No matter how big your company is there are certain tasks that should be performed with software to ensure business productivity and thus profits. These are often mundane and repetitive tasks that would either become boring or steal precious time away from other important aspects of the business. By no means are we saying that marketing should not be done. In fact, we are saying the opposite. It must be done and done right.
What if there were ways through which you can have these tasks done automatically and accurately? Not only would it save you time, but it would also do it better than any spreadsheet or notepad can Enter marketing automation software. There are some key components that any marketing automation software must-have. We will cover each of them and why they are important.
Landing Page builds
Your landing page is the first touchpoint a potential client sees on your website. A good marketing campaign will have various landing pages. They will each be designed to appeal to a specific buyer persona based on set criteria. Some of the things that could be considered include their age, the problems they are trying to solve. These will differ from one campaign to another. The important part is being able to define these for yourself.
Building a custom landing page can be a time consuming and painstaking task. Your time could be better utilised. Good marketing automation software comes with some landing page builds that can be repurposed and deployed within a few minutes. They allow you to carry all of this out without needing to write any code. The better ones will have Drag-and-Drop landing page builders to streamline the editing process. With this in your hands, you can easily decide what pages are required and have them up in no time.
Lead Nurturing Ability
There are several ways that one could define a lead. The one thing that we can all agree on is that a lead is someone that has shown some form of interest in your product or service. If we are to dig deeper into this, we can further divide it into cold and warm leads. A cold lead is one that has shown some interest but perhaps not enough to convince you that they are ready to make a purchase.
A warm lead is one that is looking for your product or service and is looking to get it started imminently. It will come as no surprise to find that more resources in any organisation will be allocated to nurturing the warm leads. The nurturing part is some predetermined actions that will give your leads prompts and nudges in the right direction. Cold leads may never get to a place where they make the purchase. They are the equivalent of a window shopper. What they have seen in a window drew their attention, but there is nothing to say that they will make a purchase.
Lead nurturing allows you to get an understanding of where your potential customer is on their journey. Based on that knowledge you would then be able to position yourself in a way that you could assist them on their journey. Oftentimes it may be a simple matter of understanding any reservations that they may have and figuring out how to calm them.
This is what is expected of any decent marketing automation software. It would facilitate the lead nurturing by segmenting the leads according to how cold or warm they are or based on where they are in your sales cycle. Someone who clicks on a form is cold. A person that fills in a form is lukewarm. Understanding these things will help you create tailored marketing material and deliver it to the right person.
Sales automation or lead routing
You do not always have to be manually involved in the entire sales process. Some sales should be handled automatically. Small businesses may be able to manage leads manually, but as you grow you will find out just how impractical it becomes. A good marketing automation software will also have a built-in sales automation software. After all, what is marketing if it does not end with conversion.
You want a software that is able to convert the prospect, or at the very least route a lead. Lead routing is the practice of ensuring that a lead is delivered to the person that is best placed to convert it. This can be done based on experience in relation to the potential value of the conversion. You may have a salesperson that is incredible at closing high ticket sales. That is the person that you would want such leads to be routed to.
Most organisations have a CRM of some sort. What you want to avoid is a situation where you would have to log into various software to deal with the same thing. You would expect a good Marketing automation software to have an inbuilt CRM. This would allow you to communicate with those within your team about clients. It also fosters transparency and continuity. If someone is to leave your company, you would be able to log into the CRM and pick up from where they left it in conversation with clients and leads.
Marketing automation tools
For some, all of this will have been largely conceptual. Looking at use cases will help put some context to it. You would then be able to figure out where your business sits in all of this.
Marketing automation tools for small businesses
Drip.io allows you to create lead nurturing campaigns. For instance, you can run a campaign that offers a 10% discount on your new product/service. If you were to send an offer via email, this would be the first part of the drip. Users would then be segmented based on their responses or lack thereof. Let us say that your offer is valid for a period of 24 hours.
