Tags: Automation

Top 5 Email Marketing Automation Triggers You Should Know

Top 5 Email Marketing Automation Triggers You Should Know

Practical Marketer • March 23, 2018

Over the years, marketers continued to use “spray and pray” email marketing tactics. The basic idea is to create a killer email list, send out the same message to the masses of people, hope and pray that someone will notice them and their hard work will prove its value. Regretfully, this tactic in email marketing is counter-productive. Sending spam can damage the reputation of your company and ruin relationships with your potential clients. Do you know that 90% of UK customers have unsubscribed from retail emails last year because of too many ham-fisted emails? I guess you don’t want to suffer from the same problem, and, conversely, you want to triple your sales. Instead of sending mass “one-size-fits-all: emails” focus on your audience, on their needs and behavior. Do it with marketing automation. For example, with the triggered emails. Those nurtured or operational emails are sent in response to a certain interaction with your website or your email program such as email opens, web-form filled, whitepaper download, etc. While triggered emails are often complex and highly customized, they work incredibly well. Due to specific user behavior or an event, a marketing automation tool sends out a personalized message at the right time to crack their problem. According to Smart Insights, triggered emails reach 71% higher open rates and 102% higher click-through rates compared to general email newsletters. Here are five email marketing triggers that help your business increase conversion rates and customer experience: 1. Welcome Emails The welcome email is an old school autoresponder sent immediately after an event such as a sign-up, the end of a free trial or a purchase occurs. Those messages look something like - “thanks for signing up” or “here is your login info” and are a huge indicator of user status. This type of email triggers helps you establish connections with new subscribers, give more information about your business (the guide how to use a product or service, details about your customer rewards program, etc.), ask them to introduce themselves, and send useful resources based on their interests. To make users feel comfortable with your business and build brand trust, create and send out more personalized welcome emails. For example, you can send a message from a personal Customer Engagement Manager. Take a look at the welcome email from SE Ranking: Welcome emails should look compelling and make a positive impact on your subscribers. Add more value to your message, and your client will be agreeably surprised about your care. Here are some more good examples of welcome triggered emails that will touch your feelings: 2. Nurturing Emails Customers want different content at different times throughout the buying cycle. The main objective of these emails is not to promote your product or service but help customers get what they want based on what they’ve done - deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. The advantage of nurturing emails is the opportunity to establish an open communication channel that cuts two ways. Customers can give you constructive and valuable feedback and ask questions, and you can better understand your customers and their needs. Once you deliver your emails into the real world, you can find out what works and what doesn’t work. Just keep testing and learning your emails like subject lines, timing or copy to make the best use of them. Let’s say you have a SaaS product. You can set up a range of automated nurturing emails educate your users about your features or to promote some updates. For example, SE Ranking is sending out a chain of triggered emails to help users understand better how their key features can help complete SEO tasks. It helps their customers find out more about the features and how to use them properly for their business. 3. Retention Emails According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to a new lead is between 5-20%. That is increased to 60-70% for the probability of selling to existing customers. Your team is constantly improving the product and enticing customers to make another purchase. That’s where retention emails come into play. These emails are intended to engage your clients, especially where they stay inactive or doesn’t take full advantage of your service or product. It is critical to have something to offer them and use the opportunity to communicate. If you want to make them happy and offer more value for their money, you can show what they are missing out via automated retention emails. Here are good examples of retention emails: Shopping cart abandonment emails. For e-Commerce, shopping cart abandonment is a huge problem. Why not customize a system to entice and get your potential clients back to your website? You can use the following ways to do this 1. Give them an incentive to return, include images and a description of your products. 2. Offer discounts and show cheaper alternative products with a subject line “Similar Products”, etc. 3. Create a good email design and add your brand logo. Display ratings, reviews, or even social proof. Send friendly reminders. Friendly reminders are a good way to retrain your clients. For example, if a customer’ credit card or a product’s subscription is about to expire, you can let them know that they need to update it. Transactional emails. This type of triggered email is not only based on a transaction. It contains all the essential information to push upsells and cross-sells. It can be an order status information, service request updates, shipping confirmation, etc. To show some care and love, you can add extra value to your email. For example: Offer additional items that might interest customers Provide useful links to community forums Give answers to FAQ Share guides and tips on how to use products or services Invite them to contact you through social media networks Note: the primary goal is the transaction, but additionally you can include this info to cross-sell and upsell your products. Reactivate your lapsed customers. There is a type of customers who have made the order from you only once or twice but then dropped out from returning customers. The recent Return Path survey revealed that the phrase “miss you” reached 13% read rate, and the words “come back” reached 12.7% read rate. Deliver them a nudging email with the words like “Miss You” and give a discount or coupon to stimulate the returning orders. Good ideas for powerful reminders: New products updates Updates for products out of stock Seasonal products reminders Refill orders Offer similar products Give a discount if customers don’t re-order Personalize emails creatively 4. Special Occasion Emails Customers are the basis of any business. To retain them, you need to reward their loyalty, and special occasions are ideal for delivering personalized automated emails triggered based on the certain criterion. There are two types of special occasions: birthdays, holidays, anniversaries in customers’ lives and the occasions commemorated by your company or for clients’ sake, follow-up appointments, reminders. In some cases, it can be easy to gather birthdays, anniversaries and other special dates. But sometimes, you need to figure out a way to collect this data. You can create special requests, make surveys or use a dedicated form approach. If you ask for such personal information, you should motivate subscribers by showing a great benefit or offering an award. 5. Product Review Emails This type of “ask” emails is very simple and shows how important customers’ opinions are. It is important to intromit personality into the email. Reviews are useful for your business in two ways. First, you will get more feedback about your product or your services that can help boost your sales. Even negative reviews are good as they help you to make your products better. Secondly, once people come back to review your product, they are more likely to place another order from you. You can even give a coupon or discount in exchange for a review. TripAdvisor uses personalized reports to encourage users open and read their emails with an eye towards contributing to the community. Conclusion Triggered emails make up a low percentage of overall email volume. Even with low volume, well-planned campaigns have a marked impact on sales getting from email marketing. Triggered emails can run on auto-pilot and help generate more revenue over time. Thoughtfully designed emails can break new ground, increase sales and better serve customers. Especially, they work well for e-commerce business. You can perform different experiments with triggered emails to figure out what works best for your business.

