What if you were able to identify exactly who your customers are, what they want to buy and what they need to hear in order to close the deal? As a marketer, you’d be on cloud nine! Marketing automation can help take you there. It enables marketers to automate the job of creating and sending targeted content to customers during each stage of the sales funnel. It uses methods, such as segmentation and lead scoring, to engage with customers online via delivery channels, including personalized email, social media and native advertising.
If that doesn’t sound intriguing enough, think about this: according to Forrester Research, companies proficient at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads at 33 percent lower cost per lead. What’s more, nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. And one in four companies that adopt marketing automation as part of their sales and marketing strategy experience a 30 to 49 percent increase in revenue. These are just some of the reasons marketing automation is among the hottest topics in marketing today. For more information on marketing automation, keep reading.
Four steps to getting started with marketing automation
Marketing automation goes far beyond your standard email marketing. In fact, it tracks all online interactions between a company and its prospects so it can make customer-focused actions at all stages of the sales funnel. It’s all about highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and customers to satisfied customers.
There are four steps your organization can follow to get started generating and distributing great, valuable content:
- Segment: Segmentation involves separating existing customers into groups with similar characteristics, such as, company size, location, job title or age. Once you have your segments, you can begin developing a targeted strategy for each group.
- Understand the pain points: In order to understand each segment’s challenges and pain points, research is needed. Start with your sales and customer service teams by asking them to brainstorm the problems your customers face when making decisions about your products or services. Find out what steps they take when buying from your company and what questions they are asked during each stage of the buying cycle. Help your team by providing an array of multi-colored Post-It® Notes and Sharpie® Markers—a must for any good brainstorm session.Your customers are also a great source of information. Monitor what they are saying about your company on social media or talk to them directly. Phone, chat and email surveys are fantastic channels to gain insight on customer challenges and pain points. Reward customers for their time and input with a small reminder of your gratitude, such as a Hot Chocolate Tin, insulated lunch bag or LED flashlight.
- Conduct a content audit: Armed with customer knowledge and insight, review existing content and strategize new content to meet their needs and address their issues. Educational articles, blog posts, eBooks, instructional videos and non-promotional webinars are all possible content ideas.
- Deliver: You now have segmented audiences and valuable content. It’s time to get that content into their hands. During the deliver stage, you’ll identify who will receive what content, when and how. Whether those channels are social, email or text, automated workflows help guide customers to take specific actions. For instance, if a customer signs up for your e-newsletter, your workflow may include generating an email coupon, links to other valuable content, or a direct mail sales piece with promotional items, including a credit card ice scraper or cord organizer.
Remember, marketing automation is more than just email marketing. It’s providing content so valuable, and at the right time, that it answers your customers’ questions and addresses their concerns throughout the entire sales funnel. If you’d like to learn more about marketing automation, check out our Blue Paper.