Those that respond to this offer will be placed into a segment that we could label “PURCHASED.” The ones that do not respond but open the email will be placed into a segment called “OPENED” and those that do not open the email will be placed in a segment that can be labelled “UNSEEN”. We may take it a step further by adding a sub-segment within the OPENED one. This would be tailored to those that have opened the email, follow the discount URL but did not complete the purchase.
Each of these segments will receive content that is perfectly tailored to where they are in the buyer’s journey. The “PURCHASED” segment could receive an email thanking them for completing the purchase. You could then upsell them on a product or service that is closely related to what they have bought. For instance, if the discount was for Level One of A Course, your upsell could be that they would get Level Three absolutely free if they purchased Level Two right away.
Those in the “OPENED” segment have some interest in your business or at the very minimum were intrigued by what you were offering. There are various things that could have stood in the way of them completing the transaction. It may be that the product is not one that they can afford at the moment.
Would an EXTRA 5% be the perfect nudge to push them over the line? People respond to urgency. The next communication in this segment would be a reminder that there are only a few hours left before the offer ends. One email can be deployed with 6 hours left and followed up when there are 2 hours left. For those within this segment that actually clicked the link the first time, their campaign would have to acknowledge this.
You can go with a question about why they didn’t complete the transaction. Provide them with multiple-choice responses: Will Purchase later, Didn’t have enough Money & Not interested. Each of these options would have a landing page that it takes you to. Those that said they’d purchase later can be taken to a sales page that has more content about the product/service. Perhaps a video explaining it or demonstrating how it works. This would be followed by a Call-To-Action.
Those without enough money would be offered that extra discount at the end of the video demonstration. Finally, those that say they are not interested would be removed from this sequence. All of this is done seamlessly once you have set it up. There is various software that can do this.
You can use Drip, Autopilot, MailChimp, Convert Kit and so on. Drip works on the automation of your campaigns. As the name suggests, its strength is in delivering the right content at the right time to the right prospect. For this to be done, you will need to have a workflow in place. Autopilot has a similarly hands-off approach to automation. It enables you to visually build your marketing automation campaigns. MailChimp delivers more than just emails. It helps you get the most out of your leads and marketing funnels by automating the delivery of content to your leads based on segmentation. Convert Kit allows you to build landing pages that you can pair with their visual automation. All of these ensure that the right message is delivered to the right person at the best time in their journey.
Marketing automation tools for Medium-sized businesses
The three automation software that we would recommend for medium-sized businesses is Hubspot, Marketo and Insightly. There are several others that could fit the bill, but we will stick with these for now. Let us consider some use cases and how each of these would handle them.
Lead Nurturing with Hubspot
You can divide a lead’s journey into three stages, the awareness stage, consideration stage and the decision stage. The role of any business is to ensure that their leads seamlessly transition through these stages. This is what lead nurturing is about. Hubspot has the tools that you can use to nurture your leads. In the awareness phase, your prospect exhibits signs that they require your service due to the existence of a problem that you specialise in resolving or some expressed interest. They are usually researching the issue or need. Your aim at this stage of inbound marketing is to provide enough value for the prospect to not only be convinced that they need the service, but that your business is the right provider for them to use. You can do this by providing tremendous value to your prospect.
You can use Hubspot’s CMS to publish blog posts that address questions that your leads usually have. The key thing at this stage is to facilitate the transition between this initial encounter to enhanced awareness or straight to consideration. Considering that prospects in the consideration phase may turn to social media to look at your brand from a different angle, you can also use HubSpot to publish content to your social media channels. This option is available through the Social Tools on the platform.
Email marketing forms a fundamental part of lead nurturing. Not only can you use HubSpot to collect leads by capturing emails, but you can also make use of the platform to qualify and segment the leads depending on their response and level of interaction with the material that you create. You can make this automated by setting triggers of what content will be delivered to the lead based on how they have responded to the content that has been presented to them so far. You can make use of engagement and re-engagement workflows to ensure that things can be run in an automated manner. There are several templates within the platform that you can make use of while developing your own workflows.
Additional things that you can do within Hubspot for this purpose include running webinars using the integrated GotoWebinar function. Just like webinars, publishing WhitePapers and case studies add value to the leads and establishes you as an authority in this area.
