM – where leads captured are automatically fed into the CRM and conversation records/engagement details are synced with marketing automation tool for tracking and monitoring.

Hybrid multi-channel marketing

Lead nurturing is not about restricting your marketing to just one channel. If you are doing that, it simply means that you are not listening to your leads 70% of the time. Consumers flock to multiple channels to know about a brand. They participate in community discussions to understand if a brand is perfect for their needs. If you are relying only on emails to connect with your target leads, you are missing out on most of your leads. So what you need to do? Opt for multi-channel marketing approach. Nurture your leads across multiple marketing channels simultaneously, like emails, landing pages, SMS, push notifications, social media, mobile and website.

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