Tags: Automation

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

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 or 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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7 Tips for Running Automated Marketing Campaigns While You’re Out of the Office on Vacation

7 Tips for Running Automated Marketing Campaigns While You’re Out of the Office on Vacation

Beyond • January 16, 2018

Sometimes it’s more stressful to go on vacation than stay in the office. With marketing automation, you can change how you feel about this scenario. If you’re planning on heading out for maternity leave, a long-awaited trip, or personal days, remember the following eight tips so your campaign will practically run itself. That way, you can focus on fun in the sun, family, and personal time instead of work. 1. Choose the Right Strategy What you market, how you market it, and when you send your automated email campaigns will dictate how the campaigns perform. Establish your customer journey in each of your emails as well as throughout your automated campaign. Talk through your strategy and messaging with your team to resolve any questions or hiccups that might hinder conversions. Also consider A/B testing options your team can implement on the fly if a campaign isn’t working as well as you’d hoped. Marketing can be somewhat of a guessing game, but creating the right strategy based on solid data and your business’s specific needs before you leave the office can help set you up for success 2. Test Your Campaign Actors don’t go on stage and wing an audition or performance. Likewise, marketers shouldn’t blast their automated campaigns without taking them for a test drive. Before you go on vacation or head out of the office, test your campaigns. Ensure they work across different browsers, devices, and accessibilities and that your internet connection can handle the traffic. It’s always easier and less stressful to give yourself time to tweak glitches and optimize for results instead of doing damage control when you’re trying to enjoy a cocktail on the beach. 3. Go Simple with Your Tactics Automated campaigns run the gamut—from interactive bells and whistles to cut-and-dried text and image. While you may be tempted to incorporate tactics such as segmenting dynamic content to bump up click-through rates, go simple with your approach. Come up with a strong and sensible marketing message that appeals to your entire audience and launch with that. When you get back from your trip, you can work on incorporating more complex campaigns since you’ll have more time and attention to devote to them. 4. Prepare Your Team for Your Absence Drip campaigns are a type of automated marketing campaign that needs follow-up engagement. And if you’re doing your automated marketing correctly, most of your campaigns will need nurturing as they run. While you can schedule your emails to go out at a certain time, you’ll need to have your team ready to respond to leads, comments on social, and other kinds of customer interaction. Have a meeting before you leave to tell your team how to respond to queries and give them a time frame for when and how they should manage these messages. 5. Use Marketing Tools The right tool for the job will help you enjoy a worry-free vacation as well. Enter Automation Pro. With the right automation, you can run entire marketing campaigns while you’re soaking in rays at the beach. Each new subscriber can get the same Welcome Email you’d send when you’re in the office and you can even automatically follow-up when you run a promotion based on each individual subscriber’s interactions with your email campaigns or website. You’re even set up for success with several strategy templates that puts everything in place for you. All you have to do is plug in your email campaigns and lists. 6. Set Expectations Your team should be able to take the reins on your automated campaign while you’re away. To help them own this responsibility, set benchmarks and expectations. Write down daily target goals they can aim for and optimize if the campaign isn’t performing as you expect. It’s always smart to hand off a detailed checklist and foolproof directions for your stand-in manager to abide by while you’re out. 7. Check In Depending on your work/play boundaries, you might want to check in on your campaign occasionally, and the tools listed above can make that task easier. If anything seems off, you can fix it on the fly or pause the campaign and address the issue when you get back to work. Or, if everything is running perfectly, you can truly relax. Automated campaigns take a lot of the work out of your marketing duties. When you use the previous eight tips, you’ll be able to set up, deploy, and profit from your automated campaigns easily—especially when you’re out of the office.


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

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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Fear of Marketing Automation (#FOMA): Lack of Marketing Automation Strategy

