Material specific to marketing automation such as needs, best practices, lessons learned, and benefits of marketing automation.

Marketing Automation: Why Does Lead Nurturing Make Sense?

Why does lead nurturing make sense?Lead nurturing, the marketing process of developing relationships with leads regardless of their current timing to purchase, is a straightforward concept. But many don’t realize the importance of lead nurturing or how it can help. Let’s look at lead nurturing and how it relates to marketing automation.

Why Lead Nurturing Makes Sense

One of the biggest pros for lead nurturing is the ability to market personalized messages to prospects. These messages can be generic in nature but personalized to an audience that’s only in Lead Stage 1 of marketing automation. These leads have only just entered the market and do not have a current timeline for purchasing.

It’s important if you’re looking into automation not to just send leads cold emails. Your first objective for beginning lead nurturing is to establish permission to stay in contact with the lead. If your audience loses interest in your messages, they’ll unsubscribe from your mailing list or mark emails as spam.

Target Your Leads

Make sure you’re creating content that your visitors want to see. The more you can find out about a lead who’s visited your website, the better. By creating high quality content that is relevant to your leads, you’re increasing the possibility of converting leads to customers significantly. Make sure that when sending out your messages, you’re not overdoing it. Ask yourself: when’s the best time to send messages so you can ensure your prospects will see them? Answer that and then tailor your messages to be sent out at the best possible time.

Another best practice for lead nurturing that might seem like it’s coming from the stone age, is using plain text emails instead of HTML. A few lines of content and a personalized signature go a long way toward establishing an individualized message, which is targeted to your audience. HTML based emails are fine when sending out training tips or when the emails are clearly coming from the marketing department and not the sales department.

When Lead Nurturing Works

Lead nurturing is a powerful way to use marketing automation to stay in touch with prospects. When it works, you’re able to establish purchaser preference while also gaining useful knowledge about your prospects timing. If you’re ready to take the next best step with lead nurturing and marketing automation, contact us today! Lead Liaison staff would love to chat with you about your company’s individual marketing needs.

How Does Marketing Automation Help Inbound Marketing?

How Marketing Automation Helps with Inbound MarketingOccasionally we run into customers that are fortunate enough to have way too much business. They’ve got more leads than they can handle. That sounds like a good problem to have, right? Well, what if there are so many leads that the organization has a hard time keeping up? This is a reality for some businesses. They fall behind as all of their leads are look-a-likes and some of them start falling through the cracks.

There are two solutions to this problem. First, make sense of the data and leads resulting from your inbound marketing. Second, use automation to transform the task of following up into an efficient, well oiled machine. In this post, we’ll focus on the first step, making sense of your inbound traffic and help you understand how does marketing automation help inbound marketing.

How Marketing Automation Helps with Inbound Marketing

There are three corner stones of making sense of your inbound marketing. We call these the “three Ps of inbound marketing”; profiling, prioritizing and pinging.

Profiling your Prospects

You’ve got to profile your prospects by building a clear picture of who they are and what they’ve done before coming into your lead funnel. Create a digital DNA of your prospects that combines demographics, online behavior and social information.

Prioritizing your Prospects

Prioritize your inbound marketing by automating the process of lead qualification. Most marketing automation systems use lead scoring and lead grading as two ways to prioritize website activity using any criteria. Marketing automation companies that get it right offer both automatic and manual lead scoring, for greater control. As inbound traffic comes in each of your prospect’s behavior is scored. The higher the score the hotter the lead. Lead grading helps you identify ideal buyers. These two pieces of criteria are then combined with other criteria, such as recency of activity, and placed on a hot lead dashboard, which simplifies the process of identifying who’s hot and who’s not.

Pinging you

You know your inbound marketing efforts are paying dividends when your prospects express key buying behavior. We call these Buy Signals at Lead Liaison. When a Buy Signal is triggered we alert you via text or email. If you’re buried in new leads its good to know when you need to follow up with the hot ones instead of treating everyone as equals.

Marketing Automation: Where Do I Begin?

Marketing Automation:  Where Do I Begin?Delivering the appropriate message to engage leads and customers is the biggest challenge for many marketing companies.  Marketing automation provides you with ways to generate leads and reach a broad audience.  But for those with little to no experience in Marketing Automation, it can be a harrowing journey to begin.

Understanding The Multiple Stages of Marketing Automation

If you’re asking yourself – “Marketing automation – where do I begin?” understand that marketing automation really begins with the right message at the right time, for the right audience.  Streamlining sales by delivering engaging content and advertisements targeted to your audience is the key for any successful marketing strategy.  Since marketing automation will always rely on adjustments based on how your communication strategy evolves, it’s essential that marketing professionals learn how to do this themselves, instead of relying on an IT team.

The second crucial step in marketing automation is creating lead stages.  Lead stages help you identify where your leads are in the process and how long before you can expect them to move on to the next stage.  On average, it takes a lead three times to research a purchase online before moving on to a salesperson.  Lead stages include the following:

  • Lead Stage 1:  This stage helps you find those leads that have just begun the process.  They have no identified timeline and have just started their search for solutions or products.
  • Lead Stage 2:  This second stage is a potential customer who knows exactly what he needs and wants but isn’t able to make a purchase yet.  These leads have ideas but are looking for approval from their team before moving forward.
  • Lead Stage 3:  Leads in Stage 3 are the best leads to offer demonstrations to.  Leads often have a short list of products in mind for their solution and many have already decided on which they prefer, even without a demonstration or sample.  Stage 3 is imperative for making the lead sees why they should set up a meeting with you, as opposed to your competitors.

Bringing it All Together

Making sure that content is personalized instead of generic will make your marketing automation a success.  Delivering messages that focus on your potential customer’s wants, needs, and interests while avoiding the harsh hard-sell approach is what you want.

Marketing automation makes this whole process much easier.  It will give you better insight into what your leads are doing, including content they are viewing and downloading; how they respond to emails, and where they are in sales process.  Each step of the way, you’re able to monitor and measure your marketing automation system, making incremental adjustments to ensure success.

Understanding Marketing Automation and Knowing Where to Begin

If you’re feeling lost in the process, don’t hesitate to chat with a Lead Liaison rep today! We know how and where to get you started and would love to take your business to the next level.

3 Ways to Use Marketing Automation to Enhance your User Experience

Use Marketing Automation to Enhance your User ExperienceThe art of converting prospects into customers begins with their first interaction and experience with your brand, whether that’s through a landing page, social media ad, or (fingers crossed) word of mouth. If this experience is frustrating and not user friendly, what incentive do they have to return? Here are a few points to consider when shaping your user experience and ways to use marketing automation to your advantage:

Customize

  • Landing pages: How did a visitor find your website? Be sure what they’re looking for is the first thing they see. Create a few different landing pages for various scenarios, especially if you have a vast range of products.
  • Emails: Make sure you are providing pertinent information that will warrant them to open the email, not unsubscribe. This may include special deals/offers, but nothing too spammy.
  • Verbal contact: Utilize marketing automation software to synchronize platforms to be sure sales reps and customer service are on the same page when speaking to a customer or a prospect.

Interact

  • Survey your customers: Ask questions about what they believe is your most useful and convenient feature. Survey prospects, ask what they’re looking for in a product and see how closely you can meet their needs.
  • Reward: Host contests on social media to engage your followers, and provide a coupon code or free service to those who interact with your brand.
  • Customer support: There’s nothing more frustrating for your customers than to pay for a monthly subscription service and not receive the support they need to use your service to their greatest benefit.

Personify

  • Don’t be the bot: When automating your marketing process, it’s important to keep in mind your customers are real people that are intelligent and think for themselves. Canned messages just won’t cut it for most. Steer clear of creating bulk messages to send out on social media platforms, as that only invites ridicule. Engage with customers through carefully planned social media campaigns.
  • Get the details: Often a step of the implementation or customer support process, getting details from your customer in how exactly they plan to implement your service or product can truly help start a beneficial relationship. By understanding their needs, you’re able to gather insight for further improvement while also providing them with the most efficient way to implement your service.
  • Create a two-way conversation: This one is pretty self-explanatory. The basic take-away point is to create an environment in which your customers and prospects alike feel comfortable to interact. Check out these simple steps that encourage your customers to engage in a positive way.

Top 7 Ways to Maintain Customer Retention through Marketing Automation

Customer RetentionIt’s easy to get lost in the process of lead generation, mindlessly nurturing and scoring in order to convert and build your customer base. However, just as a top-scoring, warm lead is easier to persuade to sign the deal, increasing your customer retention even as little as 5% can produce increase in profit from 25% to 95% percent. Technology makes it even easier to keep in tune with your buyers and ensure you’re staying on their good side. Check out these top seven ways to maintain customer retention through marketing automation:

  1. Understand the insightful feedback. Your current customers are already giving you valuable market information. Check their activity on your site—what are they clicking, downloading, and sharing? Also, don’t forget to encourage feedback from them, whether through social media surveys, website forms, or directed email marketing campaigns. These customers have already been converted, chances are they are nearly guaranteed hot leads with insightful feedback on your products.
  2. Drip Marketing. Maintain customer retention through marketing automation by utilizing personalized drip marketing campaigns. They didn’t open your last email? Try segmenting those customers and sending them a second email, targeted at their needs.
  3. Stay in touch. Don’t quit your lead scoring just because they’ve converted. Continue to score them and determine which content you’re producing is most valuable to (lifelong) customers. Provide helpful how-to’s on the best practices and most recent updates on your products. Cultivate this relationship to maintain customer retention through marketing automation by scheduling regular touchpoints with buyers at least once a month.
  4. Don’t get caught up in filling the top of the funnel. Lead generation will no doubt be an imperative player in your company’s success. There’s no reason to forget about the bottom of the funnel, though. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to capitalize on the leads that are already warm and proven to be ready to buy.
  5. Give them what they want. Analyze buying cycles, particularly those of your current customers, and remind them when they want to buy based on their previous behaviors. For example, if your product is a yearly software program, send out a notification a few months before their service expires, giving them a personalized reminder to renew. Maintain customer retention through marketing automation by giving your customers what they want and when they want it.
  6. Thank them. Give them a special coupon code on their buying anniversary or provide a unique offer right after their purchase. Incentivize them to share your product with others as well through referral systems. Use social media to provide a contest among followers, encouraging their interaction and engagement (AKA business insight) with your company.
  7. Provide the solution. Chances are, your buyers put their trust in you. They count on you to be the expert; in fact, they’re probably paying you to be the expert. Don’t let them down by providing shotty customer service or not updating your resources regularly. Use creative and timely content to maintain customer retention through marketing automation practices.

Marketing Automation: How Does the CEO Fit In?

Marketing Automation for the CEOWhen is it best for a company’s CEO to get involved with the marketing team’s overall efforts – this is the question marketing automation answers for many organizations. The idea that the CEO of any-sized company turns his or her back to the marketing team’s efforts – taking a “set it and forget it” approach to advertising – is one that comes to life for many agencies and gets in the way of upgrading legitimate marketing efforts.

Knowing this, how can any organization’s CEO make sure that the company marketing team is on board with making changes that benefit the organization from the ground up?

Understanding Marketing Automation

Many companies avoid choosing marketing automation services due to the work it would create on their end. Let’s face it – many companies don’t make it a priority to connect sales and marketing departments the way they should. This results in a disjointed effort between sales and analysts, creating unhappy customers and getting in the way of productivity.

Marketing automation is a great way to not only establish and track legitimate leads for any organization, but to develop an internal process that unites sales, marketing and execution departments. Because the process of getting a lead all the way to working for a customer require follow-up, tracking and cooperation on the back end, a work system can be set in place that solidifies the efforts of these departments like never before. The result is a workflow that’s not just fully automated, but addresses the unique needs of all areas of the business.

Getting the Right Training

The training involved with implementing marketing automation is not just for employees or individual department heads  – the top-level of the organization – particularly the CEO or business decision maker – should have some idea of how marketing automation works and how it may be implemented within the organization as a whole.

The best way to ensure these strategies are in place and working for a business is to have the CEO go through the appropriate training, delegate responsibility and understand how everything works. This can only be accomplished with a marketing automation team that cares about its business and customers. A solid marketing automation system needs to be in place, but a team willing to train employees (and CEOs) and to stick around for follow-up is integral to the process working for everyone involved.

The Lead Liaison team doesn’t drop off service after marketing automation – we stick around to make sure all companies’ needs are met from the top down. Talk to us about a consult today!

