Automation used to be a wondrous thing. Not anymore.
Our bank accounts are debited each month like clockwork for various bills we owe. The operating systems on our computers get automatically updated every few weeks. Hell, we don’t even have to bother with learning how to spell anymore, thanks to autocorrect.
In spite of all the automation that makes our lives effortless, we still balk at the idea of automating our marketing programs. We have a bunch of reasons for not embracing automation. It’s not personal enough. It’s too expensive. It’s too difficult to execute. We don’t have enough people to manage it. And so on.
But aren’t some things worth the trouble? According to eMarketer’s research, B2C companies that adopt marketing automation see conversion rates as high as 50%. Companies that embrace marketing automation save up to 15% on creative production costs. 63% of companies that are outpacing their competition are users of marketing automation.
Marketing is now as much about puppies and horses being best ‘bud’-dies as it is about dunking Oreos in the dark. Just as we see a rebirth of storytelling that endears a brand to its target audience, we also see uncanny ads that follow us around all over the web as if by magic. Marketing automation, meet the world.
Clearly the benefits from marketing automation are enormous, increased sales being one of the most significant. So why waste time devising reasons you don’t want to implement it? If your company stands to be more profitable with marketing automation, why say no to a gift horse? Let’s instead look at some interesting ways you can automate your marketing without sacrificing your cost efficiencies.
Set Up Email Auto Responders
If you own a website, then you’re probably familiar with the frustration of the nearly-there conversion. Visitors who almost bought your product/service but suddenly changed their minds can be reached via email autoresponders.
An autoresponder is basically an automatic email that gets delivered to your visitors’ inboxes based on actions they take on your site. This could be anything from reminding them to return to a shopping cart they abandoned midway through a shopping spree to sending out automated greetings to customers on their birthdays. Studies show that triggered emails make users click and convert exponentially more than business-as-usual emails. Here’s how you can make the most of your email marketing campaigns using autoresponders.
Serve Personalized Content
Google personalizes their search results, Facebook adapts their Newsfeed to personal preferences and browsing habits, and Flipboard allows users to build their very own news magazine. With everything around them so hyper-personalized, consumers have come to expect the same treatment from other brands that they encounter both online and offline.
The big data that your site generates holds the key to identifying what user A likes or how many times user B visited your site without making a purchase. This data can be easily fed into a service like Monetate that will help you serve completely customized content to users each time they visit your site. In this context, personalization can be a number of things:
- Identifying the geographical location the visitor is from and switching to content in the local language
- Showing content that is relevant to the search term the visitor used to arrive on your site
- Showing recently browsed items, latest purchased items, and items in cart based on the visitor’s and other users’ (in their segment) past browsing behavior
- Exposing the right users to the right featured items based on their customer profile information
- Dynamically changing the tone and look of your page in sync with those of the referring sites from which the visitor arrived
Send Push App Notifications
Have a mobile app? Then you must definitely push for push notifications on every download that you garner. Notifications help brands reach out to users with time sensitive or location sensitive updates, stuff that they can act on immediately. Without automation, there’s no way a brand can manually engage with each user, customize their experience for them.
By enticing your users into turning on their notifications for your app, you directly reduce app abandonment. Research by Localytics shows that users who have their app notifications turned on are 88% more engaged than those who do not. Engagement rates vary by industry, with the ecommerce industry seeing the maximum benefit out of it.
Offer Live Chat
We’ve all faced those moments where we have a very clear image of what we want in our heads, but that same piece seems totally elusive on the shelves. Enter Live Chat.
Live chat is basically that little chat window that pops up from the bottom right of a website. By providing a human at the other end of a customer service call, you offer your users a warm, personalized experience.
Use live chat on occasions like these:
- When the user idles for too long on the page, ask them how you can help them.
- When the user is about to leave the page, ask if they could find what they were looking for.
- Welcome new users with the right onboarding messages so they stick around longer and buy from you.
- Offer instant advice and support on your product pages.
Live chat is cheaper than customer care via the phone. It is also more proactive than telephonic, email or web ticket-based customer care, where the team waits for users to contact them instead of initiating contact themselves.
Actively Engage on Social Media
Social media was probably one of the first marketing tools to be automated. The slew of social media monitoring, analytics and publishing tools that are easily available mean that you can now truly interact with your social media fans on a one to one basis using these tools.
Social media automation is now a piece of cake with scheduling platforms like Buffer and HootSuite that offer a free option for businesses with small budgets to manage their social networks; you can set your posts to be published at pre-determined timings when the majority of your audience is on social media.
However, I suggest going a step further with a social media management tool like Oktopost, which combines social media management and monitoring, especially if you’re a B2B business. You can manage your social media calendar intelligently while delivering customized content to targeted audiences. You can get notified each time your brand is mentioned in conversation with competing brands. You can also quickly identify top brand ambassadors, create an incentive program with leaderboards, and track and capitalize on every participant’s contribution with CRM integration.
Automating social media posting enables you to
- Modify your marketing strategy based on conversations about your brand or products
- Reach out to specific users who are discussing your brand and attempt to assuage/convert them
- Track engagement and conversion metrics and segment data based on networks, messages and profiles
These were just the most important marketing functions that can be set up by any marketing team. There’s a whole lot more where these came from. Once you begin your journey towards marketing automation, you’ll be able to intuitively create situations that minimize effort from your end while simultaneously maximizing their impact on your users. As they say, practice makes perfect. So when (and how) are you embarking on your road to perfection?