Creating marketing that works should not be rocket science!
The power of automation in general is highly underestimated. The power of Marketing Automation – more so.
Not only is it underestimated, it is also misused.
The general thought process is – let’s get huge volumes of email ids and phone numbers and let’s use marketing automation to blast the life out of them. Unfortunately, that results in nothing. In fact, that can be detrimental to the health of the email list you have built with so much effort (and probably money). An unengaged email list makes your email id a victim of the spam brigade. The more your marketing list in unengaged the more are the chances that the next email your email will land up in your customer’s spam accounts.
Here’s the thing – Instead of blasting out periodic broadcast posts to the entire list, what is needed as a Best Practice for Marketing Automation is a defined process. Something, which I have termed as ANO (Acquire -> Nurture -> Offer).
This is a carefully crafted process which I have created over the years after meticulous observation of how a customer moves from Awareness to an Ambassador of your product.
It all starts with a magic potion called “Lead Magnet”.
Lead Magnet – Another Marketing Jargon?
A Lead Magnet is a goodie that you propose to give out to your audience with a subtle selfish aim. Nothing wrong with that. All you are asking for is their email id and/or phone number. This will ensure you can keep knocking on their doors on the pretext of reminding them that you exist and maybe one fine day it dawns upon them that they need what you create.
How a Lead Magnet can change the way you market
The main advantage that a Lead Magnet can offer you is establish you as an expert in your field. And once you have done that, it is smooth sailing from there on since the initial trust is established.
Also, you are sure that you will have a genuine lead since the person is actually parting away with his/her precious email id so that they can get a piece of valuable knowledge from you. Buying email lists with ids of people unknown to you and vice versa does not serve any purpose.
The easily shareable nature of Lead Magnets have the extra advantage of your voice reaching out to tons of others in the network of that single person who found your knowledge of value.
What kind of Lead Magnets work and what don’t
The most common lead magnet since time immemorial has been an EBook. Here’s an awesome EBook which will change your life! Well, all you need to do is give me your email id and I will send it to you on email. This still works. But with a disclaimer.
Just creating an EBook out of the blue and expecting people will give away their precious email ids to use it is not going to work. The most important aspect of the EBook is the title. That is the deal breaker. There are Headline Analyser tools which can help you with that.
How engaging the content and design are also matter of course, but it is the title that is going to entice the user to give their email in return for the knowledge that you are sharing.
Make sure that your EBook provides instant gratification to the reader by solving one single real problem that is the biggest pain point in their life at that point in time.
Let’s accept it. People are bored of downloading EBooks. Some other good lead magnets which can fulfil the goal of acquiring and onboarding a visitor are :
All it requires to create an engaging lead magnet is a little bit of imagination by putting yourself in your target customer’s shoes and a little bit of innovation to create something that inspires action.
Onboarding a prospective customer is the beginning of a new relationship. It has to be nurtured with utmost care using Marketing Automation to achieve the perfect balance between providing valuable information and not nagging them.
There are many marketing tools that you can use to achieve this purpose. Some of the popular ones are listed below :
A good way of keeping in touch with prospective customers and at the same time building their trust is a Drip Campaign.
A Drip Campaign is a series of emailers that you send over a couple of days as a Knowledge Campaign related to the subject of interest based on which they signed up with you. Each day a capsule of information with a build up on the same over the next day can get them interested in a subtle non-invasive way.
On the last day, when you pitch subtly by sending a product trial , it can spark interest because there is already a relationship built there because of the nurturing that you have done over the past couple of days using the Drip Campaign.
If you have provided valuable information int he Drip Campaign , a nudge here and there to subscribe to your social media channels would ensure they keep getting updates all the while. At the last leg of a marketing journey I make sure to drop in a Keep In Touch mailer if the prospect has not shown interest in the Drip Campaign. This Keep In Touch mailer has a link to all my social media channels.
The bottomline in this stage is to Serve , not to Sell. Have the selfless approach there and when they are ready to buy they will come to you even if you are not pitching to them at that point in time.
Now that the initial trust is established, it’s time to introduce your offer.
Make sure you package it up with a good deal which is really hard to refuse. Nothing works as well as a Free Trial or a Free Demo. Free is a not a bad word if it is used as Freemium. Everyone knows that if they use it for Free there will be some kind of upsell down the line and they should be ok with that as long as what you are providing for Free has some tangible value.
So, finally you got your prospect interested, made them loosen their purse strings and pay for your Level 1 product. Time to Upsell..
If your Level 1 product has really provided value, it’s time for a nurture campaign for Level 2 product. Gather feedback, ensure that Level 1 delivered what it promised to deliver and then pitch Level 2.
Finally it’s all about service. If you provided good after sales support for Level 1 and Level 2 now makes sense to the customer, he/she will surely opt for Level 2.
A good offer here because of the loyalty factor will help push the Upsell more effectively.
This can be used in 2 ways.
If the prospect did not show an interest in Level 1, then you can pitch Level 1A which is an alternative option for Level 1 (maybe cheaper). Or maybe Level 1A is more suited to the customer than Level 1 even though its price maybe higher.
In any case the key here is to send a customised journey of emails based on preference selection in the first stage. Personalisation can reach out in a way that inspires action because the prospect can relate to it closely.
Another good reason to cross-sell another product could be that a customer bought Level 1 and Level 1A adds on value to Level 1. An example could be an accessory that goes with Level 1. The “You might also need” option on Amazon and other popular ecommerce sites is a great example of that. Sending that out in an email after the customer has bought Level 1 might just result in a sale since it is a personalised offering that will add value to his/her recent purchase.
Resell / Renew
Perfectly co-ordinated systems which maintain data intelligence, play a very important role in this process.
This aspect of the business can be completely automated by setting reminders, initiating marketing on triggers and following up with a journey till the renewal is completed.
At the last stage, a subtle phone call as a reminder, is not a nagging thing, since all you are doing is your duty by reminding them to continue the subscription (if there is one)
Hope I could throw some light on Marketing Automation best practices which will give tangible results. The role of Artificial Intelligence in Marketing Automation is increasing rapidly. Probably, will resove a complete write-up on that for another time. If you can add value to this in the comments section, my readers and I would be greatly obliged!
A Fill-In-The-Blanks Template to implement Marketing Automation using the Acquire-Nurture-Offer Formula exactly as explained above
Check out the Startup MarketerBot Template
An Easy-To-Use Template containing a series of Marketing emails set on an Automation Journey as per the Acquire-Nurture-Offer Formula and have genuine prospects converting into customers automatically
This is what you get :
- Create an automation journey based on the MarketerBot (Acquire-Nurture-Offer) Formula using any tool like Zoho Marketing Automation
- Fill in the Blanks in the Email Templates. Pre-Built content ready to be filled in with your company specific information
- Configure and start Automation. Integrate the emails and the journey in the tool and start automation