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6 Automation Rules to Skyrocket Your Email Marketing Performance

Beyond • March 12, 2018

Email marketing is surely the most challenging yet rewarding path towards riches. Every type of business, no matter whether it’s a big brand or a small business, must develop and nurture a close relationship with its customers. And because our current marketplace is slowly becoming 100% digital, email communication is and will continue to be the most effective method of building solid connections with your clients and customers. However, to perform an effective email marketing campaign, you should perfectly understand all of your options. Moreover, you need to grasp the basics of email automatization, which includes several important aspects that can differentiate a winning and a losing campaign. In today’s post, we’re going to focus on automation rules, one of the most intriguing and challenging features that every respectable email autoresponder offers. In case you’re not very familiar with the term, email automation rules are programmed cause-and-effect conditions that you set up according to your wishes. For example: if X customer buys Y product, he will be moved to List B, and he’ll start receiving new emails. By properly automating your email marketing, you’ll tap into great benefits that’ll allow you to simplify your work and cut the working hours. Well, that’s what today’s post is all about. Pay attention and add your twists. Lastly, make sure that you take action! Topic Automation Primary Triggers: Offer Downloads and/or Website Visits A business may sell different products that solve different problems for different customers. In this case, you should develop a different email sequence for each of the niche-related subjects that you’ll develop content about. So let’s say that your business’ main audience is comprised of dog owners. Obviously, through your content, you’ll address different problems and challenges (dog health, dog nutrition, dog training). Well, some of these topics may not concern a big part of your list, but it may concern a minority that is eager to see more. In this case, you’ll need to create a topic automation rule that’ll separate your email audience, making it easier for you to send the proper content to the proper prospects. So. The simplest way to divide your email list and prompt the proper automated email sequences is to use a form submission that allows your prospect to choose the information they wish to receive in the future. The alternative would be to develop different free bonuses such as e-books, webinars, or podcasts around specific subjects and use them to understand your prospects’ genuine interests. So if one of your prospects chooses to download your e-book about “50 Dog Health Issues You May Not Be Aware Of”, then your “Dog Health” email sequence should be triggered, sending him emails that are only related to dog health and no other subject. New Subscription Welcome Email Primary Trigger: Opt-In to Your Website or Blog “One of the essential rules of email marketing revolves around building solid, long-lasting relationships with your customers. The best way to do that is to start on the right foot and give your prospect the right impression.” – Johana Pierce, Marketing Specialist at EssayGeeks.co.uk. Indeed, as Johana notes, the beginning of any prosperous business-to-customer relationship is heavily influenced by the first impression that the brand leaves. One of the most commonly used automation rules in the email marketing is the delivery of an automated welcome email to every new person that subscribes to a brand’s list. To make your subscribers’ experience even better, you should develop personalized welcome emails for each of your different automated sequences. By leveraging this automation rule, you can let every new subscriber (of each sequence) understand what content he’ll receive in the future emails that he’ll receive from you. Moreover, you can use the welcoming email to thank them for joining in, but also for allowing them to readjust their subscription preferences. Lastly, your welcome email might present the best content pieces you’ve ever published, serving as an introduction to the value you promise to provide in the future. Example: Prospect-to-Customer Transition Welcome E-mail Primary Trigger: Purchase When one of your