Marketing automation has changed the way many of the Web's most savvy enterprises manage their digital presence.
If you are already using these incredibly powerful systems, many of which you can find in Website Magazine's "Master List of Marketing Automation Tools," the time is now to take that initiative to the next level. Consider the following techniques and your enterprise will quickly find that it receives much more value from the digital opportunities available.
Make it Real-Time
Marketing from an automation platform to a list of prospects or customers that rarely (if ever) changes is quite limiting in that brands can't take advantage of users' most recent activity and interactions. A better option is to leverage the data provided by the actual systems (e.g. ecommerce or content management systems) that users regularly interact with on a website. Acquiring this data is possible by making use of a marketing automation platform's application programming interface (supposing one exists) to create a more dynamic list. Marketers might, for example, import a list of users spending a significant amount of time in a product knowledge base, which proves far more useful when executing campaigns. Fortunately, marketing automation platforms are excellent at integrations and may already have produced a way to deliver real-time data.
Better data (read "real-time") will only get a business so far; the next step is to understand that brands can do way more when they deliver content to the consumer (prospect) in the appropriate phase of the buying cycle. Most (if not all) automation platforms provide marketers an opportunity to deliver different "types" of content depending on not just their interests, but also the content that draws them further into the sales funnel and ever closer to a sales-ready frame of mind. Consumers that are still in the research stage, for example, should be presented with content that makes the case for buy-in, while those further down the funnel should be presented with content that expresses the credibility of the vendor or the uniqueness of the product. The importance of segmentation of this type can't be overstated - delivering credibility-related content to a completely cold lead will do little to increase conversion.
One of the most powerful aspects of automation platforms is their ability to provide marketers with an opportunity to "score" their leads, or assign a scale-based value that ranks each prospect based on their value to the organization (useful for sales teams to prioritize which prospects they engage with first). The savviest brands today, however, aren't scoring alone; they are attempting to actively move their prospects further down the funnel by remarketing.
Make it Omni-Present
Leads can get cold quickly; consumers lose interest, get distracted or, worse, become discouraged. Marketers are challenged daily to ensure their messaging is "omni-present" and within the view of consumers wherever they are on the Web - from search to social channels as well as to the millions of websites that make up the 'Net. The best way to do that, of course, is through remarketing, but that is not always easy to do - at least not without a marketing automation platform.
To really make the most of marketing automation platforms, and foster the relationship they have with prospects, digital brands must explore paid placement initiatives. While it is crucial that marketers have cookies with retargeting beacons in place at the outset of campaigns, the delivery of supplementary messaging becomes an incredibly powerful way to draw users back into and further down the funnel. Tracking the interactions within the marketing automation platform will further ensure the consumer is getting the information they need (and, again, at the right phase of the buying cycle).
The preceding guidance isn't really for those just getting started with marketing automation, but rather for the digital enterprise that is looking to take its use of these powerful platforms to the next level. If you're ready to generate more leads, nurture those leads in a way that increases engagement and drives revenue, these tactics and techniques will accelerate your success.
Digital marketing executive with proven experience in all aspects of search engine optimization (SEO), performance-based advertising, consumer-generated/social media, email marketing, lead generation, Web design, usability, and analytics. - 20-year Internet marketing veteran, currently serving as the Digital Marketing Campaign Manager at Antenna Group (formerly Chicago Digital). - Former Editor-In-Chief of Website Magazine, and a regular speaker on Web technology digital marketing strategy - Author of several books on digital marketing Including Web 360: The Fundamentals of Web Success; Affiliate 360: The Fundamentals of Performance Marketing; Domains 360: The Fundamentals of Buying & Selling Domain Names, and SEO 360: The Fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization.