Best practices for lead generation, marketing automation and revenue generation topics.

Bridging the Gap Between Content and ROI with Marketing Automation

Bridging the Gap Between Content and ROI with Marketing AutomationIt’s well known in the world of marketing that content provides the fuel necessary for successful marketing. That is no less true with marketing automation. Ultimately, you cannot expect a positive ROI, if you do not have a solid content strategy. Even the best marketing automation program in the world cannot resolve a lack of quality content. Determine ROI with marketing automation.

Despite the importance of content, many businesses continue to struggle with implementing quality content for their marketing automation needs, with their ROIs suffering as a result. Below, we go through several critical steps you can take to bridge the gap between your content and your return on investment.

1. Analyze your Content Plans

Quality content does not develop on its own and it does not happen by accident. In order to feed your marketing automation program quality content, you must first stop and analyze your content plans as well as what it is that your target audience actually wants to see. Of particular importance in terms of marketing automation, is mapping the customer journey and ensuring that your content plan aligns with that journey.

2. Think More in the Long Term than the Short Term

Far too often, many marketers focus more on the short term than the long term when it comes to their content development goals. In order to ensure you are making the most of content within the context of marketing automation, you need to pay attention to any gaps that might exist in the various stages of the buyer journey and ensure you create highly targeted content to address those gaps. This means you must stop thinking in the short term and think in the long term.

3. Develop a Content Development Calendar

Do you create content as it is needed or do you have content on reserve based on your objectives? The problem that many business owners encounter is that they create content only when they need it. In order to succeed with your marketing automation strategy, you need to have a solid plan in place. Creating a 12-month content plan can help you to do that.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate

Marketing automation can help to automate many of the processes related to your marketing campaign, but it cannot do everything for you. The same is also true for your content plan. You must take the time to analyze how you are utilizing your marketing automation system and how well your content is working for you. Make a commitment to evaluating your current systems at least once per quarter.

5. Make Improvements

Analyzing only works if you take the information from your evaluations and put it to work for you. After evaluating the data generated by your marketing automation system, determine what is working, what is not working and make changes to generate necessary improvements to boost your ROI.

Want a copy of our Marketing Content Map (MCM) document? Contact us with a brief note requesting the MCM and we’ll send it to you.

Marketing automation can drive a higher ROI. By implementing the steps listed above, you can bridge the gap between your content and your ROI. Learn more about how you can benefit from marketing automation today.

Enliven Your Social Media Presence with These Social Media Strategies

Enliven Your Social Media Presence with These Social Media StrategiesSometimes, it can be a challenge for a marketing department to keep a business’s social media presence engaging and relevant in order to be an active tool for generating and encouraging leads to convert. It can be even more challenging if your business isn’t providing a service that is normally looked at as being a “sexy business”. However, no matter what industry you’re in, a creative marketing team should be able to craft a social media presence that adheres to your brand values while being an engaging advocate for your business. If you’re wondering how to do that, take cues from other business’s social media strategies in order to enliven your social media presence.

Look for Successful Examples in Strange Places

If you’re struggling to find a good example of successful social media strategies, start with some of the big boys. Sports teams have large, diverse audiences that want constant updates on what’s going on with their team. Every major football, basketball and baseball team works to keep their fans engaged and entertained even in the off season. How do they do it? Sports teams work hard to make sure their posts are consistently funny or very relevant, while always broad enough to appeal to an extremely diverse market. In addition, they also show a lot of gratitude for their audience. Every major team’s social media is dotted with posts in appreciation of their fan base, which is an easy attitude for any business to adopt.

Look for Examples in Parallel Markets

Another great way to get good inspiration is to find a parallel market to your own and see what those businesses are doing. See if the leaders of a field you’re not competitive with are doing anything exciting and take notes. Another great, low cost and very easy way to gain access to a market that you may not have much interest in is to engage one of the larger figures in that market via social media. Your Twitter or Facebook post may show up to a large group of individuals who otherwise would have no reason to think about your company.

