- Is marketing automation a whim or a necessity?
- Automation: what is that?
- Basic and advanced levels of work
- Learning to work with social networks
- How to synchronize email and social networks
- Answering machines and social networks: we continue to synchronize
- Learn more about basic automation
- Individualization of sending news and messages via social networks
- No one promised that it would be easy
Is marketing automation a whim or a necessity?
For marketers, we can say that the “golden” time has come. Each of us can, if desired, track all the nuances of the behavior of potential customers. Almost any actions that people perform on the network are available to us. Data from search engines, social networks, and ecommerce are added to this knowledge.
All this information is collected in one common large database, it is also called big data. It turns out that now the same individualized marketing ceases to be a dream, but becomes the most common thing. Moreover, all this can be automated!
If you are suddenly not familiar with this idea yet, be sure to read the book by Don Peppers, which is called “Managing Customer Relationships. How to turn your customer base into money.” Interestingly, it appeared back in 1993, 5 years earlier than Google came into our lives.
It describes for the first time the method of studying what different people want to get from you. There you can also find a lot of useful ideas for creating individual messages for various groups of clients. Then it was practically a revolutionary innovation. The authors of the book are more than 20 years ahead of their time.
Today, the concept of personalization in marketing has become the norm. We all try to create dynamic content, study the characteristics of each user. By the way, interestingly, the phrase marketing automation also sounded for the first time in that very book. Only then it was theoretical calculations, and now it is reality.
The ideas you can find in Peppers’ book are not very suitable for large corporations. But a small business can implement them very successfully. Especially if he takes care of proper planning and does not forget to connect marketing automation systems.
Automation: what is that?
To begin with, it is worth understanding the definitions. Wikipedia, as always, gives a complex and not very clear description. We offer an easier option:
Marketing automation is a set of actions aimed at reducing the volume of manual labor and increasing the efficiency of interaction with customers. As a result, marketing goals are achieved faster, and the specialist can focus on his main job instead of manually sending information.
For automation, special systems and programs are used that help in the use of various marketing methods. They are suitable for lead generation, data collection, and subsequent work with clients.
Someone is ready to invest a lot of money in them. Companies purchase complex software systems, setup alone takes more than one week, and training takes even longer.
But in fact, free systems for collecting information about customer behavior and regular email newsletters are suitable for a start. It is the mailing list that is the main “workhorse” of Internet marketing and one of the best tools for individualizing work with the audience. Of course, this approach is too simplistic, but it will do for the first steps.
After you set up the automation of the mailing list, it makes sense to study other tools as well. Social networks are especially important in our business. That’s really where people open up and are ready to tell almost everything about themselves.
Basic and advanced levels of work
Basic automation combined with social networks is a variant of using email newsletters, including automatic responders, together with social networks. Most likely, you are already using some variants of automated post planners, likes and followings. Probably familiar with Hootsuite or Buffer programs. If not, be sure to study these marketing automation tools.
But let’s move on. You’ve already heard about customer profiles and segmentation, haven’t you? If not, be sure to figure out what it is. In fact, everything is very simple. The Internet allows you to collect information about the interests and behavior of users. Based on it, you can divide your subscribers and customers into different groups on one or another basis.
Here you will definitely need a specialized marketing automation system. Most of them, even the simplest ones, allow you to create customer profiles and sort them by type, taking into account the qualities you need. Next, you can set up an email newsletter so that people automatically receive personal and relevant answers for them.
For example, you run an employment website. The employer became interested in some material. After he left the email and got what he wanted, he gets into the database of “employers”. If an applicant came to your site, after requesting information, the system will automatically add him to the list of “applicants”. These groups of people clearly need different information. And in your newsletter they will receive emails with what is really interesting. Employers – articles about working with personnel, lists of fresh resumes, etc. Job seekers – current job ads, as well as tips for successful employment.
If desired, you can go further. For example, you can divide existing databases into smaller parts based on some additional features. For example, employers can be sorted by field of activity, and job seekers can be sorted by profession. The ability to automate segmentation is what distinguishes special marketing automation programs from ordinary email mailing planners.
Learning to work with social networks
Successful work in social networks is impossible without automation tools. Just imagine that you need to get up at 6 or 7 in the morning to post the first news urgently, and then, at least once every 2-3 hours, look into the group for another publication. And so on until 10 or 11 pm. And this is only one group and only news posting!
Today, almost everyone uses post planners. In the simplest case, it is a queue of publications built into the social network. But most often external systems are used. In a high-quality planner, you can set up a publication for several days and weeks ahead, and in several social networks and groups at once. And the time saved can be devoted to no less important matters.:
- Responses to comments;
- Communication with clients via social networks;
- Checking reports, studying the qualitative characteristics of various posts;
- Interact with colleagues and create cool content.
How to synchronize email and social networks
Work with potential customers and subscribers on the Internet is usually carried out simultaneously in several directions. The most popular ones are mailing lists and working with social networks. If you manage to coordinate them with each other and establish an exchange of information, the benefits of each type of marketing will increase significantly.
How can I synchronize email newsletters and work with social networks:
- Collect an email database via social networks:
- Add a subscription form on a Facebook page or group, people often want to receive news;
- Announce new mailing lists in social networks, offer to subscribe so as not to miss useful information;
- Add a link to the subscription form in the description of the group or the “About the company” section.
