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

Marketing Automation Tools Every Company Should Be Using

Marketing Automation Tools Every Company Should Be UsingMarketing automation is far from a trendy phrase that businesses are using to create buzz. When marketing automation tools are implemented, lead nurturing skyrockets: an astounding 451% of companies see an increase in quality leads and 53% higher conversion rates. Marketing automation will also save you time, money, and stress and will condense many of your daily activities so your team can focus on more important tasks. Clearly, marketing automation is a solution that many businesses should be engaging. If you’re just now considering adding marketing automation, you may be overwhelmed in the sea of options. We’ve broken down a few marketing automation tools for you to consider.

Blog Content Management Systems

You’re probably familiar with this type of marketing automation system and don’t even know it. Popular blog content management systems include WordPress which is an active user community that has an enormous range of plugins available, all designed to help you create and manage a blog. Other options include Joomla and Drupal. Like WordPress, Joomla has an enormous interactive user community who can answer your questions or address concerns. Drupal is an additional option that is an open source CMS and is used to create blogs as well as enterprise applications.

Landing Pages and Lead Capture Forms

A landing page is a single web page, designed to be individual from your main web pages. In simpler terms, a landing page can be any web page that someone ‘lands’ on but it’s generally used for one main purpose: to guide users to convert. Some landing pages are ‘click-through’ which means your user will click a link through to another page. Typically, this page will be a descriptor page offering them more information about your products. Lead capture forms are often on the landing page: a place where users can submit their information for a Freemium trial, get a free sample, or request that the sales team call them back with more information. Truly, the lead capture form should be the focus of your landing page and its placement is important.

Contact Management and Lead Nurturing

The most popular contact management suites for midsized companies include Lead Liaison, which allows you to rank your website and sales team generated leads according to buying interest – making your leads all the more powerful and improving conversion rates. Some content management suites also allow you to manage your social media accounts and offer extensions that will make you even more automated – especially common and time-consuming tasks. You can even choose software that will track your interactions with potential customers, making it clear where they fall in the conversion funnel.

Email Marketing

Perhaps the most time-consuming and tedious task, automating your email marketing frees up a considerable amount of your time. Want to email all contacts that are about to exhaust their Freemium version? Email marketing automation can send out targeted communications and automated messages while also appearing to be customized to each receiver: this means that you’ll create a more personal relationship, which will hopefully lead to higher conversion rates.

This isn’t an inclusive list of all the marketing automation tools available but it is a good place to start. There are options that can automate some or all of your marketing. You just have to do your research and decide which one is right for your company and your customers!

Effectively Implementing Marketing Automation

Effectively Implementing Marketing Automation Often, the biggest challenge in effectively implementing marketing automation software to your repertoire of business tools is how to deliver messages that are appropriate to your audience while engaging leads. Marketing automation can help you reach a broader audience than other marketing strategies but it can be stressful software to implement and the concept can often seem overwhelming.

Decide What Your Goal Is

A successful marketing automation program really begins with a company deciding what they want to accomplish. Creating a plan for implementation before purchasing or even considering software is key for success. It’s easy to get carried away by all the excitement that good marketing automation can bring but you’ll need to set expectations to be really satisfied. If you really want to be successful at marketing automation, your sales and marketing teams will need to get on board with the plan and come to an agreement on how they will work together and what their roles will be. Starting with a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between sales and marketing is always a good first step.

With marketing automation, your marketing team’s new job will be to deliver the right message at the right time so you can engage your audience and nurture your leads. This means that marketing will be getting a new workload, probably from the sales team, and everyone will need to realize his or her new roles. Avoiding unwelcome surprises regarding workload, tasks, and interaction between teams will be easier if all these issues are discussed beforehand.

Start Small

It’s tempting to take your marketing automation software and throw everything into it but it might not be wise, especially at the beginning. Sometimes, less truly is more, and trying to include every feature of your marketing automation program right at the offset is more likely to set you back than push you forward. You’ll be in a much greater position if you start small, measure your successes and reevaluate your challenges, than you will be if you toss everything into the pot and hope for the best.

To get off on right foot effectively implementing marketing automation, think of your first full-fledged campaign as a trial run and learning experience will help mitigate any difficulties or disappointments. What you learn from your first sales and marketing campaign can help you learn what works and what doesn’t work for your next one. You also need to decide what exactly you’ll be automating. Do you have on the fly content that needs to be automated or are you looking for a more complex plan on creating, distributing, and re-employing your creative content? Don’t forget to include in your plans some action items for what should happen after the leads start coming in. You need to ensure you have a dedicated and knowledgeable sales team who can answer all your leads questions and concerns.

Keep in mind while you’re doing all of this that the process, planning, and implementation can be overwhelming. Remember that your investment into marketing automation isn’t just your monthly or quarterly subscription, but it’s also the time you put into the software and the data it produces.

How Can Marketing Automation Save Money: How Does $181,059 Sound!

How Can Marketing Automation Save Money?

“Marketing automation” has become such a buzz phrase over recent years that most vendors try to incorporate the term into their pitch, and sometimes go as far as completely branding their business as marketing automation. In reality, there aren’t that many pure-play marketing automation companies out there in the industry. 100s of providers stake claim on marketing automation to be part of the buzz, which causes confusion in the marketplace. Companies have a hard time understanding marketing automation let alone how marketing automation can save money. In this post we provide a quantitative analysis to answer the question, how can marketing automation save money? We’ll also touch on our approach to marketing automation.

