If you are a marketer, you probably find a lot of your time is spent managing things you wish could manage themselves. Email marketing, search marketing, lead generation, content writing—they can all become tedious tasks. 56% of mid-sized companies used marketing automation with CRM in 2013, and that number is steadily rising.
Maybe you’re not sure if marketing automation is right for you. Maybe you’re not sure exactly what all it could do for you. In this post, we’ve compiled our top 8 signs you need marketing automation.
Sign #1: Your systems aren’t working well together.
If your company is like most we know, you spend a lot of time making your eCommerce, email, website, and CRM work well together. You’re constantly finding custom fixes with plugins or other tools, or spending more time logging and managing leads than you would like. This isn’t an effective use of your time, and probably driving everyone crazy.
Marketing automation lets you get several jobs done with just one program. You can capture leads, nurture them into customers, and then keep their interest with relevant—but automated—reminders. And let’s not forget the reporting aspect of seeing all of your marketing metrics in one place. You can do all of that with just one system.
Sign #2: You still think of your email marketing in terms of “Lists.”
This is probably one of the most critical signs you need marketing automation. Email lists are dying. They aren’t dynamic or relational. From a practical aspect, they’re very difficult to manage on a large scale. Sometimes, people on your lists will get the same email multiple times. It doesn’t really matter why they got it multiple times—a simple user error, signing up for a few different things on your website, being added to multiple lists—but it annoys them all the same.
It really helps to stop thinking about your audience as lists. Marketing Automation platforms give you a true marketing database. In that database, individual contacts exist as single entries, and you can have unlimited tags and segments associated with each one. You can get creative with the offers you send, and make sure you send relevant, consumable information. For example, you could choose to send an email to anyone who has purchased from you, but not been to a webinar in over 6 months. Rather than alienating people by repeatedly sending irrelevant or redundant information, you’ve encouraged their participation.
Sign #3: You have a diverse audience base & need to segment.
It is next to impossible for a single email to be relevant to everyone on an email list. Segmentation lets you get the right products and the right messages to the right people. Your customers see relevant information and know they can trust you to bring them what they’re looking for.
Marketing automation platforms are fantastic tools to help you accommodate diverse audiences. You can learn exactly where they came from, how long they stayed, and what pages they looked at. Then you can decide where they fit in your audience and design your communication accordingly. Young visitors who visit your site from social media and stay on your blog should be and can be nurtured differently from industry professionals who search for a specific keyword, click on a PPC ad, and then visit your pricing page three times.
Sign #4: You have an ecommerce component to your website.
Marketing automation has been very popular with B2B for a while. Since the early 2000s, the adoption rate has risen and now 59% of B2B Fortune 500 companies use marketing automation. However, we’ve also recently seen more B2C brands making the switch as they find ways to capture customer profiles. The truth is anyone selling online needs to have nurturing systems in place. Marketing automation is the simplest way to help visitors become lifetime customers.
One of the biggest issues we see with new clients selling online is an extremely low reorder percentage. The customer lifetime value (CLV) is not where it should be. (Some businesses do not even know what their reorder rate is, which is another issue marketing automation helps address.)
It’s a story we’re all familiar with: we browse an online store and add a few items to the shopping cart. The reasons why we don’t go through with the purchase vary, but we all have gotten the generic follow-up email regarding our abandoned shopping cart. For business trying to turn an abandoned cart into a sale, marketing automation can offer a very effective, engaging tactic. The segmented, intuitive quality of marketing automation makes it possible to engage those shoppers and turn them into customers. Marketing automation can also help increase the CLV by cross-selling, sending reorder reminders at timed intervals, and more.
Sign #5: You can’t keep up with communication or content creation.
If you’ve noticed you can’t keep up with email communication, follow-ups, sending newsletters and promotions, you need a marketing automation system to help send out communication on a regular basis.
Is this story familiar? Every month (or quarter) or so, you’re hit with the realization you haven’t sent out an email blast to your list (remember Sign #2?) in a while. You make yourself sit down to write a newsletter, or an article, or a new promotion. What do you have to say? Suddenly, your mind goes blank, and you find yourself interested in literally anything other than writing a newsletter. Another month goes by.
Here’s another story: You find yourself sifting through brilliant articles, white papers, or other content that showcases your expertise. You have no idea what to do with it. Do you just blast it out to everyone? You decide to sit on it for a while, and then it just keeps sitting.
If this is how you are currently operating, your time is not being used wisely. You are doing everything manually, and often doing the same things over and over. You can’t get out from under the mountain of inefficiency.
Marketing automation lets you build a library of emails. The problem with using lists and standard email marketing is you’re constantly trying to think up “what can we send out this month?” Invest your time into building various email series to reuse and repurpose based on different actions. Instead of sending everything to everyone, you can have sets of emails or other content going to relevant clients. If a client opens and responds to one email, they get the next in the series. If they open but do not respond, they get sent down a different email path.
Sign #6: Your sales & marketing teams can’t agree about lead quality.
This can be one of the most obvious signs you need marketing automation. The main problem is the marketing team may be producing a huge amount of leads, but the sal
es team says they’re not qualified leads. Make your Sales Manager happy by increasing the quality of leads through proper nurturing and scoring. The marketing automation platform will score your leads and determine who is qualified.
According to CEB, “57% of the purchase decision is already complete before the customer even calls the supplier.” Most of us research online before we buy. Would you want a salesperson to call you just as you start researching? It’s like if a salesperson were to run out to meet you at your car as soon as you pull into the parking lot. It wouldn’t make sense, and it would make everyone feel pretty awkward.
Marketing automation platforms let you capture leads, which is nice. But lots of systems do that. These platform can also score leads for you, and this is where their real value lies. With marketing automation, a lead gets pushed into your CRM only once it’s hit a specific lead score. You can determine that in whichever way makes senses for you—actions such as filling out forms, visits to your website pricing page, or any number of other criteria.
Marketing automation makes it easy for your marketing team to feed qualified, nurtured leads into Salesforce, dramatically impacting the close rate by your sales team. Everyone’s left happy.
Sign #7: You have too many inactive leads.
If you have a list of contacts you haven’t been actively communicating with, then it might be time to use marketing automation to purge and see what can be redeemed.
We know list churn eats up 25-30% of your list a year. The churn rate is how many people leave your list. They may unsubscribe, hard bounce, or simply not see you in their spam folder. The point is, regardless of whether you are losing people to voluntary or involuntary churn, the rate is always too high.
We talked about segmenting earlier, and this will definitely help here, too. We also recommend setting up a nurturing series for your dated list to gauge interest, and prune those subscribers who are no longer valid. It’s far better to have a small list of probable buyers on your list than a huge list filled with unresponsive email addresses.
Sign #8: Your current Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) isn’t cutting it.
We know just because you are getting traffic doesn’t mean you’re getting the sales. If you’re finding yourself staring at your analytics in bafflement, it’s time to think about making a change. You may not even know what your CRO is for your calls-to-action or landing pages—one of the biggest signs you need marketing automation.
Marketing Automation software helps you easily track the time it takes to turn a lead into a revenue source. You can implement tiny tweaks and immediately begin monitoring the changes.
Do you recognize your business in any of these signs you need marketing automation? Ultimately, marketing automation is about leverage. If you are looking to better position your brand, create more time for exciting developments, or simply increase revenue, it’s time to look into marketing automation. If you’re ready to talk about about which marketing automation platform is best for you, contact us today for a free consult.