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The Future of Marketing Automation

The Future of Marketing AutomationTo understand the future of marketing automation, you must understand the importance of the technology and how it can make your marketing process more powerful and efficient. Your competitors have probably already added marketing automation to their business repertoire or they’re evaluating the software for future use. If you haven’t taken steps to look into how marketing automation can change how you do marketing, you’re already one step behind and at a huge disadvantage.

As of December 2013, nearly 60% of top performing companies in the United States were using marketing automation. This number will only increase as the benefits of marketing automation become impossible to ignore. The marketing automation industry is valued around $10 billion so, obviously, something is working. But what does the future hold? Well, for starters, expect to see a significant increase in the use of mobile technology in marketing automation. Today, customers expect to interact with Marketer’s and their favorite brands on the go – and because the majority of customers are on the go – you can’t afford not to take advantage of this technology. Wearable technology use will grow from 22 million in 2012 to 177 million, by 2018. In five short years, marketers can expect that the way they gather data will be substantially changed by wearable technology, creating a significant marketing opportunity.

But marketing automation will also transition to better customer service, based on aggregated data. For example, if you’re a customer who’s just signed up for a freemium trial and you call in on an unrelated question, it’s not a mistake if your customer service representative offers you a deal to extend your freemium offer or offers you a discount to convert to a paying customer. It’s all about good analytics and allowing companies to track where their customers are in the purchasing process to make sure you’re offering the best deals and service available. Software will also become much easier to use with interfaces that are easier to understand and user-friendly. Since smaller businesses might not be as familiar with bigger and more complicated systems as a large company (not to mention that they may not need a large, overly complicated system), smaller businesses tend to need skill development, training, and help with resources.

As technology becomes smarter, you’ll see that marketing automation will use new ways to determine the purchasing habits of your customers. This means that businesses, regardless of size or output, will be able to figure out who their most valuable customers are and how to engage them in ways that make the most of their spending, buying power, and habits.

The Cost of Marketing Automation

The Cost of Marketing AutomationBeing ready to take the plunge into marketing automation means that you have many questions – and perhaps none is as important as what it will cost. After all, the cost of marketing automation will have to be low enough to convince shareholders to take the leap but high enough that your company is getting the best that marketing automation has to offer. You’ll also need to use the cost revenue and savings that marketing automation will provide as a business case to add it to the repertoire of software you’re already using.

Today, the cost of marketing automation is broken down monthly, quarterly, or annually, based upon a company’s preference. The cost widely varies with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars a month to over six figures a month. Prices will depend upon the different features you add to your plans but, in general, you can expect your price to rise as you add features. The number of leads and contents that your database will hold will increase the price of your subscription dramatically. Other factors that will drive up price include the efficiency of each edition offered. A standard and basic edition of the marketing software will cost far less than a premium version of the same software, but the premium version will contain many more features.

Savings for marketing automation can come in a variety of ways. Your vendor may be able to save you money and may provide discounts if you opt for an annual contract as opposed to a monthly pay-as-you-go contract or a quarterly contract. If you want to give some of your sales team access to your marketing automation, the majority of vendors will provide this access free of charge, up to a reasonable number of users. On average, a safe estimate is that a marketing automation solution will take up between 3-5% of your total marketing budget. Large companies typically spend 3.1% of their budget and 1.6% of their attrition rate. Overall, a company is expected to spend 7% across the board on marketing automation – but this average includes small, medium, and large companies and a variety of industries.

Be aware of add-ons that some companies offer in fine print. These add-ons will increase your cost and may not be necessary for functionality. In many cases, the add-ons are ‘fun extras’ that might be neat to have but you don’t really need. Depending on the vendor you select and your marketing goals, you can get the best value for your buck as long as you read the fine print and get bids from many different marketing automation vendors. We hope this article on the cost of marketing automation was useful to get you thinking and budgeting!

Create Marketing Customers Love

Create Marketing LoveIf implemented correctly, marketing automation provides the framework of sending customers and prospects messages that resonate with their specific needs and wants.  Ultimately, marketing automation is the tool you will use to drive customers to your website and products.  It will keep your customers happy, informed, and connected – and provide you with real-time analytics that are invaluable to a marketer.  When done right, you’ll create content that your customers will fall in love with.

Humans make decisions based on emotions – how something makes them feel, what it reminds them of, and what kind of experiences they’ve had in the past with similar products or businesses are all influencers on how your prospects will react to a product.  This means that your marketing needs to leverage this to your benefit. When a customer loves your marketing they’re more likely to try and love your products.

