Are you using your marketing automation software to its fullest capacity?
If there is one thing that businesses need to understand before diving head first into the world of marketing automation, it is this: integrating a marketing automation software that is not treated as a “set it and forget it” strategy. Simply turning on the machine is only a piece of the puzzle. Allow me to explain.
Growing up, I knew that playing soccer was the only way to enjoy life. I followed the best players and teams from around the world in all forms of media I could find. What stood out to me the most was the equipment that world-famous players wore. Brands like Nike, Adidas, Kappa, and Puma were prominent back then — all the best players were wearing these brands. I was convinced (call me a marketer’s dream) that if I wore the same equipment, be it cleats, arm bands, or even warmup attire, I could improve my game beyond the competition’s. Boy was I wrong.
I admit that concentrating a lot of my efforts on this strategy was flawed for many reasons. To become a great player, one on the level of those I followed, I could not simply don the apparel of top brands. I had ignored the tactics and strategies required to become a world-class player, such as daily practice, analyzing game film, personal sacrifice, and much more. I only had one piece of the puzzle: the best gear possible.
The same is true with marketing automation software. Nowadays, integrating top-notch software is rapidly becoming a major focus of marketing departments across all industries and verticals. But there is one common mistake that organizations are making with marketing automation, and it is hurting their bottom line. The mistake is thinking that launching marketing automation software without much effort will move the needle. But simply creating a couple of followup, new subscriber, and abandoned cart automated flows is not enough.
As with the above soccer apparel example, implementing marketing automation represents just one piece of the overall puzzle. Simply purchasing the software, importing current contacts, and creating a couple email assets does not mean you are using marketing automation. In order for marketing automation to perform at its highest capacity, certain strategies should be running and updating on a regular basis.
1: Commit to using marketing automation software to understand the customer journey. When integrated properly, marketing automation software should be used to help understand a consumer’s behavior with your brand, better known as the customer journey. Marketing automation software gathers real-time data that answers the following questions, and more:
- What pages have they visited?
- What lead forms did they fill out?
- Where are they at in the buyer journey?
Understanding the customer’s journey is paramount to raising overall conversions. Create funnels for the possible paths that all customers can take. One of the best examples can be seen in a new subscriber journey. New subscribers are curious — after all, they gave you permission to market to them. An average strategy is simply putting new subscribers in a “thank you for subscribing” email funnel with no filters or triggers, then telling the software how to move contacts out of this funnel when their behavior changes.
A high-performing strategy is developing different funnels that these new subscribers can be moved to, based on their behavior. There is no way to predict what their next move will be. Do they visit product pages, blog posts, or social media pages? If automated funnels have been developed to check for consumers actions, the system will move this new subscriber to the right funnel and serve them hyper-relevant content, ultimately creating a great customer experience. All of the upfront work of building funnels specific to each individual consumer leads to higher conversions, happy customers, and, of course, sales.
2: Understand the importance of creating a consistent brand story based on audience segmentation. Marketing automation software is a powerful tool that is used to send out relevant communication based on audience segmentation. Segmentation might sound like a rudimentary tactic, but understanding how to communicate to each audience segment is critical. Do contacts acquired from social media respond to different styles of messaging compared to contacts acquired from lead forms on your website? Does long-form content, such as blog posts or white papers, elicit higher click-through rates from new customers compared to new subscribers? It is critical to understand, in depth, the brand story and messaging techniques that each contact in your database prefers to receive.
3: Create a culture dedicated to experimentation based on incoming, real-time data: According to a five-year study by Optimizely, the Fortune 1,000 companies that are dedicated to the practice of experimentation have seen growth rates over 700% higher than those who are not dedicated to this practice. Make testing and retesting a part of your company’s protocol. By adopting this culture, your company will be able to make bold predictions based on real-time data and analytics.