How email marketing helps the marketing team.

Why email works

Email is an effective way to communicate with customers because it’s permission-based. Everyone on an email marketing list has opted in to receiving email communication so it’s a voluntary form of communication instead of traditional interruption marketing. With the right type of relevant content, email marketing can be a powerful tool for communicating with leads in a scalable way.

As a marketer, you probably already know that there are three primary uses for email communications:

  1. maintain contact with leads
  2. stay in touch with previous or existing customers
  3. educate prospects

Email is less obtrusive than other forms of communication and it allows your team to personalise each message to a specific list or segment so it can be as relevant as possible. More importantly, email marketing can be a way to stay top of mind with leads who aren’t quite ready to close, retarget customers for a potential upsell opportunity and proactively provide the information prospects are looking for when considering their investment or comparing you to the competition.

Amplifying email with marketing automation technology

For marketers, when email marketing is used through a marketing automation platform (MAP), it gains a number of advanced capabilities and becomes a seamless part of a powerful digital marketing toolset.

Improved internal processes and governance

Aside from advancing email capabilities, the introduction of MAP into your marketing technology ecosystem can provide a much needed overhaul of your marketing processes and governance. With the ability to automate email campaigns and communications based on recipient actions (or non-actions) and behaviour, you can remove a number of manual steps and re-prioritise other steps.

Advanced email campaigns

Instead of simple drip emails, entire nurture campaigns can be built using marketing automation platforms.Nurture campaigns allow you to have branched emails, where a specific series of emails is sent out based on the varying behaviour of each lead. As an example, you could have the second email in a series sent to all the people who open the first email and a completely different email sent to all the people who didn’t open the original one.

Optimised use of data

In addition, emails can be automatically sent whenever a prospect meets specific criteria- demographically, psychographically or through their behaviour. Another advantage to email within a marketing automation platform is the collective data it contributes to. With marketing automation, email statistics can be stored and combined with social media engagement, content consumption and lead scoring for a comprehensive view of each prospect. Whether you send email through an email service provider or through a marketing automation platform, it is a powerful vehicle for communication and an effective marketing method. Email us today if you want to know more about how marketing automation can help your marketing team.

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What needs and processes can marketing automation solve?

When you’re already realising success with email marketing, it can be difficult to embrace the idea of investing in marketing automation software. It can seem like the two are interchangeable or like you don’t need the extra features of a marketing automation platform. Look below the surface though and you’ll quickly realise the value lies not only in the advanced capabilities and highly specialised tools available, but also in the needs and processes this innovative technology can help solve.

Marketing Automation enables:

  • Higher quality lead management
  • Workflow efficiencies (internal and external)
  • Sales and marketing alignment
  • Analytical support and predictions
  • Increased relevance
  • Proactive marketing instead of reactive marketing

1. Higher quality lead management

Key Features: lead scoring, CRM integration, behaviour tracking, behaviour-triggered campaigns

Lead management is something every organisation could do better. Whether it’s focusing on quality over quantity, determining where each lead is in the buying cycle or figuring out which campaign to send to which leads, this is an area where marketing automation becomes a lifesaver.

By tracking visitor behaviour and monitoring it across all methods of engagement, you can set up scoring criteria that automatically determines where a lead is in the buying cycle. When a lead reaches a certain score, they can be offered content tailored to their profile- ensuring the content is relevant and timely.

2. Workflow effiencies

Key Features: automated campaigns, social media integration, CRM integration, lead scoring. When campaigns are triggered automatically, they can be set up in advance so marketers can spend more time focusing on strategic ideas and content production and less time on repetitive tasks.

Existing content can be programmed to post on social media at scheduled times, increasing its lifetime value while freeing up time for live engagement. Sales alerts can be triggered by specific actions on the part of a prospect so a salesperson can drop everything to spend their time with the lead most likely to close in the moment they’re considering their purchase.

Did you know automated campaigns aren’t just for marketing to customers and prospects? They can also be used to improve internal process efficiency. Campaigns are just automated processes. They’re typically thought of as a way to automate marketing but their uses aren’t limited to that- they can also be used to automate organisational workflows.

