If you run a business, then no doubt you use tools designed to automate your marketing efforts…whether it’s email autoresponders to nurture leads or analytics to measure your success.
Having automation systems in place allows you to increase your customer size without having to grow your employee base. But are you really getting the most out of it? Or are you leaving money on the table?
If you want to increase your ROI, then implement the following 4 marketing automation ideas:
Tactic #1: Identify and target high profile leads
When you get leads from your website, how do you get them? Usually you’ll get them by email, and you’ll probably add them to a list with all of the other leads you get.
Although it might seem obvious that you should target your best leads, you’ll be shocked to find out how often marketers not only ignore them but ignore segmentation altogether.
For starters, you should segment your list to avoid sending the same message to your entire database. If you want really good engagement from your list, then segmentation is your key. But how should you segment? A pretty common way of segmenting is based upon lead demographics, interests, behaviors and lead source.
For example, if you run a business that provides marketing help to companies, then you could segment based upon where a lead opted into your sequence:
Then you could look at a couple of other variables like:
- Whether he or she is a total stranger, client or former client
- And what your lead wants help with in his or her marketing
Now, that’s a basic way to segment. If you want to target your high-profile leads, you need to identify them using the following six questions:
- What is the biggest problem you are trying to solve?
- What’s it worth to you to solve the problem?
- What particular questions and concerns do you have about products like ours?
- What other options do you have?
- What do you need to believe about products like ours in order to buy?
- What metrics do you use to measure success?
The questions will help you not only identify the ideal prospect for your product or service, but it will also help turn that prospect into a buyer. In other words, these questions will help you get the information you need to target your best prospects.
If you’re wondering how to ask these questions, one option is to present it as a survey on your website. Survey Monkey or KISSinsights both provide platforms to help you gather this kind of intelligence.
Once you’ve identified those high-profile leads, continue to nurture them with questions, betas and recommendations so that they are helping you craft your product to fit their needs perfectly.
Tactic #2: Improve conversion late in the funnel
One of the best ways to increase conversion is to create a very focused sales funnel. In other words, you limit your prospects’ choices by giving them the exact information they are looking for and guiding them to the action you want them to take.
Your sales funnel does not exist in a vacuum, so it’s easy for your prospect to get distracted and leave the sales funnel. Let’s say your prospect ended up on your landing page, subscribed to your email newsletter, responded to an appeal in one of the emails and is on the order page.
At this point your prospect is primed, so you have to give them exactly what they want. But in order to sweeten the deal, you need to heighten the value in order to get them to convert this late in the game. That could be a free trial or a percentage off.
Your prospect doesn’t need a bunch of options, so your funnel at this point should be restricted to one and only one choice so you can close the deal.
But why do some prospects opt out? They opt out typically for three reasons:
- They get distracted by outside influences, like seeing something else online.
- They don’t feel your product is the best value exchange.
- They don’t understand what they need to do next. In other words, they don’t know how to proceed forward.
Because of this, your sales funnel should be simple. For example, if you look at Seth Godin’s email newsletter subscription page, you see how simple it is:
When it comes to closing a sale while offering multiple options, you’d want to make the decision simple…or at least seem simple by highlighting the best option. Here’s how 37 Signals does it:
From the example above, it’s real clear that whichever option you choose, it is based on a 30-day trial. 37 Signals, I’m sure, tested this and found they get their best conversion by emphasizing one of the more affordable options.
In the end, the key is to simplify the process, not make it more complex by cluttering it with unnecessary information.
Tactic #3: Get rid of poor leads fast
On the other hand, you need to monitor your leads to identify those that are dead or worthless. Sure, you probably love seeing a large list, but digging into your analytics will tell you another story. And it won’t be good.
Lots of people probably subscribed to your email list but don’t engage in any meaningful way. They are probably too lazy to unsubscribe, but they are still on your list. You need to get them out of there because when you purge your list, you actually increase the value of the entire list. You boost your deliverability rate and email reputation.
So, how do you go about purging your poor leads from your marketing system? Here are some ideas:
- Remove or correct bad domains – sometimes leads share bad domain names. Sometimes this happens by accident, and other times people enter bad domain names on purpose. Regardless, identify them immediately and remove or correct them.
- Remove distribution accounts – for example, ISPs look for emails sent to distribution lists, or large email groups, and consider them spam. Plus, emailing to such lists is bad business. It’s like sending a letter to the “Resident.”
- Remove spam email addresses – some leads slip in with the word “spam” in the email address. Pull those as soon as possible as they can make you look bad to your ISP.
- Remove inactive addresses – for example, if a lead hasn’t opened an email in three or six months, remove that lead.
- Use data checkers at the point of signing up – these tools check for things like correct domain name, etc.
You can also purge leads based on these three criteria:
- Do they have the authority to buy?
- Do they have the budget to buy?
- When do they plan on buying?
The leads you want your salespeople to avoid are called NINAs. These are the leads that have No Influence, No Authority. These leads will waste your time and money! Let marketing nurture them.
Tactic #4: Reduce losing leads
Leakage is what occurs when good leads leave your sales funnel. With marketing automation you can easily plug the hole in the funnel that causes those leads to leave. But you have to find out where the leaks are occurring.
Your first step is to map out the life of a lead. Take it from cold to close, trying to identify those points in the funnel where the lead is falling off. Do you see a point where leads are pouring out? Or just trickling? Here are five ways to prevent leakage:
- Lead scoring model – according to a Sirius Decisions report, about 80% of leads are not followed up on by sales, which is probably a result from the two departments not talking to each other. They should talk and figure out what is a qualified lead. When a lead reaches that score, then marketing passes that lead to sales.
- Sales alerts – a good marketing automation system will also alert sales when a lead reaches a critical score so the right message can be sent.
- Lead nurturing process for decision-makers – because 78% of business decision-makers aren’t talking to sales reps, you need to develop a process that gets sales to that lead with relevant, personalized and simple information that gives the lead what they want.
- Monitor changes in leads – optimize your marketing automation to identify when a lead changes score. This means you pay attention to things like budget, the lead’s role in the organization and the need of the lead or their company. If they drop in score, the lead should be passed back to marketing. A good marketing system should automate this process as much as possible.
- Result tracking and revision – successful marketing involves constant monitoring of results and tweaking of your process. You should spend as much time on metrics as you do on any other process. Where are bottlenecks in the process? Where does the process fizzle? Are you and sales on the same page with lead scoring?
Constant communication between marketing and sales and a highly optimized and automated marketing system should help you plug any holes you have in your sales funnel.
If you’ve ever fought with sales or management about certain advertising campaigns, then you know what a pain it can be to argue your point without correct data. Just implementing a marketing automation program can change the course of your business. But when you get it working in a tip-top shape, then delivering clear results is your best proof for making business decisions. It’s hard to argue with good results!
What tactics have you used to improve your ROI with marketing automation?