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Marketing Automation: The Essentials For 2015

Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema , Global Head of Content , Emarsys

For b2b companies, marketing automation is no longer just a fancy buzzword, it’s a necessity. If you’re failing to turn marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads, and too many of these unqualified leads are getting through to sales, it’s time to look at your marketing automation strategy. This too is becoming imperative for b2c companies, it’s the only way to improve the efficiency of marketing and stay ahead of the competition in 2015.

The good news is, you recognize there is a problem and that marketing automaton may be the solution, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog.

Which leads us nicely onto our next critical question: “What do I need to get started?” Of course you need a competent software partner and relevant content. Finding the first of these is not easy nowadays, the marketing automation space is growing rapidly, with some vendors predicting a 60% increase in revenue over the next few years. But as you’re reading our blog you’re obviously on the right track and I’m assuming you have enough content to drive people along their purchasing journey.

 

What Should be Automated?

When thinking about what to automate, the initial projects should naturally address existing manual processes in order to free up resources in daily business. Therefore, think about any ‘semi-automated‘ campaigns currently being maintained, like new signups only receiving their welcome mail on a weekly basis or a survey targeting first time buyers only being sent bi-weekly.

Once you’ve got these covered it’s time to look at new possibilities to communicate with your customers via automated, perfectly timed, multi-step and multi-channel campaigns. As the available options are nearly endless, let’s grab the low hanging fruit first and start at the very beginning of the customer lifecycle:

 

Welcome Program

Welcome campaigns are absolutely essential. Other than your website, it’s often the first interaction your customers have with your brand. This means you need to be both friendly and timely. Use positive, friendly wording to set the tone for a happy relationship with your subscriber. Your welcome communication should be sent in real-time, reacting to a signup and ideally nurturing the customer over several weeks by introducing all of your services and benefits. The best welcome programs usually consist of several campaigns sent every other day, but it’s wise to optimize your frequency with A/B split tests.

 

First Time Buyer Survey & Product Follow-ups

Purchase-related campaigns that include incentivized surveys specifically targeting first time buyers provide invaluable insight, but also create an opportunity for you to increase repeat business. Take a look at the results from one of our clients, myphotobook. Personalized follow-up campaigns targeting buyers of certain products or product categories offer invaluable up- and cross-selling options. If you’ve got a customer intelligence tool, you’ll know that combining certain products and customers that share an affinity is statistically proven to generate additional revenue.

 

Abandoned Shopping Carts

If your business is focussed on ecommerce, one of the first automated campaigns you will want to set up is abandoned shopping carts. Although this is a classic strategy with proven ROI increase, many companies are still not harnessing it yet, as illustrated by another one of our clients. You can read more about the content, timing and data required to implement a robust abandoned shopping cart program in this Emarsys blog.

 

Website Behavior

If you are tracking your customers’ behavior on your website, you can also utilize this information to engage with them. The best example of this is an abandoned browse campaign, which is sent to everyone who spent time on your website but did not convert to purchase. Social advocates are invaluable, make sure all communication is as sharable as possible. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways of gaining more subscribers, promoting your brand further and potentially increasing revenue. Read more on identifying your social advocates with email here.

 

Reactivate Defecting Customers & Loyalty Bonuses

Related to you customers’ lifecycle you’ll definitely want to re-engage with your defecting and inactive buyers. Not doing this will just lose you money. More advice on this can be found in this article by our COO Ohad Hecht. You should also reward your active clients regularly based on their monetary value and therefore bind them to you – there are far too few companies doing this.

We’ve outlined a couple of the most popular campaigns implemented by ecommerce companies, but there’s so much more potential to step up the level of personalization and nurture your customers through every stage of the lifecycle. One last thing, keep in mind that all campaigns should be analyzed regarding multi-channel strategy. E.g. reengagement with inactive customers can be further improved if communicating via SMS when email is ignored or email opt-in is lost. These multichannel touch points provide a plethora of customer and transactional data that can be collected, this intelligence used to drive more strategic activities – and this will lead to more profits.

 

80% of your customers don’t buy from you again. Let’s fix this.

If you want to keep customers buying, you need a complete and actionable technology suite behind you. Emarsys is just that: built around the customer lifecycle so your campaigns reach your customers at the right moments, automatically. Sophisticated personalisation technologies, including predictive recommendations, ensure they’re shown the products that they’re statistically most likely to buy , or the content that’s most likely to engage them. All this is automated across channels. The result is more customers that keep buying. And this could be up and running within 6 weeks time.

To see the technology for yourself, and find out more, request a demo today.