Sometimes, too much data can be a bad thing. Digital marketing allows us to capture a virtually limitless stream of data from each individual customer – even those who don’t make purchases. The question, though, is what do you do with that data? Paralysis by analysis is a real thing, and it’s very easy to become overwhelmed by the data that sits in front of you.
That brings us to the next issue. Even if you could perform every type of data analysis that exists, you’d probably have no time to actually put that data to good use. Time is money, especially when it comes to marketing. The data you collected six months ago means nothing today. You need a system that not only collects and analyzes data, but utilizes that data to its maximum potential in a quick and efficient manner. Needless to say, this is too much for one person to do alone, let alone an entire marketing analytics team.
Enter marketing automation. As the name suggests, marketing automation removes the manual intervention from your marketing, allowing you to focus on more pressing needs. The truly impressive thing about marketing automation is that it’s not as limited as you might think. Instead, marketing automation is as intuitive and creative as marketing managers allow it to be.
You probably associate marketing automation with emails. Certainly, no individual is emailing an entire customer base on their own. But there’s more to email marketing automation than just scheduling emails.
You can set up your CRM to send out different emails based on various consumer checkpoints and decisions. For example, a customer that clicks a link in your email might get a certain follow-up email, while someone that follows the link and then engages in additional website activity – such as checking your shipping policy – may get a more aggressive email. The change is in direct relation to where each individual consumer lies in the sales funnel.
Thanks to email, it’s possible to nurture a lead from inception until purchase. All you have to do is craft the emails and tell your CRM when to send them. The software does all the rest.
You’ve undoubtedly had this happen to you before – you look at an item on a website, decide not to buy it, and then see that product on banner ads for weeks. While this can be a bit annoying from a consumer standpoint, it does provide a reminder to a browser that they might want to go back to your website and complete their purchase. And like the emails we discussed a moment ago, it’s fully automated.
Retargeting is simply an effort to capture a sale that fell through your fingers. These efforts are increasingly incorporating emails (“Still thinking about buying?” subject lines, for instance) but can take a variety of forms. Tools such as banner ads, a recently viewed items section on your website, and even texts and postcards are all considered retargeting. You may not want to retarget every single visitor that comes across your site, but qualified leads that are seemingly on the verge of purchase, are worth a shot.
And, how exactly do you determine which individuals are ready to buy? The answer, it turns out, also lies in marketing automation. And the smart business uses it to govern their every marketing action; from the initial approach to their post-purchase confirmation email.
Consumers often say that they’ve made purchases on a whim, but that’s not always true. Maybe they’d buy a pack of gum on a whim, but bigger purchases almost always come as a result of research, even if the actual purchase wasn’t planned in advance.
It’s that research that’s important to marketers. Why? Because every consumer action leaves clues behind. Just as we saw in the email marketing automation example, certain customer activities exhibit buyer intent. If someone encounters a totally unknown company on Facebook, then ends up following them and creating an account on the company website that day, it’s a serious sign of interest. That consumer should be taken more seriously than the person who merely follows the business on Facebook and occasionally likes a post.
Lead scoring takes all of this into account. It helps to separate the serious shoppers from the casual browsers. And it makes your marketing exponentially easier. Once you know where the various members of your audience reside in the sales funnel, you’ll know exactly how to market to them on an individual level. And once you know that, it’s very easy to program your CRM to push the right buttons to move those customers down the funnel.
Even if you took the marketing automation aspect out of the picture, lead scoring would still be a highly worthwhile endeavor. It’s the best way to remove the paralysis by analysis from the equation and route your energies to those consumers most likely to make a purchase.
Digital marketing isn’t about a high email click-through rate or getting a ton of likes on social media. Instead, it’s about converting casual observers into interested parties – and then turning those interested parties into paying customers. Marketing automation can help you to achieve this goal in a big way. To learn more about how to get started with marketing automation, contact us today.