HubSpot gives you a platform where your business’s marketing plan can grow as the business grows. In that way, you can manage your expenditure and the needs of your business. It presents you with an all in one solution to tackle the intricate details that often go into marketing. Instead of using several pieces of software, you can use Hubspot to do various things. You would not have to spend time logging in and out of different software platforms instead of being productive. As highlighted in the image above, you can use this platform to manage all your social media marketing efforts on one platform. You would then be able to put some numbers to the effort you’re making. This is done by conversion tracking.
It can also be used to manage your contacts, communicate with them and gain a sort of insights about your interactions as well as your colleagues’ interactions with said contact. Lots of these features are covered on the free plan but as you grow you would want the platform to evolve with you. This is something that HubSpot offers you. The larger plan provides you with more for your money. It can be used to manage emails, access a range of SEO tools. Finally, you can also use it for building landing pages for your products and services.
When you are logged in to HubSpot, you can navigate to the landing pages section. This will present you with the option to create a website page or landing page.
There are two options that you can choose from at this stage. You can either create your landing page from scratch or use one of the available templates. The advantages of using the template include the time that you would be able to save by doing this instead of building it from scratch. These templates are also tried and true. Building one from scratch gives you enhanced creative control.
Once you have settled on which of these methods to go with, you can use the editor to customise your landing page. It is a largely drag-and-drop builder. To edit any section, you would hover over what you want to change. Click on the pencil icon to start editing it.
Most of the text on the page can be edited through the Rich Text editor. For styling, you can select the paintbrush icon to make your desired changes.
Once you are pleased with the look of the page, you can make changes to the settings to improve SEO. You can change things such as:
- Page Title
- Meta Description
- Featured Image
- Selecting the Campaign to Associate with this page
- Adding it to the navigation.
You can also set a timeline of the duration in which this page would be accessible. This is the sort of option you would use for seasonal sales.
There are various ways to automate sales through HubSpot. Email is perhaps the key component for most automation. Hubspot is built to collate data from the sources that you are using for prospecting. By utilising the Inbox Profiles Tool in HubSpot Sales, you will be able to access all of the data that you would want to guide you in creating the perfect email for the lead. It takes away most of the guesswork. You will have access to the CRM data, their social media profiles, their company, among other things.
You can then use your workflows to start sales automation. Based on how they interact with your communication, your workflow places them on a preconfigured stage. That will ensure that they receive just the right communication for that stage. The Sequence Feature in Hubspot Sales allows you to automate the sending of emails. The messages can continue to be deployed in their sequence until the lead converts or shows disinterest.
You also have the option to automate the arranging of meetings with these leads. Some leads will require direct contact before they can commit to a purchase. HubSpot Meetings allows you to schedule meetings automatically based on your availability.
Hubspot task notifications can also be used to remind you when to follow up with leads, make phone calls etc.
Lead Routing is incredibly important for conversion. If you have a client that prefers to speak a certain language, you may want to ensure that this lead is delivered to the salesperson that can speak that language. Workflows allow the configuring of lead routing based on set criteria. This means the right leads are delivered to the right person. Conversion rates are generally more favourable under these conditions.
For most medium-sized businesses, Marketo can be used for managing leads as they come in. This makes it easier to ensure that the right leads are taken to the right individual. Conversion rates are much higher when the most capable person within an organisation is given the lead. It also features the email marketing aspect of things. This is a feature that you could use to automate your communication and segment users. Perhaps the most important feature is the ability to attribute revenue to your marketing efforts. It allows you to then be able to commit more time, money, and effort to the things that are bringing you the most revenue.
Marketo’s landing pages are divided into Free-Form and Guided landing pages. Free-Form landing pages present you with a blank canvas on which you can create your own page from scratch. The system is largely a drag-and-drop one. One of the first things that you can change is the background colour. After which, you can make use of the available elements to add things such as forms, video, HTML, polls, Social Buttons, Images and so on. This is the recommended method of building landing pages if you have minimal time or technical resources. Once built, you would then be able to create a mobile-friendly version of the page.
