Marketing Automation: Peering into the Future
At its foundation, marketing automation consists of internal notifications and generalized drip campaigns. Over the years, however, it’s evolved to become much more. Today, the goal hovers around helping marketers manage customer relationships with automating actions such as contact lifecycle stage changes, email sends, or social media posts, among many others.
A good marketing automation strategy focuses on user needs, allowing for a natural flow through the sales funnel. By collecting this user data, from interactions across multiple channels, companies are now able to deliver the right content, with the right context, at the right time. This data helps brands understand consumer intentions, and buying habits as well, to ease the process of influencing a decision.
Marketing automation can be used in several capacities, but B2B businesses can take their automation strategy to the next stage via the use of five techniques.
Moving Away from Forms
Historically, forms exist on websites to capture lead data – a channel for information, to help engage in conversation with prospects. But with advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, the process can now be fast-tracked with chatbots or conversational platforms. The bot functions and lives inside a chat box, allowing visitors to engage with your brand in an interactive manner, quickly. In fact, the conversational platform enables customers to find answers to questions easily and self-qualify themselves as leads through the process.
It’s about moving away from a one-way, demand-led form of communication, to something more conversational – a two-way channel. Chatbots help sales teams with the information necessary to engage in meaningful conversations. In a way, conversational platforms empower brands to minimize on wasted time and focus on leads ready to buy.
Workflows are far from new, but they are now being used to segment and personalize messages for higher conversions, making it more behavior-based than it was in the past. For example, a company selling office furniture and copiers aren’t likely to sell said products the same way, or to the same people. But by segmenting a group of buyers, say for the copier product line, it is possible to increase sales by contextually suggesting the need for papers or ink – complimentary products to the main line.
What behavior-based workflows recommend is that you create lists that enable the segmentation of your buyers, making it possible to send contextual marketing messages to buyers in different lists; this may even include the various lifecycle stages, interests based on purchase history, and information extracted from forms.
Identifying & Communicating with Promising Prospects
With the popular growth of account-based marketing (ABM) as a potent strategy, the platforms and tools that help with its implementation also shine into the spotlight. For example, some of the newer platforms allow for people and company-specific targeting, with tailored advertising campaigns to create meaningful connections and drive awareness. In fact, it’s possible to direct potential buyers to personalized content even before they visit your site even – a customized landing page or blog, for example.
Automating Social Media Outreach
There are roughly 3.4 billion active social media users in the world today, and on an average, each user spends about 116 minutes engaging on said platforms through the day. Social media is something people love to engage with on a regular basis; a company not strategizing around it is likely to miss several opportunities to interact and meet with buyers.
Existing tools such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social allow you to manage and report your social publishing; it’s also possible to auto-publish content for Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn using these platforms. But reaching the right platforms have often proven to be difficult, that is without someone dedicated to managing your brand’s social accounts; nonetheless, given its emerging role and presence in several marketing-led strategies, there is new technology emerging to manage it.
Responding to Potential Leads in Real-time
Experience is a commodity in high demand. Take the example of a restaurant – the best of experiences often start with the server and how soon he or she manages to engage in a conversation about the course of a meal with you. Several best cases highlight five minutes or so; it’s the kind of service expected of a company as well. As a first step, consider integrating your website and CRM – it grants you the ability to observe when, where and how potential buyers engage with your website, to respond to them as quickly as you possibly can.
In a recent report from the Harvard Business Review, approximately 23% of businesses failed to respond to prospects as they entered the buyer cycle. Don’t make the mistake of being part of that percentage. One way to ensure that your hot potentials are attended to on time is to set up workflows – an email triggered from desired action; this could be a form, or even a download. When the triggers are linked to internal notifications, it enables your sales team to filter prospects hot for a conversation from those of a colder subset.
But all this, it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing automation. With rapid innovation and the progress of technology, there’s something new to expand the capabilities of marketers every day. It’s time for you to take a hard look at said possibilities, and how it could help your brand and business soar.