Ultimate Guide of Marketing Automation
Marketing Automation is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot in the modern marketing world. But the term is more than a buzzword. Every entrepreneur, sales team, and marketing should be familiar with marketing automation if you want your goods and services to get to your desired audience.
Marketing automation is one of the most important ways to optimize your marketing efforts. It allows you to save time and money on marketing while also boosting your revenue. Marketing automation frees up more time for your sales rep to focus on other tasks while earning more income and growing your sales pipeline. This is why every modern marketing team should make use of it. This guide will go over what marketing automation is, how it works, and the various tools for automating various aspects of marketing.
Marketing Automation Defined
The concept of marketing automation is very straightforward. It refers to the process of automating any marketing process instead of doing it manually.
Marketing automation refers to any technology that allows you to manage marketing processes automatically across various channels. This is made possible by software that automates your marketing actions and repetitive tasks like emails, social media posts, and website actions based on specific triggers.
In the past, marketing automation was only used as a way of nurturing leads in your sales funnel. But these days, it finds application across various aspects of your sales funnels. This includes attracting prospects and converting leads.
Marketing automation can also be used to gather valuable information about customers or prospects. The aim is to understand their behavior and target them better with your marketing effort.
Benefits Of Marketing Automation
Without question, marketing automation makes the work of any marketing team easier. These pieces of software simplify hundreds of tasks, processes, and campaigns. They can help you deliver a more personalized experience to your target audience.
With a marketing automation tool, you can set up repetitive processes to be handled on their own. This way, your team gets to focus on optimizing your marketing campaigns and developing better strategies. The following are some of the main benefits of marketing automation:
- Improved efficiency
If you find it difficult to maintain communication with your leads and prospects while growing your business, you are not alone. Even with a marketing team, most companies will have a hard time keeping up with customers across the sales funnel. Automation bridges this gap. It allows you to keep up with buyers in different stages of their journey and maintain personalized conversations with them.
With emails and other communication mediums set on autopilot, there's a reduced risk of leaving customers behind. It also boosts the speed and efficiency of your communication, allowing you to connect with leads, prospects, and existing customers at the right time.
- Higher productivity
Automating the mundane tasks with marketing automation software allows you to focus on more critical processes. This boosts the productivity of your marketing team. Your salespeople can spend more time strategizing and resolving complex tasks that cannot be easily automated.
- Efficient data collection
Data is vital to the marketing process. A good number of marketing automation tools do more than just send emails or reply to comments. They can also be valuable tools for collecting customer data and tracking their activities across the various touchpoints you have access to them. This includes emails, app usage, social media, and websites.
You can review the history of your marketing automation tool to better understand the demographics and behavior of your target audience. The result is a much better understanding of your customers across the various levels of your sales funnels. You can segment customers based on their behavior and optimize your campaigns to convert more.
- Improved scalability
One of the things businesses struggle with as they grow is the difficulty of handling conversations with their growing customer base.
It's easy to keep up with 10 leads manually. But try having personalized conversations when the list grows to 1000. This is impossible without some sort of automation.
Marketing automation not only makes the process less tedious. It also ensures that you don't lose touch with personalization even as your business grows.
- Personalizing your marketing efforts
Manual digital marketing communication is challenging to personalize when you have a large number of people to deal with. But marketing and converting leads and prospects is difficult when you're using a one-size-fits-all strategy.
People want to feel special. Your prospects will respond better when they see their name in emails or see answers to questions that apply to them. Marketing automation allows you to have contextual interactions with your customers.
Customer Retention Using Marketing Automation
One would think marketing should focus more on generating leads and converting prospects. But customer retention is just as crucial as these other aspects of marketing. In fact, long-term customers are more valuable to your business than new ones. It costs up to 5 times more to get new customers than to keep existing ones.
What's more? Existing customers account for more than 60% of your sales. You have a higher chance of selling to them than to new customers.
Companies with a solid customer retention strategy are likely to make higher profits. This is another reason why you need to structure your marketing efforts in a way that encourages continuous engagement with your customers.
Most people assume that satisfied customers will always return to do business. More often than not, this is not true. Up to 60 to 80% of customers do not return to do more business with you, according to a survey by Bain & Company. The fact that your initial service satisfied them does not matter. People patronize businesses they can see the most. This is why continued communication is necessary.
So How Does Marketing Automation Aid Customer Retention?
Automation helps businesses collect customer data. It also helps to keep data updated with no need for manual entry and reentry. This makes it easier to track customer behavior and how they engage with your brand
- Create loyalty programs, rewards, and special offers that keep customers engaged
- Identify your top customers for rewards and encourage redundant ones
- You can use automated tools to collect customer feedback so that you can improve customer experience.
Ways Marketing Automation Can Help Drive Customer Retention
In today's modern world, businesses have to focus efforts on improving their customer retention strategies. This includes using tools that enable them to automatically reach out to and stay connected to their customers. The following are some of the various ways marketing automation can help drive customer retention:
Automating customer rewards
Your repeat buyers are the most valuable to your business as they are responsible for most of your sales. This is why you need to set up loyalty programs that not only track their behavior and reward them. This is better off automated.