Guided pages come with predefined regions in which you can edit elements. They have a more rigid structure to them. You will often find that not all regions on your page are editable. If you wanted to make changes to the layout, the code would need to be modified to facilitate this. Guided pages are often used by those that have developed their own templates or want to use the ones that Marketo has developed for them.
Both Free-form and Guided landing pages allow for performance testing. From this testing, you will gather data such as Total page views, conversion rates and new leads. If a certain landing page is producing exceptional results, you may wish to clone it for another purpose. That is easily done.
Marketo integrates with your CRM to facilitate the seamless storage and sharing of data related to leads. One of the best things about this platform is that all of the data is condensed into a single workflow to enhance the automation process. Prospects are scored based on various insights gathered through preset touchpoints. This makes it easier to know what or who should be prioritised. It also ensures that contact and conversations are timely and relevant.
Marketo’s digital sales playbook maintains lead engagement and nurturing through the best possible channel among, email, phone, social and direct mail. This automation allows for better collaboration between the sales and marketing teams. Each team will know where they ought to step in and how they can do so.
There are various approaches that you can take to lead routing through Marketo. The one constant is that the conditions that need to be satisfied for a lead to be routed to a certain salesperson must be predefined. For instance, you may have a landing page that is specific to a sub-team or individual in your sales team. In this case, you would automate the routing of leads from this form to be assigned to that person or team.
Another scenario may be based on territory or location. If you want leads from a certain location to be assigned to a sales team within that region, this can also be automated.
All of this can be done through Cascading Assignment rules. It makes use of an “if statement”. If a client comes through landing page A, and they are in territory X, they must be routed to team 1.
Insightly provides you with marketing automation tools that carry your customers throughout the buyer’s journey. This ensures that the leads are nurtured throughout the entire process. Beyond just nurturing the leads, it also makes sure that they are nurtured in the right way and by the right person. The first one of these features is the On-Target segmentation. Using a unified platform means that data flows easier. You’re able to see what is happening to each segment at every moment throughout the marketing campaign. It makes it easier for even the untrained eye to pick out key data points and action them. This puts you in a position where you can understand your customers better.
Part of nurturing your lead is the ability to engage them at several points throughout the journey. Insightly provides you with the data as well as the platform to make logical decisions of what the next step is in each buyer’s journey to ensure a good conversion rate. You also be able to use it to run A/B testing and identify what campaigns will perform better for you. This takes out most of the guesswork that tends to be costly for any business.
Insightly allows you to integrate their system onto your website. That will mean being able to connect your active landing page to their platform. This would put their CRM at your disposal. As leads funnel through the landing pages, the data becomes more intuitive through the use of the web-to-lead connectivity that Insightly provides.
The sales automation starts with the workflow. Insightly provides you with a workflow tool to build your sales automation process. You can build your own or use the templates. The purpose of the workflows is to set triggers that would be fired based on actions that are taken by the leads.
This can be paired by the ease with which you create emails on their platforms. Insightly Marketing has a drag-and-drop email designing system that makes the process easy and the results professional. You have the option to embed forms within your emails to capture more leads or gather additional data about the ones who are already in the funnel. You can take the prospect through the funnel automatically, up until conversion or where they request a demo or a salesperson to intervene.
Insightly has automated lead assignment rules in place to route the leads to the right sales personnel. These rules can be customised to each business’s preference or needs. The criteria can be changed, as can be the person to whom the leads are routed. Having the CRM and marketing in one place makes it easier for both the marketing and sales team to follow the lead through the pipeline and have sufficient data for intervention when the time comes.
There is simply no justification for not making use of marketing automation tools. The advantages far outweigh any potential disadvantages that you may encounter. You will be able to deal with various clients simultaneously. Some of the most mundane and repetitive tasks would be taken off your hands. You will have the time to commit to things that require your attention. Whether you have a small, medium or enterprise business the only thought that should be occurring in which one of these systems you should use not if you should use one. This post did not include Salesforce because we believe it is not meant for the Small to Medium-sized business but rather suitable for the enterprise.