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The Importance of Marketing Automation
Marketing automation brings prospects into a consistent relationship with your brand through customized, automated messages.
Email delivery is triggered in response to the customer’s behavior on your website or social platforms. Done well, marketing automation can simplify your routine marketing tasks while making your outreach more consistent and relevant to customer needs.
Map The Customer Path
The customer journey starts with awareness of your brand, then consideration and, finally, conversion. Marketing automation maps out all the steps of the buyer’s journey and delivers content that is pertinent to that stage of the journey. Understanding the path to purchase is critical to a successful marketing automation campaign as is compelling content. Without an in-depth knowledge of the customer journey, any marketing automation effort is futile. To begin understanding your customer journey, we look at your website data.
Start With Your Website Data
One of the ways to start mapping the customer path is by understanding how people are finding, entering, and navigating your website. We consider the following questions:
• Where does most of your current web traffic come from? • Which websites most often refer visitors to your site?• On which pages do visitors most often arrive?• For which search terms are they finding you?• On which pages are visitors spending the most time?• What questions do visitors ask most frequently?
Cross-Channel Analytics and Customer Behavior
Another means by which we map the customer journey is through cross-channel analytics. This is the practice of taking many sets of analytic data from multiple marketing channels to gain insights about customers. By studying consumer behavior through cross-channel attribution and various key performance indicators (KPIs), we generate a customer journey map which will inform the messaging delivered through the marketing automation.
With the customer journey mapped, we can build consumer profiles for wherever a prospect enters the funnel. For example, let’s imagine data shows that your website has a surge of referrals from Instagram. The metrics of your site show that these Instagram customers are most often visiting your case studies and testimonials pages. Using both social media and the website metrics, we can build a customer profile for each of these visitors and deliver content that is relevant to them based on their behaviors and what we know about the customer journey. We can even send automated messages to these prospective customers through the channels (like Instagram) that resonate with them the most.
Customer Relationship Management
The customer lifecycle refers to a customer’s stage of buying which goes from awareness to consideration to conversion to loyalty. Customer relationship management (CRM) means tracking this lifecycle and all the data that goes with it.
Many companies use CRM software like Salesforce to track and maintain their relationships with customers, which improves customer retention. Marketing automation works hand-in-hand with your CRM to send the right message at the right time to customers which builds brand loyalty and grows revenue.
If your organization does not use a CRM, technically, you could still do marketing automation, but it will be far more cumbersome to implement and it would not produce the ROI that’s really possible. You are better off integrating a CRM into your business processes first before considering marketing automation.
A nurture campaign is also just what it sounds like. It is an email marketing campaign designed to nurture your relationship with a prospect that is based on their behavior on your website.
For example, let’s say someone finds your website through search and they land on your homepage. From there they go to a service page and spend forty seconds reading at which time they are prompted to enter their email address to receive a free booklet that answers the industry’s top 5 most frequently asked questions. They enter their email, receive the booklet in pdf format, and are placed into a nurture campaign.
Now, let’s say they come back to your site ten days later and look at a different service page. The nurture campaign would then send another email to the prospect that is relevant to the second service page they visited.
The prospect keeps receiving emails based on their behavior and the campaign can be set up to have a salesperson call them when they reach the desired number of touchpoints.
While nurture campaigns send content that is based on a prospect’s behavior on the website, a drip campaign delivers standardized information to an entire mailing list without consideration of their behavior on the website. Drip campaign messages are released periodically, over time, to keep in touch with contacts and customers. They can be date-specific, meaning you can send emails on, say, an individual’s birthdays or they can be sequenced to be delivered every seven days, for example, or once a month. The purpose of drip campaigns is to keep people engaged with your brand and encourage interaction or purchase.
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