Searches for ‘marketing automation’ are at an all-time high according to Google. Marketers are looking for ways to make their jobs easier and their campaigns more effective. Marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead.

Investing in automation software is top of many marketers’ lists in 2017: 55% of B2B companies planned on adopting automation technology last year, and the trend looks set to continue. Emails and social media are the prime candidates for automation to bolster campaigns and follow up with prospects with ease. Here are six ways you can use marketing automation to improve your campaigns.


Score leads

One feature of marketing automation that can have a strong impact on your pipeline is lead scoring. You can set up your CRM or automation software to detect signals such as form submissions, click-throughs or page views to rate/score your leads. This helps you determine how valuable they are and what they are interested in to drive them through the pipeline before passing them on to the sales team. Forrester Research has found that B2B marketers who implement marketing automation software increase their sales pipeline contribution by an average of 10%.

It’s important that marketing and sales are aligned here and agree on what makes a lead ‘sales ready’ and what automated stages the lead should be put through to determine if they are at that stage yet. For example, if a target fills in a form to give you their details in return for a report, they may then automatically receive a follow up email offering them more information, but that doesn’t mean the lead is ready to hand over to sales just yet; they are likely to need more information about your product or service.

Once you’ve been using your CRM or automation for a while, you should be able to identify a typical buyer journey and be able to pinpoint how you should score your leads and know for the future what type of content engages customers and how many points of contact they need to have before they convert from prospect to customer. This will inform your future campaigns.


Targeted emails

Email marketing is a proven strategy and automating your campaigns can help to make them even more successful. First, you should segment your data so that you can send more targeted emails and information to your prospects, which will make you more likely to convert prospects. It goes without saying that emails should also be personalised, at least with their first name in the opening line so it doesn’t look like a cold bit of spam.

Your emails should contain clear call to actions that will entice your recipients to click on a link; then when they do click on a certain link, they can go into a pot that marks them as interested in a certain aspect of your offering. You can automate an email to be sent to them in a few days’ time as a follow-up. E.g. “We see that you’re interested in our CRM software, click here for a free demo.”


Drip emails

If you have sent these initial targeted emails, you can develop them into drip campaigns: email campaigns that slowly feed information to the recipient with periodic emails to keep your front of mind, but not bombard their inbox.

Using an automation tool such as Salesforce, Marketo or Hubspot really comes in handy here as you can incorporate it with your lead scoring to see where prospects are interacting with your emails, landing pages and content and track their journey down the pipeline.

Drip marketing provides prospects with the right information at the right stage of the sales funnel and, even better, by automating the process it can be automatically sent out based on triggers you define. This means you can capture your prospects at the right time. According to Zapier, people who read drip emails are far more likely to click the links in them, with a 119% increase in click rate from drip emails. So get dripping!


Landing pages

If you are lucky enough to have a prospect visit one of your landing pages and give you their details via a form, you should jump on the lead while it is still hot. Ensure that an automated email is sent out shortly after they visit the landing page.

This email should be extending an offer or something of additional value to the recipient. If they have already expressed interest in your service or product, then you need to do something to hold their interest and demonstrate the value of your offering and how it can solve their problems. From there you could develop a drip email campaign.

It takes an average of six to eight touches to generate a viable sales leads, according to Salesforce, as many people are now immune to traditional marketing strategies that they have seen again and again. You need to present something fresh: consider alternatives to a free trial and whitepaper combo, and you also need to be tenacious– hence six to eight touches.

You should now have captured their information: step one; now make sure you keep their attention by popping up in their inbox after they trigger your landing page. That way you can nurture your prospects and hold their interest. Nurtured email leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales versus non-nurtured leads. By setting up triggers for nurture emails, you are more likely to produce new leads.


Social media

Automating your social media is a must if you want to run an efficient and effective social profile. Without automation applied to your social media profiles, the work can seem like it never ends as there are always tweets to send, DMs to reply to and posts to like and share. Of course, you should check in periodically to send relevant news-related tweets and react to events in a timely manner, but by scheduling ahead of time you can keep on top of your social interactions and plan effectively.

You can also automate campaigns off the back of your social media. For example, if someone signs up to something through your social media, send them an automated email. Similarly, if someone signs up to your newsletter, send them an automated intro email to say hi and tell them what they can expect from you.

You can also send an automated direct message to people once they follow you or like your page on a social network. Beware though, lots of businesses do this now, so people are wise to the fact that these ‘Thanks for following” DMs are sent by software, which can make your account not look so personal – which is essentially the whole point of social media for businesses. Some software allows you to personalise your message with the new follower’s first name, which can help disguise the fact that the message is being sent automatically.


Personalised web pages

Thanks to PURLs (Personalised URLs) you can offer prospects a personalised web page, which can help make a good first impression when they are directed to a personalised webpage. Dynamic content helps you to tailor your web content and email to suit your prospect’s needs and can be activated using automation software. This means, like with drip email campaigns, they’re always seeing information that’s relevant to them, which is more likely to capture their interest, no matter what stage of the pipeline they are at.

You can personalise webpages to identify IP addresses, which will give you information on their geographic location, and perhaps even the company you work in. This ins turn can give you valuable information that allows you to address visitors directly. Equally, if they have visited the site before and volunteered personal information such as their name, you can even add this the webpage.

Another way to present personalised web experience is to add forms on the homepage to the website finding out a little bit about the visitor’s needs: just one or two questions. You can use marketing automation software to then push them through to the next page which is tailored directly to their wants and needs.

Marketing automation can help transform your campaigns into dynamic multi-touch, omnichannel campaigns with a high reach that will produce a high engagement rate. 91% of users believe that marketing automation is “very important” to the overall success of their marketing across channels.

Posted by Claire Vanner on January 20th 2017

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