- Add interesting content from social networks to email newsletters: popular materials, notifications about contests or their results, interesting reviews and discussions, etc. And don’t forget to add calls to action, invite people not just to view, but also to subscribe to your social media accounts.
- Post announcements of events, the release of useful content, the promotion, etc. And so that readers do not miss anything important or get access to the content, invite them to leave their email. Here you can use anything – a notification about webinars or offers to download an e-book, a reminder about promotions and contests, an announcement of the opening of a store, etc.
- Add social network buttons to your mailing lists. Users will go to groups, join discussions and, as a result, will also become your subscribers. So fans of mailing lists will help you increase the number of followers, which is also useful.
- Add social media buttons to the pages with an invitation to subscribe to the newsletter, remind that this will help you follow the news and get answers to questions on social networks. By the way, on the unsubscribe page, such buttons will also not be superfluous. As practice shows, they also work.
All this will help to simultaneously develop in social networks, increase email databases and, which is also very important, get more information about each client.
Answering machines and social networks: we continue to synchronize
Marketing automation is not just a time saver, but also an opportunity to achieve real results without routine work. The introduction of answering machines, including in social networks, will help you with this.
Here are some ideas that are successfully implemented by this method:
- Welcome-chains in email messages. Collect the most interesting content, including from social networks, in one letter. Add active links to read the full material. And then – the most interesting. When clicking on the link, in addition to going to the material, the client himself turns on one of the Welcome mailing chains. For example, GetResponse is perfect for this. As a result, each of the subscribers himself includes a chain of answering machines in an interesting direction for himself. This allows you to segment customers and send people the information they really need.
- In case of downloading some content where email is required, you can enable the function of adding an address to one of the segmented lists. For each of these lists, a special mailing list is created that meets the needs of the audience.
See how it works on a real example. Let’s go back to our recruitment agency. Recall that we already have a database for two mailings – to employers and job seekers. If a person has downloaded a book on the topic “how to find an employee”, the first chain is included – “useful information for employers”. Then he receives a letter with announcements of thematic articles and an offer to view fresh resumes. If a person goes to one of the articles from the letter, he is added to the newsletter on the selected topic. Have you shown interest in the resume? His address will be added to the mailing list “new applicants”, etc.
Similarly with the second database. If a person leaves an email to access the employer’s phone, you already understand that he wants to find a job. Moreover, you know what profession he needs. Then, similarly, potentially useful content is sent to him, and after he clicks on a particular link, a trigger is activated, and his email is sent to the desired database. As a result, each of your subscribers gets really interesting content and nothing superfluous.
Learn more about basic automation
So, you have already chosen a marketing automation system and a targeted mailing service. Now all this needs to be configured. We will not analyze the technical part here. It directly depends on the tools that you liked. You can handle something yourself, in other cases you will have to ask a programmer for help. But technical means are only half of it.
In order for automation to start working, you need to study your audience, think about which groups to divide it into. And then you need to create your own sales funnel for each of the groups.
Imagine that you have a mailing list of training materials. Some people have been reading you for a long time, others signed up less than a month ago. Think about whether it’s worth giving them the same information? After all, the former already know a lot. And the second, on the contrary, needs the basics.
The solution is simple: send automatic welcome letters to new subscribers, which will contain basic instructions or basic lessons. After they download the information (the connected triggers will “inform” you about it), the email will automatically move to the main database.
You can also identify several separate groups and stages of work with customer interest. And after the first triggers are triggered, the client will move from one group to another. But don’t get too carried away. A good sales funnel usually consists of 3-5 steps. Otherwise, automation will be too complicated. And in most cases, marketing automation systems do not allow you to work with a large number of groups without substantial investments. Think about it, will it pay off?
Individualization of sending news and messages via social networks
Now let’s take a closer look at another issue, which we have already talked about, but not in enough detail. About sending various messages and news to different groups of users, depending on their progress in the sales funnel.
In practice, many marketers skip this option of marketing automation. Instead, they publish a general news feed, where some of the information is interesting for one group of users, some for another. For example, every second message will interest regular users, every tenth is intended for those who have only recently subscribed.
This method also works, although it is far from perfect. If you want to reach another level of interaction with customers, you will need to establish contact with each subscriber. While there are few of them, everything can be done even manually. In a group of up to 100 subscribers, for example, welcome messages are most often handled by a team of sales managers. After a person selects one of the links in the generated welcome-letter, he is added to a special list. In accordance with this, the user receives information from newsletters. And then automation ends. And already the manager sends information to the lead depending on requests and behavior.
In a large group, this moment also needs to be automated. Special systems are used here. I think you already understand the method. Choose a marketing automation program that “knows” how to work with groups and social networks. Think through the sales funnel. Create messages with triggers. And “transfer” the client automatically from group to group.
No one promised that it would be easy
On the one hand, it may seem that marketing automation is simple. In fact, you will have to think a lot in advance, study software systems, choose the optimal one. And then also spend time on settings. Moreover, after you start working, you will have to regularly test the results, automate and improve the chains of the sales funnel, the text of messages, the quality of content.
On the other hand, without automated systems, you will have to perform a huge number of routine actions manually. And there will be no time left for analysis, as well as efficiency improvement. Automation is a time–consuming and complex process, but the return on it is worth it. Moreover, there are a lot of software solutions that make work easier. Are you already using some marketing automation options? Tell us about it in the comments!