Become a champion at lead generation and foster customer loyalty

Introduced over 10 years ago, marketing automation is the backbone and main lever for all your digital marketing activities and can significantly help your international prospection strategy. The software enables companies to automate their marketing to improve efficiency and increase sales. Today there are a wide range of software packages for businesses and budgets of all sizes.  You can adopt software that has all the features included or use the best providers for each service and integrate them. Let’s first take a look at how it all fits together and the advantages to be gained from automating your marketing tools and processes.

Overview and advantages

  • 74%

    time savings

    Source: Salesfusion.com
  • 68%

    increased customer engagement

    Source: Salesfusion.com
  • 14.5%

    increase in sales productivity

    Source: Salesfusion.com
  • 76%

    of companies that implement marketing automation see a return on investment within the first year

    Source: Marketo.com
  • 74%

    time savings

    Source: Salesfusion.com
  • 68%

    increased customer engagement

    Source: Salesfusion.com
  • 14.5%

    increase in sales productivity

    Source: Salesfusion.com
  • 76%

    of companies that implement marketing automation see a return on investment within the first year

    Source: Marketo.com

What does marketing automation software consist of?

Even more important, how does it fit together in an ideal business environment?

Website, social media and other lead channels are captured in the marketing automation software which in turn is synchronised with the CRM system. Email campaigns to prospects and customers are generated.

Closed loop reporting is enabled via dashboards and easy to build reports for ongoing measurement and improvement. Below is an example of a typical dashboard.

 

10 top benefits of marketing automation:

  • Save time and money and improve overall marketing efficiency, ROI and scalability
  • Acquire more leads and clients and increase average deal size
  • Increase the quality of leads and optimise their follow-up
  • Shorten the sales cycle
  • Improve customer retention and satisfaction levels
  • Increase efficiency by aligning internal teams and marketing
  • Improved database quality helping lead generation and customer support
  • Use of A/B testing for ongoing improvement and increase in conversion rate
  • Increase lifetime value of your customers
  • Take rational decisions based on numbers
  • Measure performance with dashboards and reports

Database and CRM

  • 20%

    of your data will be out of date within one year

  • 100%

    Accept that your data will never be 100% up to date but optimise nevertheless

  • 20%

    of your data will be out of date within one year

  • 100%

    Accept that your data will never be 100% up to date but optimise nevertheless

Let data work for you

An up-to-date database and CRM is absolute key to the marketing and sales efforts of any company. As the saying goes, rubbish in, rubbish out. Data has long been recognised as a key asset for any organisation. It drives customer engagement, increases customer retention, generates additional revenue (first time sales as well as up and cross selling), and enhances marketing efforts. When undertaking foreign prospection and to extend your reach, you can purchase prospect lists from third party providers based on various selection criteria and which are already GDPR compliant. The lists are normally provided in excel format for easy upload to your database.

Quick tips for success:

Database Set up

  • Centralise your data in one company database and ensure you have it securely backed up
  • Build the fields to allow you to effectively drive and manage your business. (Market and customer segmentation, source, geography etc.)
  • Include a language field to enable you to communicate with prospects and customers abroad in their own language
  • Automatically synchronise your CRM to your marketing database with a bi-directional interface for data integrity. (Many marketing automation software packages include this feature)
  • Ensure GDPR compliance and appoint a data protection officer who will normally be involved in the database management aspects to ensure conformity

 

Database usage

  • Appoint a database administrator to keep your data clean (deduplication, changes to customer data, email campaign opt-outs). Use data integrity software
  • Standardise data entry guidelines throughout the company and train staff
  • Encourage customers and prospects to update you with any change to their company and contact records via simple online forms or via live chat and automate updates to your CRM where possible
  • Automate where possible data enhancements from events and webinar registrations (many marketing automation software packages do this for you)
  • Automate updates to account contact history and interaction with your company
  • Enhance your database with the upload of new prospect lists and sources to drive lead generation campaigns
  • Harvest data to develop a better understanding of your customer needs and shape their behaviour
  • Build reports or dashboards to monitor the number of active customers and prospects per segment, country and have a clear overview of the suspects and prospects in the different stages of the sales funnel

