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What is Marketing Automation?

What is Marketing Automation?

Beyond • November 23, 2017

By now, you must have heard about marketing automation. Some may see it as a buzz-word of the moment, and some others may be taking it very seriously, but what is it and why does it matter? Marketing Automation refers to a piece of software that allows you to (as its name says) automate sales and marketing actions or processes. The scope of actions can range from: welcoming your new subscribers to even retargeting leads that may have gone cold. How far you go with it will usually depend on the nature of your business, and your creativity. What is true is that Marketing Automation makes repetitive marketing and sales tasks be performed with little effort. A statement that marketers agree with, according to VB insight, Three-quarters of marketers say the biggest benefit of automation is saving time. Other benefits include increased customer engagement (68%), more timely communications (58%) and increased opportunities such as upselling (58%). What can you do with it? I use this phrase more than I’d like to, but: The possibilities are endless. Nurturing your customers helps them be more engaged with your business or product and Offering them what you know is needed to convert them at the right time can be a game changer for your business or product. Actions like turning a one-time customer into a repeat customer, upselling, cross-selling, cycle-based selling, etc. Are strategies that if automated will not only give you more time to focus on getting new leads but always keep the machine going. Are you In need of customer feedback? You can take your marketing game to the next level by giving users that completed your survey a special ‘thank you’ offer, and even think of a reward program if they share your content. Conducting awesome strategies like these without automation would require a large amount of time and leave other important strategies neglected in the background. FOMA Fear of Marketing Automation in some marketers is very real and sometimes understandably so. Usually, when you hear of all the great things you can do with MA it can be very exciting, but for some, it can quickly get intimidating especially once they start thinking of the time they have to set aside to define things such as content and customer flows. Overcoming this fear is actually very simple, once you find out that: Four in five users increased their leads by using marketing automation software and almost as many (77%) saw an increase in conversions. That is a lot of saved time for sales and marketing. So, this fear may be depriving you of reaping great benefits that you could be in need of. Should you invest in Marketing Automation? Can Marketing Automation be beneficial to your business? In very simple terms: yes it can. Now, Should you invest in marketing automation? That’s for you to answer, but ask yourself before you decide: Do you see an opportunity to grow indicators such as the number of qualified leads you generate? Do you think you can get more from your customers by engaging in a smarter way with them? Do you see steps of your sales funnel that are neglected and need nurturing? A smart thing to do is to calculate your Customer Lifetime Value to help you understand how much you should invest in acquiring new customers and retaining them, our friends at Shopify did a great job on making a step by step guide on how to figure that number out. At Benchmark, if you already use Benchmark Email Pro you will have access to our automation platform: Automation Pro at no extra cost, all templates, all actions. We believe in how much it will benefit our customers that we have created a series of live weekly webinars where we answer all questions you may have about Automation Pro and marketing automation in general. Want to waste no time? You can chat with a specialist today.


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11 Marketing Automation Terms You Should Know