prospects converts and buys a product or service, he will become your customer. Create another automation rule that sends another welcome email to every prospect that has bought. Let him know that he’s now part of a different email sequence that will focus on new content. By acknowledging the fact that your customers have made a move, you can improve your relationship with them and improve their loyalty towards your brand. Moreover, you can also lead your new customers to detailed training materials that’ll help them understand and use your products or services. Example: Super Prospects Sequence Primary Trigger: Strong User Activity A super prospect is a subscriber who is highly active on your website, opens most of your emails, and downloads most of your freebies. In short, he’s super interested in what your site and email sequence have to offer, but somehow, he hasn’t managed to buy something from you. To turn these super prospects into customers, you could develop a dynamic automated sequence that responds to different triggers: X number of visits to your websites within a specific timeframe X% email open rates X% email clickability rates Form submissions Engagement on social media posts (likes/shares/comments) The “X” element is the number you decide on your own.For example, if a person visits your website ten times per week or if he opens 60% of your emails, you can consider him a super prospect and move him to your “Super Sequence.” Throughout this “super” automated sequence, you can approach these people differently. Use the feedback you’ve got from your analytics and approach these super subscribers differently. Your goal is to finally turn them into customers, so making your content a little more “salesy” might be a good option. Example: Hi, I’ve noticed that you’ve paid particular interest in X and Y subject and that you’ve also done A, B, C, actions. I’m wondering if I could help you, so make sure you reply this email and let me know what exactly do you need. P.S. I’ve added you to my “special list,” a place where I reward my most active subscribers with X, Y, Z. Make sure you join this goldmine place by clicking _____(link). Re-Engagement Sequence Primary Trigger: Inactivity Many of your email contacts may suddenly become inactive. In fact, some of them might be inactive right from the beginning of the interaction, so they have no place in your active email sequences. Luckily, every professional email automation software allows you to “reawaken” your inactive prospects by placing them in a separate, automated sequence, as a result of specific triggers that you choose. For example, some of these conditions (triggers) could be: X amount of time since the last form submission X amount of time since the last website visit X amount of time since the last email open/link click Once your subscribers are marked as “inactive,” they’ll be moved to your re-engagement sequence. Your job is to move them back to your “active list,” so the best way to do that is to grab their attention. Most commonly, people respond to exclusive deals, coupons, and offers that create urgency. Example: Cart Abandonment Sequence Primary Trigger: Cart Abandonment If you own an e-commerce business, you might understand the frustration that comes when your prospects abandon the shopping cart. Well, luckily, you can create an automated email sequence for almost everything, and this is no exception. The concept of this sequence is quite simple: Every time one of your prospects adds a product/service to the cart but leaves your platform before finishing the purchase, you may trigger an automated email that will: Immediately offer them an exclusive offer that they can benefit from if they choose to buy right now. Remind them (after a few hours/days) of their initial thought of purchasing your products/services. Offer the most common questions and answers regarding the product/service that your prospect has left in the cart. Example: Takeaways Every marketer can develop a rockstar email marketing campaign as long as he puts enough time, effort, and attention into it. Take advantage of these X rules and improve your email subscribers’ experience. As long as you’re properly tracking down your stats, you should see slight improvements in a very short time. Treat this as a journey and not as a quick result, and your email performance will slowly begin to thrive!

