The top 3 ways marketing automation contributes directly to business growth

When you’re considering a software upgrade or switch, there always needs to be a compelling reason to justify the investment. What better way to highlight the benefits of marketing automation software than to explain how it contributes to growth? Marketing automation software, whether approached with existing expertise in email marketing or without it, has many growth-oriented attributes to offer. The following are the top 3 ways this software contributes directly to business growth.

1. Higher quality leads

Marketing automation was originally designed to help facilitate lead management. As a result, many of the advanced features and integrations are catered to this specific need. While using the software to run campaigns and nurture leads will lead to an increase in the quantity of leads in the longterm, the true benefit of the software lies in its ability to filter leads automatically. This makes it possible to efficiently and easily recognise and prioritise your highest quality leads. Because marketing automation enables behavioural tracking, leads can be automatically monitored at all times. Lead scoring assigns values to each lead, and certain behaviours change a lead’s likelihood to close, so those behaviours will automatically update a lead score and can even be programmed to create a real-time alert. This makes following up with leads at critical decision points manageable and more effective.

In addition, by shifting to an inbound marketing approach and creating content that is tailored for specific buyer personas that represent high quality lead profiles, more of the leads that come into your funnel will be high quality to begin with. Content can be set up to change dynamically based on the known information about each prospect. If a decision maker visits your website, they can be shown a different whitepaper than a mid-level marketing employee is shown. Various landing pages can be set up which cater to specific, high quality prospect types. Any visitors can be enrolled automatically in a nurture campaign designed to provide additional informative content. Lastly, through advanced nurture campaigns, it is possible to gradually but efficiently incentivise progression through the buying cycle, generating higher-quality leads over time that, without this software, could otherwise be lost or forgotten about in the short-term.

2. Constant, automated monitoring of leads

I touched on this above, but the platform is running all the time, so leads can be automatically tracked around the clock. The software has you covered for nights, weekends and faraway time zones, enabling a level of responsiveness and insight generation that couldn’t exist otherwise. This means that the type of information offered to a lead who has changed their interest level can be handled automatically at any time. It also means a lead who is showing signs of making a purchase decision can be followed up with when it’s best for them- prioritising urgent needs through alerts and enabling a higher close rate by leveraging the strengths of the software.

3. Behaviour-based triggers

One of the primary advantages of marketing automation software over any other existing technologies is its ability to track behaviour. This creates myriad opportunities, including behavioural triggers for marketing tasks like campaign enrolment, lead score updates, a change in specific messaging, social media interaction, CRM system profile updates, etc. All of these capabilities are dependent on the unique ability to monitor online behaviour (anonymous or otherwise) via marketing automation software. The novelty and utility of this cannot be overemphasised. By relying on insights gleaned from buyer behaviour, you are more likely to be relevant to each individual. People who perceive messaging as being more relevant to them are more likely to trust your organisation and purchase from it.

Marketing automation software can be a huge growth catalyst for companies that use it properly. The unique features offered within the software platform combined with their advanced capabilities creates a recipe for success that is simply dependent on a successful implementation and ongoing development. If you’re looking to meet a quantitative goal, improve lead flow, increase revenue or build your organization, then investing in marketing automation is the right move. Contact us today if you need some guidance on automating your marketing.

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How campaign development differs with marketing automation software

A marketer’s life revolves around campaigns and target markets. Create a campaign to capture the right target market, develop a campaign to improve how we are perceived by this key group, run that campaign to convince some undecided buyers so we reach the quarter’s financial goals…

It’s all about campaigns.

Today there are so many different ways to reach a particular type of prospect. From social media to email to direct mail, the options for interacting with and communicating to a targeted group are more varied than ever, and yet the game has gotten more complicated and more precise. Customers are evolving too. Millennials have different expectations from other generations, and each buyer persona prefers a different method of communication.Marketers are tasked with determining the best way to reach each audience and it’s no easy task.

The challenge is to reach the right people at the right time with the right message via the right channels. It comes down to this: how do you cater to every individual’s preferences in a scalable way?

The answer is behavioural marketing.

