Marketing automation can drive a wide array of marketing optimisations that allow brands to adapt to the ever-changing online landscape. Social networks and newer technologies like smartphones and tablets have changed the way individuals communicate with each other, and brands are constantly trying to adapt and integrate their marketing and sales efforts with this environment. In order to do so, in what is an ironic step, brands must become more automated in order to communicate on an individual basis with such an on-the-go audience.
To effectively implement such a strategy, it is important for companies to review all the capabilities and benefits that marketing automation has to offer for company and customer and develop a road map detailing how it is to be implemented. Such a process should be split into the following categories to promote efficiency as well as foster an understanding amongst staff of how each function contributes to the whole marketing automation process:
- Data management and integration
- Campaign automation
- Scoring and routing
All are key facets to the modern marketing automation mix and have elements that must be followed to fully activate marketing automation and drive revenue through online marketing communications.
Email remains one of the most important elements of successful digital marketing as it makes it possible for marketing engagement to progress from initial awareness through to final purchase and beyond. As email has been a stalwart of online communication for years, there’s a wide spectrum of uses and sophistication available.
First and foremost, always obtain permission from your customers. This distinguishes marketing messaging from spam and will drive open and click-through rates. It also filters out those who aren’t interested in your business, helping to create a highly relevant and strong list.
Once this list has been built, marketers can then start adding further complexities to their programme and involve careful subscriber data collection. Tracking activity prior to signing up will provide insight into customer interests, as will asking a few select questions upon opt-in or content interaction. Use this information to create personalised and segmented emails that target specific sub-sets of a list based on interests. Create areas of dynamic content where phrases and words are swapped depending on the recipient’s interests. These campaigns generate a significantly larger amount of engagement than generic, non-targeted messaging.
These methods can also be built upon by involving social networks to obtain further data for personalisation. Social sign-in is a newer alternative for individuals to opt-in to email programmes. It’s easy and fast for the customer, while providing useful data for marketers. With social login tools, they can retrieve content simply by using a social network, eliminating the task of filling out multiple fields.
Incorporating these tactics will create an effective email programme that will engage users while driving ROI and revenue. So let’s take a quick look at the database management processes needed to make this work
Data Management and Integration
An effective data management and integration strategy is fundamental to the success of digital marketing as it allows you to collate and utilise the data collected in the most efficient and profitable manner. As a starting point, make sure that all automation runs out of one centralised marketing database. This will allow communication with customers across all platforms – email, social, mobile, etc.
However, access to this database must also be carefully defined – stringent rules to prevent data becoming corrupted and unusable must be put in place. All parties can benefit from open, yet controlled access, as sales can add relevant recipients to marketing collateral, while marketing can pass on details to sales as it nurtures leads.
Incorporating tactics such as web tracking and appending details to existing entries will create a sturdy list that is also adaptable if priorities change. This is the most important aspect of segmentation marketing – without a complete list of relevant data it will fail.
Automated campaigns deliver processes that move contacts through repetitive marketing steps without the need for queuing, sending, or other batch or manual marketing efforts. As a device that saves labour and drives engagement it is unrivalled. This explains why in Silverpop’s 2011 customer survey, 70 percent of those polled were looking to introduce automated campaigns.
Automation allows the process of delivering leads to sales to be streamlined. Recipients can be placed into different automated campaigns depending on their demographic. Following this, messaging can be sent dependent upon the actions that customers take, creating highly relevant content that reacts to a recipient’s actions. This also works for the lead nurturing process as emails can be designed to grow and develop a relationship that starts as merely interest and ends in a sale by sending them through a variety of automated campaigns.
In order to construct such a process, recipients should be classified – or ‘scored’ – on their potential to buy.
Scoring and Routing
Scoring assigns a value to each contact, giving organisations a true picture of where each prospect is in the sales pipeline. Scoring models incorporate demographic data and behavioural data and assign a tailored numerical value to a contact. This numerical value allows you to summarily communicate the status of a contact. Scoring models are great tools for integrating marketing and sales, allowing each department to work together more effectively to build and convert leads. Assigning scores to contacts allows both sales and marketing to see which contacts need to be further nurtured by marketing and which contacts are ready to have a sales rep contact them.
When reviewed in its entirety, marketing automation offers a comprehensive suite of functionality that can dramatically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a marketing department and its contribution to the sales pipeline. Never before have such tools been available to help marketers achieve and exceed their business objectives, so it is paramount to take advantage of the possibilities that email still offers, and will continue to offer in years to come.