If you are a modern marketer and you're tired of replicating tedious tasks in your day-to-day, then turn to marketing automation, a powerful system to help simplify your marketing, business and life. Keep reading to find out the great benefits of marketing automation, and how you can start living that 4-hour marketing dream.
As financial services marketers are always pushed for time, low-level but routine tasks consume too much of the working day. This leaves you with two choices: hire more humans or invest further in technology such as marketing automation.
Does marketing automation really work?
Automation can promise big things - leads conversions, sales, revenue and more time. How? Marketing automation helps companies achieve greater efficiencies, cost reductions, and personalised customer experiences. It allows us to do more with less by introducing smart workflows and removing redundant tasks in current processes. It helps free up more time to focus on critical business matters or focus on your business's growth projects. But really, beyond saving time and money, it can also deliver real results (if executed correctly!) With more sales-ready leads in an automated system, you'll be able to do less to earn more and meet (or exceed) those revenue targets.
But its intimidating, complicated and requires too much change?
Automation is not new news in marketing, however only 67% of marketing leaders and CMOs have implemented a marketing automation system in their business (Hubspot, 2018). If we're making marketing automation sound like a god-sent, then why haven't the remaining third of marketing leaders jumped on to this bandwagon?
Marketing automation tools can seem complicated and tricky to get your head around, which explains why some organisations still have yet to adopt it. As it requires some training, planning and more time (and patience) to learn the tools, marketing leaders are sceptical and are resisting the technological and procedural changes required to adopt a new innovative system. But in the end, the time spent building a good online marketing process and strategy will become valuable to the business. So embarking on an automation journey for your business may seem intimidating, but we're here with the right advice, to help you ease into this journey the right way.
The rise and rise of search
So why am I so fired up about marketing automation and how can you use it to be the financial services marketing rock star?
Google and social media have changed how customers find, engage and make decisions about the companies from which they choose to buy. In the typical B2B path to purchase, potential customers are already 78% through their decision making before reaching out. This makes them hungry for information during their research phase, hence the rise and rise of content marketing.
Perhaps you're thinking: we create useful content, exchange their email for our content and we’re done. The sales team can give them a call, right? Wrong.
Just 27% of B2B leads are sales ready when they first divulge their contact details (Marketing Sherpa). It’s like meeting a hot potential date at a bar and immediately inviting them home to meet Mum and Dad. It’s jarring to go from one download to fielding sales materials or calls, just as it would be crazy to go from flirting over a cocktail to question time with the parents. We all need time to develop a relationship.
Marketing automation allows you to nurture your potential ‘dates’ at scale, to build those relationships in a way that makes sense to your prospects. You’re looking to deliver the right information at the right time. And from a business perspective, you want to nurture your leads from initial suspect to purchase-ready prospect. The best part, and Tim Ferriss would love this, is that once you’ve set up your automation rules, you can sit back and watch the leads qualify themselves!
Here’s how you can get started with automation the right way:
- Dynamic content
Initially keep it simple by tailoring your messaging around your content to your customer segments. For example, if your white paper is useful to both financial advisers and SMSF trustees, customise the call to action for a white paper download by speaking directly to the two segments in your targeted communications (think different emails and different content download landing pages for each segment because they both have different needs, wants, pain points and emotional triggers). This alone can increase click through rates by 62% according to Mailchimp.
- Drip campaigns
Once you’ve captured an email, don’t stop the conversation. Simpler to set up than the full nurture campaign (see next point), drip campaigns are a series of pre-written emails that provide your prospects with further relevant information, introduce them to your organisation and educate them about their topic of interest (a.k.a. building your organisation’s reputation in the prospect’s mind as the expert).
These emails are pre-scheduled and must be sent in a timely manner. Ideally, you want to include a test for the prospect that alerts you to their sales readiness (and your marketing automation platform should have a lead scoring feature that’s well suited for this purpose). This test could be a special introductory offer or pricing sheet download that demonstrates they’ve moved from research towards purchase intent (who downloads pricing unless they’re pretty ready to buy?).
Remember: it’s only effective and successful if you provide real, valuable and engaging content. Anything less will set off your customers’ insincerity meter and risk creating the perception that all of your content is irrelevant and belongs in the junk folder. Don't give content the short stick, because your clients will likely do the same to you.
- Nurture campaigns
While the drip campaign is more ‘one size fits all’, your nurture campaign allows for different prospects’ paths to purchase. Nurture campaigns take longer to map out and set up. They will pull dynamic information from your database and segment your prospects based on how they interact with your communications. Your automation software will send them in different directions based on their interests for a very personalised (yet automated) experience. Nice! Oh, and at a lower cost per lead. Double nice!
So have we convinced you to try marketing automation yet?
Creating your automation strategy all boils down to asking the right questions. As soon as you know and confidently say who your target market is specifically, and what valuable content you need to create for both drip and nurture campaigns, the puzzle pieces will start to fit together, and your automated work system will flow like a dream.
If you already have automation in place, that's great! Critically assess the content you’re sending and how it’s performing. Look for the opportunities to improve —the low CTRs, the poor quality leads, and even focus on automating existing customer journeys to boost customer retention and encourage evangelists to actively bring in new clients.
If you’re new to automation, check out some key performing marketing automation tools we swear by - Hubspot, ActiveCampaign, Autopilot and Salesforce, and look for the immediate gaps you'd like to fill in your business. You'll be living the 4-hour marketing week life in no time.
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