3. Sales and marketing alignment

Key Features: CRM integration, lead scoring, sales alerts, nurture campaigns.

Traditionally sales blames marketing for bad leads and marketing blames sales for losing the customer at the very end. This type of finger pointing distracts from the real problem because without marketing automation software there is no way to accurately determine what went wrong.

With lead scoring to ensure quality, nurture campaigns to lead prospects through the buying cycle, CRM integration for a comprehensive view of every interaction and sales alerts to convey a sense of urgency when it matters most, marketing automation provides visibility to both teams throughout the entire process. This aligns both teams and stops the blame game.

4. Analytical support and predictions

Key Features: analytics, reporting.

Decisions shouldn’t be made by gut instinct alone, this isn’t Mad Men- it’s real life. Analytics provide statistical support for areas of need so efforts can be aimed where they’re most needed. Constant behavioural tracking offers a long-term view of the buying cycle and lends accuracy to forecasting. It becomes possible to predict revenue, lead flow and ROI so your decisions are based on real data.

5. Increased relevance

Key Features: behaviour-based campaigns, nurture emails, dynamic content.

When marketing is driven by prospect, it looks very different. Instead of broadcast-style messaging with broad applications, you see inbound marketing and personalised messaging with a one-to-one focus. When a lead behaves a certain way, you respond in the right way at the right time. This is the power of behaviour-based marketing.

With nurture emails, marketers can actively communicate with leads and provide the type of content that they are most interested in. Through a steady progression, this content can nurture a lead through the buying process to a point where they are ready to make their purchase decision. With dynamic content, prospects see the content that is tailored for their stage in the buying process, their buyer persona, and their activity. This level of personalisation is something only marketing automation can provide.

6. Proactive marketing – a paradigm shift

When your marketing team builds campaigns based on need, that is reactionary marketing. The unique features within marketing automation are designed to shift marketers from a reactive mode to a proactive one. Every feature of this technology was developed to address a modern marketing need: integrations to connect complimentary software, lead scoring to filter leads, nurture emails to take email marketing to the next level, etc.

The ability to track behaviour is transformational because it gives a whole new level of insight into leads, enabling scalable but personalised marketing. Ultimately, investing in marketing automation is a need-based decision. Do you need help with lead management? Do you struggle to get good quality leads? Is it difficult to track campaign success? Marketing automation technology can help. Contact us to discuss how we can help.

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What is transformational about marketing automation technology?

Marketing automation is a technology that evolved to grow businesses in an era of educated buyers and overwhelmed marketing and sales professionals. As traditional, outbound marketing lost its effectiveness and began to repel buyers, innovative organisations began to embrace an inbound marketing approach. Leads and customers responded well when they were catered to with relevant information instead of shouted at with pitches, and marketing automation software provided a streamlined way to meet the needs of modern marketers. By automating repetitive processes, marketing automation technology liberates employees from menial tasks and enables a focus on creative intelligence, strategic thinking and growth.

Drip vs. nurture

One revolutionary element of marketing automation technology is the nurture campaign. Email marketing with an email service provider (ESP) is limited in scope because ESPs evolved as a tool for businesses to send email whereas marketing automation evolved as a platform with a suite of tools to support an inbound marketing approach. Most organisations invest in marketing automation after some experience with an ESP, so they begin their introduction to the software with the email feature and start by building nurture campaigns. The ability to have a campaign branch in multiple directions based on open and click behaviour is powerful and an immediate upgrade from traditional email marketing.

Better contact management

Key behaviour can indicate where a lead or contact is in the buying cycle, giving your marketing and sales team the intel they need to decide what interaction and messaging is best. This behaviour-based approach to marketing is one of the hallmarks of marketing automation’s effectiveness. Instead of guessing where a contact is in their decision process, you can know and respond appropriately based on their behaviour.

Comprehensive approach to marketing and sales data

Internally, marketing automation software serves as a single location for housing marketing, service and sales data. By offering multiple tools within one platform and integrating with complementary software like CRM systems and social media, this database can help the marketing, sales, service and IT teams work together to draw useful cross-platform insights.

