For a lot of businesses and marketers, when they hear of the term “marketing automation” it reminds them of something industrial, old, generic service, treating customers as numbers, cold interaction and so on. Simply put, to many of us marketing automation is a big “no” because today we are all pursuing personalization and approaching customers on a more emotional level to engage them with our brands.
On the other hand, if you ask other people that could potentially be your customers, they will also tell you that they would like to work with a business that deals with their issues on a personal level and looks at them as humans, instead of giving them an automated software which they can use.
But still, let’s approach this from a different perspective – what if you wanted to provide the best experience possible and started asking your customers questions about the experiences they’ve had? Again, in most cases they will tell you that it was the personal touch, but you would be surprised just how many of them might be wrong.
We all want to give our customers an amazing experience and create an interaction that has meaning. Customers need to get everything they need whenever they make contact for whatever reason. When you do engage a customer, no matter what stage of the customer journey they are in, it is essential that you approach them adequately for that moment to meet their objectives and needs, but you need to do this for your objectives as well.
To achieve this, you will need valuable knowledge about your consumers. Organizations that are smaller can achieve this through a personal approach in a natural way. If you have a small base of customers, you can reach out to all of them individually while relying on data profiles that you have set up for all of them.
Still, when businesses start to take a larger scale of customers, this simply becomes impossible to achieve. When this happens, you will have to segment customer groups using automation. This is how you will be able to provide generic support that is smart and designated for a certain group, thus providing services, products and supporting people in the way they expect.
When used this way, the automation is hidden. You will use automated processes to improve customer engagement, understand customer groups and their needs better, and to learn how you can turn one-time customers into long-term clients. You shouldn’t use marketing automation to create general responses for the masses. Use it as a support system that can help you lead customers to where they want to be.
Marketing automation includes using a specifically designed platform that can help you automate all of the regular marketing actions you need to perform every day. Marketers that have to work with a lot of customers on a daily basis simply need to automate some of their tasks.
These tasks can include managing social media profiles, sending emails, and many other repetitive actions. Marketing automation can simplify these operations and help marketers become more efficient at their work. Still, this doesn’t mean that you should completely automate your processes and create a robotic interaction with customers.
A lot of people don’t understand marketing automation and they think that it will do their job for them. They simply set it up and wait for it to take care of everything all on its own. This is a facilitating platform that provides you more resources and time that you need to grow a business and improve your performance in different areas.
However, you need to create a balance between automation and personalization. Marketing automation can give you valuable data and insights into how you are performing, but it can’t make the changes you need. You have to use automated procedures and understand when to step in with a personal approach and make changes based on the insights you have.
You might have thought otherwise up to this point, but to provide great personalization you need automation and data. Today you have to collect valuable consumer data on each step and analyze it to be able to make personalized and informed content for your customers.
This can be an overwhelming process, as it requires a lot of resources, time, and knowledge to organize, manage and analyze such a huge amount of data. Additionally, the final step is to apply all of the things learned from the data to personalize and optimize your marketing strategies.
This is why you need the right technological solutions to make the whole process easier and create a structuralized impact. Automation platforms and AI solutions can help with most of the tasks involved here. Marketing automation platforms can gather, store, analyze and perform some of the basic operational tasks on their own.
This is how marketers can have more energy and knowledge to work on their strategies, be creative and create better content. Machine learning and AI have allowed marketers to gather all customer-related information and use it continuously to create a better personalized experience.
By empowering an automation platform with a personalization engine, you will be able to individualize all of your content for all separate customers. You will need to find good tools and implement them to be able to create strategies with great effects.
One of the major reasons why marketers are not able to create a good one-on-one approach in order to personalize their strategies is because they are unable to gather the information they need about their target audience, store it, and overview it through a single structure.
They think that only big corporations have the power to gather such data and make use of it. On the other hand, some of them think that acquiring information such as name, location, age and interest are enough. Well it isn’t. You also need behavioral data such as social media interactions and historical data, including previous interactions and purchases, in order to have a 360 degree view of all of your customers.
Create a standard for all of the data coming across all of your marketing channels, so that you can manage it effectively through your marketing automation tool. Marketing automation tools can be very effective at gathering data, if you create a single view or a format that is the same for all channels. A single overview of all your content will allow you to integrate data within your tool and perform an accurate analysis.
When you create accurate, effective and consistent data gathering using an automation system, you will have all the information you need to deliver personalized content to all of your potential customers and ensure that it’s designed properly for them.
All marketers want to send as many email messages as possible to potential prospects and try to make them engage with their business. Unfortunately, a lot of marketers only use automated emails to do just this – send lots of messages in bulk and expect that it will pay off.
However, blasting a lot of people with automated emails will only distance prospects from your business even further. Additionally, those kinds of emails are probably going to end up in a spam folder without even being read. This is why a lot of people think that email is dead, but it isn’t – they are just approaching it the wrong way.