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Fear of Marketing Automation (#FOMA): Insufficient Customer Data

Practical Marketer • January 17, 2018

Technology can seem intimidating, especially to professionals who lack a strong technical background. However, in today’s competitive marketplace, failing to automate means potentially falling behind. Chances are, your competition has already fully embraced software, and in doing so, they have access to information you don’t have. If you haven’t adopted technology as part of your marketing efforts, however, you aren’t alone. According to Econsultancy’s State of B2B Marketing Automation study, 60 percent of companies still struggle to find the resources necessary to put marketing automation in place. That number is likely to decrease over time, so it’s important to begin researching automation for your marketing campaigns sooner, rather than later. For the many businesses who have let Fear of Marketing Automation (FOMA) hold them back, a small amount of research could make all the difference. This guide will help you as you prepare to automate your business’s marketing efforts, whether you’re considering email marketing automation, social media marketing automation, or another option. Addressing the Fear Fear serves a very real purpose. When presented with a danger, humans experience a rush of adrenaline necessary to take action. If that danger is a big bear or an approaching tornado, that sudden surge of energy can be useful. However, when you have a fear of the unknown, it can hold you back. There’s comfort in knowing you aren’t alone. In fact, 15.7 percent of the population fears unfamiliar technology, ranking higher than germs, blood, and strangers. With technology driving so much of our lives today, though, it’s important to recognize that something is only “new” until you learn more about it. Tech providers are well aware of these fears and have worked hard to make it easier than ever to familiarize yourself with technology well before you commit. Each day, therapists encounter patients who want to overcome their fears. The first step is often to get to the root of those fears. What in your past makes you afraid of the things you fear? Is there a previous experience that taught you that tackling something new can lead to problems? If you can identify the cause of your fear, it makes it much easier to take the next step. The next step, as recommended by many therapists, is exposure. If you’re afraid of closed spaces, for instance, a counselor will likely gradually immerse you in tight situations until you begin to grow comfortable. If your fear is specific to public speaking, you may be referred to an organization that can help you gain confidence as you speak in front of audiences. For the many people who fear new technology, exposure is easy. Many solutions providers offer a free demo or trial period, during which time you’ll be allowed to try out various features and make sure they’re right for you. You’ll likely be surprised to find that today’s cloud-based solutions are much more user-friendly than the applications you tried in the past. The Fear of Missing Data For professionals across all industries and specialties, their fears are specific to marketing automation. They may not feel that “fight or flight” type of fear as much as they procrastinate learning more about it because they don’t fully understand it. All around them, companies are using the latest technology to reach customers in ways not available through traditional marketing methods. Procrastination means being left far behind by the competition, who will lure customers away. But as you look at various solutions, a new fear may emerge. What if you don’t have the data necessary to get started with your marketing research? What many professionals don’t realize is that marketing automation can help you build and enrich your existing databases. You’ll be collecting information on a daily basis that you never had access to before. That information includes: Customer names and contact information. Customer website activities, including website clicks and shopping cart abandonments. Email opens. Link clicks within emails. Subscribers who open emails but don’t click. Social media engagements. By gathering this information, you can create marketing campaigns that target specific customers based on the data you’ve gathered. If you have a clearance sale, for instance, you can reach out to customers who have bought similar items in the past. You can even create a targeted campaign specific to customers who have never opened an email but remain on your subscriber list. All of this data goes beyond the type of information you could collect from customers on your own, even if you conducted a survey. The