How Does Marketing Automation Do It?

Marketing automation makes it easy for you to be aware of where your prospects are in the buying pipeline.  This, in turn, allows you to interact with your prospect in a way that’s appropriate for whatever stage they’re at – cultivating relationships with prospects who aren’t ready to buy, networking with those who are in contact with sales, and developing relationships with customers who’ve already purchased.

How Does It Work?

Marketing automation can also give you great details on what your prospects are reading, how they engage, and what they’re doing socially.  Using this information, you can see what they like and send them more of it – all because marketing information provides you with segmented information.

Additionally, you’re able to send messages at the right time and on a schedule that works for the customers instead of your marketing team.

Before marketing automation, messages were generally sent during normal business hours or by snail mail.  This means that your customers sometimes received communications when they weren’t able to reply.  Messages were forgotten or pushed aside.  Even worse?  Prospects received marketing in their mailbox days after they’d already purchased.  Marketing automation creates better timeliness, which increases the appeal of your marketing.

Customizing each interaction, whether it’s through e-mail or your landing pages renders every bit of content is customizable for each prospect.  Relevant content automatically makes it more enjoyable and the bonus is that you can also make sure prospects are receiving consistent communications.  Prospects and customers don’t want to receive disorganized messages but it’s easy to make this mistake, especially if the customer is interacting with different departments at the same time.  Marketing automation ensures that communications and every interaction are smooth and easy.

For marketing automation to work correctly and for your customers to love it, you’ll need to use it intelligently.  Following the tried and true tips of successful automation will be key to making your messages and content relevant and personalized.  Make sure you’re using your automation software to make the best marketing possible. The Lead Liaison staff is happy to help you make this happen!

Marketing Automation Software Competitive Analysis Report – Lead Liaison and University of Dallas

University of Dallas

University of Dallas and Lead Liaison Provide Marketing Automation Competitive Analysis Report

The marketing automation software market size was approximately $750M in sales revenue last year (2013), which represents an astounding growth of 50% year over year for the past several years. By the end of 2014, the market is expected to grow to $1.2B, 60% year over year. According to IDC, marketing automation will be growing faster than any other CRM segment over the next three years. Gartner finds marketing automation will lead CRM application segment growth with a 10.7% compound annual growth (CAGR) through 2016, reaching a total market value of $4.6B.

A research study performed by the University of Dallas, Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business, called the Marketing Automation Software Competitive Analysis Report, revealed that smaller marketing automation providers offer the same amount of features to small to medium sized businesses as larger competitors. Their offerings prove to be advantageous to small companies looking to save money and increase reach to potential leads.

The study compares four companies, Act-OnSharpSpringeTrigue and Lead Liaison. The companies were chosen because they specialize in offering marketing automation solutions to small to medium sized businesses. Standard offerings for marketing automation software include email, social media, search engine optimization, blogging tools and CRM integration. Act-On is considered a leader in the market by its competitors as they offer a full package for automation software and have been used by departments in larger organizations. The study found that Lead Liaison, a marketing automation upstart in Allen, TX, offers almost all the same capabilities as the leaders in the market and provides distinct advantages to small to mid sized businesses. A rich and easy to use interface, comprehensive lead qualification, and a multi-channel communication engine that sends email, text messages, direct mail and other physical marketing items standout as superior capabilities. The research study also revealed unique services tailored for small businesses, such as content creation, where Lead Liaison offers businesses a portal to generate marketing and leadership content for SEO purposes – necessary for small business with resource constraints. Act-On and Lead Liaison offer flexible payment plans including an offering on a monthly basis. This provides small companies with tight budgets the flexibility to manage cash flow and reduced risk by knowing they don’t have to commit to a contract for several years. These platforms are valuable to the small to mid sized market as they help attract customers and increase sales and awareness.

The research study also offers guidance on what small businesses should consider before choosing a marketing automation solution. Some areas of consideration are; update your CRM data, dedicate time for training, develop a sales and marketing process, develop content to provide to customers and prospects, and understand how others have implemented marketing automation. Please feel free to download the report published on 1/21/2015.

About Lead Liaison:

Learn more about Lead Liaison’s solution for marketing automation for universities and education providers. Lead Liaison provides cloud-based marketing and sales automation solutions that help businesses worldwide attract, convert, and close leads. The company markets to small to mid-sized businesses and focuses on providing a user-friendly and innovative Revenue Generation Software® platform. Their software delivers powerful solutions that accelerate sales, improve efficiency and build stronger relationships with prospects, customers and partners through the use of automation.