Relevance and one-to-one marketing at scale

Email marketing allows you to communicate with leads and customers at scale and even offers a certain degree of personalisation with data fields. This one-to-many interaction is a valuable tool for touching leads, but it falls short of the email capabilities within a marketing automation platform because it can never be one-to-one. With marketing automation, you can branch emails so what is sent next is a response to recipient behaviour. They will only see the content that is most tailored to them and their current phase in the buying process. You can personalise with data fields as well as content.This level of personalisation increases relevance and ensures the right message is delivered at the right time.

Proactive vs. Reactive

The biggest transformation marketing automation offers is more abstract than the addition of new features. It’s the profound shift from reactive thinking to proactive thinking. Without visitor tracking and behavioural data, marketing and sales teams would take action based on what was happening currently or what had happened in the past. A marketer might launch a discount offer campaign to encourage quick closes at the end of a low performance quarter for example.

With marketing automation, it becomes possible to focus on the future instead. Predictions are more accurate because leads can be reliably tracked throughout their buying cycle and campaigns can launch themselves based on predetermined behavioural criteria. That discount offer campaign can be programmed to launch automatically if analytics are showing a low performing quarter, leaving the marketing team some creative time to brainstorm preventative measures and the sales team with a list of high-potential (high lead score) prospects to follow up with quickly.

Marketing automation is not just another marketing tool, it’s an entire platform built to facilitate an inbound marketing approach. While the software is the key to implementing inbound marketing successfully, it’s the philosophy that makes this technology truly transformational. Contact us discuss your marketing automation journey.

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Should my business use marketing automation?

Marketing Automation Software is not right for every business. While there are platforms for every size company and every size budget, no amount of vendor comparison can result in success if your business model doesn’t work well with the technology. That being said, for many companies marketing automation is a proven catalyst for growth.

Marketers say that the biggest benefits of automation are saving time (74%), increased customer engagement (68%), more timely communications (58%) and increased opportunities including up-selling (58%

So what type of businesses should be considering marketing automation technology?

Medium to long Sales Cycle

Typically, businesses with medium to long sales cycle are a great fit for marketing automation technology. If there is a medium to long sales cycle, potential customers will be doing research well in advance of their purchase in an effort to educate themselves before they buy. With a strong content marketing strategy, marketing automation can help manage these leads as they progress through the buying cycle.

Through long-term nurture campaigns, timely distribution of helpful resources and ongoing communication businesses with long sales cycles can ensure they stay top of mind when a lead is ready to purchase and can help accelerate the sales cycle by serving up content aligned with where the buyer is in their decision process. Marketing automation makes all of these tasks easy and largely automatic with features like lead scoring, that help the sales team spend their time on the leads with the most potential.

Complex, multiple or high cost products or services

For businesses with multiple products and services (at multiple price points) marketing automation can really benefit this type of business. Amazon is a company that uses marketing automation to automatically offer and advertise related products, communicate regularly with their customer base in a personalised but scalable way, and promote discounts or products that are likely of interest to previous customers.

Higher investments imply a longer sales cycle because buyers require more time to make a decision and evaluate all their options before committing. This means there is a lot of potential for educational content and ongoing communication throughout the buying cycle. Marketing automation facilitates and automates this process so lead flow is more reliable, more predictable and more highly qualified.

B2B or B2C – depending on the business model

There is a common misperception that marketing automation is only for B2B (business to business) companies. In reality, marketing automation can be used very effectively by B2C (business to consumer) companies too. Ultimately, it comes down to the business model. B2C companies usually have larger databases, are more focused on using marketing automation software to develop and maintain relationships with prospects and customers. They are looking to encourage multiple product or service comparisons and ultimately secure more loyal customers.

Technology-Focused Companies

SaaS (software as a service) companies benefit particularly well from an effective marketing automation strategy. According to ClickZ, “76 percent of the 17 largest SaaS companies in the world use marketing automation”. The sales cycle for SaaS companies has some unique needs that are easily addressed through marketing automation technology. Dynamic content, ad management and retargeting campaigns are extremely valuable for cloud-based software companies in addition to scoring leads, behaviour-based marketing and website visitor tracking that are widely used by many adopters of marketing automation.