right marketing automation can fill your database with information that you can then use to segment your lists. As customers begin to demand personalized marketing, the businesses that stick to traditional one-size-fits-all messaging will lose to companies who have the automation necessary to customize their approach. Understanding the Tools Chances are, you have specific goals for your business’s marketing efforts. You likely know your customers already and have determined where your ideal customer is likely to hang out. For many businesses today, marketing is a combination of social media, blogging, and email messaging, as well as any traditional advertising they choose to use. You don’t have to tackle every type of marketing automation at once. Many businesses choose to start with email marketing automation since studies show 92 percent of all online adults use email. Marketers also find the return on their investment is better with email, with marketers estimating an ROI of 122 percent on the email campaigns they launch. Best of all, many professionals are already familiar with setting up and sending emails, so the user interface of email marketing solutions is often easier to learn than other tools. Once you’ve researched reviews and recommendations, finding a solution that works for you, ask for a demo if one isn’t available online. This demo will show you exactly how the platform works. From this presentation, you’ll be able to see the reporting features built into the solution, as well as features like segmentation that can help you put that information to work to market to potential customers. Outlining Your Needs Since email marketing automation can help you build and grow your database, it’s important to work well in advance to identify what you hope to get out of it. This starts with highlighting the business gains you hope to achieve. Is your goal to grow your customer base, increase brand awareness, nurture existing customers, or a combination of all of the above? By knowing your end goal, you’ll be more likely to choose an email marketing automation solution that gets exactly the results you want. Once you’ve outlined those overall goals, it’s important to identify exactly what information you hope to gather from your automation efforts. The first layer will be the data you need to customize your future marketing efforts, including customers who purchased certain products you offer and newsletter subscribers who clicked on various links. If you have an existing database, ensure that your email marketing solution can deliver the necessary information to fields within that solution to avoid duplicate work. As you’re defining your requirements, take into account other benefits software can provide, including allowing you to schedule messages to deploy at certain hours. With the right automation, you’ll be able to monitor email opens by day of week and time of day. This data will then allow you to choose the perfect time for your messages to hit recipients’ inboxes, upping the chances that they’ll be opened. When combined with market segmentation, this is a great way to boost your email marketing game. Lastly, it’s important to carefully think through how you plan to use the data you gather in your marketing campaign planning. Once your automation is in place, you’ll regularly collect information such as email open rates, which will give you valuable insight into whether your subject lines are connecting with your target audience. You can then use A/B testing to experiment with various subject lines to learn more about what works and doesn’t work. Over time, you’ll have an approach that is more refined, limiting the risk of wasted time on ineffective subject lines. Putting the Information to Use Once your marketing automation tools are in place, the work begins. It’s important to regularly review the needs you outlined before choosing your software and ensure you’re reaching those goals. Over time, you should see opens, clicks, and sales increasing as a result of your marketing efforts. By closely monitoring your results each month, you’ll be well on your way to fully understanding the exact marketing strategy you need to find success. Whether you choose to connect with customers through social media, content, or email marketing automation, the key is to have the right tools in place to boost your efforts. The biggest benefit you’ll get from any marketing campaigns is the information it brings back to you. Built-in reporting tools will show you exactly how your efforts are received by your intended audience, which will keep you from wasting time on campaigns that don’t work. In the end, you’ll find your ROI increases when you’re monitoring every message you send and each piece of content you post.