Fear of Marketing Automation (#FOMA): Lack of Marketing Automation Strategy

Practical Marketer • January 8, 2018

Marketing automation can seem scary. “Giving up control to the machines? No way.” “I don’t know. It’s so complicated… I’m probably better off doing this on my own.” Fun fact: Industry stats tell us a very different story. In fact, this study shows that marketing automation increases sales productivity by 14.5% and drives a 12.2% decrease in marketing overhead. Doesn’t seem that scary now, does it? It isn’t. Most marketers still hesitate to take the automation leap, especially because they feel they don’t have a good enough “strategy” to do that yet. Here’s the good news: You don’t have to wait. You don’t need a complex, out-of-the-world strategy. Your marketing automation strategy is right there in front of you. It lies within all the things you are already doing manually. You just need to find it. We are here to help you do just that. Follow these three simple, super-easy steps to find and deploy your perfect Marketing Automation strategy 1. Start Simple First of all, stop worrying about doing everything all at once. You don’t have to automate all your marketing or sales processes in one day. When you start simple, you have a clear idea of where you stand, and where you want to go from there. This gives you more control over your decisions, and you’ll end up with a better, more effective automation strategy. Automate the Basics Start with the most basic stuff already part of your sales process. Think about it: what kind of emails do you typically send out? Don’t you think you can save a lot of time by automating those emails? You could invest that time into more important things. Like actually creating an amazing email. Here are some basic marketing processes you can easily automate when you start off initially: Welcome Series If you have a sign-up or subscription form anywhere on your website, blog or store, you should at least welcome your new subscribers. If you already do that manually, think about how much automation can help you out. Automating your welcome emails will do more than just save a lot of your precious time and energy. You will also know exactly when and what your visitors will receive as soon as they hit that subscribe button. Being aware of what your visitors can expect helps you optimize your future marketing efforts. If you manually send your welcome emails, you’ll never fully understand the effects of what you send out. What if you sent that one email two minutes earlier? What if you forgot to welcome those other two subscribers? The list goes on and on. Automating your welcome emails ensures your visitors get an immediate response from you, which can do wonders for their experience, help you save time, and increase your sales at the same time! Promotional Emails New products in your e-commerce store? An upcoming event you need to promote? A SALE?? Of course, you need to send an email about it! What if some of your subscribers never opened your email? Maybe they just scrolled past and missed it. Or maybe they just weren’t interested at that time. Whatever the reason, you need to follow up with them. That’s where you automate. Automating your follow-up emails can help you send personalized emails to the right people, at just the right time, which is an integral part of your automation strategy. You no longer have to worry about tracking down who to send them to, because automating the process will simply send pre-designed follow-up emails after a set time to the right subscribers, based on whether they opened your promotional email or not. Sending automated follow-up emails will save you tons of time, and will also minimize, if not eliminate, the chances of missing out on following up with some subscribers. It’s also very effective when it comes to increasing sales, and getting people to notice your promotions. Cart Abandonment & Repurchase Programs According to the Baymard Institute, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.23%. That’s a LOT. And if you run an e-commerce business, you already know the importance of trying to win these “abandoners” back. Look at it this way: These people showed interest in your products. All they need is a little nudge in the right direction! Cart abandonment and repurchase programs can easily become an effective part of your marketing automation strategy. Instead of manually trying to reach every single person who showed interest in your product, automate the whole process! This ensures your “potential” customers receive timely, personalized emails, which can dramatically increase your conversion rates. For added impact, you can also throw in automated discounts and promotions on the items they showed interest in or abandoned. 2. Visualize Your Sales Process Now that you’ve automated some of the basic stuff you usually do manually, it’s time to take things a little further. To develop an ideal, comprehensive marketing automation strategy for your business, you need to look more carefully at your sales process. Visualize it. It’s a great practice to jot down all the steps involved in your marketing and sales process, from welcoming subscribers, offering promotions and discounts, to thanking them and asking them for feedback. Once you do that, it will be much easier to focus on each part, instead of being overwhelmed by the whole. Look for Opportunities to Automate The good thing about visualizing your entire sales process is now you can identify ‘openings,’ or opportunities to automate. Don’t just restrict yourself to the obvious. Look for the pieces in between. Thanking a customer after they buy your product? Automate it. Schedule an awesome ‘Thank You’ email that goes every time someone makes a purchase. That part where you ask for their feedback? You can automate that too. Other than the usual stuff, you can also use your creativity to start to fill in the gaps. If you collect information like your subscriber’s birth date, you can send out automated birthday emails to brighten their day! Enrich your automation strategy by exploiting new, untapped opportunities in your marketing and sales process. Work Backwards Great, so you have started to hunt for opportunities to automate. Now, how about you look at your sales process from a different perspective? Working backward, or reverse engineering your sales process, is a crucial step in developing an effective automation strategy. When you work backward, you start with the end in mind. Look at what sells, and which of your campaigns do well. Break it down and see what worked. What parts can you automate to get the same or even better results? 3. Learn from Others Use of Marketing Automation Never underestimate the importance of learning from other businesses, and all their different kinds of automation campaigns and strategies. Take inspiration from the best, and you’ll find that marketing automation is not complicated at all. Finding out what works, and following the trend, with some modification, of course, can go a long way in helping you develop that perfect automation strategy. Check out these examples of great automated emails for a healthy dose of inspiration: Example 1: Evernote Evernote is a digital productivity tool for collecting and organizing notes. Here is an example of their Welcome Email, which is sent as soon as a visitor makes it through their opt-in page, and downloads their software. Notice how they end their welcome email with a call-to-action for downloading their app across all other devices. Evernote’s Welcome Email is followed by a series of more short emails, which guide you step-by-step through the journey of using and understanding their app. Each email makes sure to end with a call-to-action. Check out the complete email sequence here. Example 2: Twitter Of course, you know about Twitter.  It’s one of the most popular social media platforms out there. Twitter welcomes its new users with a different, more actionable approach than others. Take a look at this example of the first email visitors receive as soon as they sign up and verify their email address on Twitter. What’s important to note here is this email is part of Twitter’s onboarding sequence. Which means that each email in the series is designed to get new users to engage with the platform, and start using it regularly. This first email helps new users ‘get started’ immediately and connects with them by showing them they are part of the Twitter community now. Notice the two calls-to-action placed inside the email. You can check out Twitter’s complete onboarding email sequence here. Example 3: Vimeo Vimeo is a popular video marketing and hosting platform. Here is an interesting example of Vimeo’s onboarding email sequence. Vimeo sends out this specific automated email to remind users about their weekly storage limit. Notice how the email also incorporates some calls-to-action to get people to upgrade to their PRO Unlimited or Business plans. As I said before, this email is part of Vimeo’s onboarding email sequence. The other emails in this sequence also talk about the PRO and Business plans in detail, with the aim of getting their users to upgrade and actively engage with the platform. Check out Vimeo’s complete onboarding email sequence here. Conclusion Developing your perfect marketing automation strategy is not as complicated as you think it is. You just need to reflect on the sales process you already have in place and find out where you can automate to speed things up and get better results. Did this article help you find a great automation strategy for your business? Let us know your feedback and comments!


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