Unfortunately, the traditional tools of the trade- email marketing platforms (EMPs), customer relationship management systems (CRMs), customer databases, etc. are all independent tools. Each is effective but when utilised separately it becomes difficult for collaborative use of the insights and abilities each provides. Harnessing their individual assets into one centralised location was something that wasn’t possible until marketing automation platforms (MAPs) came onto the scene. With the development of MAPs came the ability to track online behaviour, and with that came the ability to integrate those separate tools into one platform. With each tool, new integrated processes were developed. It became possible to create automated campaigns that responded to behavioural triggers based on the tracked actions of each individual.

Now behavioural marketing is possible and because it’s automated, it’s also scalable. This means that campaigns have also evolved to leverage these new abilities.

Email marketing abilities of MAP

The email marketing abilities within a MAP are vastly more powerful than those of a simple EMP. Email marketing platforms can send batches of emails at scheduled times to a specific list of addresses and they can track basic performance statistics. Email marketing within a marketing automation platform raises the bar by enabling additional, more powerful features like branching, ongoing qualification and automatic, criteria-based enrollment. Campaigns have become dynamic, responsive and more effective.

This also means that marketers can take a more long-term approach to campaign development. Ongoing campaigns can be set-up for specific target groups while more urgent or niche campaigns can be created periodically based on need. The balance is more efficient and a smarter use of resources.

One reason effectiveness is improved is because prospective customers can self-determine which messaging they receive. If they act one way, they can qualify for the campaign that best suits what their behaviour indicates they are interested in. With branching, this can be taken another level further so that someone who doesn’t even open any of the emails within the campaign they qualified for can be branched into a different set of emails, a separate campaign or even a new method of communication.

MAP allows you to respond at scale

The software makes it possible to respond to each person’s needs at scale because it’s all automated. Once a team of marketers develops and builds a campaign, it can be set up to run continually and what once would have involved several separate campaigns and lists can now be done in one fell swoop. With periodic checks for effectiveness and improvements, these campaigns free up creative time for optimising existing campaigns, developing new ones and reaching out to entirely different potential markets. Instead of predictive guessing about which segment a lead falls into, marketers can allow each lead to self-qualify. Truly a liberating paradigm shift. Contact us to discuss how we can help streamline your campaign development.

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is email marketing obsolete?

Email marketing isn’t going anywhere, in fact, it’s evolving.

What was once just a method to send information to many people at once has transformed from scalable mass communication into scalable, one-to-one communication. Advanced software tools now enable new capabilities like alternative campaign branches within a chain of emails, behaviour-based email send triggers and advanced, integrated analytics.

“Only 6% of companies are strongly of the opinion that email will be redundant in five years’ time and 69% believe email will continue to be one of the highest channels for delivering ROI.” -Adestra, 2014.

Email marketing is adapting to modern technology and modern marketing needs.

“48% of consumers say that they prefer to communicate with brands via email.” Capterra, 2014.

Consumers don’t mind email or nurture campaigns, what they mind is irrelevant information, overly promotional content and too frequent communication. By focusing on eliminating these deterrents, marketers can ensure their emails are read and appreciated by those who receive them; ensuring that this form of communication won’t be obsolete anytime soon.

A hindrance to this mission is the lack of behaviour- based and advanced nurture campaign capabilities within email marketing platforms (EMPs). Many organisations remain uninformed about the advanced capabilities of email because they use their tried and true EMP to handle their email marketing. Unfortunately, this means those organisations are missing out on the advantages of marketing-automation-powered email marketing. For many, it may be time to switch*.

“Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media, with a 17% higher value in the conversion.” Capterra, 2014.

“Companies view email marketing as a better return on investment than PPC, content marketing, social media, offline direct marketing, affiliate marketing, online display advertising, and mobile marketing.” ExpressPigeon, 2014.

Email within a marketing automation platform

Marketing automation platforms contain an email marketing feature, but this feature is more powerful than the standalone email marketing platform organisations are used to.

Drip vs. Nurture

EMPs are capable of sending a one-time series of emails to a large group of addresses and tracking whether emails are opened or not. This approach is often referred to as “batch and blast” for obvious reasons and this style of campaign or series of emails is called a “drip campaign”. Marketing automation technology enables a more advanced type of campaign called a “nurture campaign”.