You can combine automation with contact scoring to create a tiered loyalty program. With this system, users get marketing messages and benefits based on their specific loyalty levels. It is possible to use metrics and milestones like money spent or the number of purchases made by a customer to segment customers into different levels. The system informs them of their rewards when they achieve a measurable milestone.
Automated campaigns to win back redundant customers
Automation also allows you to target and win back redundant customers. These are customers that have interacted with your brand in the past but no longer do. These customers are still worth the effort. The fact that they have interacted with you in the past means they're likely to recognize your brand again when you reach out.
A marketing automation tool can track when your customers last interacted with you. Then you can segment these customers and launch a win-back campaign if necessary. The campaign may include personalized emails that are set to trigger automatically when a customer hits a specific point of disengagement (e.g. three months since their last purchase, website visit, or app login).
Cross-selling and upselling with automation
Another way you can improve customer retention is by automating up-selling and cross-selling to them. This allows you to maximize their interest in your business, deliver better value to them and make more sales in the process.
Automated up-selling and cross-selling campaigns encourage your customers to buy more products, upgrade their membership, or add a new service to their package. This helps you to gain more revenue from your existing customers while improving their loyalty.
Automating customer feedback
Customers are likely to leave when they feel that you don't care about them or you don't care enough. This is likely to happen if your communication with them is manual. Automating customer feedback is one of the ways you can prove that you do care about your customers.
For instance, you can set up automated campaigns to get feedback when first-time customers don't return for more purchases after a while. This can improve your retention rate quite significantly. Taking feedback will help you discover the things you need to improve on and what you are doing right. These two metrics can be pretty powerful in marketing.
Automating customer onboarding
New customers are the lifeblood of any business. You maximize your returns when you can keep old customers and gain new ones. But new customers are likely to turn back if your onboarding process is not as effective as it should be. On-boarding can also be time-consuming for your marketing team. It takes away essential time that they can spend focusing on other things.
Here's another area automation can be quite valuable. Automating the onboarding process ensures that this crucial stage of your interaction with your new customers runs efficiently. The goal is to create an excellent first impression on your customers with this first interaction with them. By creating an automated workflow for your onboarding process, you help your new customers get started and learn all about your product and services fast.
Why Onboarding Automation Is Important
A seamless onboarding experience allows you to leave a good first impression on your customers. People who patronize your service already believe in your product or service. You can solidify this belief better by ensuring that the onboarding process is as smooth as possible.
Selling a good product is only one-half of the customer experience. The sales and marketing process is vital too. You create a better customer experience when the first touchpoint in the post-purchase phase is efficient.
Automating customer onboarding also benefits your sales team. Not only are you providing a better customer experience, but it also frees up your sales and marketing team to focus on other things.
Automating onboarding allows customers to self-serve at their convenience. This comes at a lower cost for your business. Automated onboarding delivers all the resources that customers need right from the onset. They don't have to wait for a customer support specialist to attend to them in person. This frees up your customer service team, allowing them to focus on completing high-value tasks that they cannot automate.
How To Automate Customer Onboarding
More than just sending a welcome message to new users, customer onboarding automation should deliver all the resources that customers need at the point of signing up. This should include resources that they may not even realize they need. It ensures that they get and enjoy value immediately. The following are the steps and processes involved in a customer onboarding automated workflow:
- Defining the goals of automated onboarding
- Determine the type of automated onboarding to use
- Coordinate your automated onboarding efforts with various department
- Refine your process over time through feedback, and you interact with customers.
How To Define Your Marketing Automation Funnel
The marketing funnel is a popular concept in sales and marketing. Think of it as a real-world funnel with a wide top and a base that narrows until you get to the tip. In the context of business marketing, at the top of the funnel, there's a large number of leads that thin out as they are nurtured towards a sale.
As customers move through the marketing funnel, automated marketing messages help to nurture them. This is a multi-phase process that ensures that your leads are kept aware of your brand and products just to make a purchase.
The process of nurturing leads, prospects, and customers allows you to build a relationship with them to make them loyal to your brand. The various strategies that define your marketing automation funnel rely on buyer psychology.
The awareness stage is the first stage of your marketing funnel. Before your leads can begin their journey towards becoming loyal customers, they have to become aware of your product and services. At this stage of the funnel, automation can be used in various ways to convince your leads to enter the funnel.
One of such strategies is the use of automated emails newsletters that can be personalized through the aid of different automation tools. These newsletters deliver value to the customers in the form of ebooks, case studies, white papers, and other lead magnets. The goal is to let these prospects know what your product is and how it can be the solution to the problem they're trying to solve.
The next stage of your marketing funnel is the interest stage. At this stage, prospects are beginning to have an interest in your product or services. Your marketing efforts at this stage should be focused on helping them connect with your brand on a much deeper level.
To facilitate this, your automated marketing efforts should work towards building a relationship with them. It should also collect data that will help you position your product and services better. At this stage, your brand also needs to be visible to prospects. This will involve delivering content that helps to engage them regularly.