You need to personalize emails using automation through which you can change the dynamic content of your messages to create a more personalized tone. Through it, you can customize a field that you can use for many different buyer personas and sort them out either manually or automatically to segment them.
The next step is to customize all of the message for each individual segment and send them more easily to groups of people. This is how you will optimize your email sales process. Despite the fact that you are directing consumers through your sales funnel in bulk, you will increase the chances of them converting.
Additionally, this approach to prepare your customers and yourself for an honest communication and this is essential for increasing sales. The dynamic content within your emails that you can personalize are for example, images. When sending emails to dog lovers you can include images of dogs, and for cat lovers images of cats. This is a simple example of how automated emails can be personalized and help engage people better.
Do you remember dynamic pages, or have you even heard of them? Well, they are coming back strong. It all began with marketers using Dynamic Keyword Insertion with PPC marketing, as marketers rely on them to make PPC ads relevant to people searching for a certain product. This strategy proved to be very effective and it showed that relevance is highly important.
Now, with Google Website Optimizer you can expand the dynamic system to pages as well. It’s possible to create hundreds of dynamic landing pages that are targeted to keywords that people searched through to get to your website. Apart from emails, website personalization is most important.
By optimizing your pages to be searchable by a large variety of keywords that are relevant to your site, people will land on it and see the exact keywords that they searched for. Visitors are amazed that they’ve found the exact thing down to every letter and they fall for it.
With this technique you can increase your conversion rates drastically and it also allows smaller marketers to create different landing pages with less resources. Additionally, you should take a step further and personalize your page based on different groups of visitors.
For example, if your site is about pet food, you can design a different version where dog lovers will be greeted with a cute picture of a happy dog eating food. You can also greet them with a different message. The conversion process starts at the exact moment when a prospect lands on your site.
Marketing focused on customers is not limited to emails, mobile phones and social media. You can also look to create a more personalized one-on-one experience with people that visit your website. Apart from providing them with more suitable pages that they will engage with, you can also insert dynamic content.
Similarly to how Amazon provides their visitors with personalized experiences by displaying items based on people’s past purchases, you can use marketing automation to display different pieces of content on your site depending on the person that lands on it.
This is how you will instantly help personalize your customer’s journey from the very beginning. By gathering valuable customer data through a marketing automation solution, you will be able to create adequate content for the right people.
Having automation software that can recognize who the people visiting you are will allow you to give them adequate content. For example, depending on their current place in the buyer’s journey, they can still be researching your product and services, they could be engaged with your business, or they may already be a customer.
Depending on these factors, it’s important to provide them with adequate content. Your current customers shouldn’t see the introductory content, as they already know about your business and your products or services – instead deliver content that can help them create a better relationship with your business and offer them things that only customers have the right to.
When you’ve personalized your home page, email and website and prospects have reached the stage where they are ready to sign up for your newsletter, it’s important that you offer them a personalized experienced here as well.
There is nothing special about it really, but it works very well. When someone clicks on your sign up form, you simply give them more options on how to proceed. As they choose options, they are given adequate steps that will be more engaging for them.
Not only this, but you will be able to gather valuable information about your prospects that you can use in the future to market yourself to them. For example, you can segment prospects based on their gender and offer them different custom fields that they need to fill out.
Implement a CRM system and integrate it with your email newsletter so that you have all of the important information in one place. By segmenting your audiences even before you send any emails, you can increase open and click-through rates, as you will have information that can help you personalize your emails.
Choose a good software tool for running forms so that you can integrate this with your website and CRM to get a very simple workflow. This is something you should consider adding to user profiles and allow people adjust settings on their own and content as well. When people can control their content, they will have a more personalized experience and that’s how you will retain customers.
Social media is one of the best channels for personalization. Because they interact with people one-on-one and send messages on their own, marketers think that this is good enough improvement when compared to other channels.
If you use your social media to distribute content, you are probably posting regularly, sharing posts in groups, sending private messages or making ads. However, by using marketing automation, you can give an additional boost to your content promotion on different channels so that it resonates better with your prospects.
With automation, you can schedule posts automatically and repurpose old content without doing all of it manually. You can also promote cross/channels. Tracking your results here is easy and you can compare different results, which is why this doesn’t have to be a static strategy.
Instead, you should always look to tweak your posts and social media actions to find the right formula for engaging people. Additionally, you would want to segment your social media platforms as well. For example, if you want to target women with visual content you would want to go for Instagram, or even better, Pinterest.
An automation tool can help you segment these audiences based on social platforms and personas. Giving you a lot of versatility for sharing your content. However, you need to gather all the data and everything you know about your customers to create different personalization on social media.
Personalization is now one of the most effective techniques in marketing and consumers love it. If you offer this, you will be able to get better results. Still, remember that automation and personalization go hand-in-hand and that they are not enemies. You can rely on automation to improve personalization.
It is up to you to look at your prospects as customers and focus on what defines them and who they are, and not what they would want to do with your business. By understanding customers and approaching them as individuals, you will engage them much better and have a better understanding of how to run your business.