About University of Dallas:

The University of Dallas is a co-educational, Catholic university founded in 1956. Our students are enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs through the Constantin College of Liberal Arts, the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business, the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts, the School of Ministry and the Center for Professional Development. The University of Dallas has its main campus in Irving, Texas, and an international campus near Rome, Italy.

The main campus, in Irving, is only minutes from downtown Dallas in a city of 200,000 residents. The campus is an oasis of nature in the center of Metroplex, on 225 rolling acres that overlook both the Las Colinas Urban Center and the skyscrapers of Dallas. The University of Dallas is about 10 miles from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Press inquiries:

Amber Turrill
VP, Corporate Communications
corporate(at)leadliaison(dot)com
888.895.3237 (888 89 LEADS)

How our Company Saved $9,618 on our Mailchimp Email Campaign – Get More out of Email Marketing

Get More out of Email Marketing

Get More out of Email MarketingOur company recently sent an email campaign the “old school way” to see how difficult and costly it would be compared to sending the email campaign and complement the strategy with Lead Liaison. We wanted to empathize with the 100s of thousands of companies that spend money on email marketing but aren’t equipped with the full software solution to turn their salespeople into “happy heroes”. Companies think they’re saving money by going with email service providers like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, when they end up spending way more than they anticipated in the end without having software that fosters sales efficiency. In this post we explain how to get more out of email marketing. Lets unfold what we did.

In this exercise, we sent out an email to 17,000 contacts. Although Lead Liaison has a powerful email marketing component to the platform, we wanted to act like most businesses and signed up for Mailchimp. The campaign was a huge success and cultivated the average click-throughs (2.2%) in the software and web application industry. That’s 374 people that clicked at least one link in our email campaign. Now, most businesses would send that list of click-throughs to their sales team and ask them to follow up. Let’s look at the investment required to properly follow up with these 374 “leads”:

  1. 374 people clicked a link.
  2. Consider an average time of 20 minutes for each rep to research the lead, contact them, add reminders in their CRM, follow up, etc. It’s probably more, but we’ll be conservative here.
  3. 374 people x 20 minutes = 7,480 minutes = 125 hours spent chasing these leads.
  4. We all know salespeople are the most expensive resource in a company. The average fully burdened cost of a software salesperson is $175,000 per year. $175,000 / 2,080 business hours in a year = $84 per hour.
  5. 125 hours x $84 per hour = $10,500 spent following up with these leads.

Yep, that’s right…a typical company would spend over $10,000 on their email campaign. These companies might be looking for some cost savings as a Mailchimp subscription at this contact level is $150 for the month; however, they end up spending a lot more in operational costs. It’s important to look at the total cost of the campaign, from the price of the software to deliver the campaign through the follow up. The problem with this type of traditional approach to email marketing is that the marketing person has to invest more time (and ultimately the company’s money), extracting data from Mailchimp, parsing data to determine which reps should get each lead, and delivering data to them. Now, let’s look at how we saved 92% of that investment, or $9,618, by using Lead Liaison for sales efficiency.

Instead of following up with everyone that clicked a link in an email, we used Lead Liaison to take care of all our tracking, lead qualification and lead distribution. It took us 20 minutes to set things up before sending our campaign through Mailchimp. We spent 5 minutes adding a tracking token to the end of each of our links inside the Mailchimp Campaign. Then we spent 15 minutes setting up a Workflow that ran for two weeks following the launch of our email campaign. In our Workflow we told the system to look for:

  • new leads from email marketing with
  • website activity after the date we launched the campaign
  • with a lead score more than 30

With these rules we could automatically distribute warm leads to our sales team, based on territory, round robin, or sales rep performance. The lead is then automatically synced into our CRM and the salesperson gets a task reminder to follow up. The sales team is a lot happier as they’re focusing on qualified leads and don’t have to bother with data entry. Lets look at the numbers:

  1. 21 hot leads were generated that met the above criteria
  2. The reps were able to spend more quality time (30 minutes per lead) on each prospect as they knew their prep and research would be more meaningful with higher quality leads. Reps used Lead Liaison to see what the person looked at after they clicked the link in the email and how many other times they visited our website. Reps could see all kinds of digital behavior like when they played our video explainer, visited our pricing page, and more.
  3. 21 hot leads x 30 minutes per lead = 10.5 hours spent chasing hot leads
  4. At $84 per hour, that’s $882.
  5. Compared to $10,500 for the “traditional” approach to following up to an email campaign, our company saved 92%, or $9,618, had a happier sales and marketing team, kept all the data in the system, and saved time not having to export or lose data.

