The Robots Have Landed
And they have marketing degrees
The term marketing automation is growing in use and popularity. At the very basic definition, is refers to software that helps you to automate and prioritize manual tasks. In theory, this software is implemented to make you more efficient and to streamline the processes, giving you more time to focus on the content and customer experience.
These robots are only as good as the human that befriends it. Don’t worry; your job is not in jeopardy if you heard your boss telling someone that you are getting a MA platform. Your company can’t turn that robot loose without human guidance.
When implemented correctly, these robots can take on some of the heavy lifting and help to make the customer experience more streamlined, automated and relevant.
Tin Man Helps Dorothy Find Oz
Do you know your customer’s experience?
Before you can fully use a robot of your own, you need to understand your customer’s journey through their eyes. In broad strokes, you should want to drive more traffic to your site, capture more qualified leads, and then convert those leads at a higher rate. Then, spend time understanding the nuances of the customer journey that will be more individualized for your business. Examples could include measuring and increasing contact submissions, content consumption, CTA click-through, email engagement, and social media growth.
Taking your Robot out of the Box
Getting started with marketing automation
One of the most universal actions that can be automated is email marketing. So, we’ll use that as our example for how to get started.
You know you’re a good candidate for a marketing automation platform if:
- You are sending a mass email from Gmail or worst, Hotmail.
- You are sending mass emails through a low-option service and emails are text only with no personalization speaking to where that customer is in the funnel.
- You are forced to upload an excel document of contacts each time new users submit their info.
- The bottom of the email says, “Brought to you by [insert Constant Contact or Mail Chimp]”
When you mass and blast, you might as well say:
Dear Bozeman Resident,
I am pressed for time and, therefore, don’t care about your experience. This same email went out to 500 other contacts in Bozeman, which I know in my little marketing heart is wrong, but like I said, I’m swamped. Please click through and buy something anyway.
A Bozeman Marketing Agency
Worst of all, even if you send that lame excuse of an email, you won’t have real-time, high-quality analytics to tell you it was lame. And, if you are breaking some of the above email rules, you are burning through your contact list and annoying people one prospect at a time.
If this is you, be honest with yourself and stop. Most of the time, poorly thought out emails with no personalization are worse than no email at all. Take that time you save in creating lame emails, and do some research on what robot might be best for your current needs.
Robots come in all shapes, sizes, and commitments. There are plenty of great options for small budgets, and then even more for brands that have steady growth and revenue to support a hefty investment.
The new workflow with your robot friend could look like this:
Step 1: You send out an email announcing you have a new infographic to all contacts that are still cold leads with only one contact in your robot’s system.
Step 2: You and your Robot send a personalized thank you note once a user downloads the infographic.
Step 3: Three days later your robot is programmed to send a follow-up email asking for them to schedule a time when your sales person can call to answer any questions.
Step 4: Finally, when someone takes you up on that scheduled call, you send a nice reminder email for them to put on their calendar. Signed from the sales rep that will be calling.
If you were the customer wouldn’t you like a seamless way to interact with a brand, thus creating more loyalty and engagement. Adopting a robot is becoming the new norm for marketing departments. It’s also influenced by the rise of content marketing. As more and more emphasis is being put on high-quality content that fuels a great customer experience, automating time-consuming manual tasks makes sense.
This is the foundation of marketing automation. To provide you, as a marketer, with the ability to target your contacts and send them content that is based on their behavior to trigger the right message at the right time.
Marketing automation is not a catchall. The time you save with the manual processes should get put back into the content you create. If you typically only do short blog posts, do a long one. If you do long blog posts, do an e-book or turn a topic into an infographic. Hell, get crazy and shoot a video (Google loves em, and most customers do too).
Feed Your Robot. Don’t Neglect Your Robot
What not to do and why
Ok, you should have a grasp of the inner working of what a marketing automation platform can do for you.
We’ve compiled a list of best practices to keep you and your robot on good terms. We all know what happened when Skynet turned on Sarah and John.
Robots like goals.
When you adopt an MA platform, revisit yours.
We see a lot of people adopt a marketing automation platform, import some contact and content, and send their robot off into the digital battlefield. Not so fast. Just because marketing automation makes our lives easier, we still have to have a strategy and data points. Without a solid strategy, your robot can become complacent and unruly. Bad robot.
Robots need fuel.
Inbound marketing is about providing valuable content that aligns with your customer’s needs and interests. This should not change if you start using marketing automation. In fact, it should enhance the communication as you can provide the content they need at the exact time that they need it.
Robots can be cold.
When you get a robot, there is absolutely no excuse for general or broad messages to your contacts. Don’t be fooled by automation’s claim to release you from your manual marketing duties. Take the time you free up with automation and reinvest it into creating personalized, and engaging content.
Content should also be relevant. Research what people are searching for or put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Think about content from a user's perspective and offer up solutions to their queries and challenges. Marketing automation comes to the rescue to serve up that helpful content at the most appropriate time.
Robots help everyone.
Now that your robot and content are moving along at a nice clip, and the leads are rolling in, don’t forget about your current customers. Robots can be set up to talk to them as well, and after all, they loved you before your fancy new toy.
Set up a series of customer engagement campaigns to make sure they still feel the love back. Send messages based on previous purchases, downloads, or comments. Think ahead for them and introduce them to new lines, services, or insights that make them feel VIP.
Recap Re: Your Robot
Keep calm and automate on
Marketing automation is all about educating and nurturing, not selling. We avoid the in your face sell, and opt for a content first approach that aligns with what prospects and customers are looking for.
The more you use your robot, the easier it will get. And, remember, robots come in all shapes and sizes. Just because your starting out doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have robot companionship. Explore the options that are out there and find the best fit for your marketing goals and budget.