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Marketing Automation is the Next Big Thing for Boosting Conversion Rates

2017-01-11 03:31:22

Businesses have a tough time taking care of all customers, especially with so many channels of communication available. From phone to email to social media and the standard front desk, you have to deploy a lot of human resources to manage customer needs and expectations in a timely manner, or risk leaving a lot of money on the table.

What if someone told you that you can be everywhere at once? You can have it all: the cake, the eating, and the bag of chips - at least when it comes to the customer relationship management aspect of your business. By automating your proven marketing efforts, you can optimize your strategy to get your messages seen at the perfect time for your desired audience reaction.

What's Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation platform, Eloqua, defines marketing automation as a way to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. With the use of tools such as autoresponders, social media schedulers and those that automate repetitive tasks across various digital platforms, your leads and customers can receive timely, relevant messages that help to develop your relationship with them, which, in turn, brings in more income.

Marketing automation can require sophisticated and complex software, which is often quite expensive and reserved for larger businesses. Fortunately, there are numerous options today that offer these services for free or at a very low cost, affordable to most freelancers and small businesses so almost anyone can take advantage of these advanced marketing strategies.

How Does Marketing Automation Help Businesses?
The proof is always in the numbers. According to an article on ITWeb, companies with marketing automation have 107% better lead conversion rate than those who don't a pretty significant increase! These results are due to the ability of automation software to put out timely messages to the right prospects, track customer demographics and behaviour, and send personalized messages to leads. This frees you up to handle tasks that need human input such as handling the creative aspect, crafting the message and managing the overall process.

If you subscribe to updates or email messages from your favourite businesses, it shouldn't come as a surprise to you that automated marketing messages based on certain specific, personalized criteria can be very effective. It's nice to get a happy birthday message from my favourite clothing store offering me a discount and free shipping. And if I clicked on an item on their website that was out of stock, a quick text to say that a new shipment just came in would make my day. It would be almost impossible to track these seemingly insignificant things manually, but with marketing automation software, it's recorded instantly and processed without much human interaction. Thus leading to a new or recovered purchase I probably would never have made without that message.

Of course, there are a few simpler methods of marketing automation directed mainly at getting qualified leads at the top of your marketing funnel.

Marketing Automation Doesn't Replace Your Marketing Team
Think of marketing automation as a candle. Candles can serve different purposes; you have to purchase the one that fits your needs. And once you're ready to use it, you light it and let it do its job but you never leave it unattended, or else it might burn the house down.

It's important that the human element is well-crafted and maintained, or else it will fail, no matter how well your marketing automation software works. It doesn't do the marketing for you, only scales your efforts, and there are some things that can only be identified by the human eye. Oreo's social media auto-response message mentioning a questionably-named account (warning: not suitable for work) is a perfect example of ways that marketing automation could hurt your business if left unattended.
There's also the risk of your automation software knowing way too much enough to creep out your customers. When you cross the line from a nice birthday discount for a frequent shopper or a reminder of an abandoned shopping cart into figuring out a teen is pregnant before her father, you're walking into dangerous territory. These examples show that marketing automation can be a very powerful tool.
Maximize Conversions through Marketing Automation
Getting the maximum benefits from marketing automation is a 3-step process which is replicated across many marketing activities.

Firstly, you must analyze your customers. Identify their characteristics; determine what appeals to them, what their issues and pain points are and how you can best convey your message to them.
The next step is to create the message and determine the right order and time to communicate with them. The most effective way to do this is to identify what life event or actions typically trigger a purchase, and then determine what cues you can use to predict these triggers and use them to your advantage. Target, for example, noticed that the ideal time to get customers to switch brand and store loyalties is during pregnancy, so they set out to find factors that indicate when a customer is expecting by their second trimester, before they are bombarded by other retailers with the same mission here's how they did it. This can be a lengthy process which requires a lot of human input, but once it is done well, it will mean a lot more benefits for you once you start the automation process.

Once the message has been optimized and you've put the automation process into place, it's important to put resources in place to monitor the overall process and handle related issues as they become apparent. It's also advisable to test your messages on a smaller scale at first, to measure impact and sentiment and prevent any major snafus like those mentioned above.

The pitfalls that exist in marketing automation are mostly due to factors under the control of most businesses, and the potential benefits far outweigh the once in a lifetime chance that something could go severely wrong. With the low price tag, it's definitely worth looking into, especially since you could get left behind when your competitors decide to give it a go.

Customers of the modern, digital age have become accustomed to personalized messages that take their lifestyle and preferences into consideration. Marketing automation, when used appropriately, will provide this, thereby improving their experience and your bottom line.




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