3 Steps to Drive Lead Qualification through Marketing Automation

Drive Lead Qualification through Marketing AutomationIt’s no surprise that marketing automation opens opportunities for managing your leads like never before; but how else can you use the system to benefit your business? A case study by Marketing Sherpa found that utilizing marketing automation can drive more 75% more leads. Even though you’ve got this huge flood of leads, we know they don’t qualify and convert themselves. What could be the risks involved with passing all of the new leads on to sales? How hazardous is it to prematurely qualify leads? Manage the influx of leads and drive lead qualification through marketing automation.

What qualities do “qualified leads” embody? Although this is a crucial question, it will inevitably be different for each organization that attempts to define it. It is imperative that the sales and marketing agree on some of the “static” characteristics of the ideal lead that is nearing their buying decision. Some of the static definitions of each lead will derive from pieces of their profile that are unlikely to change in the next few quarters, such as their job title, the size of their company, their geographic location, etc. Each of these items will factor into their score, and ultimately, how they’re qualified and whether or not they get pushed to sales. Here are three things that will help drive lead qualification through marketing automation:

Monitor Lead Engagement

In order to properly and completely profile each lead and potential lead, it’s necessary to have a good handle on the amount of contact they’ve had with your brand. There’s nothing worse than to scare away a prospect by pushing them to sales too early. With the right tools, marketing automation can make tracking visitor activity a breeze, with gadgets like desktop clients. Monitor your landing page traffic in real time, see which links/images are getting the most hits, and discover who’s spending the greatest amount of time on your site. With the various tools that marketing automation affords your business, it becomes less of a chore to discover and evaluate the potential buyers’ interest levels.

Prioritize and Push (only) the Hottest Leads to Sales

Shorten the sales cycle by prioritizing the prospects who have shown their readiness to make buying decisions. Understand, gauge, and encourage their readiness through effective and diligent lead nurturing practices. Utilize personalized email messages and targeted content to engage and drive lead qualification through marketing automation. By prioritizing the leads that are most ready to buy, your sales team is less likely to waste their time chasing prospects who do not feel informed enough to make a decision. Along the same thread, don’t give up on these leads. They may only require a little extra TLC and the right nurturing campaign to push them over to the qualified side.

Ensure your CRM is Synced

Chances are, your marketing automation software is equipped to automatically synch with the CRM. Be sure you’re not entering the same information in multiple platforms. Synching up the common platforms between both the sales and the marketing teams provides a greater visibility, stronger communication, and an overall clearer plan of action.

Marketing Automation to Meet All Business Needs

Marketing Automation to Meet All Business NeedsLead Liaison is busy adding bits and pieces to our marketing automation software that deliver a better customer experience all the way around. With marketing automation, it’s important to bend your solution to what your business needs – not try to change the way your business operates to best fit your marketing automation purchase. This is why partnering with a company that’s changing its offering to better suit what customers need over time is a good solution for your business.

Event Planning

Many companies have event planning needs – consistently scheduling conferences, meetings and impromptu phone or Skype chats to get the job done. Without a system in place to get meetings off the ground at a moment’s notice, many companies have headaches ensuring that associates check their emails or phone messages in time to make crucial meetings or to prepare necessary meeting elements.

This is where marketing automation steps in – with the right company, event planning assets can be incorporated into the company’s marketing automation back end, creating an opportunity for employees to keep and access all necessary meeting information in one place and receive meeting reminders and scheduling details. Marketing automation for companies can be more about tracking leads when event planning capabilities are available.

Marketing Automation and Advanced Reporting

Marketing automation tools should come with easy to run and understand reports. These reports should be able to pull data that will shed light on the finer details of your company’s marketing automation efforts. From responses to a certain marketing campaign to fine data that can be used for quality control, the right reports should be run and viewed on a regular basis to give clients access to details and data that help make marketing decisions.

Your marketing automation team should be able to train you in running these reports as well as understanding them. It’s best to run and review reports on a schedule, perhaps as part of a regular departmental team meeting.

With changing technology, companies need to be ready to change their offerings to give better service to their clients. This includes incorporating phone, text, email marketing, social media tracking, article writing and other services into marketing automation offerings. At Lead Liaison, we’re proud to offer this technology as part of our increasing efforts to upgrade client services and provide integration of the latest technologies into our own services. We’d love to show you more – talk to us about how we can best service your business today!