A nurture campaign can be set up to be ongoing so people can qualify for it at any time, and their behaviour drives the emails they receive throughout the campaign. For example, if person A does not open email 2, they are sent email 2 again 24 hours later or email 3 instead after 1 week. The standard drip campaigns offered by email marketing platforms cannot accommodate this branching or the behaviour-based changes. With a drip campaign the process would look more like this: person A does not open email 2, they are sent email 3 one week later like everyone else.

Additional email advancements

Analytics can generate automatic, customised reports based on things like recipient reaction to the email (opens, click-throughs, unsubscribes) or average time to purchase post-campaign. A/B testing can be used to dynamically determine which of two potential emails is performing better and then programmed to automatically only send the best email to any future recipients. Lastly, all those advanced capabilities are amplified by their integration with the entire suite of tools within the larger marketing automation platform. Data from email is more detailed, more frequently updated and can be combined with insights from other tools to enable more accurate analytics, predictive performance and multichannel buyer profiles.

Email marketing isn’t going anywhere, but it has undergone some updates. If you’re still sending email via an email marketing platform, you should start thinking about making the switch to marketing automation software to ensure your email marketing remains relevant and effective. If you need assistance upgrading to MAP contact us to discuss.

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Why a behaviour-based approach to email is better

The ability to track and automatically monitor digital behaviour has revolutionised marketing. Instead of relying on static demographic data, marketers can supplement it with near real-time behavioural data. This offers many advantages, particularly in the realm of email marketing.

Behaviour-based marketing emails are more relevant

When emails or entire campaigns are triggered based on someone’s behaviour, they’re much more relevant and timely. And because this process is automated, that perfect timing requires no extra effort on the part of the marketing team, just plenty of foresight during development.

Say a lead has been looking only at home products for their kitchen. They have browsed through your online catalogue and visited the kitchen section of your ecommerce store, but they haven’t purchased anything yet. One week later that lead revisits your site and goes to the kitchen section again but this time they click on several kitchen decor items before leaving. This revisit behaviour to the same section could trigger a campaign emphasising the quality of your kitchen products. If the lead comes back and purchases a kitchen item, the sale can be accurately attributed in part to this timely campaign.

Behaviour-based emails are dynamic

Prospects and customers are qualifying for each campaign based on recent actions, which ensures the messaging within it is relevant. Different leads will automatically qualify for different campaigns based on their behaviour. The decision about which campaign to enroll each lead in happens dynamically and the choices are pre-programmed so this process does not need a human to make the decision each time, The optimum delay time can be chosen to ensure perfect timing for each message or emails can be triggered to send immediately. It’s a balance between automating a repetitive process without losing the human element. The software is dynamic; it is responding to each behaviour, enabling the most relevant information to be sent with each email.

What if a lead you’ve been nurturing for several months suddenly revisits your site after a long period of absence, views your pricing page and schedules a demo? This lead is interested right NOW and should be contacted. You could set up a segment called “demo scheduled” to nurture everyone who qualifies with pro tips to get the most out of their upcoming demo.

Behaviour-based marketing allows leads to self-select what is most relevant to them

Which segment does this lead fit into? Which campaign would be best to nurture them with? What content will help move them along through the buying cycle? By relying on behaviour to determine each of these things, marketers remove the guesswork they used to rely on. Relevance is much easier when people are telling you what they’re most interested in.

Let’s say you own a SaaS company that specialises in CRM systems for real estate businesses. You also offer advanced analytics for historical real estate data in specific regions, and the customers who are interested in one may not be interested in the other. The way you sell each is very different, and the customer profiles for each service are often different. To determine which series of emails to send to each prospect, you could send only people who visit the data information page your analytics campaign and only the people who visit the real estate CRM system information page the CRM system campaign.

Behaviour-based email isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it solution, but it is less work

Most of the work for behaviour-based email marketing is done at the beginning. Once a campaign or branching criteria is set up, it can be programmed to run continually. While periodic checks and optimisation updates are important, this style of marketing is much less work. Instead of building separate campaigns for each list of email addresses, marketers can program the software to automatically add each person to their appropriate list and then each list can be enrolled in a specific campaign.

Every time someone purchases a doll from your site, they can be added to the list of people who have purchased that doll and enrolled in a campaign that sends information about available supplementary accessories.