11 Marketing Automation Terms You Should Know

Practical Marketer • September 21, 2017

As we’ve said it before during our Automation Fridays weekly workshops: Marketing Automation is the next frontier of Digital Marketing. This means if you haven’t dabbled in automation yet, let me tell you, you’re already late. Perhaps you have already come across some terms that you are not familiar with. And let’s be honest, in SaaS products things can get pretty jargony pretty quick. So, if you are curious about marketing automation and want to keep up with some of the industry terms, here are 11 concepts we think you should know: 1. Trigger / Entry Point No, this doesn’t refer to the feeling you get when someone chews too loud when they are eating right next to you (or is that just me?). A trigger is where an automation starts, based on certain actions, like adding contacts to a particular list, sending out an email and even based on actions taken by a contact or a group of them. 2. Visitor A visitor is an anonymous user who comes to your site. Your goal should be to have them at least provide their email address. Once you have an address, you have yourself a contact or lead. 3. Condition Inside your automation, you can define conditions to be set for each of the actions you want your automation to perform. That means you can segment contacts based on their engagement with emails you previously sent in the same automation or segments they are already a part of or even their engagement with your site. [caption id=\"attachment_7311\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1024\"] These are some of the conditions you can use when creating a series of emails to communicate with your contacts using Automation Pro.[/caption] 4. Contact, Lead or Prospect In essence, which of the three terms you use depends on the industry and division you are in, but what it means for you is that once a visitor has provided contact information, they become your subscriber. 5. List In Marketing Automation, a list is the collection of contacts or email addresses that will allow you to communicate with them. 6. Segment A segment is the result of the process of organizing your list. That means separating your contacts and target audience into buckets of specific needs, preferences and even desired experiences. [caption id=\"attachment_7312\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1024\"] To achieve a higher success rate based on your goals, segment your contacts to ensure each email is hitting the best possible target audience. This keeps your email automation relevant.[/caption] 7. Drip A drip campaign is what sometimes an email automation is referred as, what both of these concepts are is a series of programmed and timely emails. 8. Journey / Email Flow Every automation you start should be goal oriented, so a flow is what you would layout as the stages or steps your automation would take to reach a specific goal. 9. Goal As mentioned above each automation should have a clear desired result, some of the most common goals are: Onboarding: teach users how to use your product Engagement: to encourage your users to interact with your company Retention: To keep customers coming back Re-engagement: to get customers or users to come back and start using your product again if they stopped But really, there are a lot of possibilities. 10. Signup form / email box You should have one of these on your site already, but if not, a signup form will allow you to gather visitor’s contact information, to be able to create campaigns geared towards them. 11. Automation Pro The most practical tool out there to manage and create your marketing automation (What? You thought I wouldn’t take the chance talk about our awesome tool?). Click here to learn more. So there you have it, Marketing Automation is becoming more and more ubiquitous each day. So, this is a good start for you to have an idea of what all the industry lingo means. Are there any other concepts you are still wondering about related to automation? Drop us a line in the comments section below, and we’ll make sure to answer any questions.


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How Can I Integrate Social Media With My Emails?

How Can I Integrate Social Media With My Emails?

Practical Marketer • November 9, 2016

In this day and age when we talk about marketing—Digital and Physical—we know that content is a key component to drive results that help us reach our goals. In terms of tactics, we know that Email marketing has an ROI of $40 for each $1 invested and that social media is a powerful weapon when you need to get your content distributed. Another key for said success lays in having a Customer Experience orientation, meaning: creating an environment that allows your customers and the ones that aren’t yet, have the same experience each time they come in contact with your brand, no matter the channel. To achieve that, you need to combine different communication channels and media in an effective and creative way that maximizes your results. But, how do you start? 1. Define Where You’re Standing This is the year 2016 (no, really!), at this point of the game you should know that your email campaigns should contain at least links to your social profiles and that you should have an integration in place to let people sign up to your newsletter from your Facebook Fan Page,  if you’re not doing any of the two, ask yourself: where do you want to start? and what you need to get it rolling? A few ideas to get you started on the basics would be: Insert social media channel icons in your email Add a signup form to your Facebook fan page Define the social media goals that Email can help you achieve and vice versa Define which pieces of your content work better in any of these channels [caption id=\"attachment_2099\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1400\"] An example of social media buttons in an email campaign.[/caption] 2. Facebook ‘Like’ Button Embedded in Your Emails Invite your subscribers to click the Facebook ‘Like’ button for your content, without them having to leave your email campaign. This makes it easier for them to: share your content, refer you to potential new clients and even launch contests based on the total of Likes and Shares for the content you send them. [caption id=\"attachment_2102\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1200\"] The steps to include a \'Like\' Button in your email with Benchmark.[/caption] 3. Upload Your Lists to Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter A highly powerful method, to not only get in contact with your subscribers but to also understand them and get more from them, is uploading your lists to different social media channels. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and others, allow you to upload your email lists and the possibilities of what you can achieve are as endless as your creativity, some ideas you can try: Create targeted ad campaigns to people that are already interested in your brand Create groups or lists of people so you can send targeted messages and special offers Connect with your clients and understand their online behavior, that way you can keep improving their Customer Experience [caption id=\"attachment_2100\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1400\"] Uploading a contact list to LinkedIn.[/caption] 4. Integrate Your Email With Your Social Media Channels Although there are integrations that automatically tweet or post your emails to your social channels when you send them, there are template integrations that pull your latest posts and data from your social profiles, making it easier for your followers to catch up on your social media activities right inside their inbox. [caption id=\"attachment_2101\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1400\"] Benchmark Email\'s social media template integrations.[/caption] Wrapping up So there you have it, whether you are an experienced marketer or someone who is just getting started you should know that the possibilities are endless especially in the digital world, I would love to hear your ideas and how you have integrated social and email or other questions you might have.


