Does a nice seaside holiday sound appealing? How about just relaxing in the garden with a glass of wine and a good book?
This summer, wouldn’t you rather spend more time reclining outside in the sunshine rather than sitting in front of a computer screen in a stuffy office?
Even if you can’t get away from the workplace as much as you’d like this season – after all, many of us have limited budgets and quarterly targets to meet – wouldn’t it be much better to spend your time attacking something other than repetitive (and even tedious) tasks?
A lot of marketers are already at their limits, working days that are much too long. Summer is always a great time to re-evaluate how you work. It’s safe to say that we’d all rather be working smarter, not harder. To help free up more hours this summer, and throughout the year, consider getting help … in the form of marketing automation (MA).
With MA you can set up your system and then put key parts of it on auto-pilot, so you can fly off to your grand summer adventures … or just get home from the office at a decent time and catch up on your sleep.
Start Small, Cover the Basics
Marketing automation can give your team a serious competitive advantage. But it’s important to have the right resources in place to make the most out of an MA investment. So, even if you’re enthused to embrace marketing automation this summer, it’s probably better to start by asking “Are we ready?” To use a summery metaphor, it’s best to dip your toe in the pool before getting in over your head. To find out if your organization is ready, take this handy readiness assessment!
If you indeed are ready, the next issue to decide is which marketing automation platform is right for me? We’ve got you covered there too! Our quiz will help you pick the right marketing automation tool!
Once you’ve covered the basics…you can now ask yourself an even more pleasant question: How will you spend your extra hours this summer when you’ve implemented MA and your workload is eased?
Easier Every Step of the Way
The right marketing automation platform (MAP) can help you more easily and thoroughly connect with your customers across the entire customer lifecycle:
We’ll show you how you can use marketing automation this summer to ease your burden at each stage.
1. Attract prospects by strategically scheduling your social media content.
For starters, use social media post scheduling to free up your time and deliver consistent messaging across your social platforms. While you’re lounging poolside, your marketing automation system can be figuring out the optimal time to put a particular article on your Facebook page. You can always add more timely posts as you go, but if you have a steady stream of relevant, evergreen content scheduled on your social media platforms, you’ll be well on your way to delivering great content to your audience! All with a few clicks!
Already doing that? Great. How about this: Hook up your pay-per-click campaigns and your SEO analytics so that you can tell which keywords generate the most business for you. This is not about just the first initial download. It means linking those initial searches so reps can follow each prospect all the way through their journey until they’re a customer – or even follow your current customers as they continue to engage with your brand. Knowing which keywords actually deliver business should make you reassess which ones to prioritize. Marketing automation can help you draw those important conclusions so you’re spending your budget in the most optimal way.
2. Capture information from forms and transfer it to your CRM software
In this phase, a great way to save yourself some hard work is to have all forms automatically transfer information to your CRM software.
This might seem beginner-ish to some of you, but if you’ve been around the block with marketing automation or CRM, you know that marketing programs live and die by the quality of their data. So even if you’ve got your CRM hooked up to your marketing automation program, ask yourself how much you trust your data. Improving data quality is the first step we recommend for a pilot lead-management program in our eBook, the Marketing Automation Quick Start Guide.
But what if you don’t even have a CRM system? Then that might be your best bet for a good place to start. A CRM can help you better manage your customer relationships and the data and information associated with them. And that can provide you with vital data and save you valuable time this summer.
3. Nurture those leads by sending them targeted messages.
Here’s where marketing automation shines. After all, at this point you’ve got all your new leads tagged and tracked. You’ve got data flowing into all the right places.
Now it’s time to use it. Have your MA platform help you gather up all your content (in all its formats) and determine the best series of messages for each type of client you’ve got. Use marketing automation to help segment your lists so you can send targeted, automated messages based on your prospects’ persona, job title, location, which products they might be interested in, or even how much they already interacted with your messaging. This is where the true power of marketing automation lies – let your MA platform help move your prospects down the funnel and ultimately towards a purchasing decision with messaging that is relevant and timely.
Marketing automation makes this process much simpler and faster, which in turn saves you headaches and time. You want those long days of summer to seem long due to the late sunsets, not because of the endless hours you spend at the office trying to figure out which message to send to which person, and how to do it. MAPs can make it a snap.
Lounging by the pool sounding more possible yet?
4. Convert more leads by using MA to test your program.
Engagement is great, but conversions are what drives your business. Wouldn’t it be great to get more conversions … while you fit in a game of golf, enjoy a riverside picnic, or finally make that batch of strawberry jam?
The best way to get more conversions is to test, and test often. There are thousands of things to test, though, and many ways to test them. How to choose? This is why smart marketers check their analytics all the time. They know where the weak parts of the sales funnel are. They’ll focus on optimizing – and testing ‒ those first.
In addition to those weak spots, you’ll want to get dialed in on the key metrics of your program. As the old saying goes, “what is measured, improves.” So put your MA system to work checking, testing, measuring, and optimizing.
MA also helps your sales team convert faster by enabling them with powerful insights that allows for more relevant and personal conversations with prospects, based on their activity on your site and with your content. Tools like Act-On’s Website Visitor Tracking can let sales strike while the iron’s hot! Real-time alerts also let your reps know when their prospect has jumped out of the pool and is on your site!
5. Expand your reach by using MA to market to existing customers.
In our model the “Expand” phase refers to marketing to your existing customers. This is also known as practicing “customer marketing.”
You’ve heard of this “marketing after the sale” stuff before. It’s called Retention Marketing. And it’s one of the most effective strategies around. We’ve all heard the saying, “it’s cheaper to retain a customer than it is to obtain a new one.”
So how can you automate this expansion phase? Well, we mentioned an automated lead-nurturing program. How about an automated onboarding program – also known as a Welcome series?
This could be a sophisticated multi-media education course, or it could just be a series of simple emails. And as with all good marketing automation, it’ll be segmented (according to which products or services the customer has purchased) and personalized.
Imagine your MA system sending customers a weekly report that summarizes what users have done with your product over the last week. Or how about an automated anniversary email thanking them for a year, or even years of patronage? You could also squeeze in suggestions for how the customer could get even more out of your service. Customers who feel like they’re getting the most of their investment are ones that will renew their contracts increasing their customer lifetime value. This is what will ultimately make your business healthy and thriving! Invest in your customers and they will invest in you.
And then you can continue to squeeze more fun and relaxation out of your summer.
It’s time for all of us to up our marketing game, insert more efficiency into processes, free up some hours … and maybe even enjoy the summer a bit more. And we can’t just cram in more hours to make it work – we need to completely rethink how we market to our customers.
Fortunately, we have some great tools at your disposal that show how marketing automation can help us all work smarter not harder. And isn’t that the ultimate goal?
Explore your options to find out how MA can help you organize, streamline, and improve your program. You just might find that marketing automation is your cure for the summertime blues.