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Fear of Marketing Automation (FOMA): Lack of Expertise / Know-How

Fear of Marketing Automation (#FOMA): Lack of Expertise or Know-How

Practical Marketer • January 16, 2018

Starting the process of automating your marketing process can be daunting. You’re used to personalizing your approach, and the idea of giving up that level of control likely makes you uneasy. However, automated doesn’t have to mean generic, and as you’ll see, there are plenty of ways to make marketing automation your own. Businesses always need to keep up with evolving practices, and over time, automated marketing will be more consistent and efficient than the traditional variety. Managers often avoid making the switch to automated marketing because of the associated uncertainty, but if you have a good understanding of the process, you’ll find that it’s much simpler than you imagined. The results are well worth the initial transition: Email Monday reported that 74% of companies said marketing automation has been either very beneficial or quite beneficial. Marketing automation is effective for both B2B and B2C. Statistics from Act-On show that B2B marketers increase their sales-pipeline contribution by 10%, while B2C marketers who use automation have had it lead to conversion rates of up to 50%. Knowing in advance how to deal with some of the most common issues and setbacks will give you a leg up on the competition as you begin to automate your business’s marketing. Applying Your Marketing Knowledge Marketing automation seems like an unknown, but it involves the knowledge and expertise you’ve already built up through conventional marketing. While you’ll have to learn some new concepts, you have most of the tools you need to be successful. If you typically write emails to new contacts, this is a great starting point for automation. Instead of personally writing emails after events, just have an automatic email triggered when a contact is added to the list—simply include the key points you would send to any new lead. Automation can also be a key piece of moving your leads closer to a sale. While businesses often make repetitive sales calls or write emails to check in and follow up, automating this process accomplishes the same goal with a smaller time investment, giving you time to focus on what matters to you and your business. In addition to efficiency, marketing automation also improves the consistency of your sales development. This allows you to pursue more leads with the same time investment for reliable results. By writing your emails beforehand instead of personally, you can take the time to ensure your brand and image are being communicated effectively to each potential client. As opposed to continually calling or emailing leads to push them toward conversion, you can schedule automated emails to be triggered at certain times. These serve the same purpose as the conventional follow-up process with a smaller time investment, giving you more opportunities to expand your sales. These are just a few examples of ways to replace your current marketing processes with automation—you know your business and market better than anyone else. Managers often overestimate the scope of the changes necessary and don’t realize that a lot can be accomplished with the knowledge and experience they already have. Automated marketing isn’t about changing your sales process. It’s about taking that process and making it even more efficient. The Basics of Marketing Automation The first thing you should focus on as you make the transition to automated marketing is setting clear goals. The specific goals depend on your business and management style, but some examples include figures for revenue, market share, or new accounts. By measuring your newly automated marketing against what came before, you’ll have a better idea of what’s working and what needs to improve. This step should align with the work you’ve already done on your current marketing strategies, rather than replacing them. Since traditional and automated marketing alike are meant to accomplish the same goals, many of the same ideas and philosophies apply. By checking your results periodically, you can see which areas are working and which ones aren’t, which will help you adapt your approach over time. In fact, your goal-setting process should start with a review of your existing practices. Look at what’s effective and what isn’t, and identify areas to improve when you move to automated marketing. Keep your strengths prominent in your new approach while using the advantages of automation to address your weaknesses. Automated marketing is often more similar to conventional marketing than people assume, as it involves the same process of trying new things, evaluating them, and making adjustments. Automated marketing offers a range of benefits compared to traditional marketing. In fact, according to Salesforce, companies with automation have a 53% higher conversion rate from marketing response to marketing qualified lead. However, that doesn’t mean you should implement it carelessly. It’s important to find the right tool for each part of the sales