Marvellous idea, but what does it actually take to implement and is it right for every business?
We’ve spoken with many business owners who thought that social media just meant putting out some Tweets and Facebook posts and the work would start coming in! The fact was and still is that planning has always been needed if you want to see good results from any online marketing, but today this is more relevant than ever before.
We are now being overrun with social media channels, email marketing systems, CRM systems, social media and online marketing tools, opt in page creators, content creation tools and collators, sophisticated and clever research tools, video marketing software, plugins for your website, widgets for your website and apps by the million.
All you have to do as a Business Owner, Business Development, Marketing Manager / Director or other relevant position is choose which of all these channels, software widgets and gizmos are best for your business – EASY!!
Here at Talkativeonline we are constantly having to look at all these new ‘toys’ and decide if we should consider them, not just for ourselves, but for our customers. Not an easy task, but to maintain some degree of control over this aspect we allocate time each week for assessment and regularly buy software as well as attend new product and software demonstrations online.
This has enabled us gain a broad picture of what’s available on the market and which online tools are right for what type of business.
So what does all this have to do with automated marketing?
Simple you’ll need multiple tools to build an automated marketing structure and a lot of knowhow on which parts work together and how to get them to talk to one another.
What we are able to do today in online marketing would have cost 10’s if not 100’s of thousands just a few short years ago, and technology is not slowing down, which is enabling us to have ever greater capability for less money.
Now automated marketing consists of being able to bring together multiple disciplines, platforms, software etc., as part of a strategic, planned out approach which has measurable points along the journey that enable the system to be continually refined and improved to optimise the desired results. Well planned and run, it will result in a significant increase in business.
Its main components are email marketing, email collection, audience segmentation, progressive profiling, database (CRM – this maybe run by the email system or it may be independent and plugged into the email system, so they talk to one another), tracking, array of website tools, integrated social media and good analytics.
Measuring your automated marketing is not always an easy task because each tool comes with its own analytics and you can easily find yourself spending large amounts of time looking at numbers and not making decisions. The key is to clearly identify the key measurable and then find out how you can collate these figures quickly on a weekly basis.
This isn’t to say that a more in depth analysis doesn’t have its place, it does, but don’t let this drive the campaign/s. If you know the key measurable you can quickly see whether your campaign is being successful or not. The other point to consider is that in-depth analysis usually requires more data than just 1 week worth of data and you’ll more likely want to look at this on a monthly basis.
Remember looking at your statistics on a monthly basis is too far apart in today’s world of marketing. You can have wasted a lot of money in that time.
Facebook is an excellent example of this, where you should closely monitor your adverts for 24 hours (not so applicable if you’re running tried and tested campaigns). The only question you ask – is it costing too much per action. If it is, stop and change it. Run that for 1 week let alone 1 month and you could have thrown away a lot of money.
The automation aspect comes into play once someone signs up with an email – but the magic is what you can now learn about this person in very short order.
Now if someone uses multiple devices this next step is less able to do all these actions, but it gives an insight into what’s possible.
Sales offline and online:
Sales are rarely if ever as easy as walking up to a prospect and saying “would you like to buy . . .” and they say yes. In the real world, sales takes engagement with the prospect (unless their buying a biro or some such product), to build a relationship and some degree of trust before they’ll buy from you and we all know this, but it often gets forgotten online.
This is where automated marketing can help.
It can help build the relationship as part of the sales process, in a similar way to the salesman would in the real world. By using today’s technology, you are able to determine what information you send to them by what they engage with. So, if they click a link it demonstrates an interest in one aspect of your service or products you sell and this can automatically trigger what you send them next so that the effective conversation maintains a degree of continuity and further enhances the interest.
Other capabilities of today’s online world that can all form part of your online world:
Video tracking – if you send someone to a video, you want them to watch all the video to ensure you achieve the desired end result of someone watching the video.
Imagine you have a conversation with someone and after the first sentence they get interrupted with a phone call and when they come back you immediately ask them “so would you like to buy one?”. It won’t fly well because they’ve missed the previous step in the process and so the same applies when video is used in your sales process.
Social Media integration – A prospect has clicked on various social media posts – they then sign up to your email. Their history as an unknown user is now joined up to them as a known user and you are able to look at what they’ve clicked. This gives a great insight into their interests related to your product and services.
This can trigger the content they get through the email marketing and as prospects click on content in emails and on the website, it can continually identify interests and how warm a prospect maybe. By monitoring what people click and don’t click you learn about them and are able to modify your content to increase engagement / click through / sign up etc.
Re-targeting is standard practice today, but for many smaller businesses it’s not practical because of the numbers, in terms of traffic, required to make it work. This is where Facebook comes in as they give you tools to run this on a much smaller scale.
Squeeze pages of one sort or another are another key part of the jigsaw, but when do you use them and why. Many marketing systems will have the ability to create these pages, but they have limited capability, whereas specialist creation tools such as Lead Pages can give you additional capability and are easy to place on your website or Facebook or use as standalone pages. Whether you need these pages depends on the marketing system you use and who you’re targeting.
Website – just buying a website today is a bit like buying a Ferrari and then never buying any petrol and complaining it doesn’t work. There are so many bolt on tools today that can enhance your website capability, which, in turn, should form part of your marketing strategy, that it would need an article like this all on its own, to cover all the available options. Generally speaking, we talk about the website being a conversion platform where you use analytics to develop it so that it does just that.
Responsive websites are the order of the day, but what fewer are talking about are dynamic websites that evolve as they are viewed by the user. Larger companies such as Easy Jet and Amazon use this type of technology, but what we’re seeing are many plugins that you can use on your website to give elements of this capability.
At the start, I also asked “is it right for your business?”
For many small businesses, a fully automated marketing system is total overkill as well as not being viable in terms of cost to set up and run.
The other aspect is that there are degrees of automation, some companies could use a basic email marketing system with a few other tools and it will be a cost-effective way of generating additional business, whereas another company maybe in a position to make more use of the various tools.
How far you go would primarily be determined by the size of your database and how much traffic you can generate online. The amount of traffic required is connected to the value and profit of what’s being sold, so unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule.
I appreciate this was a long article, but this is a very large subject and in reality, I’ve only scratched the surface of what automated marketing consists of. Feel free to email any question you may have on the above or book a free 1 hour session, where I can answer more questions.