by Michael Premo, Content Strategist
Marketing automation has been around for a while. There are a lot of platforms available, and it’s become more affordable for small to midsized businesses. And, we have seen a growing interest in these amazing marketing tools because they work really well, especially when you’re looking for more data on what your customers want.
This is not a review of automation platforms because there are so many available and each one has its unique characteristics at a wide range of price points. I want to focus on what you should expect when using marketing automation.
Believe the Hype
You’ve probably seen the numbers on marketing automation already, but here are a few important statistics if you haven’t.
- When using 3 or more channels, marketing campaigns increased engagement and purchasing by 250% while earning a 90% customer retention rate.
- Targeted campaigns have a 35% higher open rate.
- Dynamic sign-up forms have a 25% success rate on landing pages.
- Over 60% of companies outgrowing their competitors are using automation.
What this means is that using one channel of marketing is good, but coordinating 3 together is great. For example, a 3 channel campaign would use text messaging, email, and social media.
Channels also involve data collection so that a good B2B campaign would look like this: email, social media, and behavioral tracking. There are many more combinations and activities to have in a campaign. I think the biggest takeaway is that successful marketing is targeted-frequency.
Naturally, you’re going to want to set your marketing on auto-pilot. That’s one of the reasons why automation is so attractive—it drives itself. Though this may be true, it’s also a bit misleading. Automation takes resources to strategically develop and implement a campaign.
Here’s a list of things you need to be aware of:
- People – You’ll need someone to be in charge of managing automation. This can be a part-time or full-time job for one person or several, depending upon the workload. Or, you can hire an outside firm to handle it, which can save you money. Regardless, these people will be coordinating all activities and in direct communication with management and sales.
- Content – Automation runs on messaging. Without content, there’s no message. A range of content is needed for a successful campaign: promotions, photos, video, thought leadership, etc. You get the idea. Plus, it has to be fresh and new. Of course, you can repurpose old content, and that should be done after a couple of years.
- Segmentation – Targeting the right message to the right person is far more successful than throwing it to the wind and hoping they catch it. You should already have your customer segments, so the message should fit their needs. If not, they might get annoyed with your lack of knowing who they are and what they want.
- Patience – Automation is not like a grand opening. It doesn’t start with a “Bang!” It’s more like a drip. The biggest thing to avoid is being spammy. It’s easy for your audience to opt-out, so decide what the frequency should be by looking at some averages for your industry and market.
- Data – A huge benefit of automation is the data it can gather about customer behavior. The numbers can be granular, specific and complex. You’ll need to know how to analyze them and then interpret what that means for your future campaigns. Statistical analysis is not easy, but it will improve your lead generation and conversion rates.
- Feedback – Automation is a great tool for gathering feedback through follow up surveys and reviews. But, when you ask for feedback, your customers will want to hear authentic responses. This requires a set of rules for responding:
- Timely responses matter
- Apologize when necessary
- Be open to criticism
- Don’t argue
- Offer solutions
Test Through Trial and Error
Successful automation campaigns don’t just appear because they’re automated. The statistics I listed earlier come from an average of robust and informed programs. A lot of testing is involved in optimizing the performance of each campaign. To get there, you’ll be going through a lot of trial and error.
Pinstripe understands what it takes to run an automation team. We have helped local and nationally-based businesses with their marketing needs for over two decades. We specialize in discovering your traits—your corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about what a successful automation campaign looks like to you, and we’ll help you get there.