Marketing Automation: Do You Know Your Data Stream?

Marketing Automation: Do You Know Your Data Stream?Marketing automation isn’t just about gathering data – it’s about learning to collect data in a way that can be palatable, interpreted in a timely fashion and applied to your particular business situation. In general, the word ‘data’ tends to freak people out – many company execs anticipate binary numbers spitting out at them once data tracking solutions are in place, but this simply isn’t the case.

Today’s data sets are completely different than they were a few decades ago. The data marketing automation provides a company can include information like social media engagement statistics, email readability and click through and whether or not paid advertising campaigns are truly working for a business. Sophisticated marketing automation campaigns can even tell whether or not visitors to a business website are repeat customers or first-timers. What business decision maker wouldn’t want this type of information?

Starter Marketing Automation Data

Many companies put marketing automation on the backburner because they simply don’t want to worry about the incoming data. Regardless of whether or not marketing automation is the best decision for any business, chances are most businesses have a wide variety of different kinds of data coming in over time. Many companies don’t have anyone taking a look at this data in a collective way.

The problem becomes more significant when a company outsources marketing. If a firm overseas is handling your social media while a US firm is optimizing your website – all while your internal staff handles email and general marketing messaging – your attentions could be divided. Each different part of your marketing is one piece of a whole. Your SEO strategy is affected by PPC, your email strategy is affected by whether or not your website is optimized, etc. How can you know how different areas of your marketing are working the most effectively for your business? It’s simple: Marketing Automation.

Focusing on the Right Data

It’s more important than ever to ensure that you’re looking at data that will best benefit your business over time. One of the best ways to know whether or not your data stream is optimized is to work with a marketing automation company who can get you set up – then determining a person within your organizational structure who will monitor the data, report to you and help you assess whether or not marketing campaigns could be made more effective.

Working with a marketing automation company that can give your business the training and solutions you need for your data stream is critical to marketing success. At Lead Liaison, we’re integrating new and improved solutions on a monthly basis for clients all over the world. Talk to us about how we can meet your marketing automation needs today!

Marketing Automation: You Still Need a Sales Strategy

Marketing Automation: You Still Need a Sales StrategyAnyone running a business comes to find out they need some type of sales strategy. While marketing automation executes a lead to sales flow seamlessly for many businesses, others find that the one-size-fits-all solution they were looking for simply isn’t present when employing their marketing automation.

As a small business, how can you make sure using marketing automation software benefits your operation at a higher level? The key is found in your strategy. Think of it this way – many business owners employ a CRM and find it absolutely necessary to the growth and success of their companies. Organizing the information and having an agreed-upon method for continuous and optimal use of the CRM isn’t something that necessarily happens overnight – it takes a deep understanding of the software and a willingness amongst team members to use an agreed-upon operations method.  Without these things, onboarding a CRM would be pointless.

Sales Strategy Development for the Small Business

Many small business owners develop their companies themselves and get caught in the undertow of change as the company grows. Small business owners can find their staff increasing by a dozen people in a year. Suddenly there are many workers without a clear sales strategy for how information will be collected and employed in marketing campaigns.

This is why growth strategy is crucial before growth even happens. Knowing where to allocate resources, how businesses will collect information and how the information informs marketing and development processes is 100% critical to keeping this organized and manageable. Starting out with tangible business goals based on calendar years or quarters is a great way to figure out what resources are needed and who will perform what task.

Using Marketing Automation for Sales Strategy

Many business owners are finding that sales strategy and marketing automation processes are inseparable. Marketing and directional decisions should be made on concrete data – and the right tools are necessary to ensuring any data collected is on point. Even the most advanced marketing automation systems may return data that’s incomplete or doesn’t work for the business. This is where good training and human monitoring come in – sifting through data in an easy, manageable way is possible. This allows companies the opportunity to work on data that is incomplete or isn’t really helping the business achieve end goals.

In order to sift through that data and make good decisions based on overarching business goals and sales strategy, the right marketing automation company and training for staff have to be in place. Lead Liaison offers training and marketing automation solutions for businesses of all sizes. Connect with us for a consult to determine what would best serve your business!