November 13, 2012

Japanese customer assistance robotsAutomated marketing sounds like a wonderful ideal. With no human effort, potential customers will be drawn to your website, presented with information that exactly meets their needs, encouraged through the sales process, and wind up as happy customers who have purchased the perfect product or service, with their every step along the path tracked and analysed to improve the interaction with the next potential customer. The meteoric success of the “Big Three” automated marketing companies, Eloqua, Hubspot, and Marketo, shows how badly people want this to be true.

As with so much in life, the reality falls short of the ideal. Not that it is impossible, just that it is not as easy as the automated marketing companies make it seem.

Bad Contact Data

The first flaw in the system occurs when companies try to input their entire customer database, many of which may be decades old, into an automated marketing system. This is likely to lead, at best, to an extremely low rate of return, and at worst, to a negative sentiment against your business. First, take the time to remove any contacts you know are old, stale, or otherwise unlikely to result in positive results. Then, send everyone else a short email explaining your new marketing service and what they will get from it (and if they’re not getting anything from it, you’ve got a bigger problem), then give them an opportunity to opt-in to the service. Those people who opted in will be the only ones who receive automated marketing.

Nurture Leads

The people who react to your automated marketing by visiting your web site may not be ready to buy. Make sure you understand which actions on your web site indicate someone who is ready to drop to the next level of the sales funnel and become a qualified lead. Continue nurturing the other leads, until they reach that stage. This can all be automated as well, by assigning numeric values to actions, and determining a clip level past which leads are considered qualified.

Create Content for Flow Maps

Create a flow map that mirrors how customers move through your marketing system now, and then match that to automated content. Ensure that you have prospecting content which can generate new leads. Create explanatory content which gives all the background information necessary for making a decision to people who may be mildly interested or investigating their options. Create closing content which puts to rest all the questions or concerns a prospect may have, and converts them to being a customer. Understand how your prospect will move between all of the stages of content, and then make sure the content is designed to move them in that direction.





Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: MorgueFile)

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