Using Data to Supercharge Your Marketing: Automation

Part 2: Close more leads and grow client relationships with Marketing Automation

In Part 1 of this article series I discussed ways to use your data to make your advertising more efficient. In this article I’ll discuss the next step: Using your data to improve communication with your prospects and customers to grow sales, customer satisfaction, and repeat business.

Go Beyond Email Blasts

Many marketers are using the emails they collect to communicate with clients and prospects by sending email blasts through services like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. This is a great start, and if you aren’t sending regular email blasts, then I’d recommend you do. One important note: Just like social media marketing, don’t just blast your database with deals and offers. Try to also offer interesting content that is related to your brand, service, or product. There is a definite place for emailing about deals, but if you do that too often, people will unsubscribe or tune out your emails.

You can go beyond simple email blasts by introducing various forms of automation to your outbound marketing campaigns. These campaigns are more intelligent because you can change the messaging that your customer or prospect sees based on their own actions. You can set up your campaigns to trigger certain messages based on actions like email opens, clicks, pages viewed on your website, or even calls to the business. You can even go the next step of triggering an outbound call from one of your sales representatives if you connect your automation to a CRM. You’ll commonly hear this referred to as Lead Nurturing, Drip, or Trigger campaigns.

To define a couple terms:  Drip campaigns are email campaigns that send multiple emails over time and predetermined intervals.  Trigger Campaigns are those that start with an initial email and "trigger" new emails or sales tasks based on the user's behavior.

Getting Started

While not required, automation works best when it is connected to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This is something like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, or Sugar. There are literally hundreds on the market. Do your research and invest in the automation platform that is right for you and your budget. (Hubspot or Marketo are a couple of the larger platforms on the market). Hubspot even has a basic CRM system as part of it’s suite of software.

Next you’ll either connect your automation platform to your CRM or manually import your data. If you are manually uploading your data, hopefully you have fields within your records that signify certain attributes like whether or not a certain person is a customer or any other attribute you would want to use to segment your data. If you are connecting directly to your CRM, all of this data should be available to segment within the CRM itself.

Additionally, most automation platforms allow you to connect your website to your campaigns. This means you can connect the actions a prospect completes on your website to the intelligence of your campaign. For example, if one of your prospects clicks through and views certain pages, you could trigger that user to be enrolled in another email campaign that is based on the products or services the user was viewing on your website. This is done by installing a piece of code, known as a pixel, on your website. Once that is complete, your automation platform should be able to recognize the users from your email campaign when they arrive on your site.

Prospect/Lead Nurturing

If you have an ecommerce or online lead generation business, then automation is a great way to maximize your close rates.

Say a person submits a lead on your website. That lead gets automatically inserted into your CRM and one of your sellers follows up. After two days of attempted follow up, they haven’t been able to connect with the lead. In your CRM, you have several sales stages set up. For simplicity let’s label them “Contacted” >“Discovery” > “Propose” > “Negotiate” >“Closed Won” or “Closed Lost”. In this scenario, they will still be “Contacted” because your seller contacted them, but hasn’t set an appointment, which would have put them in the “Discovery” stage.

Continuing with the above example, since that lead after two days is still in “Contacted” stage your automaton platform can assist you in connecting with your lead by sending specific emails at predetermined intervals. That will increase the likelihood that you’ll get a meeting scheduled and because they will know more about you. It will also increase your chances of closing the sale. This also frees you or your seller to concentrate on immediately important activities.

You can also use nurturing to remind your sellers to follow up by having tasks automatically scheduled at certain intervals or based on the prospect’s behavior. It might be a good idea to schedule your seller to call the day after the prospect browses your website or clicks through one of your emails.

For customers that aren’t responsive, you may want to give them a special incentive to improve the odds they engage with you. Instead of having to manually batch each of the prospects that are unresponsive and sending those email blasts yourself, you can let the power of the software do that for you.

Client Retention and Renewals

Marketing Automation can be just as useful for growing your relationship with existing customers. These tools allow you to engage with your clients in a more personalized and intelligent way. Rather than manually segmenting your clients by the product or service they purchased, an automation tool can enroll your customers in personalized campaigns. Plus clients will be happier because they will see information from you that is more relevant.

Your customers may be eligible for add-on or ancillary services based on the product they purchased. Or maybe their product is consumable at a predictable interval. Marketing automation can assist in both scenarios. By automatically enrolling the client in a campaign based on the product they purchased and the purchase date, they will be much more likely to complete the desired action without you manually doing any of the work to make that happen.

A Word About Setup

As with most things, the devil is in the details. Setting up these automation campaigns can be very time consuming, but it is worth the investment. Or you can engage with a company, like Digiarks, that specializes in this kind of automation set up! Here are a few thoughts as you set up your campaigns:

  • Be cognizant of the amount of campaigns a customer can be enrolled in. Setting up triggers to auto enroll people in campaigns is great, but just make sure someone can’t get enrolled in too many simultaneously. It is easy to have people become inundated with communications.
  • Be educationally focused. People know you are in business to make sales. If all you offer are offers, then people don’t really have a reason to keep listening. Focus on giving good information and sprinkle in the sales language.
  • Don’t give up too easily. People may kick tires for a very long time. Especially if you sell high ticket items or services. I would suggest you keep communication going on leads for at least 6 months before you stop communication, and then keep them in your database for one-off e-blasts. Depending on your situation, it might make sense to lower the frequency the longer they are unresponsive.

The Bottom Line

The information in this post is really the tip of the iceberg on what you can do with an automation platform. Using the data you collect to speak to your customers and prospects more intelligently will help you close more sales. If you do nothing else, communicate periodically with thought provoking emails related to your services. If you are able, take the next step and set up automation that can improve your lead to sale ratios and increase your customer lifetime value. And as always, if you have any questions about this or any other topic, reach out to us!

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