process—your marketing approach should be tailored to your business’ unique needs. Initial emails, for example, can often be automated with only minor adjustments, but there’s always going to be a place for personal communication, and there are some things that should be left as they are. No automated marketing system is going to work perfectly from the start, so while you can anticipate some of the benefits and challenges, a lot of the fine-tuning takes place later on. Once you’ve had a chance to see how your new approach looks in action, you’ll be able to make changes. As time goes on, you’ll have a better idea of your market, so don’t be afraid to test out new ideas. Just like regular marketing, your goal isn’t to come up with a single, perfect system. Even the best marketing strategies are constantly being tested and adjusted. The easiest way to see what changes are necessary is to regularly evaluate your current practices. Measuring your success quarterly, for example, will give you regular as well as year-over-year data to work off as you make adjustments. While this can seem like a challenge, businesses who push through the initial phase are almost always satisfied with the results: 91% of marketing automation users say that it’s very important to the success of their online marketing. Marketing Resources If you’re weighing the pros and cons of marketing automation, you’re not alone. There are numerous resources available to guide you through it. These writers and managers have seen firsthand the advantages and potential pitfalls of automated marketing, so becoming familiar with their experience and advice will help you avoid falling into the same traps. As with any change, preparation is key—if you have an idea of what to expect, you’re more likely to make the right decisions for you and your business. Neil Patel, one of the internet’s most prolific writers on marketing, has a guide intended to explain the ins and outs of marketing automation, from the basics to more minute details. He focuses on three main aspects of the automation: email marketing, social media, and landing pages. In fact, Neil’s guide is in some parts a step-by-step walkthrough on how to implement the necessary changes. With email marketing, for example, he explains how he automatically share blog posts with subscribers. If you’re new to the world of marketing automation, this guide is a great place to start learning about both the possibilities of automation and how to use them to your advantage. Another extremely comprehensive resource is Moz’s Beginner\'s Guide to Marketing Automation. In contrast to Neil Patel’s, this guide focuses more on how and why it works the way it does. Some of the main concepts are explained in detail, and you’ll learn how to harness the best aspects of marketing automation while avoiding some of the most common negatives. It doesn’t spend as much time on the actual mechanics, such as how to use various marketing tools, instead of explaining each step of the process along with some tips and best practices. WP Curve has a guide with an extremely helpful section on some of the key areas of marketing automation. For example, one issue that often comes up with marketing automation is a lack of personalization. The guide gives some advice on making sure your marketing comes off as genuine and unique rather than spammy or one-size-fits-all. Following those tips will make the transition to automated marketing even easier. Tools like Zapier can help streamline your marketing automation by performing certain tasks for you automatically. It will allow you to schedule social media posts or emails, making them go out on their own at the right time, in addition to a wide range of other features. Zapier and other software are key pieces of automated marketing as they enable you to accomplish your goals with minimal oversight. Conclusion With recent increases in the availability, cost, and functionality of technology, marketing automation is now a unique opportunity for businesses to expand their reach without using unnecessary resources. On average, users of marketing automation see a 3.1% higher revenue growth rate. However, it can also be tricky to work with and lead to unexpected results if not managed correctly. By following the guidelines covered here, you’ll be well on your way to successful marketing, but in the end, nobody knows your business and market better than you. No matter how much you read, there’s no substitute for real-world experience and the process of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to try out your ideas—seeing what’s effective and what isn’t is the best way to improve. Setting clear, measurable goals will help you determine whether you’re making sufficient progress or whether you need to make changes. You can connect with fellow marketers or use the resources available online to read and learn from others’ experiences. This information should be enough to get you started, but marketing automation is an ongoing, constantly changing process. The best marketers are those who see their unique place in the market, stay ahead of the trends, and continuously adapt to new developments.

