ClickZ’s recent Ultimate Guide to Marketing Automation  webinar explored how marketers can harness automation software to boost revenues while also providing a more timely and relevant experience for prospects and customers.
Marketing automation  is the practice of using a software platform that allows marketers to automate repetitive tasks, create triggered events for digital channels such as email and social media, and send the right communication at the right time.
#1 Harness the value of the ‘empowered consumer’
Marketing automation software enables you to deliver more intelligent and impactful messages to your audience, based on a better understanding of their needs at a given moment.
According to Hank Hoffmeier, Strategic Insights Manager for iContact: “It’s expected that a brand will understand their needs, their history, and everything from the way they engage to what they’ve done in the past. Service and quality often beat privacy now.”
Kevin Borwick, CRM and Marketing Automation Specialist for PwC, explained that B2B prospects had similar expectations about the quality of engagement, but that the focus for engagement should typically be more around differentiation of products and services, rather than discounts and coupons which are a more commonly used tactic in B2C automation.
“The way you engage and how you go to market in B2B is similar; it’s still about delivering the right message at the right time,” he added.
#2 Focus on the landing page so prospects are more likely to convert
According to data from KissMetrics, 96% of your site visitors are not ready to buy. A key benefit of marketing automation software is the ability to improve your chances of converting site visitors.
‘Direct, convince and convert’ is a mantra that marketers should be paying attention to, with a focus on creating specific pages for each product or service, and the reduction of any friction that could stand in the way of a conversion.
According to Hank: “A conversion happens when the relevance, motivation, value proposition and offer are greater than the friction and anxiety associated with your landing page.”
A co-ordinated approach across different channels – such as email, social, PPC and webinars  – is required to ensure that consistent language and messaging are being used to drive people to your landing pages.
#3 Engage in lead nurturing, not ‘drip marketing’
Lead nurturing  is about providing timing information that can help nudge your prospects along the journey to purchase. According to The Annuitas Group, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured ones.
B2B companies can typically capture more information when they are providing free but valuable content such as whitepapers that are used to nurture prospects during longer buying cycles.
“There is a tendency in the world of B2C just to ask for their email address, but business people are more willing to share information to help you get the insight you require to help meet their needs,” Kevin added.
A drip marketing campaign sends communications such as email and direct mail at a specific cadence set by the marketer. However, it does not take into account the profile and behavior of consumers, making it ‘static and non-adaptive’.
A lead nurturing program involves sending information and messaging to prospects that you know is relevant to them based on the explicit and implicit data you store about them.
According to MarketingSherpa, 79% of marketing leads never convert to sales, with ‘lack of lead nurturing’ cited as a common cause for poor performance.
#4 Segmentation and workflows are the building blocks of marketing automation
Marketing automation software  should enable you to create segments easily based on a plethora of different data points relating, for example, to the CRM and web browsing data you hold on prospects and customers.
The variety of permutations to create segments is enormous, with the opportunity to combine information such as location (e.g. city) with behavior such as whether or not they opened a particular email.
If segmentation is the ‘linchpin’ of marketing automation, then workflows are its embodiment, the webinar audience heard: “Workflows are tools to improve marketing efficiency and create a tailored experience for each contact by automatically delivering relevant and timely information based on segmented data, such as their interests or their stage in the buying cycle.”
Marketing without workflows can lead to unnecessary repetition of tasks, untimely follow-ups, lack of personalization and limited visibility into contact inactivity, all of which can lead to a serious headache for marketers, and a very poor experience for consumers.
This webinar was produced in association with iContact . Click here  to read our collaborative content guidelines. Views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ClickZ.
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- ^ Ultimate Guide to Marketing Automation (www.clickz.com)
- ^ Marketing automation (www.clickz.com)
- ^ iContact (www.icontact.com)
- ^ B2B products and services (www.clickz.com)
- ^ webinars (www.clickz.com)
- ^ Lead nurturing (www.clickz.com)
- ^ Marketing automation software (www.clickz.com)
- ^ The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Automation (www.clickz.com)
- ^ iContact (www.icontact.com)
- ^ Click here (www.clickz.com)