Email

  • 4.3

    billion active email users forecasted in 2023

    Source: Orberlo.com
  • 293.6

    billion emails are sent and received each day

    Source: Orberlo.com
  • 81%
    of small businesses rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel, and 80% for retention 
    Source: Orberlo.com
  • 50%

    higher open rates for emails with personalised subject lines

    Source: Orberlo.com
  • 300%

    increase in click rates when videos are added to your email

    Source: Orberlo.com
  • 93%

    of B2B marketers use email to distribute content

    Source: Content Marketing Institute
  • 16%

    of all emails never make it into the inbox

    Source: Email Tool Tester
  • 174%

    more conversions by email marketing than on social media

    Source: Campaign Monitor

Email – a very popular marketing channel

Email marketing is one of the most popular, cost-effective and conversion-rich of all digital marketing channels. Combining email with marketing automation allowing for segmentation and personalised content i.e. delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time, can increase email effectiveness considerably.

There are 2 types of automated emails:

  1. Transactional (order or delivery confirmation, password reset, policy updates, abandoned cart emails etc)
  2. Marketing email (newsletter, special offers, product updates and promotion polls etc)

Marketing automation software:

  • Includes email functionality and enables you to send time and action triggered emails in an attractive and personalised format
  • Lets you add dynamic content (unique for each profile or person)
  • Enables you to build landing pages quickly and easily. You can then link your email to a customised landing page for increased effectiveness
  • Allows you to do lead nurturing, part of a successful inbound marketing strategy, automating emails to accounts in every stage of the sales funnel and buyer journey based on the behaviour of the prospect or lead. This positively impacts, even accelerates the sales decision.

Lead nurturing is a great way to increase lead generation efficiency:

  • Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. Source: Marketo
  • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Source: The Annuitas Group
  • Lead nurturing can also be used for post engagement to foster loyalty and customer feedback
  • Allows you to set up drip campaigns sending an automated series of emails over an extended period of time e.g. educational, re-engagement, on-boarding, thereby differentiating yourself from the competition

According to GetResponse and its Email Marketing Benchmarks 2019 here is some interesting data about average open and click-through rates and metrics to measure after each campaign. Open and click rates may vary by sector.

  • The overall average open rate for email marketing is 22.86%
  • The average CTR is 3.71% (CTR = click-through rate i.e. the number of clicks on a hyperlink or CTA (call to action) divided by the total number of delivered messages
  • The average click to open rate is 16.23% (CTOR compares the number of onetime clicks versus the total number of people opening the email)
  • Unsubscribe rates, on average, are 0.21%

Best practices to maximise your email results

1 – Content:

  • Create valuable, relevant and reader friendly content
  • Personalise the email greeting
  • Insert an attractive and catchy subject line
  • Insert an attractive and relevant header
  • Include a clear call to action with a link to a landing page to collect data
  • A/B test to see what works best and optimise (subject line, header, images, text length)
  • Set up multiple touch and triggered campaigns
  • Include an email signature with a link to your website and social media pages
  • For nurturing emails, offer a value proposition rather than a sales pitch
  • Favour quality over frequency
  • Send welcome emails to new customers and subscribers
  • On-board new customers with a series of emails explaining your products and services

2 – Set up:

  • Optimise for mobile
  • Optimise the email preview
  • Follow GDPR best practices
  • Create pop-ups on your website and blog to increase opt-ins
  • Link emails to a customised landing pages
  • Follow up incoming emails in a timely manner
  • Send/schedule your email to go out at the best time for the reader (mid-morning, mid-afternoon, mid-week are popular) and take into account geographical time differences
  • Where possible, do not use a no-reply email sender address and make it easy for accounts to get in touch
  • Send a test first to yourself (desktop and mobile) to check links are working and content is well displayed
  • Measure each campaign and do more of what works best
  • Segment your send lists and tailor content to each group
  • Update your email lists regularly using transmission reports
  • When collecting email opt-ins, allow people to subscribe to different categories e.g. newsletter, updates on a specific topic
  • Create a good thank you page for opt-ins with tips e.g. to mark you as a safe sender, share a link to your website or blog
  • Avoid landing in people’s junk folder by using a professional email tool