Take Advantage of Marketing Automation Tools

Using tools provided by marketing automation software companies such as Lead Liaison, use integrated social media tools to schedule your social media posts to fit easily within a long-term, large-scale social media campaign. Take all the guesswork and complicated timing out of rolling out a social media campaign by scheduling posts months in advance to deliver company announcements and messages on time and on point. Not that the ability to schedule your posts should distract from running a dynamic and engaged social media presence, but it can certainly help organize everything.

By using these techniques and marketing automation tools, you should be able to find a way to enliven your social media presence in no time. Visit Lead Liaison’s marketing automation resource blog to learn more about using your social media presence to benefit your business.

Alternate Content Marketing Strategies besides Email

Alternate Content Marketing Strategies besides EmailEmail has the ability to deliver a large amount of content quickly and its traditionally strong response rates. It’s probably the king of direct marketing strategies, but don’t forget that there are many other ways to reach your leads. There are other online options, such as through social media networks and mobile devices, and offline options, like direct mail or promotional materials. If you’re wondering how your company can take advantage of all these different ways to reach your leads, keep reading to learn how marketing automation companies such as Lead Liaison can provide a comprehensive alternate content marketing strategies that will benefit your business.

Social Media

Social media is becoming an increasingly vital element of any company’s online presence and overall marketing strategy. However, many small to medium sized businesses end up largely neglecting this important medium. There’s a large time investment required to cover multiple social networks and the demand for constant supervision. Lead Liaison’s social media management tools can help your business by allowing you to schedule your social media posts, removing the day-to-day upkeep that can bog marketing departments down. And if you simply can’t keep up with the content required to maintain a healthy social media presence, don’t worry! You can outsource your content creation needs to Lead Liaison, who can deliver quality content on topic and on time.

Text Messaging

While directly text messaging marketing materials is certainly a bit more aggressive than an email campaign, it gets results. Text message marketing receive a 98% open rate, which is substantially higher than the numbers email can provide. Using the data collected from your marketing automation tools and social intelligence software, you can narrowcast marketing materials and hit the right demographic at the right time to make the sales you need.

Direct Mail

While it may seem a little old school for a marketing automation strategy that relies on instant communication and data collection from the internet, direct mail remains an incredibly effective way to get a lead’s attention and get him/her interested in your product. A fact in the marketing world is that different leads react in different ways to different types of marketing material, and a lead who has generally ignored your email campaigns might finally become intrigued when a piece of marketing material lands on their desk.

Promo

Another old school method of marketing your company and your products is through the creation and distribution of promo materials. Nothing helps people remember your product better than seeing it on their desk with branded promotional materials!

If your company doesn’t have the resources or connections to arrange a large scale direct mail campaign or produce promotional materials, Lead Liaison can help. We can organize mailing campaigns and point you in the right direction to design promo items that reflect your company’s brand, and will help you convert leads to sales.

To learn more about how Lead Liaison and how marketing automation can help your company, visit Lead Liaison’s marketing automation blog online.

Great Strategies to Improve Efficiency of your Marketing Automation System

Great Strategies to Improve Your Marketing Automation’s EfficiencyMarketing automation is one of the most important new technologies to influence modern marketing in recent years, and if your company has already adopted it, then you are already ahead of the competition. However, marketing automation is a system with a lot of different tools, and if one tool is used incorrectly, it can be damaging to the entire system, ultimately making your software inefficient and costing you conversions. Take a look at some of these best practices described below and compare them to how your company is using its marketing automation software. Don’t be surprised if you see some significant improvements to your marketing automation’s efficiency after implementing these practices!