ROI of Marketing Automation Based on Functional Usage

You’ll see some fancy calculators to add up the ROI of marketing automation, but not many resources provide a ROI analysis based on functional areas. We did that for you and looked at what a typical company would spend after investing in a piece-milled software strategy. When you list out the category of tools that companies use to help drive revenue, the list typically includes sales efficiency tools, landing page designers, form designers, email marketing, automation, and a handful of other tools. The problem with buying all of these ad-hoc solutions is two-fold. First, they don’t all play nice together as disparate solutions. Second, your wallet gets pretty thin when you’re buying all these pieces separately. We decided to do a little analysis and tally up individual, best-in-breed solutions to see how much money would drain from your budget over a five year period if a company were to acquire all of these solutions standalone.

Integrated Marketing - How Much Money Can Marketing Automation Save

How Much Money Can Marketing Automation Save You?

Below you’ll find the assumptions we used, cost of individual solutions, and a ROI analysis at the end.

The bottom line: Lead Liaison can save your company $181,059 or 362%! What we didn’t include are the incremental costs for:

  • Multiple learning curves
  • Multiple resources required to manage each ad-hoc solution

Add those in and you could very well double the ROI from what we’ve reported above.

Assumptions:

Assumptions
At least 5 sales people
Up to 10,000 contacts
No more than 100 forms
No more than 25,000 unique visitors per month
Email frequency to database 2x per month
Use each software package for 5 years

Cost of Individual Solutions:

Solution Monthly Price Package Purpose
Tout App $250 Team Email for Sales
Blogging $600 2 Posts Per Week, $75 per Blog Marketing Content
Litmus $149 Plus Email Testing
Marketo $1,795 Standard Marketing Automation
VisiStat $500 Rocket Visitor Tracking
HootSuite $10 Pro Social Posting
Gravity Forms/
Formstack
$99 Business License / Gold Web Forms
Unbounce $99 Pro 99 Landing Pages
Mailchimp $150 Growing business Email Marketing
Opt-In Monster $199 Pro Engaging Popups

Total Spend on Ad-Hoc Solutions:

TOTAL $3,851
ANNUAL SPEND $46,212
LIFETIME SPEND $231,059

ROI with Lead Liaison:

AVERAGE ANNUAL SPEND with Lead Liaison $10,000
LIFETIME SPEND with Lead Liaison $50,000
ROI of Lead Liaison 362.12%
SAVINGS with Lead Liaison $181,059

Lead Liaison’s Philosophy

We’ve got a different philosophy about marketing automation here at Lead Liaison. We don’t hate marketing automation, we just hate how the term is overused, misused, and misunderstood. The truth is that marketing automation is not software, it’s a strategy. You can’t really buy marketing automation software, but you can buy software that helps execute your strategy, which should include automation. No software out-of-the-box is going to automate your marketing – that’s wishful thinking.

Choices are getting “clouded” too. Some companies like HubSpot try to be the all-in-one solution, and get your CRM business too. Unfortunately, or fortunately for some, HubSpot is morphing into an Oracle or Salesforce.com type of company, is now public – trying to satisfy Wall Street, and now trying to take all your sales and marketing dollars with the emphasis on their new CRM. Lead Liaison fits in between the all-in-ones and marketing automation providers with our Revenue Generation Software® platform optimized for mid-market companies. Our mission has always been to focus on automation that improves a company’s sales and marketing operations but more importantly, generates more revenue for our customers. We believe companies care about revenue, not just automating marketing. We’re CRM agnostic, offer professional-grade sales and marketing automation functionality at killer prices, and have the industry’s deepest integration with 3rd party solutions.

Marketing Automation and Trial Conversion

Marketing Automation and Trial ConversionIf you’re failing to convert customers from your free trial offers then there’s probably a very simple reason why:  you’re failing to engage them.  Failing to engage potential customers within the first three days of a free-trial sign up is the number one reason why customers lose interest in a product or feature.  And if they’re not interested or find the experience enjoyable, they’ll get bored with the product, and will fail to convert.

On average, you can expect somewhere around 15% of your free-trial users to become paying customers.  That number drops significantly within ninety days as you lose customers as they try the product and find that it might not work for them.  So you might be wondering how exactly you’re supposed to attract more free trial users, convert them to customers, and keep them as customers.  This is where marketing automation and trial conversion comes into play.

Marketing Automation and Trial Conversion

Email marketing can be a useful tool in getting customers to convert.  Even if you have a small percentage of users converting to paying customers, a small improvement in activation rate will increase your paying customers.  Developing a relationship with your potential customers can be as simple as sending short, concise, and personalized messages via marketing automation.

You’re going to want to send your first messages within ninety minutes of your leads expressing an interest in the product – this will give you the best chance of converting them.  Marketing automation can do all of this for you.  All you have to do is set up your software to trigger an email once a customer signs up for the free trial.

Crafting Scheduled Messages

You should also have a scheduled messaged that explains all of the features of the free trial program or product and how to get started quickly.  This message should give customers the option of contacting a representative at your company or within your customer service department if they have questions – which is just another way for you to establish a personal relationship with the customer.

Scheduling multiple messages throughout the trial period will also help you with your conversion rate but only as long as you’re adding convincing content.  Marketing automation via trial conversion can help you monitor your customer’s free trial use and trigger appropriate e-mails to be sent to them.  For example, if your customer hasn’t used the free trial in a week, your marketing automation software could trigger an email with the goal of getting the customer back to the trial.

By monitoring usage of the trial, marketing automation can give you valuable insight into whether or not an extension of that free trial is appropriate.  Users who have already stopped using the product prior to the end of the free trial are unlikely to move forward in your sales funnel.  However, users who are actively using the product but stop due to attrition may be viable candidates for at trial extension.

If you’re ready to take the next step in applying a marketing automation solution to your business, contact us today!

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!