Blogs

  • 70

    million blog posts are being published each month by WordPress users

    Source: Optinmonster.com
  • 97%

    more links to the websites for companies who blog

    Source: Optinmonster.com
  • 77%

    of internet users read blogs

    Source: Optinmonster.com
  • 96%

    of bloggers are using social media to drive traffic to their blog posts

    Source: orbitmedia.com
  • 70

    million blog posts are being published each month by WordPress users

    Source: Optinmonster.com
  • 97%

    more links to the websites for companies who blog

    Source: Optinmonster.com
  • 77%

    of internet users read blogs

    Source: Optinmonster.com
  • 96%

    of bloggers are using social media to drive traffic to their blog posts

    Source: orbitmedia.com

An incremental online channel

Blogging allows companies to show case their brand online and can differentiate them from the competition and allow them to engage with prospects and customers in a less formal way. Blogs can also enable companies to gain a deeper insight into customer needs and expectations. To start with, you should ensure that setting up a blog makes sense in your overall international digital marketing strategy.

Companies set up blogs to achieve a number of things.

  • Showcase the reasons to purchase from you
  • Add weight to their social media presence
  • Portray you as an expert and opinion leader in your field
  • Allow you to engage in conversation with prospects and customers
  • Help you achieve higher ranking with Google and help with SEO
  • Develop a community and encourage advocacy

Setting up and maintaining a blog can be time-consuming so you need to look at the potential ROI. Some marketing automation software packages include blog functionality, otherwise you can set up a blog easily and cost-effectively using third-party software.

Quick tips for a successful business blog

  • Create compelling content for your target audience with professional hints and tips and step-by-step guides. An ideal blog post should be between 300 and 1700 words long
  • Include keywords for SEO
  • Include back links
  • Include relevant internal links to your website and other articles you wrote
  • Team up with other blogs which will refer to your blog or article
  • Talk to customers to find out which subjects really interest them (mostly it is about problem solving and not selling)
  • Post video content which can substantially increase traffic
  • Make an attractive design and combine images with text
  • Write a clever headline for each post
  • Determine if English will be sufficient for your international audience
  • Check out competitor blogs and see what works well
  • Post frequently
  • Answer questions trending with your post
  • Encourage feedback and engagement
  • Promote your blog in social media posts
  • Optimise for mobile
  • Include a clear subscribe field
  • Include a human narrative linked to your product and service
  • Encourage guest bloggers who will also extend their post to their own social networks
  • Outsource content writing to a subject matter expert if budget allows and promote on social media channels to drive more traffic to your blog

Campaign management

  • 760%

    increase in revenue for marketers who drive segmented email campaigns

    Source: Campaign Monitor, 2019
  • 87%

    of video marketers say that video has increased traffic to their website

    Source: Wyzowl, 2020
  • 760%

    increase in revenue for marketers who drive segmented email campaigns

    Source: Campaign Monitor, 2019
  • 87%

    of video marketers say that video has increased traffic to their website

    Source: Wyzowl, 2020

Managing efficiently existing leads is as important as generating new leads

The goal of campaign management is to help you prioritise your different campaigns (emails, social media, ads, etc.) based on similar KPIs in order to reach your ultimate goal (more leads, more sales, more customer retention). Campaign management involves developing a pricing, marketing and sales strategy to optimise turnover and profits. This feature included in most marketing automation software packages is also used to automate and streamline the processes across different digital marketing channels as well as tracking, reporting and carrying out analysis of marketing campaigns.

 

Lead management is a key pillar of campaign management. It is the way to attract and nurture the prospect through the different stages of the sales funnel to generate more business.

With the software, you can also set up lead scoring for each prospect record determining when is the ideal moment to automatically transfer the account from Marketing to Sales as a qualified lead for further follow-up and eventual closure.

Best Practices

  • 83%

    of B2B companies use e-newsletters as part of their content marketing programme

    Source: Imaginepub.com
  • 40%

    of B2B marketers say email newsletters are most critical to their content marketing success

    Source: Content Marketing Institute
  • 83%

    of B2B companies use e-newsletters as part of their content marketing programme

    Source: Imaginepub.com
  • 40%

    of B2B marketers say email newsletters are most critical to their content marketing success

    Source: Content Marketing Institute

If marketing automation is king, content is queen

Content management and marketing automation really do complement one another. Use of marketing automation will enable you to improve the effectiveness and consistency of your overall content marketing strategy. Scheduling posts 2 weeks in advance for example makes it easier to stay consistent and publish frequently across different channels which will also help strengthen your brand.