Improve efficiency of your marketing automation system using these three tips:

Lead Qualification

Marketing automation can generate a great number of new leads for your company in a short amount of time. It can generate so many new leads, in fact, that it can become overwhelming for your sales team to attempt to pursue them all. One of the most important things to implement in your marketing automation program is lead qualification. Lead qualification analyzes a leads behavior and any available data about the lead’s profile and assigns a lead score to each prospect. Using this system, you can ensure that your sales team is focusing on the leads most likely to be converted – not wasting their time pursuing leads that are uninterested.

Lead Nurturing

One of the most important ways to turn cold leads into qualified leads is through a successful lead nurturing program. You need to make sure your marketing team can craft a program that engages your leads, educating and informing them while not being too pushy and scaring them away through overselling. The key is to focus on educating, not selling. A successful lead nurturing program should be consistent with your company’s brand, and should be tailored to a lead’s interest level, as assessed by the lead score assigned to the lead. And likewise, your sales team should be in tune with how leads are progressing through a lead nurturing program, so they know when a lead has become qualified and is ready to be contacted by a sales rep.

A/B Testing

Another vital way to improve your marketing automation’s efficiency is by implementing effective A/B email testing. You may think you have a great lead nurturing program in place, but it doesn’t take very much effort to test it against a different strategy. The results may surprise you and your marketing team, and even if you don’t find a strategy that is entirely more effective than your current tactics, you may find one element of it that you can incorporate into other marketing materials. Marketing automation software such as Lead Liaison has built in tools that will let you see exactly how your leads are responding to your marketing materials so you can construct the best, most effective content possible.

These are just a couple of the many different important strategies you can use to improve efficiency of your marketing automation system. Visit Lead Liaison’s marketing automation blog online to learn more.

How to Reach Out to a Lost Lead Using Marketing Automation

How to Reach Out to a Lost Lead Using Marketing AutomationIt can be disappointing when a lead officially moves over to the lost pile. Considering how the internet and marketing automation has increased sales and marketing teams’ ability to quickly acquire large amounts of new leads, it can be tempting to simply forget about lost leads and move on to the next set. However, those leads were once considered possibilities, and marketing automation software makes it an easy thing to casually contact leads without wasting any of your employees’ efforts. Keep reading to learn how you can reach out to a lost lead using marketing automation without costing you any time or money.

How a Lead is Lost

Leads become inactive and effectively lost for various reasons, although those reasons can generally be grouped into two broad categories, which happen at two distinct spots in the lead funnel. The first is distraction, which usually occurs at the top of your lead funnel. It simply means the lead didn’t have an opportunity to engage with your marketing materials and wasn’t hooked by your product. They may know who you are, but they aren’t interested enough to pay attention.

The second, and more difficult to overcome, is when a customer knows about your company and your services, but does not think you are the correct provider of a solution to their problem. This typically occurs much further down the sales funnel, and can be more difficult to overcome.

How to Regain a Lead’s Interest

If you have lost a lead due to distraction, then attention grabbing marketing automation solutions can yield great results. Social selling is a great way to get a lead’s attention, and a quick follow up with a limited time offer can create urgency and inspire a lead to renew their interest in your products or services.

If you lost a lead further down the lead funnel, the process can be a little more involved, but you still have some great options to reach out to that lost lead using marketing automation. Educational lead nurturing can help you regain a lead’s interest. Nurturing helps deliver unobtrusive, well-timed, direct communication that focuses more on educating a lead about different problems and their potential solutions as opposed to simply selling. An annual follow-up is another great way to remind a lead that you’re out there because people can get new titles, budgets can shift and problems can change over time.

If you opt for one of these routes, remember that a multi-channel, multi-touch solution such as what marketing automation providers like Lead Liaison can implement can be incredibly effective. Spreading communications across email, direct mail, text messages and promotional material ensures prospects don’t feel spammed by repeated and unrequested emails. And different people respond to different mediums – someone who isn’t on top of answering every email that comes their way may be much more receptive to a text message.

All in all, you should never truly give up on a lead, and with marketing automation, you don’t have to. Learn about more lead acquisition and marketing automation strategies on Lead Liaison’s marketing automation resource blog.

