Companies in just about every industry are running leaner and have a more fervent desire than ever to attract potential customers. Jamming out random product promotions without regard to a prospect’s need is obsolete (and ineffective!). Today, consumers want solutions to their specific problems and que searches such as, “I want black leather boots that are waterproof” or “Where can I buy dog flea medicine near me?” or “What are the most cost-effective LED lights for my kitchen?” Companies need to sell these specific solutions, not products, and that’s where Marketing Automation programs come in.
Designed to target customers and prospects with automated, yet personalized responses across email, social media, the web or text according to pre-determined workflows, marketing automation simplifies time-consuming marketing tasks for your internal communications team AND significantly improves the conversion of qualified leads to sales. It also helps retain your valuable, existing customers. Imagine if you were a potential customer receiving personalized, responsive content that is tailored to your purchasing requirements. It’s then an easier decision to hit the “buy now” button, right?
The Biggest Challenge: Just Getting Started
At Celtic Chicago, we help clients with marketing automation strategies every week and the primary challenge is first understanding the complexities of the concept and selecting the right tool or tools for your company’s unique needs. As a launching point, we always recommend first deciding what your goals are with the initiative; without goals, you can’t create an effective program. Next, look at the past 12 months of customer communication and analyze it. Is it on brand? On message? Focused and going to the right targets? We use a checklist of items to audit. It’s also important to review your customer and prospect databases and work with experts to most effectively segment the lists, create intriguing calls-to-action, and conduct A/B testing with timely follow-ups.
Measure, Adjust, Measure
The goal of marketing automation is to generate consistent, qualified inbound leads that you convert into satisfied customers. But, you’ve got to be able to measure success so you can make adjustments along the way. Lucky for you: all of the major marketing automation software programs have built-in reporting systems to assess data. Measuring success, however, takes strategic thinking from the very beginning. In any marketing automation effort, you absolutely must define the objectives not only for the program itself, but also for your overall business objectives.
Top Tips for Success
Ok, you’re ready to begin a marketing automation program. Let’s review the important considerations before you begin. First, set your goals. Otherwise, what do you have to measure against? Start simple and refine along the way. If you don’t have a mark, you have no way of knowing if you’ve hit it.
Second, review the reports you generate and learn from them. From there, take the learnings and optimize future efforts.
Finally, be realistic with your customer journey timeline. For some companies, it might take up to two years to convert a prospect to a life-long customer. Being patient with your customer’s pace ensures your marketing efforts are properly timed.
Marketing automation opens the door to so many possibilities for companies willing to take the time to talk to their customers in a manner in which they feel nurtured and important. It’s a great way to expand your customer base and keep them coming back for more.