In this next phase, your prospects are aware of your brand and are close to deciding on the products you offer. Your automated marketing effort at this phase should take the form of more straightforward sales materials aimed at influencing them to make a decision. For this phase, your crafted messages may contain user reviews and customer testimonials. These are social proofs that play a valuable role in influencing decision-making.
You may also launch retargeting ads that help you to stay visible to your customers while waiting for their decision to buy. This way, when they're ready to patronize your service, you are positioned for them.
The final phase of your automated marketing funnel is the action phase. This is the stage where you hard-sell your products and gets your prospects to take action. The effectiveness of all your efforts from the start of the funnel will be gauged by the effectiveness of this stage. The action phase will also play an important role in optimizing your process for future leads and your existing customers.
After this action phase, you separate the customers that will be the focus of your customer retention efforts from others in the funnel. Prospects that have not decided at this phase will be routed back to the earlier stages of your funnel for further nurturing towards purchasing in the future.
One of the good things about marketing automation is gathering as much information as possible. Many tools can also identify issues within the funnel as prospects progress.
Since all of these phases occur simultaneously (users don't move along the marketing funnel at once), automation allows you to program your actions and interactions with prospects across these phases at once. This means you can design content for users at the awareness phase as well as those that have already become repeat customers and deliver it to them simultaneously using automation software.
Marketing Automation Tools
Keeping up with marketing manually can be exhausting and time-consuming. But using a marketing automating tool will make your job a lot less stressful. This frees up time for your team to focus their attention on other efforts that drive revenue. There are several types of marketing automation tools that can help you handle various phases of your marketing funnel. The following are a few options you can consider:
Ideta is a cloud-based conversational artificial intelligence system that allows businesses to build AI-powered chatbots that boost user engagement with their brands.
Conversational marketing chatbots can be very valuable for your automated marketing efforts. They use a combination of machine learning, natural language processing, and advanced dialogflow systems to analyze queries. They understand the meaning behind questions and can provide contextual answers to these queries automatically.
Seeing how Ideta works, it is easy to see how this platform can help boost automated user engagement with your brand. With Ideta, you can build bots that can respond to conversations in multiple scenarios and deploy them across various communication channels in different stages of your marketing funnel.
For instance, a lead acquisition chatbot can help you collect contact information from leads. Similarly, an onboarding chatbot can help guide your users through the onboarding process. Ideta can also be used to build chatbots that aid customer retention. These bots can understand your customers' needs and automatically respond to queries, with manual inputs only coming in when necessary.
Facebook Auto Comment
Social media is one of the most important channels for communicating with and engaging your customers. Many brands have difficulty keeping up with social media posts and comments because they're trying to do so manually.
Facebook Auto Comment is a tool that solves this problem by making it possible to automatically respond to user comments on Facebook. This Facebook chatbot can be programmed to reply to user comments directly or even send them private messages.
This is a valuable tool for responding to users who are:
- Interested in learning more about your product and services
- Seeking help with using your product
- Trying to complain because they've had a bad experience with your product.
Asides from responding to comments, the Facebook Auto Comment Tool can also be used to:
- Coordinate contest giveaways
- Deliver private discounts to users that engage with your Facebook posts
- and send custom messages to interact with your community.
Userguiding is a no-code tool that can be used for automated user onboarding. This is a valuable third-party tool that can boost the experience of new users with your product. It can be used to create interactive product tours, users guide, and onboarding checklists. These resources will help new users get familiar with your products and start enjoying them as soon as possible.
After onboarding, Userguiding can also be used as an analytics tool and to segment and target users as part of your ongoing marketing efforts. You can also use this tool to gather customer feedback. As a no-code tool, Userguiding is very easy to use. No code or technical knowledge is required, which means members of your marketing team can use it directly.
Lemlist is a tool for personalizing cold emails, automating follow-up with users, and engaging with your leads and prospects across various channels. This is a powerful tool that allows you to add a personal touch to your marketing messages. This way, your messages don't feel generic.
Personalized marketing messages have better effects on users than generic ones. This allows you to close more deals. Lemlist is also a multi-channel outreach tool that helps to put your marketing on autopilot. You can make cold calls and dial and message leads and prospects with just one click. You can also use it to upsell and cross-sell to existing customers.
Zapier is another powerful tool that can be used to streamline your CRM, advertising, and email marketing efforts and automate them. It can also be used to manage your social media channels. By setting up automated workflows known as Zaps, Zappier helps to reduce the need to manually coordinate repeatable tasks such as:
- Lead tracking
- Engaging customers on your email subscriber's list
- Spending more time engaging your prospects on social media.
You can also use Zapier to create efficient automated feedback loops. These can be used to generate actionable insights and data to better segment and target your customers.
The customer journey is long and can be very difficult to predict. Trying to coordinate your marketing operations manually or treating all your customers the same way is inefficient.
You risk turning your prospects away and losing your existing customers because you're unable to continually engage with them.
Good marketing automation will set you apart from the competition, make marketing easier for your team, and free up more resources to focus on other aspects of running your brand.