How to Use Social Selling and Marketing Automation

 How to Use Social Selling and Marketing AutomationIn a modern landscape of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, social selling is a vital skill to integrate into any marketing strategy. However, concurrently managing different social networks and sticking to a consistent message can be daunting. Marketing automation tools such as Lead Liaison have many different functions that can help your marketing team keep everything organized. Read on to learn how your company can use social selling and marketing automation to maximize exposure of your promotional materials and convert leads into customers.

Obstacles to Social Selling

There are a couple important obstacles that can limit your marketing team’s social selling efforts. One of the most basic is that while nearly everyone in the modern business world interacts with social networking, the way that your consumers interact with these platforms is constantly changing. Different leads use different social networking platforms, individual platforms are used in different ways, and different consumers use different devices to interact with those networks. Even if you’ve crafted an effective social selling strategy, a large part of your potential leads or new leads may not respond to your content – simply because they aren’t noticing it.

How can your marketing team cover all of the different social networks, constantly updating and double checking and interacting with customers, all while developing and implementing a coherent and compelling marketing strategy? Do you need to hire a whole new social media department?

Not if you take advantage of marketing automation software. Below are some of the ways you can use social selling and marketing automation to streamline and improve your company’s social media presence.

Scheduling

One of the biggest advantages that software automation technology can deliver to your marketing team and your company is the ability to schedule social media posts. This means that you can plan and implement a long-term social media campaign that will be unveiled over several weeks or even months across multiple platforms. This takes a lot of the day-to-day pressure off your marketing team, who no longer have to babysit every tweet, and is an invaluable tool to help make sure that your message stays consistent across all social media platforms. You can even help improve your company’s social media profile by clustering relevant posts around industry events such as a trade show, giving you maximum exposure at the perfect time.

Social Intelligence

Another great feature that can help you use social selling and marketing automation together is the social intelligence function built into Lead Liaison’s marketing automation tools. Social intelligence can help you gather demographic data about your leads by analyzing social media profiles. This can help you further refine your social media campaigns, open up exciting opportunities for targeted marketing, and help your marketing analyze the effectiveness of current campaigns with A/B testing.

Visit Lead Liaison’s marketing automation resource blog to learn more about how you can use social selling and marketing automation to improve your marketing campaigns and many more great marketing automation strategies.

Common Mistakes with Email Marketing Campaigns and How to Fix Them

Common Mistakes with Email Marketing and How to Fix ThemOne of the best ways to utilize your marketing automation software is to engage leads directly through automated email marketing campaigns, tailored to gradually entice the lead through specific lead nurturing programs. Of course, the modern consumer receives an enormous amount of email every day, so you need to make sure that emails your marketing team sends out get noticed. Here are some common mistakes with email marketing campaigns, and some good ways to fix those problems.

Bad or Misdirected Content

If you have placed a lead in a lead nurturing campaign, then one of your most important struggles isn’t getting them to open the first email – it’s to get them to open all the ones that will follow that first one. It may seem obvious, but you need to ensure that all of the content you send to your leads is strong, readable and engaging, or else your leads may lose interest with your company before they reach a point where they are ready to buy.

A related problem is sending content that isn’t appropriate to the person receiving it. If your marketing automation has scored your lead as not yet interested in your product, don’t try to over pitch them. Your content should be informative, helpful and there to remind your leads that you’re out there, ready to assist them. However, if your lead looks like they might be ready to purchase your services, then make sure you’re ready with well written, compelling content that will convince them to buy!

Some marketing automation software, such as Lead Liaison, can even help you craft email marketing campaigns that target extremely specific demographics. Lead Liaison’s software can look through social media profiles to find information about your leads interests, which would let you, for example, send out a deal that was tied to a baseball event and specifically sent to baseball fans.