  • Content can be more easily shared across other digital channels such as website, social media, online advertising, e-newsletter, blog etc.
  • Triggered responses can be generated if a user clicks on or downloads a piece of content and the software can generate the appropriate email and update the account history accordingly.
  • Based on the user profile, relevant content such as whitepapers or promotions can be shared with the user at the appropriate time.
  • Content views can be monitored by marketing automation across different channels to avoid duplication of content and to ensure that each touchpoint moves the relationship to the next stage.
  • Marketing automation can also measure how content influences the buyer journey and decision making process.

Best practices marketing automation

  • Build buyer personas (your ideal customer profile). Free templates can be found online
  • Map out the different lead stages for your business / the optimal lead flow
  • Base your workflow on the buyer or customer journey
  • Capture relevant lead information along the way to perform quality lead nurturing and analysis
  • Plan quality and timely content to generate and nurture leads
  • Use smart segmentation to target and personalise content
  • Run multichannel campaigns to maximise touchpoints
  • Build engaging landing pages and forms with clear call to action and ongoing collection of profile data
  • If tools allow, use social listening and monitoring and adapt your approach accordingly
  • Implement lead scoring
  • Manage exit intent by using pop-ups
  • Measure constantly, in line with your goals, adjust and make ongoing improvements

Cybersecurity

  • 43%

    of cyber attacks target small business

    Source: Cybintsolutions.com
  • 95%

    of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error

    Source: Cybintsolutions.com
  • 43%

    of cyber attacks target small business

    Source: Cybintsolutions.com
  • 95%

    of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error

    Source: Cybintsolutions.com

Protect your business

No company with an online presence is immune to a cyberattack. However, there are several precautions you can and should take to protect yourself and your business.

Marketing automation platforms and the CRM require a large amount of data to perform and need to be totally secure. Special care should be taken

  • to access control (with strong passwords and two factor authentication);
  • to limit access to the platform only to the employees who really need it;
  • to train employees well in correct use of the platform and to avoid accidental data leaks;
  • configure settings to avoid data leaks or misuse;
  • limit the lifetime of the personal data to the required duration.

In addition, you should also monitor the platform in order to detect unauthorised access attempts or misuse.

Legal aspects

As marketing automation is based on personal data collection and handling, you need to make sure that:

  1. The platform is compliant with GDPR and other applicable regulations
  2. The data collection is processed with the consent of the concerned persons

Advice available from SECURITYMADEIN.LU. Visit our website www.securitymadein.lu for more information and to contact us.

Measurement

“If you don’t collect any metrics, you’re flying blind. If you collect and focus on too many, they may be obstructing your field of view.”

Scott M. Graffius, Agile Scrum

Make data-driven decisions

Regular tracking of key marketing metrics will allow you to make continuous improvements including how to increase traffic, potential sales and user retention. Most marketing automation packages include built-in metrics and dashboard functionality. It is always good to compare monthly, quarterly and even yearly statistics to identify trends.

Begin by setting up SMART goals aligned to what you want your marketing automation to deliver then off you go.

Popular marketing automation metrics to track include:

  • Marketing automation usage metrics
  • Campaign response metrics including number of emails sent with open, click, click through and unsubscribe rates
  • Website traffic and link back to source e.g. emails, social media campaigns, events etc
  • How many workflows were created and for which stage of the buyer journey
  • Activity by segment (email, social media, website)
  • Number of leads transferred from Marketing to Sales
  • Close or conversion rate and value of marketing sourced leads
  • Deal closure rates yearly or quarterly with a comparison  to previous years and before marketing automation
  • Increase in marketing productivity (emails sent and resulting conversions compared to previous periods and before marketing automation)
  • Cost per lead and per closed deal
  • Length of the average sales cycle
  • Revenue generated per year and average deal size
  • Customer retention level evolution
  • Customer’s lifetime value

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