Marketing automation is now the leading way to improve customer experience. It helps to deliver tailored content to your target audience. Additionally, you can reduce human/data errors and save time your team spends on repeatable tasks.
Engaging with people on a personal level with ongoing campaigns is a crucial tenet of modern marketing.
It has evolved to the stage where buyers are more empowered than ever before. They decide which brands are worth their likes as well as which should disappear.
So, here we are, struggling to enhance engagement with customer-centric experiences.
However, the reality is that not so many of us succeeded.
According to the latest Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer, 54% of consumers feel like marketing and sales teams failed engagement standards. They lack seamless communication, empathy, and understanding of their unique needs.
In this article, you’ll find out how to meet this demand with three ideas. But let’s go over the basics first.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation refers to technologies that send personalized, timely, as well as relevant messages minimizing human involvement.
You don’t need to collect your contacts’ data manually any longer. Marketing automation tools will do it. They also can score leads, send emails, and place targeted ads.
The good news is that marketing automation has become a common practice for B2B and B2C companies. Gartner says 60% of B2B organizations will transition to data-driven selling by 2025.
And if the B2B sales process is all about long customer journeys, B2C aims to convince potential buyers (leads) in a much shorter time. That is why tracking behavior is essential for both types of commerce transactions.
The last fact is that marketing automation isn’t just for companies on the Fortune 500 list. Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) can leverage their tools even with a limited budget.
For instance, it’s absolutely free to create an automation flow by integrating Google Sheets and your chosen lead generation tool. Built-in integrations of marketing and sales tools together with easy-to-use automation tools, like Zapier, make the whole process affordable for everyone.
How to automate your marketing?
The hardest part of any automation is to define what you need and adhere strictly to the plan. Start with just one small campaign and set measurable objectives if you haven’t tried automated workflows yet.
Step 1: Determine your requirements.
Before customizing a marketing automation strategy, it’s worth taking a moment to establish your main goal.
Do you place all our bets on lead generation or lead conversion?
Are you thinking more about generating new leads or nurturing the old ones?
The next question is, what percent of your marketing programs budget can you spend on automation? Is it 3% or 25%? Bear in mind that the start of using the software will be more expensive when the integrations are set up, and the system works well.
Step 2: Choose the right marketing automation software.
As you can imagine, marketing automation tools vary with customization, integration, and personalization. A lot of enterprises and SMBs use a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Choosing the right CRM will help both your sales and marketing departments streamline their actions.
CRM can assist you in:
- compiling leads’ contact information into lists grouped by specific criteria
- lead qualification
- monitoring the objectives of sales teams
- executing email campaigns
- enabling automated workflows that are triggered by leads’ and customers’ behavior
If you already use the customer relationship management (CRM) platform, check if it’s enough for running your marketing campaign.
Does it manage sales intelligence, social marketing, lead scoring, landing pages, and whatever else? You may need to pick an additional marketing automation service and integrate it with your CRM.
Step 3: Analyze and optimize your campaign.
‘So far, so good,’ you might think when you see how your automation campaign is going. But in marketing, you are never 100% sure if everything works.
Questions like ‘Where’s all our data?’ and ‘How many of your leads convert into customers?’ are always asked.
To seek those answers is the right thing to do. With marketing optimization, you can highlight the processes in your campaign that you should keep running and which ones you should pause or adjust. It will help you to increase your key performance indicator (KPI).
Different ways to boost customer engagement
Some of the most common tasks that marketers use automation for include targeting and email marketing. Once you’ve automated these processes, you save time, nurture leads with more personalized engagement, and boost your return on investment (ROI).
In recent years, customers have intensified their demand for relevant communication. 52% of consumers always expect personalized offers, has shown Salesforce’s 2021 research.
In response, brands invest in collecting data, delivering dynamic, personalized content, and insight management.
The details such as previous purchases, timezone, gender, etc., matter more and more. Via CRM, you collect this data through many interactions: website visits, emails, app usage, on social media.
By tracking what people have done in the past, the software can build their profiles and segment them depending on where they are in customer journeys. Such segmentation allows you:
- to make predictions about who is more likely to become a buyer in the future;
- to improve customer experience by showing people content and products that are relevant to their interests.
1. Predictive lead scoring
Once you’ve found out what kind of people will benefit from your product and decided to define a sales strategy, you need first to understand whom you should target.
To send relevant messages, you have to segment your contacts and customize your marketing strategy for each group.
Automation tools can simplify these processes by managing data like industry, positions, locations, demographics, behavior on the website, etc. Even more: you can assign scores to potential customers (prospects) based on this data.
For example, if a user downloaded a free guide, they receive 5 points out of 100. If they also visit your website at least two times per week, they get 5 points more.
The total number of points shows the person’s position in the sales funnel. For example, if they have 25 points, they are in the awareness stage.
Suppose you have ten or more new leads every week and want to reduce the number of mistakes in manual calculations. In that case, predictive lead scoring might be an option.
Predictive lead scoring uses machine learning to analyze successful and unsuccessful leads. It pulls information from your CRM and marketing automation solutions. It then adds digital footprints from other sources to pool data around that lead.
Then algorithms find patterns in the data and identify factors that predict sales. As a result, you can contact the ‘best’ prospects first, saving those with a lower chance of converting for last.
PRO TIP: CRM platforms like Hubspot and Dynamics 365 offer predictive lead scoring, among other services, so you won’t need to integrate third-party software components.
92% of people who visit your site for the first time leave without completing a purchase, highlighted a study released by Optimizely (formerly Episerver). Though, it doesn’t mean that you can’t bring back those leads.