Email That Is Not Optimized For Mobile

Another common mistake in email marketing campaigns is failing to optimize for mobile devices. Mobile devices are quickly becoming one of the most common ways that consumers read their email, and if your emails are not optimized for mobile devices, it makes them that much more likely to be ignored. Make sure that any images you’ve included will scale appropriately, that your text displays in a readable size and font, and you’ll find your email marketing campaign will bring you much more success.

Ineffective Call To Action

The last common mistake in email marketing campaigns that you should keep track of is a sloppy or ineffective call to action. If your marketing automation software indicates that your emails are being read but you are seeing poor conversion rates, then the problem could lie with your call to action. Using strong action words, such as buy, click, or register and making sure any images you use have bright colors with high contrast can help make your call to action more effective.

Learn about more ways to make your email marketing campaign, and other marketing automation strategies, more effective at Lead Liaison’s marketing automation resource blog.

Optimize your Marketing Automation Content with an Effective Call to Action

Optimize Your Marketing Automation Content With An Effective Call To ActionLooking for ways to optimize your marketing automation content with an effective call to action? A call to action is one of the oldest and most important elements of web design, because it is what ultimately seals the deal and engages the customer to make an online sale or enter deeper into conversation with your company. A call to action is most traditionally thought of as a button on a web page that gets a customer to do something – such as a buy or download button. However, these days a call to action can be embedded in many different types of content and can come in many different forms – a well written sales pitch in an email can be thought of as a call to action, if it engages the lead to interact further with marketing material.

When Is It Appropriate To Include A Call To Action?

While a call to action is a valuable tool for many different types of content, it is important to know when a call to action can be misleading. As we’ve discussed before, if your content is directed towards a low-end lead, and is designed to simply remind customers of your existence and ability to be helpful, then attempting to sell to them can drive them away. Your marketing team needs to use good judgement when they try to sell your products, and should always take advantage of the tools your marketing automation software has to test different strategies against one another.

None of that is to say that you shouldn’t be trying to sell – just that you need to know when. With that out of the way, here are some of the essential elements of an effective call to action.

Simplicity

Whether the call to action contained in your content is an image or an invitation in the copy, it should always be straightforward and impossible to misunderstand. You should never miss a sale due to an unclear image or cluttered language.

Clarity

Utilizing strong action words can make or break an effective call to action. Words such as register, click, download or buy will provide clear direction to your viewers. If these words are built into an image or a button then use sharp contrast to make those words really stand out.

Visibility

Don’t bury your call to action. A great strategy is to place your call to action in a highly visible area, such as the middle center or in the top right corner relative to where the bulk of your content is displayed. Try to avoid making the user scroll, make it impossible to miss.

Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency is another important factor in a call to action that yields higher conversion rates. If there are a limited amount of items left or a limited time to get them, communicate that. Getting a potential customer to act now rather than later is important. That said, however, never attempt to mislead someone – breaking trust with them will hurt your company much more in the long run.

These are some of the most important steps in designing an effective call to action for your marketing automation content, but you can learn about even more ways to engage your leads at Lead Liaison’s marketing automation resource blog online.

How Marketing Automation Increases Lead Conversion

How Marketing Automation Increases Lead ConversionLead conversion is a vital statistic for any successful marketing and sales team. It can also be a difficult statistic to influence in a competitive world, one where failing to contact a lead at the perfect time can result in a competitor taking the sale. However, according to the Aberdeen Group’s Marketing Lead Management Report,

“Companies using marketing automation see 53% higher conversion rates from initial response-to-MQ.”

Read on to learn how some of the essential practices of marketing automation can increase lead conversion.

Lead Scoring

Marketing automation tools, by their very nature, gather a large amount of raw data. From web clicks and form submissions to social media demographic data, your marketing automation software is constantly gathering and analyzing a lot of data about every lead in your database. This data is used to then create an individual profile for each lead – one that is continually being updated. This profile is then evaluated by the metrics that your sales and marketing teams deem most important, and is assigned a lead score. This lead score indicates how likely an individual is to be converted to a client.

