Marketing Automation: What Can Be Automated?
Automation makes sense for you and your business if you often feel that you do not have the time and resources to communicate to your customer on a more personalised level. Therefore, you often end up with a newsletter that is sent out to your entire list of recipients.
You may also not have a clear idea about what the interests of your target group are.
Are the blog posts, articles, cases and videos you spend time and resources compiling actually being read? And when customers buy your products and services, do you actually know what sparked their interest? Could it be due to the article you wrote last year?
Let's put you in the driver's seat! But most importantly - let's get you closer to the customer.
Data, data, data!
Yes, sorry, I'm shouting, but it's important. Data.
And we can not talk about Marketing Automation without also reversing segmentation and data - and how much data you have access to. With the right database and customer insight, we can start working with segments. With segmentation, we can begin to personalize communication with our customers.
Hang on. Let's look at an example:
Let's pretend we are a university that offers bachelor’s, master’s degrees, postgraduate programmes and MBAs. We have a contact database consisting of:
- Conversions from downloading material (brochures/info material)
- Sign-ups for newsletters
- Current students
In the example, we assume that we have at least a name and an e-mail - preferably also the current address and maybe even the previous affiliation with the university.
Let's take a look at "segment X":
- We know they are interested in a postgraduate programme
- They have either downloaded material or looked at the material
- More precisely, we know that they have looked at Accounting and Auditing
- They have downloaded material or viewed content regarding accounting and auditing on the website
- We also know that they have been looking at courses starting in the fall of 2021
- We can see that from their website behaviour
- We know that they have visited the page where you sign up for the programme, but they have not filled out the submission form.
With all that knowledge, we can go from sending an e-mail to the entire contact database, where we try to sell a wide range of courses to be able to target our communication accurately - in this case, people who most likely want to begin the programme in Accounting and Auditing in the fall of 2021.
There can be several reasons why visitors end up on the page with the sign-up form and then leave. A thorough review of the customer journey is of course a great help here. But let's assume they may have some concerns about:
- Their financials
- The time they have to spend studying
- What they actually get out of it
- The timing of fall 2021 doesn’t fit them well, but they might be interested at a later time.
We can address all these concerns and thoughts in a flow of e-mails, all of which are intended to guide them to make the right decision - buy or not to buy. The latter is also okay, because if they can come to that reasoning themselves, then you and your sales department have not wasted time doing the sales follow-up with those who were not the right match for you and your products anyway.
So what's automated about that?
Well, first of all, you can put together a dynamic list to do all the segmentation work for you. Simply set up the criteria, and the software will make sure to send people to your list when they meet the criteria.
The contacts are automatically rolled into your e-mail flow when they appear on your list. Those who end up signing up can from there be part of a new flow that prepares them for the start of the programme. All with the aim of getting closer to the customers and giving them the feeling that they are being taken care of - and that you (yes, you) have actually spent time understanding and targetting your communication to them.
Marketing Automation is meant to make it easier
This is just one single example out of 100 - maybe even 1000 - potential e-mail flows that this university could use. Think, what could be done for your business?
Do you think that sounds very complicated? Keep in mind that Marketing Automation is not about making things more complicated. On the contrary. It's about getting closer to the customer and ultimately making your job easier. Of course, it will always be a big task at the beginning, where everything has to be set up, but it will be worth the effort.