To determine if your organisation is a good fit for marketing automation technology, start by examining your business model or contact us to assist you with this. Marketing automation may be the solution you’ve been looking for.

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The difference between email marketing and marketing automation technology

A Marketing Automation Platform is not “email marketing on steroids”. It is a software platform with many features – one of which enables you to market via email. It is common for marketing automation companies to use the aforementioned analogy as a way to introduce prospects to this powerful marketing platform, but we find it misleading. As they grow, many organisations realise a need for abilities beyond what their ESP (email service provider) is capable of handling so while the analogy helps to introduce the idea of better software, it isn’t the full story. Typically, even the email marketing features in marketing automation software are significantly more robust than anything your ESP is capable of.

We would like to take this opportunity to explain the basic differences between email marketing and marketing automation to help you better understand the software’s potential and more accurately evaluate your needs for such a platform.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a tool that enables you to market to prospects through email. It allows you to send single emails or groups of emails to a specific set of addresses at specified times. You can schedule and send entire campaigns and monitor their performance on a basic level. All of this is really important because it enables you to stay in contact with leads, maintain communication with existing customers and market to lists of potential prospects.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a software platform that provides tools for executing a modern approach to marketing. With features like lead scoring, dynamic content, analytics and reporting, campaign builders and social scheduling – marketing automation platforms (MAP) are designed to help inbound marketers be more strategic with their lead management.

Email-Specific Limitations

Even if we ignore the other features of marketing automation and focus only on email there are still several key limitations to an ESP.

  • The biggest has to do with drip campaigns vs. nurture campaigns. Both an ESP and a MAP will enable you to send a series of emails to a list of recipients – this is called a drip campaign because you send droplets of content at specified intervals to your list of recipients. However, only a MAP will allow you to run a nurture campaign. Nurture campaigns are reactive; they take specific actions based on prospect behaviour. You create the rules when you build the campaign and essentially create branches of emails. If someone opens email 1, send them email 2 but if they do not open email 1, try sending them email 1B instead. This interactive approach to email communication is much more powerful than a drip campaign. It’s an automated, real-time response to prospect behaviour.
  • Another disadvantage to an ESP is its manual nature. Every email blast must be created and sent out manually. As you grow, creating these massive messaging blasts can become tedious and repetitive. Furthermore, these manual email blasts are less effective, take more time to implement and you have no idea whether they are working or not. You have no way to track what prospects are doing with the information you’re sending them, how they are reacting to it, if it contributed directly to an increase in sales, etc.
  • With marketing automation you can build campaigns that will be triggered automatically based on prospect behaviour. This saves your marketing and sales teams time and effort and it also allows for more proactive marketing.

For example, every time a lead downloads specific content such as your competitor comparison guide, they can be automatically enrolled in a campaign that gives additional information about you vs. your competitors. You can track the effectiveness of each campaign (and each email) by monitoring prospect behaviour and checking the analytics report. With marketing automation you can create entire, ongoing, lead nurturing programs and you can measure their effectiveness on an individual or mass level. These types of campaigns can be built out for a wide array of behaviours and enable your marketing team to move beyond logistical tasks so they can focus on strategy and growth.

Tool vs Philosophy

Email marketing is the first stepping stone on the path to modern marketing, but it is still just a tool. Modern marketing involves a completely different approach to how businesses communicate with leads. The features in a marketing automation platform were designed and developed specifically to cater to modern marketing philosophies.

Most organisations using email marketing begin the process of switching to marketing automation when they realise the need for additional capabilities beyond what their ESP is capable of. Learning the differences between email marketing and marketing automation is often the first step to recognising you are ready for a more powerful technology. Just because you need the software doesn’t mean you are ready for it though. There is a big difference between an ESP and a MAP and becoming proficient with marketing automation software can be a long learning process. To better prepare for success with marketing automation there are some definite must-haves that can make or break how soon you realise a return on your software investment, we discuss those in this post “You’re not Quite Ready for Marketing Automation” or if you need more information, contact us today.

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    1300 440 444

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    14/213 Miller St North Sydney
    NSW 2060