Today more than ever, brands are finding their marketing strategy less effective as they are coming across more barriers in achieving their customer acquisition and revenue goals. Under a decade ago, if you had jumped on the bandwagon of digital advertising you could have acquired customers at a fraction of the cost you are today. And maybe you have but now that all your competitors are competing with you in the digital space, customer acquisition is no longer that fun and easy.
With the cost of digital advertising increasing quite aggressively over the last few years, most of us if not all, don’t expect it to slow down anytime soon which only means higher cost of acquisition for your business – unless you start implementing the concepts shared in this post.
To establish efficiencies in customer acquisition, you either need to spend less acquiring the same number of customers or spend the same amount of ad budget but acquire more customers. Our focus here is on the latter.
We all heard the saying ‘you lose the chances you never take’. When it comes to lead generation, it couldn’t be truer. Yet, most businesses overlook their leads and move on to the next. And why should they when the lead is not ‘interested’ or ‘engaged’ or ‘qualified’? You see, every lead you don’t properly engage, is a lost opportunity. When this is the overarching mindset of the organisation, you are compromising the growth and sustainability of your business.
Marketing Automation is all about solving this riddle – the riddle of converting leads and prospects to customers aka your conversion rates, which is essentially the only way you can come back an increasing cost of acquisition trend.
Here are some of the main areas marketing automation aim to solve and improve
- Increase engagement rate
- Improve customer acquisition
- Increase customer retention
- Increase brand awareness
- Reduce marketing cost
Leverage marketing automation to improve emails and communication
One of the most proven ways to improve your conversion rates besides an effective sales force obviously is leveraging marketing automation to create effective nurture journeys for your prospect and leads.
A crucial concept most marketers need to understand and shift their mindset to is that not all leads are created equal. So regardless of your lead generation efforts and channels that you use, don’t expect that all leads you generate are going to be ready to make a purchase. In fact, only about 5 to 10% (on average) are ready to make a purchase. What happens with the rest of the leads is what differentiates between average marketing and great marketing.
If your goal is to generate as many leads as possible that’s all well and good however make sure that you invest enough time and effort into setting up proper frameworks to nurture engage and convert those leads.
Marketing automation helps you personalise your content based on your buyer’s persona, the context, the purchase intent, the product they are interested in, the channel they opted-in through, etc. The more granular you go with your journeys to tailor them to more detailed and micro groups of buyers, the more effective your marketing automation and lead generation will become.
Personalise as much as you can. In one of the reports conducted by Campaign Monitor, they found that personalised subject lines lead can increase open rates by 26% more opens and appropriate segmentation can increase revenues by 760%. There is a ton of data on this, but the bottom line is, personalising works because it makes your messages resonate with your audience better.
Curate your content
Content is king only if it’s relevant and value adding. Content is a currency that’s always becoming devalued as others produce and share their content that may be similar to yours. Establishing yourself as a leader in your industry, your content needs to stay ahead of the game day in day out. Assuming your content is on point, your marketing automation will give it meaning and signifies its impact by distributing it to the relevant audience at the right time in the right context. Your email marketing is a great place to curate and repurpose a lot of your content to your audience.
In addition to blog posts, you can also create content such as:
- White papers
- Case studies
Test out which form and medium type work better for you an has the most attractive ROI and start building on that.
Map your content through marketing automation
Your content is as good as your marketing strategy behind it. Your lead nurturing journeys should mimic a personal conversation between a prospect and a business where the business is spending as much time education the prospect on the problem and the solution. This applies to any industry and any context. The psychology of buyers is the same. If you are an ecommerce business, your online shoppers may not buy the 1st or the 2nd time they visit your online store. That’s okay. But how do you engage them in the future and show them that your product is what they need?
So, you have a ton of amazing content. That’s great. Are you maximising it’s potential? A video piece or a blog piece is good as the quality and quantity of the audience viewing it. Mapping your content is a great way of utilising your existing content and allocating them to your audience segments across the marketing funnel. In a way, your email marketing tells a story made of several chapters. There needs to be a flow that takes your audience on a journey while ensuring that every email is independent enough on it’s own to give value.
For instance, if you sell a SAAS product, you wouldn’t want to share content about its enterprise or advanced features to the audience who opted-in a free trial for the freemium or lite version.
Email Marketing software is more than email marketing and if you just use it to send emails, you’re only tapping into the tip of the iceberg. There are many tools out there but one of our favourites is ActiveCampaign, if you use ActiveCampaign, you know how powerful it is. For instance, using their ‘Conversations’ tool, you can have a live chat with your web visitors and leverage automation tools and nurture this lead in the future just as you would with a form opt-in lead.
How often should you contact them?
One of the most unsurprising takeaways from customers on their reasons for unsubscribing was that the top reason is the email volume/frequency (26% of survey respondents). Just like in dating, you don’t want to text them to much too often, especially in the beginning. Your prospects and customers have an inbox just like you do, and they don’t want it to be filled with countless emails they don’t even have time to read. So, how often is not too often? It comes down to each prospect and how engaged they are. A rule of thumb here is to use email engagements as a gauge and thanks to email marketing platforms today, you can adjust the frequency depending on the engagement level. In other words, if someone hasn’t opened your 1st email, no need to bombard them with a series of emails in the following two weeks. However, if someone opened your email and perhaps clicked on a link in it, it’s a good sign to send them more of what they engaged with.
Transform the old lead rating method
If there is one thing you need to upgrade in your marketing strategy, it’s this. Traditionally, leads have been rated Cold, Warm and Hot depending on how qualified or engaged they are and typically this rating has been set by the salesforce. This ought to change. Businesses need to realise the power or marketing automation software to understand and more accurately flag how qualified a lead is based on a more robust and accurate method. And, that’s why at SAVV Digital we came up with the Lead Qualification matrix to help businesses understand and prioritise leads better to improve conversions as well as the leads’ journey and experience.
The matrix works on two key aspects of the lead 1) their awareness level of the problem and solution and 2) their engagement level and intensity. To measure these two dimensions, you need to look at the content they engage with (emails, landing pages, chats, etc.) and the engagement behaviour metrics (email opens, clicks, time on pages, form submissions, downloads, etc.)
Lead Qualification Matrix (Source: Rani Arsanios – SAVV Digital)
Join those who made the shift to Customer LTV
Not so long ago, everyone was measuring return on advertising and marketing spend primarily on short-term ROI metrics aka sales conversion and ROAS within that month or perhaps a little longer. Then, with the rise in the cost of advertising but also automation technology, brands are starting to realise that wait a minute, there is a way I can increase returns by increasing my customer life time value which essentially means better returns in the future because you are not spending any more money to acquire the same customer you acquired last year. What that means is that your marketing strategy should find the sweet spot between aggressive acquisition to building a long-term relationship with your customer base and hence, loyalty. A great way to create that long-term relationship is to build an email automation engine that drives engaging personalised content. Your content should be customer centric and focus on authenticity. A customer-centric approach should be a part of the overall email marketing strategy. However, you need to make sure these emails articulate your brand voice and personality in enough authenticity so that your customers a) look forward to them and b) connect more with your brand.