That’s a pretty compelling ROI. Even if we didn’t invest the 15 minutes setting up the Workflow in Lead Liaison, we could have used our visitor tracking solution for the period of our campaign, filter out Known Leads (people with an email) with an Original Lead Source of Email Marketing, and sort by Lead Score. The website visitor tracking view displays businesses visiting our website in real-time and tracks activity across all our marketing channels. We could have easily clicked the “Hits” column to see what pages people viewed during their visit and how many times they visited our website since the campaign ran.

website visitor traffic

We hope you try a modern approach to email marketing and connect email to web using Lead Liaison to get more out of email marketing.

Are You Ready to Deploy Marketing Automation Software?

Deploy Marketing AutomationIf you’re considering deploying marketing automation software, you may have wondered if your business is actually ready for the change.  After all, adopting software is an already risky venture if you’re not prepared and if you do it too soon, it can be a disaster.  Let’s take a look at why you might be ready to deploy marketing automation software.

Decreased Conversions and Inability to Scale

Having a significant decrease in sales conversions from your email marketing campaigns?  It might be time to implement marketing automation.  Marketing automation can help you move away from generic email messages by providing your prospects with relevant information that applies to their unique situation.  This will help you improve your conversion rate significantly.  If you’re having trouble figuring out how to deliver quality messages, then you have an inability to scale.  Marketing automation gives you real-time analytics and service communications that will win and keep customers.

High Cost Errors and Privacy Concerns

New privacy laws will soon be implemented and the rules regarding tracking of opt-ins and audit will be strict.  If you’re worried about execution of these new regulations and the consequences that come with them, you should probably add marketing automation to your business repertoire.  Tracking and compliance issues will be reduced with marketing automation software.  Because you’re doing your marketing manually, risk of human error is high.  Automation mitigates that risk ensuring that your emails get to the appropriate place.

Competition

Let’s face it – your competitors are probably already using marketing automation software.  Reaching prospects is done the most effectively by automation and this means that your competitors are reaching prospects faster than you.  Worse than that, it could mean that they’re reaching your customers more often than you.  If they are, it means that in all probability your customers are receiving more relevant content from someone else and are probably considering why they’re with you as opposed to another company.

Lead Scoring

If you want to align your marketing and sales teams, you should really consider trying to deploy marketing automation software.  Lead scoring will give you insight and prioritize your leads based on a slew of criteria:  demographics and prospect activity being the main two.  Automation platforms can provide you with a way to save time, money, and frustration of your marketers and sellers – and employee productivity and relationships are real features that can make the difference in your business thriving or failing.

Ensuring that you’re implementing marketing automation at the right time will ensure maximum effectiveness for your business and teams.  Making the move at the right time will significantly improve your chances of success as you utilize this new tool in marketing. Talk to the Lead Liaison team today about how deploying marketing automation can change your business for the better!

Marketing Automation in 2015: This is YOUR Year

Marketing Automation in 2015We’re confident that 2015 will be The Year of Marketing Automation – this could be both our and your best year yet. After all, the idea of Marketing Automation isn’t a new one.  Marketing automation has been around in one form or another for decades.  Mailing campaigns intending to engage customers have existed long before we became a social medial and email culture.

Now, marketing solution is one of the fastest growing marketing solutions available and 2015 is poised to be a grand year for it.  Let’s go over what’s happening in the market right now that makes this the best time to add marketing automation to optimize your performance and get the best results.

Why Add Marketing Automation in 2015?

First, when you look at the data it’s easy to see why you should add marketing automation software to your repertoire of business solutions.  75% of top performing companies have been using some type of marketing automation in their businesses for the last two years.  Other data suggests that business-to-business companies increase their sales-pipeline contributions by 10% when adding marketing automation – this includes 25% of business-to-business Fortune 500 companies.

Mobile Marketing and Marketing Automation in 2015

If you really want to get serious about marketing automation in 2015 and you already have a platform, then your next logical step is to think about mobile marketing.  Mobile technology is the first screen in a customer’s life and a marketing tool that they carry everywhere.  By employing mobile marketing, you’re able to tell when, how, and where they’d like to be approached.  However, to properly engage customers using mobile devices, there are some hard and fast rules you should note:

  • Don’t engage based on location alone.  With location services activating marketing messages, consumers are likely to be blasted with messages at every street corner.  This will lead to frustration and many customers will begin to ignore messages, even when those messages are relevant.
  • Beacons aren’t able to engage successfully.  Beacons are messages, much like location services, that engage a consumer based on what they’re near.  Staying at the Hilton?  Beacons will send messages to a device letting the consumer know what restaurants, sporting events, and theaters are nearby.  Poor beacon strategy will decrease engagement and drive consumers away.  Don’t rush to roll out beacons unless you’re sure you have a strategy in place that will be successful.
  • Protect your customer’s data.  With high profile data breaches in the news last year, consumers are aware that you’re collecting their information and that there’s always a potential for it to get out.  Taking appropriate steps to ensure a checks and balances system before collecting data will ensure that your customers are safe and you’re protected from bad press and customer disenchantment.

