When I first thought of marketing automation software some time ago, I immediately conjured up an image of a computer-esque robot blasting out generic emails at set times each day, with no discrimination as to who they were contacting or what they were saying.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. After some investigation and discussions with marketing professionals in the know, I’ve come to realise that marketing automation software is actually quite personalised. It can be a useful tool for adding a personal touch to communication with prospective customers, analysing their behaviour, collecting data and implementing campaigns to best fit in with their patterns.
Amazon’s mastered the art of automation
Automation is in Amazon’s blood; the company has heavily invested in labour-saving warehouse solutions, so it’s no wonder they’re big supporters of automated marketing systems. Well-known for their use of marketing automation software, the company sets itself apart from the competition through personalisation.
Whether it’s asking customers for product reviews a few days after their purchase, or customising their home page according to their customers’ recent purchases, the company has always put the client first.
The breadth and depth of Amazon’s range is a key strength here – selling everything from tinned goods and electronics to pet apparel. Long-term customers provide the company with a wealth of data that can be intelligently used to suggest products. Email software platform Vero examined Amazon’s email marketing programs and found that Amazon tracks and utilises many metrics beyond simply what was bought.
Depending on everything, from your purchases to your browsing habits to how soon after registration you made your first and subsequent purchases, emails will arrive at different times with different links and content. Follow up emails are even sent after buying clothing asking how well it fit you based on the sizing.
All of this isn’t just valuable to Amazon as another opportunity to sell to you; this information is frequently displayed on the product page, potentially influencing other customers to choose that product. Amazon has built an automated marketing ecosystem that keeps data flowing between customers, suppliers and itself, as the company has realised informed customers are more likely to spend.
Helping you get the most out of your CRO
While in the short term it can generate more leads and therefore more sales, it turns out that automation software is a key component of a long-term marketing strategy that allows companies to segment their customers and bring together their various channels to deliver an all-encompassing experience. Every touch point is integrated into the mix so that you can get the most out of your conversion rate optimisation.
So, what’s really involved?
searchCRM described marketing automation software as “…the use of software to automate the marketing processes such as customer segmentation, customer data integration and campaign management. The use of marketing automation makes processes that would have otherwise been performed manually much more efficient, and makes new processes possible. Marketing automation is an integral component of customer relationship management.”
Particularly effective at increasing conversions, they can be targeted at potential customers while “addressing their specific barriers to purchase”. This is different to blast EDMs that are sent to a mass distribution list with no segmentation or personalisation of the messages.
If you’re still undecided as to whether this automation software is right for you, consider the following questions:
Your existing tool and skill set – is your current marketing system insufficient or not hitting the demographics you know would be valuable to your company?
Your financial goals for the business – is your current marketing system too expensive, too labour-intensive or too cumbersome to manage?
Your vision for the company’s relationship with customers – do you want a more personal relationship with your customers, or want to be able to potentially preempt a customer’s desires or questions with an answer?
What’s the journey time for your prospective clients before they make a conversion?
These questions will help guide your overall marketing strategy and, while no system is going to be the sole solution, marketing automation software can go a long way to positively responding to the above demands.
However, don’t stop listening to your customers and don’t automate everything
It’s about creating valuable leads that can then be followed up by real people – basically, it’ll do some of the leg work, but not all of it. After all, there are some things that only a human can do, such as forging connections with your customers.
Marketing automation software is a very great tool, but it should be just one arrow in your quiver. That human touch is simply irreplaceable, and is a fantastic way to either start a relationship with a customer, or to guide them back into the system if it seems like they’re poised to leave. If you’d like some further information on this, content marketing, search engine optimisation or anything else digital, get in touch!