Customers come to your business through multitude of channels. Tracking individual behaviors and engagement on each of these channels poses an enormous challenge, which is why the majority of companies are turning to marketing automation software to collect, interpret and respond to consumer data in a way that encourages consistent movement through the sales funnel.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation software streamlines marketing processes by creating automatic workflows based on specific sets of criteria. The program translates inputs from the consumer end into tasks and processes that generate appropriate responses. For example, you may set up a flow that sets your website to display products related to an individual’s previous purchases or emails new customers a discount coupon after they place their first orders. User behaviors are monitored using unique tracking codes that collect pertinent information over time.
Omni-channel marketing becomes much simpler when you use marketing automation. Instead of having to monitor your email lists, social profiles, content and advertising campaigns separately, you can integrate your marketing automation solution with your CRM platform to analyze and track consumer behavior across all channels. This allows you to build workflows that maximize engagement and increase conversions.
The State of the Marketing Automation Landscape
The majority of Internet users are now consuming content across channels and across devices on a daily basis. Automation supports this behavior by taking customers out of separate marketing silos and consolidating all of their behaviors into comprehensive profiles.
According to the Dun & Bradstreet 2015 State of Marketing Data report, 95 percent of B2B marketers think automation is good for business. Developers of automation software recognize this level of interest, and it’s predicted that 2016 will see a move toward simpler workflows, more user-friendly interfaces, easier software integration and faster data interpretation to support timely responses.
Features to Look For
A good marketing automation solution covers all the channels you’re currently using to reach out to and track customers along with the tools to analyze incoming data. Common features include:
- Email list management
- Real-time email generation in response to consumer engagement
- Social media management
- Social engagement
- Lead generation and management
- Audience segmentation
- Form management and design
- Dynamic content generation
- Landing page generation and tracking
- Comprehensive analytics and tracking tools
- “Drip marketing” campaign development and deployment
Depending on the size of your audience, you may also want to look for software that allows the use of custom URLs to simplify content tracking, uses a lead scoring system to determine lead quality and employs progressive profiling to build detailed customer profiles over time.
How Businesses are Leveraging Marketing Automation
Both B2B and B2C businesses are using marketing automation to gather leads and increase conversions by taking advantage of the wealth of marketing opportunities that would be impossible without automated processes.
Personalization is by far the most important element in modern marketing. Personalized content converts 42 percent better than generic and builds brand loyalty by showing customers that your business is sensitive to their needs. Intense targeting to specific audience segments through personalized messages encourages repeat purchases that support continued growth.
Automated content promotion extends your brand even further by ensuring that all the content you create is posted to the proper channels. Utilizing tracking codes, you can take this to the next level with emails targeted at people who view specific types of content, suggesting other content that they may find interesting. Include social sharing links in these emails to enlist your customers in spreading the word.
By allowing the software to do the majority of the work involved in these processes, businesses reduce the resources necessary to run complex marketing campaigns, effectively increasing ROI on each new conversion.
Once you’ve found a marketing automation platform that meets your needs, take the time to learn how to use each feature in the way it can best benefit your company. Build a comprehensive picture of every customer, analyze the data to determine their wants and needs and generate personalized marketing that encourages strong relationships. As your campaigns become more targeted, you’ll build an audience of loyal brand ambassadors who will begin recommending you to others and return to your company to make future purchases.