Once a lead has been assigned this score, it can go to one of two places. If the lead is warm, it will be sent straight to your sales team, who can try to convert the lead as quickly as they can. If the lead is not warm, it will be sent to your marketing automation software’s lead nurturing tools.

Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is a marketing automation process of contacting individual leads with promotional and educational material in order to make them more likely to purchase your company’s product or service. Lead nurturing also takes advantage of the large amounts of data that has been collected about each lead so that each lead can be placed on the most appropriate lead nurturing program. Once a lead has been placed on a lead nurturing track, your marketing automation program will continue to gather data on the lead, recording things such as email click through and giving you an even fuller picture of your leads.

If your lead exhibits positive behavior that may lead to a sale, then their lead score will increase, and when the time is optimal, will be handed over to your sales department.

Lead Conversion

When a lead is presented to your sales team, either by exhibiting positive buy signs when assessed initially as a lead or as a result of a successful lead nurturing program, your sales team will have all the information they need to convert the lead. With access to a leads entire history of interaction with your website and promotional emails, you can make sure the right person will know the right thing to say to make the sale.

These are just a few of the ways that marketing automation increases lead conversion. If you want to learn more about the benefits that marketing automation can have for your business, you should check out Lead Liaison’s marketing automation resource blog.

4 Ways Integrating CRM and Marketing Automation Can Help Sales

Integrating CRM and Marketing AutomationCustomer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are nothing new. Developed in the 80s, CRMs have become an essential part of any successful marketing strategy. However, since some of those systems are based on technology and business practices that have been around for decades, not everyone is using them to their best potential by integrating them into their marketing automation strategies. Read on to learn about 4 ways that integrating CRM and marketing automation can help your sales team close deals.

1. Unparalleled insight into how your marketing tactics are performing

With a well integrated CRM and marketing automation system in place, you’ll know exactly how well any marketing strategies are performing, because you will have a total picture of how your customers are interacting with your marketing materials. Your marketing team will be able to track forms customers have submitted, pages they’ve viewed and emails they’ve opened, among many other things. This will give you total transparency and enable your marketing team to see what is helping your company make sales and generate leads – and what isn’t.

2. Your sales team can focus on only the best leads, making them much more efficient

Once your marketing team has finished successfully integrating CRM and Marketing Automation, your sales team will be able to operate at peak efficiency. Your sales team will be able to track any and all online interactions that any given lead has had with your company. These interactions can be used in conjunction with any demographic information your company has available about a lead, and all of that information is evaluated to create a lead score.

This lead score will indicate how likely a lead is to buy, and can be quickly and accurately assessed by your sales team. This means that your sales team can spend their time contacting only the most likely to convert leads, without spending valuable time following up with leads unlikely to ever make a sale.

3. Increase your sales opportunities with lead nurturing

According to Emailmonday,

B2B marketers see an average 20% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads versus non-nurtured leads after successfully deploying a lead nurturing program.”

By integrating CRM and marketing automation tools you can set your colder leads on highly targeted lead nurturing tracks. A lead that has been nurtured will ultimately be much better educated about the services your company can provide. And a better educated lead, if your marketing material has been effective, will be much more likely to buy.

4. Make your sales cycle faster by streamlining the process

Integrating CRM and marketing automation can make your entire sales cycle faster by reducing the time it takes to qualify a lead. It accomplishes this by helping you identify the best time to contact a lead in a lead nurturing program. By taking all of the data available and involving your sales team in the development of nurturing campaigns, you can ensure that your leads get the most appropriate content at the right times to cut down the time it takes for a lead to be ready to convert.

Integrating your CRM and marketing automation tools is an important part of a successful marketing program, and there are many more ways in which your company can benefit from this process. By carefully managing your existing processes with marketing automation, you can transform your marketing and sales departments.