One of the most effective tactics to boost engagement with lost leads is retargeting. It allows you to show your visitors relevant ads after they visit your website. Such campaigns could be done with Google Ads or social media retargeting and other advertising platforms.
There are four types of retargeting based on the ads placement:
1. Site retargeting : It is the practice of showing ads to your site visitors in the hope of getting them to come back and make a purchase. As these ads target people who’ve already shown interest in your website, return on investment (ROI) is often pretty high.
2. Search retargeting: Search retargeting is when you use ads to attract the users who have used search engines to search for the keywords relevant to your product.
This kind of advertising is effective because it intends to connect with prospects interested in a product or solution. They have high chances to become paying customers.
3. Social media retargeting: It promotes your products and also reminds people of your brand on social media feeds.
Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn make it easy for you to create retargeting ads in various formats: stories, post promotion, or even Reels Ads.
4. Contextual Retargeting: Contextual retargeting displays relevant ads based on the website’s content rather than using the data about the visitor. It involves exchanging pixels between sites that are targeting each others’ leads. For example, think of a vegan food store and cruelty-free makeup brand site targeting each other’s audience based on the searched products.
Other types of retargeting are static and dynamic:
- Static retargeting uses a limited number of ad formats. After placing these ads on your site, they will be served to past visitors depending on which pages they visited on the website.
Static remarketing is common for B2B companies with a small number of services or products.
- Dynamic retargeting creates custom ads that automatically populate someone’s feed with product recommendations based on their site activity.
Dynamic retargeting is popular among e-Commerce websites with an extensive product catalog. It deploys machine learning to analyze shopper behaviors and automatically resize all inventories (text and image) to fit any slot.
Best Practices for Retargeting Dynamic Ads
– Product recommendations
The Salesforce study proved that the majority (56%) of consumers want to return to a site that offers product recommendations.
Product recommendations are the result of complex decisions based on users’ interactions onsite as well as offsite. The recommendation engine filters data about a customer to propose the most relevant products depending on sales data, trends, seasonality, and click history.
PRO TIP: If you’re unfamiliar with the recommendation engine, make sure new products appear in a recommendation block. Check if it guarantees seasonality. There might be people who want to buy a down jacket in July. But they are a minority, and showing unrelated goods to the majority of clients can decrease sales.
Recommendations placement: Clerk.io’s study revealed that the most performing placement for recommendations is the “Add-To-Cart-Step” section.
Additionally, you can show visitors the best cross-sell goods, best sellers, and on-sale products is also a good tactic. On product pages, it’s better to offer “frequently purchased together” and alternative recommendations. If a user is going to leave the site, trigger an exit popup.
Another scourge of marketing is abandoned carts. According to Baymad Institute calculations, the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate is 69,80%. People leave stuff behind for many reasons. Fortunately, triggered popups can resolve it in a few seconds.
If you know why a lead has walked away, address it in your email and propose to solve the problem. Thus, if high shipping costs are high, offer a shipping discount or even free shipping.
Remarketing and retargeting strategies share similar goals. They both use triggers to show tailored messages.
But what distinguishes remarketing is that you contact people who are in your email subscriber lists. There are two possible options for how it works:
1. Gmail ads — advertisements that appear in an inbox.
2. Direct email.
PRO TIP: If you want your remarketing campaign to succeed, make sure it doesn’t look like a series of ads. As we’ve mentioned earlier, people expect companies to show empathy and understanding of their needs.
So, the “we hear you” approach is a must. You can contribute to it by running personalized triggered email campaigns that would nurture your leads. The primary rule here is to write the right message. How to do it?
Find a reason to connect. Leads want to see that your offers are unique, forward-looking, and open to engagement. To prove it, you can announce product updates, propose a time-limited discount or even ask a prospect to participate in your blog/podcast.
Start your email by writing a compelling subject line. The message should be concise and personalized. There’s no point in the “please come back” approach. On the contrary, a product update is a good excuse. When you announce new features, people will be curious and want to look at changes.
Another occasion to reconnect is suggesting a special offer. Its range is diverse: from a time-limited discount to demo.
However, the main trick here is to make others think that they will miss an opportunity if they don’t act now.
The last method involves feedback and communication. Create a survey and allow your audience to take part and see the results. Or, if you have a podcast, ask your potential customer to join you as a guest.
4. Triggered email campaigns
One of the prominent features of marketing automation is triggered emails. In general, trigger marketing includes sending messages or notifications at a specific moment to answer a particular event.
It could be downloading an eBook, opening an email, spending some time on your website’s pricing page, installing an app, chatbot interactions, and so on. It’s everything your CRM can identify and measure.
After the action is detected, CRM generates a customized reply to a user, updates their record, and assigns them to a sales rep. Hence, they receive a notification about the status of the contact.
One of the big pluses of triggered campaigns is using it for both new and old leads. If you want to boost engagement with new leads, consider sending them a welcome email.
Also, do not forget to explain what are the following steps to interact with your brand.
Follow these two steps if your goal is to revive lost leads — contacts who showed interest in your products or services but didn’t complete a purchase.
Step 1. Analyze the reason behind getting lost (ask a person about it)
Step 2. Once you have the answer, define if you can change the situation. If the person wasn’t interested in your proposal initially, there’s nothing you can do.
And if they had a conversation with your competitors, offer them a discount.
As you can see, triggering opens up a wide range of opportunities. It re-engages inactive customers as well as attracts new ones.
Paradoxical as it may sound, marketing automation helps brands demonstrate their human side. It saves them sources to complete more valuable tasks and expand marketing campaigns. So each person who has ever visited their site or tapped related keywords in Google is highlighted as a lead that requires engagement.
With that in mind, we shouldn’t rely entirely on technology. It just assists us in executing campaigns and requires constant adjustment from our side.