Marketing automation is a term you’ve probably heard of but you might be new to the concept or unfamiliar with the finer details of what it entails. This blog aims to lift the veil on one of the most powerful marketing tools available to online businesses today.
As a business, one of your main objectives is to convert visitors into potential sales contacts or leads and leads into customers. The issue is that there are several steps or methods to achieving that sale, which can put a strain on budgets and staff. Marketing automation, as the name suggests, will automatically carry out these steps, thus creating a smooth and effective marketing process that will help drive your business forward.
When done effectively, marketing automation can save you time and resources. However, like all tools, there are best practices to follow in order to get the results your desire.
Understanding your Audience
Before you begin marketing automation you need to address your audience. Your audience is what drives your business. So, it makes sense that you should understand their requirements; after all, you can't give them what they want if you don't know what they need.
There are several ways you can learn more about your audience.
Market research is powerful for understanding demographics and can sometimes throw up surprising results, especially if you’ve never done it before. Once you have demographic information you can conceptualise a customer persona. This will help you to picture your audience. If there are several demographics you might need more than one customer persona.
Competitor research can be used to complement your market research. Try to take particular interest in their brand and their marketing strategy. Monitoring social media can also pay off. Reading comments and observing engagement on competitors' social networks will help you to build up a bigger picture of your audiences' interests, likes and dislikes. For a more direct approach, conducting a survey is a great way to ask them directly about themselves and what they want.
Finally, if possible try to get to know your customers on a personal level. This is a valuable exercise that can lead to understanding their tone of voice and concerns, all of which can be generalised across the demographic resulting in a more tailored marketing strategy.
Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Channels
Once you clearly understand your audience, your next focus should be on sales and marketing alignment. Marketing automation works best when sales and marketing teams complement each other and there are a few simple things that you can put into place that help create a harmony within your business.
The first step might sound obvious but having regular meetings can sometimes slip the agenda. Once set up, these meetings should be adhered to. They allow both teams to share processes, resources and the opportunity to offer support to one another. At least one member of your marketing team should attend sales meetings to get a gauge on how effective a marketing exercise is.
By coordinating your content marketing campaigns with sales, you will be able to keep them in the loop when it comes to new promotions. Also consider showcasing the knowledge of a salesperson in a blog, email or social post. This not only emphasises the credibility of your company but also engages the salesperson from a marketing perspective.
Sit with your sales team and listen in on some calls from customers. This has the potential to help you to create follow up emails and tailored content that is more suitable for your customers. Finally, organise training. Sales and marketing departments are always going to have overlaps but that doesn't mean that staff are always equipped or prepared to deal certain situations. Make sure that there is at least an option for training if it is required.
Now that you know your customer and have supported both your marketing and sales departments, it’s time to create valuable content. Marketing automation thrives on good content that delivers the right message to the right people at the right time. When creating powerful content, consider these three questions.
Does the customer need it?
Deliver content that your customers need and not what you think they want. Use the information from your market research to come up with marketing content that will appeal to their demographic.
What are they asking for?
Take some time to find out what your audience is asking for. Use social media, analytics and customer correspondences to discover hot topic and search terms that will grab their attention on email or appear high on the list of search results.
Has their question been answered?
Customers always have questions and what better way to answer than with valuable and helpful content. This reassures your audience that you know what you’re talking about and helps to convert a lead into an active customer.
Of course, there are many other points that you can follow when creating quality content for marketing automation but with these three tips you can be sure to make a great impression with your audience.
Nurturing Leads Across Multiple Channels
The nature of digital means that there are several routes for a person to take to reach your website. This could be through email, social media or website content appearing in a search engine. Consequently, you should focus on all of these channels in order to optimise your resources, efforts and results. This is where marketing automation is really beneficial.
Email marketing is a very powerful tool when it comes to both lead generation and customer conversion. As you know, there are several points within a sales funnel and email is the master when it comes to connecting the customer at any of these given points.
Social media is an omnipresent and fast paced marketing tool that can, and does, have a strong influence on your audience. It's a great way of connecting with them directly and will go a long way to promote your business.
Website content can be used to point your customers in the right direction, answer their questions about your business and promote your service or product. Stepping up your content by making it dynamic will have a greater effect on converting your lead into a customer.
Need help with marketing automation?
Here at WSI, we want to make marketing automation work for you. It benefits all kinds of business and crucially helps them to generate leads and customers. If you would like more information about how WSI can help you, please do not hesitate to get in touch, we’d be happy to discuss your requirements.