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Fear of Marketing Automation (#FOMA): Lack of Human Resources

Practical Marketer • January 9, 2018

Marketing automation has become a bit of a buzzword, and I’m guessing you have heard it thrown around quite a bit. It’s okay if you still don’t fully understand what is involved in marketing automation. To explain it in layman’s terms, once your company reaches a certain point, it’s impossible to have one-on-one contact with everyone. Therefore, marketing automation involves using software to automate certain marketing tactics and workflows. That way you continue to nurture relationships with your customers while still bringing in new business. In other words, marketing automation can give one person the power of ten (or more!) and erase any fear of a lack of resources. You can do all this without having to spend your time emailing customers or scheduling social media posts. Therefore, it can save you tons of time down the road and free you up to do the most important things in your business. The Biggest Myths About Marketing Automation The popularity of marketing automation has grown tremendously over the years with roughly 59 percent of B2B companies implementing some form of it. And for good reason -- marketing automation increases sales productivity by 14.5 percent while reducing overhead by 12.2 percent. So if that’s true, then why aren’t more companies adopting marketing automation? Obviously, there are still a few holdouts left. What’s the deal? Well, the reason really boils down to one word: fear. Many people don’t really understand marketing automation so certain fears and myths still persist around the topic. Let’s look at a few of them, shall we? Marketing Automation is Impersonal This is probably the biggest fear most people need to overcome. So let’s clear up one thing right from the start -- marketing automation does not mean that you are delivering cold, impersonal content to your customers. It’s actually the exact opposite. Because it gives you the bandwidth to reach more people in a more strategic way, you can take the time to create exceptional content that will deliver more value to your customers. So rather than automation being synonymous with spam, it actually allows you to communicate in a more meaningful way. And the research backs this up -- out of all the companies using marketing automation, 80 percent saw an increase in leads and 77 percent reported an increase in their conversion rates. It’s Only Useful for the Marketing Department This myth is understandable given the name but the truth is, marketing automation extends beyond your marketing team. It can help anyone who is interested in taking more redundant tasks off their plate. It gives you more time to focus on strategic, big picture thinking like how to continue to nurture leads or coming up with new campaign ideas. It can also be hugely beneficial to your sales team because it makes it easier for them to qualify leads. You probably already know that not all leads are created equal. After all, what is the point of lead generation if it only seems to attract people who have no interest in buying your product or service? That’s why a huge benefit of marketing automation is that it ensures not just that your company brings in new leads but that it brings in quality leads. It does this by providing important customer data like job position and industry. It also reveals digital data about how your leads behave online. All of this information can be used to help your company sort and quality those leads, which we will get to shortly. Marketing Automation is Too Expensive for Small Businesses This is another persistent myth and if it were 2011, it may even be true. But now that are tons of marketing automation tools available and many of the most basic plans are completely free. And don’t write off the more affordable plans -- the majority are intuitive, simple to use, and have many of the same capabilities as more expensive plans. Tips for Implementing Marketing Automation So now that we have cleared up some of the biggest myths and fears about marketing automation, how do you actually get started? This is a good question because truth be told, it is only as useful as its implementation. Going forward, it’s important to find the right mix of strategies and tactics so that your company can find the biggest return on investment. Let’s look at a few tips on how you can move forward. Start With a Plan It’s important to understand that the beginning period will be the most difficult, time-consuming part of the process. However, marketing automation will save you time down the road. Before you choose your marketing automation software, make sure you have a plan in place. What objectives and goals is your company looking to achieve? Once you have identified this you can put a plan in place. I would recommend starting small and then build out your plan from there. Begin deploying what you are already doing first and then you can always add on as you continue to gain confidence. Once you have a plan in place and everything seems to be smooth sailing, it’s important that you continue to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. Continue to monitor your data and test out new ideas. You’re never going to be done learning and it will always be a work in progress. Sort and Qualify Your Leads Do you understand how your customers are interacting with your website? Are you familiar with their browsing habits? And most important, do you know how to use that information to develop future marketing strategies? Your marketing automation software can help you do just that. You can use it to gauge customer interest based on opens and clicks through rates. And the data you receive makes it easier to segment both leads and customers based on their behavior. That way you can create messaging that is specific to each type of lead or customer. The term “segmentation” makes a lot of people nervous but it’s actually pretty simple. It’s simply a strategy for dividing customers and leads into different groups based on similar traits or online habits. To get started, you first need to make sure your data is accurate and reliable. Many businesses have databases that contain tons of outdated and redundant information. In fact, according to this study, 60 percent of companies have data that is unreliable. Once you have cleaned up your data, you can focus on segmentation knowing that your efforts will produce the best results possible. However, this is also a process that will never be finished. Your motto should always be to test...and then test some more. Outsource What You Can So what if you don’t have a big marketing department to handle all of this for you? Does this mean marketing automation isn’t for you? Absolutely not. Thanks to the rise of the freelance economy, it has become easier than ever to outsource some of your work to other people at an affordable price point. For instance, freelance platforms like Upwork allows you to connect with over nine million freelancers in 180 different countries. With over 1.5 million freelancers, Guru is another great alternative for outsourcing work. This not only puts a wide pool of qualified candidates at your fingertips but it allows you to build long-term relationships with the freelancers you hire. And scaling your business will be easier when you already have a remote team put in place. Many people get nervous when they think about outsourcing important business tasks to freelancers. We’ve probably all heard stories of associates who were taken advantage of. And hiring the wrong person can definitely hurt you more than it can help. A good plan is to ask for recommendations from colleagues for freelancers they used and were happy with. And again, I would recommend you start small in this area. Start out with some basic tasks and then build from there as you gain a level of trust with that person. Conclusion Once your email list gets beyond a certain level, it’s impossible for you to personally interact with everyone. Thankfully, marketing automation allows you to continue to build relationships with your customers and leads while still maintaining a shred of sanity. Hopefully, now you understand not only how powerful marketing automation is but also how feasible it is for you to implement in your own business. It’s a great way to automate the things you just don’t have time for so you can continue to bring value to your customers. What are some of the marketing tasks you plan to automate first? Let me know in the comments!

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