The reason why behaviour-based marketing is so revolutionary is because it makes it possible to communicate on an individual level in a scalable way. Behaviour can automatically trigger specific actions within the platform and messaging can be created with specific behavioural patterns in mind. This is modern, call-and-response style marketing. The behaviour is the call, and the preprogrammed software handles the appropriate response automatically. Contact us to find out more about behaviour-based automation.

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3 common lead management problems to avoid

Lead Management is a process of continuous improvement. Handling each lead both individually and efficiently is a difficult task, but modern marketing technology has made it much easier. Marketing automation software was originally created to help companies be smarter about how they handled lead management. As more companies consider switching from their email marketing platform (EMP) to a marketing automation platform (MAP), many of them are asking whether the added tools and extra investment are worth it. This article is designed to address some of the key benefits by examining 3 common lead management challenges and how marketing automation software helps solve them.

Which segment does this lead fall into?

Every campaign starts with a target segment. The messaging, timing, channels and imagery are all carefully tailored to resonate with members of that segment and performance is based on how effective the campaign was at reaching them.

For organisations using their EMP to handle email communication, creating each segment is a time-consuming, manual process. It involves determining who meets the criteria based on known demographic data, purchasing or assembling a list of those people, and loading that list into the EMP before launching the series of emails. Once launched, the campaign cannot be edited and all members of that list will go through the same set of emails.

Compare this to the segmentation process with marketing automation software. Segments are defined by the marketing team and set up within the platform. Qualifiers for each segment include demographic and behavioural criteria which, once met, automatically place a lead into that segment. Specific segments are enrolled in campaigns targeting them so that every time someone qualifies for a certain segment, they can trigger the start of their own campaign. If an individual’s behaviour indicates they no longer fit the segment, they can be automatically filtered into a more appropriate segment and enrolled in the campaign meant to target their current state. It’s more dynamic and more accurate because everything is determined by the behaviour of the lead on an ongoing basis. The entire process, once set up, is automatic.

Is this a high quality lead? Ready to close? How to transition to sales? (lead scoring, behaviour, CRM integration, collaboration with sales team)

Qualifying leads

According to Gleanster Research, “only 25% of leads are legitimate and should advance to sales.” This begs the question, what should you do with all those leads who aren’t ready to close? Determining which leads are high quality and which aren’t is critical to handling them efficiently and optimising financial results.

Without marketing automation, determining how qualified a lead is can be a giant guessing game. Deciding which leads should progress to sales and which leads still need nurturing (and which type of nurture campaign is best for each lead) is a long process based on demographic data and the manual input of a marketing or salesperson. Not the most effective approach.

Qualifying leads with marketing automation software is a different story. Once marketing and sales agree upon behavioural and demographic criteria for various levels of lead quality, automatic lead scoring can be set up. Each lead can be assigned a specific lead stage and score based on their position, which pages they visit, what content they consume, whether they’ve looked at pricing or contacted sales already, etc. With a CRM integration, the highest scores can trigger real-time alerts for the appropriate salesperson and time can be spent with only those leads that are the furthest along in their buying process.

What to do with leads that aren’t ready to close?

When a lead isn’t ready to purchase, what do you do with them? If you have marketing automation, you enroll them into an appropriate nurture campaign. When they’re ready to buy they will automatically qualify for a more relevant campaign through their behaviour. If you have email marketing, you either forget about them or manually put them into a campaign periodically…if you remember to. Or you can leave it to your sales team to follow up with them in the future.

“79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance.” -MarketingSherpa

Lead nurturing is a key way to stay top-of-mind with those leads that aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger. By continuing to communicate relevant information to these leads, you can ensure you are the first company they call when they are ready to buy. If you wait to follow up with them randomly in a few months, you’ve missed out on an opportunity to gain credibility and address any concerns they may have been harboring. Nurturing is especially important in industries with longer sales cycles where the research and decision processes can last months or years.

Lead management isn’t rocket science, it just takes the right tools and some proactive people to leverage them. By automating some of the key aspects of lead management, marketing automation software makes it possible to directly address many of the common challenges being faced by marketers. We chose three for this article but there are many different ways this software can create efficiencies and grow business, contact us to learn about more of them. Contact us if you require assistance in developing a results-driven lead management campaign.

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