More and more marketers are looking to marketing automation technology and behavioral marketing to help provide the personal, relevant touch their customers and prospects want without draining precious time and resources. According to a recent Forrester study, eight of 10 marketers feel that marketing automation will increase the efficiency of their marketing processes, and more than half plan to increase their number of automated campaigns during the next 12 months.
What’s so cool about marketing automation? Imagine alleviating the burden of trying to manually process and respond to so many customer and prospect behaviors, and instead being able to use your understanding of your buyers to deliver a unique experience with your company, scaling multitrack messaging across channels in real time. This is exactly what behavioral marketing and automation deliver.
There are lots of places for marketers to start automating, but in this post I’ll dig into three common areas of implementation that yield high returns: welcome programs and activation series, nurture campaigns and lifecycle messages.
1) Welcome Programs and Activation Series
Sending a personalized, automated welcome email is an excellent way to quickly engage new contacts by educating them about your value proposition, asking them to tell you more about themselves, and providing resources and helpful information personalized to their point of entry or interests. Depending on the business, many savvy marketers are even moving beyond welcome messages to activation or onboarding programs that guide the prospect or new customer through the process of getting the most out of your product, free trial or online services.
For example, let’s say you offer a free 30-day product trial. Inevitably, some prospects will sign up but then not return to log in. In this scenario, you might set up an automated email, triggered after “X” days without login, that features a service-oriented message such as, “Hey, we noticed you haven’t done these three things yet. Here are the reasons you should try this out, here’s a Slideshare tutorial to help, and here’s a link if you want someone to call you for assistance.” The timing of the message and the content itself are based entirely on the individual’s behaviors.
2) Nurture Programs
What’s your story? When sales cycles are long or price tags are high, nurture programs enable you to educate prospects who aren’t yet ready to engage a sales resource and gently guide these buyers through the purchase process by delivering relevant content such as white papers, articles, and event and Webinar invitations. Nurture campaigns can also be used to upsell within a product line or cross-sell complementary products based on your customers’ expressed interests — so it’s the preferences and behaviors that drive relevance.
With marketing automation technology, you can set up programs that gradually help you collect data, build the relationship and are responsive to your contacts’ behaviors. Using a visual campaign builder, it’s easy to build nurture campaigns that route contacts down numerous different paths based on whether they opened your email, downloaded your content and/or shared it with their social networks. Dynamic content can also be used within these messages to automatically populate them with the most relevant content based on the recipient’s actions or preferences.
As an added bonus, robust automation platforms offer integrations that enhance sales and marketing alignment. These systems give sales visibility into a prospect’s behaviors (site visits, downloads, link clicks, form submissions, video plays, etc.), which salespeople can use to have more effective conversations with prospects, and enable sales to drop contacts into a nurture program.
3) Lifecycle Messages
The same music you love to listen to at a party might not be so appealing five minutes after you wake up. Likewise, buyers crave different content at different times in the buying cycle. So, consider organizing campaigns by stage of the relationship, specifically tuning different email messages and offers based on both explicit and implicit indicators of your customer’s readiness to purchase. For example, messaging might change throughout a customer lifecycle as follows:
- “Interested” Phase: Welcome messages, educational and best practices content, promotions for first purchase
- “Engaged” Phase: Reminders of upcoming events, targeted content based on website page visits, loyalty program information, pricing and feature comparisons, testimonials
- “Lapsed” Phase: Surveys to gain a better understanding of the buyer’s needs, incentives to revisit website, promotions to encourage re-engagement/purchases
- “Post-purchase”: Info on how to get the most out of your product or service, cross-sell/upsell offers, review requests, anniversary messages
By “listening” to buyer cues and delivering the right content at the right time for each prospect, you’ll nurture more relevant dialogues and build stronger connections, enabling you to more effectively acquire, convert, grow, retain and re-activate customers.
For more tips on marketing tasks you should consider automating, including form abandonment follow-ups, product review and testimonial requests, and birthday and anniversary messages, download Silverpop’s tip sheet, “10 Things Marketers Should Automate to Drive Leads and Revenue.”
To get additional marketing insights and tips, connect with Bryan Brown on Google+.
1) Marketing Automation eBook: “Best Practices for Marketing Excellence and Operational Efficiency”
2) Blog: “Using Behavior-Based Triggers and Other Tactics to Make Automated Emails More Personal”
3) White Paper: “Let the Buyer Be Your Guide: Leveraging Buyer Behavior in a Multichannel World”