Your email pings. The order confirmation email slaps into your inbox, right on top of an email about additional products you may like to buy, a super-visual message about the latest sale at your top shop and a newsletter you don’t remember signing up. You’ve never even opened it, but you feel a little bad unsubscribing after all these years.
Great – your inbox looks like everyone else’s in the whole world. And not a solitary human finger ever clicked on the ‘send’ button for any of those emails. You can thank marketing automation for filling up your inbox, since it’s now even easier for businesses to interact with existing and potential customers without having to buy a million Excel and Outlook licences, employ a hundred professional marketers and hire agency. Instead, a business can invest in a single system dedicated to marketing, like Hubspot, or a catch-all industry-specific system or a sales-focused CRM.
If you’re looking to get in on the action for your business, there are a few things to remember about automated marketing (or marketing automation, if you prefer). After all, you don’t want your marketing messages to sound like they were sent by a literal robot, right?
Segment your audience
This is Automated Marketing 101: Play smart with your segmentation.
We’re all different, right? And marketing automation allows you to take advantage of those differences to ensure that you target precisely the people that you need to attract. You can create lists based on, for instance, their order history, how often they visit (or don’t visit) your website, and what stage in the sales funnel they’re currently at.
This is possibly the most intriguing and useful aspect of automating your marketing strategy and, without it, all other parts of your automation will be for naught. Segmentation allows you to divide your audience into more specific groups based on what you’re marketing to them. Each messages crafted for the recipient rather than spamming inboxes, and that means you can…
Tailor your marketing message
Automated marketing enables you to craft highly personalised emails without manually producing each individual asset. Since you’ve segmented your audience, you address each customer by name and make specific references to their previous interactions with you, all with the aim of moving them down that sales funnel.
There are three factors at play here:
- You show that you truly understand your customer – that you know and value them.
- The products and services you suggest will be incredibly relevant to them – increasing the likelihood that they’ll purchase from you.
- You create a unique experience that totally chimes with the journey that your customer is on.
Each of these nurture that customer relationship, preventing your marketing communications from seeming cold, distance and mechanical. You can double down on this if you…
Tailor your content offerings
It’s not enough to just address your customers by name. That’s not what’s going to get that email opened and those links clicked. To get anywhere with your content marketing, it’s crucial to offer them something – preferably something they can’t get anywhere else and which jives with their interests. Think: ‘What’s in it for them’.
Let’s say you have 500 customers who all joined you for your awesome webinar last month. Now you can automatically let them all know when the next one is – it’s pertinent for them and they’re getting something out of it. If you write white papers around a specific topic, offer your customers a continued supply of related content.
The secondary effect of this is that you can gauge the popularity of such content. This allows you to focus on the content that reaps the most rewards rather than spreading yourself too thin or working on content that simply doesn’t get any pick-up. And you can do all that without the extra work of manually re-typing customer names 500 times and hitting send 500 times, or sending impersonal bulk-emails that try to appeal to everyone (and end up appealing to no-one). Speaking of which…
Go beyond email
Your customer buys something from your website. Instantly they receive an order confirmation email. The automated system can handle that, as well as further communications. They’re all sent with just a few simple steps. When customer does X, you’ve configured your software to do Y. Simple!
But while we’ve largely focused on emails here, in part because of how effective good email marketing can be, that’s not the only area where automation can assist your business. Actually, with the right systems, you can automate pretty much every aspect of your marketing strategy, from your social media platforms to website landing pages, to ensure that right message is served to the right people at the right time. So, if Customer A is at a different stage in the sales life-cycle to Customer B, you can potentially show different content to each of them when they visit your website. Just remember…
Because it can take time to and to set up the right audience segmentation, develop strong, relevant content and start seeing the results, particularly during the initial stages, many companies forget why they’re even automating their marketing strategy.
What’s the ultimate aim of marketing automation?
- To deliver a better service and customer experience
- To move folks down the sales funnel
- To cultivate genuinely beneficial relationships with the right customers
Never lose sight of that. Never lose hope. Stay focused and ensure both your sales and marketing teams understand the overall objectives. And don’t be afraid to really drill-down on what’s working and what’s not. Refine your strategy, so, you end up working smarter than ever before.