As you know, Marketing automation technology is booming, and it doesn’t look like it will be slowing anytime soon. According to the latest research, the marketing automation software market was estimated at USD 5.10 billion in 2018 and is expected to be USD 14.15 billion in 2024, registering at a CAGR of 19.2% through the forecast period (2019-2024). (1) So why is the market growing and what does this mean for marketers in the future?
First, let’s explain what marketing automation is. According to Salesforce, marketing automation has enabled marketers to manage marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns, across multiple channels, automatically. Marketing and sales departments use marketing automation to automate online marketing campaigns and sales activities to both increase revenue and maximize efficiency. (2)
As a result, many business owners are now making a profit from marketing automation that was introduced (and promised) many years ago. This has been generated by reducing staffing costs, increasing revenue and average deal size, and optimizing operations across departments. This is good news for those who currently work with marketing automation today (it means that this type of job won’t be automated in the future). However, because of the increased pressure to deliver fast results, marketers must convert their marketing automation efforts to actual revenue, or they will be out of a job.
If you work or have worked with any type of marketing automation software, you know how difficult it is to prove conversion and return-of-investment (ROI). Also, it can be extremely problematic if there is no processes, goals, or resources in place within your company. So, how can you boost sales within marketing automation that provides quick results while keeping your stakeholders happy? Here are our top tips.
1. Personalize every interaction
As you know, it’s not best practice to send general information to your audience. Your customers expect to have personalized information that addresses their specific needs, and have it delivered to them in their preferred channel. If you want to scale your business and boost sales quickly by effectively attracting and nurturing your prospects, you should consider personalizing every interaction every single time. This means you should create dynamic content wherever possible and use dynamic rules based on the prospect’s behaviors or interests.
I know this sounds like it could be a huge process to implement; but by starting small, personalizing content within the system doesn’t have to be. You can begin by configuring trigger emails that are based on your prospect’s past purchases or you can segment them by geography and interest. You can also use data variables within email send-outs such as the first name, or provide certain incentives based on loyalty and the level of engagement. By sprinkling a little bit of personalization in every interaction and adding more over time, visitors will feel understood, which ultimately incentivizes them to return and purchase more.
2. Consider using chatbots or AI, as a complementary
Chatbots have been making quite an impression in the market for several years. It’s no surprise that companies are now taking advantages of the advanced functionalities within chatbots to provide better customer experience. Today, many marketers have integrated chatbots on their websites to easily collect more data and automate processes for their sales and service teams with their marketing automation system. For instance, after speaking to a chatbot from a website, an automatic email can go to the recipient inbox to close a case or receive customer feedback. By performing this basic trigger, you will be able to decrease some of the operational costs, i.e. lower the manual work from sales and services, and increase the possibility of a positive sentiment from your audience (which can lead to happier customers.)
3. Automate your work – Literally
Ah! The possibility to automate your work. That’s the ultimate dream scenario for any ambitious marketer. However, nobody likes to work with static and ad-hoc emails anymore (unless they serve a purpose). While working with your system, you should try to use dynamic content where ever possible if you truly want to simplify your work. The advantage of this is that you will be able to keep the conversation going based on the attributes, interests, and actions of your prospect. For example, you can create a single template with dynamic blocks and create rules for different scenarios based on your prospect’s behavior and interest. With smart segmentation, a bit of API recalls to your content library, and a well-thought-out process, you will be able to deliver highly relevant content to the recipient without much effort.
Another way you can automate your work is to repurpose old content material. If you have written a blog article and shared it from your social media platforms previously, you can bring the content back to life by sending it out to your existing subscriber list in a newsletter. Even better, you can use recommendations in a content block to create a personalized experience over the entire customer lifecycle.
4. Test. Measure. Adjust. Repeat.
What was once a “nice to do,” today A/B testing is a “must to do.” You should always test new marketing automation ideas and workflows if you want to instantly boost revenue. In fact, the phrase “I’ll test it” should be your marketing automation mantra from now on.
Before you start testing, however, you should decide which variables you want to test for. For example, if not enough people are opening your emails, then you should test and improve the subject line. Try to create a compelling call-to-action in your subject line while staying short, sweet, and unique. Keep in mind that whenever using A/B tests, it’s important to test only one variable. In this case, it would only be the subject line.
It’s also vital to consider the number of activities within your automation. Sometimes sending emails or push notifications three times in a week may be too much and not acceptable to send to your segment. Yes, you want to keep them engaged but no one likes to be spammed. Take an outside/in approach while looking at your workflows and ask yourself if it makes sense for the segment. Sometimes stepping back and adjusting the automation timings can give you the results you need.
Still, all these efforts don’t matter if you don’t measure and adjust. Depending to whom you report to, you may have different measurements. For instance, if you want to prove ROI to your colleague, then A/B tests may be enough to measure success. If you want to prove ROI to your boss, then perhaps your agreed KPI is appropriate to report. Whatever result measurement you have, it is best to have established goals before you implement new features. This will always save you time, frustration, and money in the end.
Senior Marketing Consultant