If you have ever wondered how companies grow at speed with little-to-no human infrastructure then, the answer could very well be marketing automation.
Marketing automation is essentially replicating what your human marketing team do on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis, based on a number of variables of how customers interact with your business. Everything from an initial inquiry response email through to an email checking a client’s satisfaction after they have dealt with your business is included in marketing automation.
Essentially, marketing automation is about designing the perfect customer flow for every client to take in your business to ensure that all clients are treated in the best possible way. Marketing automation improves customer retention, customer conversion rates, customer referral, and increases the spend that customers are willing to spend with your business.
Imagine that you, the business owner, was able to spend a significant amount of time with every single client that comes into your business. Now imagine that you only need to do this once to create the perfect road map or system that every client in the future was going to go through. This is marketing automation. It is about creating the perfect path in an ideal world for every stakeholder of your business to go through and can be used not just for customers but for all kinds of stakeholders, including shareholders, potential investors, and all other people in the business including staff and suppliers.
Marketing automation starts with the trigger.
Triggers can range from many different kinds of things that happened in your business to start a marketing automation pathway. For example; one trigger could be that when a website visitor fills out an inquiry form a welcome email could be sent. This welcome email then forms another trigger that for example could wait for a number of days and check for a response. If the response has not been received this could trigger a following email. Each time creating a trigger and response that reacts in different ways depending on how you would like your client to be treated.
Using delays is a common way for marketing automation experts to give the impression of real human interaction. For example, a text message from a particular sales person could be activated upon an email being received from the client in response to an automatic email. This would give the impression that a sales person has now been connected to their account even though no human interaction has actually happened. The SMS could be programmed so that if any response to the SMS occurs that response is forwarded directly to the sales person for manual interaction.
It possible to prewrite SMS, emails, manual posts, Facebook messages and other forms of communication through the automation software. Automation software can even treat clients differently depending on the stage in the pipeline that the client is at. When setting up automation software to begin with, good automation agencies work with clients to analyse their client flow and to create numerous milestones in the customers on boarding process.
- Stage 1 might be called "new lead"
- Stage 2 might be called "brochure sent"
- Stage 3 might be called "face to face meeting booked"
- Stage 4 might be called "face to face meeting completed"
As you can see here, the pipeline of the client is based on their interaction with the company and different automations can be programmed to occur at different stages.
For example, a client that has been sitting in the brochure stage and has not yet been booked in for a meeting might be prompted with SMS seven days after sitting stagnant to request that they book a meeting. If a further response is not received a sales person or possibly management could be notified to call the client manually.
This form of automation allows companies to have transparency across the enterprise as to where each client is at in the pipeline but also to ensure that every client receives the same attention as the next. It is true that 80% of revenue is derived from 20% of clients. This is a ratio that is prevalent across multiple industries and because of this sales people generally treat the clients unequally due to the constraints and pressure from upper management to ensure that they perform at their best.
Marketing automation allows enterprises to mitigate the risks associated with not treating clients equally and allows management, sales staff and other people within the enterprise to treat clients equally using a set of standard automation principles which can be developed from the onset and integrated to maintain a high level of customer interaction ongoing.
Marketing automation can also be used to create referrals by contacting customers who have already purchased from of business at several stages in time. For example, 24 hours after a client purchases they can be asked to comment on the purchasing experience. This can give the marketing and transactional team insight into the quality of the current systems and allow for further development and improvement of the systems.
Other organisations use time based automations to communicate with customers well beyond to the point of purchase. For example, one month following a purchase the customer could be contacted to inquire as to the quality of the product or services they received.
This constant form of communication puts the company in good light and customers automatically perceive the company as one that cares about their concerns and needs.
This kind of good-will that is developed through marketing automation is unfathomable with respect to the valuation of a company and the goodwill generation that this imposes within an organisation.
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