Marketing automation is also getting more affordable. Many new marketing automation startups that have proven successful, are forcing old players to get with the times and reduce prices.  If they choose not to lower prices they’ll become more specific in different areas in order to service their customers.  Competition will be fierce in 2015, which will lead many to change the way they do business.  Many startups will see success and offer freemium services and/or services with no startup fees involved.

2015 will truly be the year that any company, no matter how small or the size of its budget, can begin to market like Fortune 500 businesses.  Let us show you how marketing automation can make this year the best yet for your business!

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 Trends to Watch

Marketing Automation:  Trends to WatchTime to keep your eye on a few marketing automation trends to watch. With more than 60% of top performing companies utilizing marketing automation, one might believe that marketing automation has hit its peak. After all, there’s nowhere left to go but down.  However, the percentage of businesses utilizing marketing automation continues to increase.  While the benefits of these services are impossible to ignore, it’s important to be aware of upcoming trends to make the most out of your marketing automation.

With marketing automation pervading all business functions, it’s not enough to just automate and personalize content and messages.  In fact, marketers are beginning to demand automation that predicts interactions and lead conversion rates.  Software continues to evolve at such a fast pace that predictions about consumer behavior and buying patterns isn’t that far off.  As algorithms and technology advance, marketers are able to determine who their best customers will be.

Mobile Marketing Automation

An astounding ninety-one percent of American’s now own cell phones.  What this means for marketing automation is that messages and content are being delivered whenever and wherever a customer is.  In fact, market research predicts that mobile apps will own almost 30 percent of all sales in just two short years – by 2017.  Additionally, the price point of mobile marketing is astounding:  for every $1 spent, marketers can expect $20 in sales returns.

Even now, mobile data and location services can give marketers powerful information, like what brands or stores a customer is near.  That information means that soon marketing automation will be able to transmit messages that are not only personalized but messages that are specific to the right time and place, as well as tracking online and offline events. Marketing automation is also evolving to let marketers make their own goals.  The best indication of success is real-time customer behavior instead of clicks and opens.  Tracking these numbers will give valuable insight into measuring smaller progressions to reach an ultimate goal, which is set by you and not the service.

Looking into the Future

Another big trend in marketing automation is the fact that you are no longer required to possess a deep technological knowledge to understand or operate marketing automation software.  Drop down menus and drag and drop functionality have changed the way marketing automation is used.  It’s incredibly simple software that can make a tremendous impact on how you do business and your results.  Also, no longer is the software a big expense – even the best marketing automation software out there can be affordable and relatively inexpensive – especially when you consider your return on investment.

These trends are just some that you can expect to see over the next 12 months.  While there will be others, these are the ones most likely to make a significant impact in 2015.

Disappointed with LeadLander?

Disappointed with LeadLanderAre you disappointed with LeadLander? LeadLander sells its product with a simple premise: throw some tracking code on your website and wait for the magic to happen.

Then you wait….and wait….and where is all of this magic?

The reality is that you need a strategy with any visitor tracking product that you use.  Your strategy should include four basic questions and include capabilities to achieve the answers to these questions:

  1. How do you draw active/interested buyers of your product to your site?
  2. Can your program filter buyers based on their likelihood of buying at any given time?
  3. Does your strategy allow you to distinguish between which products/services that an individual buyer is most likely to be interested in?
  4. Once a buyer is identified, what happens next in your sales process? Does your technology support execution of this strategy?

We used the solution for about two years. We started to call it LostLander. It sent us off on a wild goose chase the majority of the time. We ended up spending more money than we did without it. Instead of turning into a revenue driver, it was a cost center. – VP Sales, Lance Boyd, Arxan Technologies.

The good news is that a few simple strategies are likely to raise your sales results, and help you maximize the value of many of the sales and marketing efforts that you are presently engaged in.   If you are interested in a free consultation on marketing strategies that might help boost your success with programs like LeadLander; I highly recommend contacting us and asking for a free 30 minute consultation.