Bitcoin For Beginners: Part Two
December 28, 2017
Here’s the second part of my article on bitcoin for beginners.Learn More
Marketing automation converts inbound leads to paying customers and builds customer loyalty and retention over time. Here are the marketing automation best practices that are essential for implementing successful campaigns.
Broadly speaking, marketing successful marketing automation requires the following high-level stages.
The first step in any marketing activity is to understand your target market.
Marketing automation is all about automating the processes that take a person from one stage (e.g. lead) to another (e.g. prospect). You can’t automate processes that don’t exist or that you don’t understand!
At the beginning of any marketing automation project, we advise our clients to conduct a high-level customer journey mapping exercise.
This process helps you understand all of the critical touch points and paths that leads must go through in order to become customers.
Here is an example of a customer journey map we recently created for a customer. This set the scene for implementing various marketing automation workflows using Drip, Intercom, WordPress and Salesforce.
You need to understand your prospects’ purchase cycle so you can deliver targeted, relevant content when it counts.
The typical stages of a purchase cycle are:
You should do this exercise separately for all market segments that you target. This is because different markets often have very different processes and timeframes.
For example, small startups are typically able to make decisions much faster, and with fewer stakeholders than large multinational companies.
Once you understand the purchase cycle for your target markets you should define your personas and where they fit into the process.
Personas are a way to organise what you know about your prospects. The more you understand about them, the better you can communicate with them.
Here is an example of a user persona for a book reader.
Image courtesy of Venngage.
The right content at the right time in the buyer’s journey encourages customer engagement across all channels, including social, digital advertising and email campaigns.
If you don’t know what you’re saying and to who, based on their activities and role in the purchasing process, it doesn’t matter how many touches are included in your campaigns.
Nobody responds to the wrong content.
Content has to be created according to personas and their needs.
Marketing automation isn’t very useful without web traffic.
You need to generate traffic to your website, and then get visitors to express interest in order to become a lead.
Content should provide real value to the end user. It cannot be just a sales plug or consist of product overviews.
You have to help the reader realise that they have a problem, and how to fix it
Some example of valuable content include:
The content must appeal to the target’s persona.
With the huge amount of content in existence, it’s getting harder and harder to attract people to your website, let alone encourage them to take action (e.g. download content).
You can no longer write great content and expect people will find it. It’s increasingly important to amplify your content and make sure it is seen.
Examples of content amplification include:
Web traffic is a vanity metric. Leads are vastly more important.
Typically, leads are regarded as people who express interest in your brand or content, for example by downloading content.
You need to ensure your website is optimised for conversion.
Research consistently demonstrates an inverse clear relationship between the number of form fields people are forced to complete and conversion rates. The more fields, the lower the conversion rate.
The single most important piece of information to capture is an email address.
On their first interaction with your brand, ask for the minimum amount of information you absolutely need. Email address and perhaps one or two other fields.
You can always get more information later, especially using progressive forms.
All cornerstone content should have a dedicated landing page.
Landing pages should be free from distraction (e.g no menus) and encourage users to take a particular action. You should avoid completing CTAs. Good CTAs are clear, to the point and provide a sense of urgency, where possible:
Landing pages should be search engine optimised, well designed, concise and easy to navigate.
All website pages should include a call to action (CTA) that is relevant to the page content.
Examples of high converting CTAs include:
Remember, the most important thing is to get as many email address as possible.
As soon as someone engages with your website by downloading content, or subscribing to a newsletter, they should enter a nurturing campaign.
Tailor your communication and don’t treat everyone the same. Tailored emails have a much higher engagement that broadcasts.
Ideally, nurturing campaigns should be segmented based on the subscriber’s persona and stage in the purchase cycle. We call them ‘buckets’.
You should respond to every new subscriber promptly, preferably immediately but definitely within 24 hours.
If you leave it any later, they probably won’t remember who you are.
This is easily achieved in Pardot and most other marketing automation tools by triggering a short autoresponder.
Marketing automation is great but really good automation is personal. Use prospects’ names, companies in industries, and email from a real user when it is appropriate.
Emails sent from a real person typically receive higher open rates.
However, subscribers typically don’t know who the sender is, but they usually know the brand they have just engaged with.
This is why you should include the brand name in the outgoing email name field, for example:
People are time poor (and lazy) so don’t expect them to read long emails.
People read online content very differently to how they read printed content.
To improve email engagement and click-through rates:
Subject lines are more important than the body of the email in many respects.
However, they rarely get the same level of consideration.
You need to ensure they are:
Add personality to content and your communications. ? IBM owns boring. You don’t need to try!
People like to engage with brands that, well, have a ‘brand’.
What is your company’s tone and how do you use this to make people like engaging with you?
Intercom is a good example. They are big advocates of including a fun element in their comms through the use of emojis and animated gifs.
Build lead nurture programs to be as dynamic as possible.
Lead nurturing isn’t a straight path. Programs need to be responsive to the needs of your subscribers.
Is someone in the early stages of nurture looking at pricing information on your website? Route them to an ‘interested’ bucket.
Did a lead recently attend an event you heald? Include a personalised message in the next nurture email as a follow-up.
Not all leads are equal. Some are more important than others for your current sales goals.
This is why lead scoring is so valuable for building successful automated marketing campaigns.
Lead scoring is simple. Basically, you assign a numerical score to each lead based on what they seem to be worth to you and their buying indicators.
You can also apply negative scores to visitors when they exhibit behaviour that isn’t aligned with a normal purchasing process, such as visiting a careers page (e.g. -100pts)
You can then prioritise personal follow up based on each lead’s score.
In summary, marketing automation should be regarded holistically.
Understanding the customer journey is the foundation of marketing automation. Once you know this, you should be able to and produce useful content targeting each persona at each stage of the purchase cycle, and convert traffic to leads, prospects and finally customers.
Remember, marketing aut0mation is not a “one-off” tactic. It should be baked into your systems, and at the heart of your sales and marketing process.
Make sure you follow these marketing automation best practices next time you consider a new campaign!
Here’s the second part of my article on bitcoin for beginners.Learn More
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