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How Do I Make Sure My Emails Are Mobile Friendly?

How Do I Make Sure My Emails Are Mobile Friendly?

Practical Marketer • August 19, 2016

How many of you start the day by waking up and then instantly start reaching for your phone (by reaching I mean if it’s not already under your pillow)? I know I do. Certainly the fact that our smartphones are such a huge part of our lives explains the data that shows that 56% of the email opens come from mobile devices according to Litmus. So yes, mobile opens are at an impressive 56% overall, with webmail taking 2nd place (22%) and desktop placing 3rd (17%). If you’re already thinking of ways to make your email be spotlight ready and most importantly results ready for mobile, here’s some advice you should follow. Before we start, I’d like to add a note here, as with everything: Data should be your ultimate decision-making aid before you go all out with these awesome improvements. You should check your email reports to study your subscribers and learn which device they are using the most to open your emails. Now let’s get started! Look Great Everywhere, Always Responsive design is such a trending topic and rightfully so. In short, what a responsive design does is display your content properly no matter how someone views it or the device that’s used to access it. Benchmark Email offers an Email Designer that automatically makes your emails responsive for you, so you don’t have to worry about more complex approaches like fluid or scalable design (apologies if that comes off as sales-y but I had to mention we’ve already done all the legwork for you). [caption id=\"attachment_2310\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1400\"] An example of a single email design being displayed correctly on multiple devices.[/caption] Short Subject Lines The length of your subject line should be optimized for mobile no doubt, however, you should know that there’s a slight variation between email clients (iOS mail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc.) and how much of your subject line they display. A common desktop inbox displays about 60 characters of a subject line while mobile applications show around 25 to 30 characters, So 40 characters or less would be a good rule of thumb for your subject lines. Make sure that the most important sentence in your subject like is placed first. [caption id=\"attachment_2311\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1400\"] Subject lines well-crafted for mobile.[/caption] Visible Call To Action (CTA) Your CTAs should be visible enough for your subscribers to find and to act on them. Buttons are a bulletproof industry tactic that lets your subscribers engage with your campaigns easily. To make them mobile friendly place them near the top. Make sure that you convey why any subscriber should follow that link and use verbs that describe what they will do when they click it. [caption id=\"attachment_2312\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1400\"] A simple and easy-to-click CTA.[/caption] No Tiny Fonts Reading a piece of text with a font under 12 pixels is already hard on a desktop for some people. A good rule of thumb would be to keep all your paragraphs and CTAs above that mark, making your content more readable on the smaller screens. Images Images and email are a vast subject and one you should review in order to obtain the best results. For mobile, you should be making sure that your images stay small in size (anything above 100kb will start adding uploading time). However, there are other factors to consider to start painting a picture: some email clients only display images from verified sending addresses and others just don’t display images automatically until permission to display them has been granted. Here’s a simple checklist to have images optimized for mobile devices: To work around the aforementioned image display situation include alt text (alternative text) for all images. You can do so through Benchmark’s Email Designer in the image option panel. This text should be a short description of  what the image is about. Even with alt text in place, don’t include CTAs or important messages in images. Instead, make your images a visual support for your text and the overall message of your campaign. Make sure your images don’t go over 600px wide. That width will make your email display correctly on mobile even if it isn\'t responsive. [caption id=\"attachment_2313\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1400\"] Using images while keeping mobile in mind.[/caption] That’s All, For Now These 5 points should help you get started pretty easily on your newfound mobile strategy. However, if you have more questions or tips you think are important to share please add them below in the comments section.


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