If you’re in business you’ve probably heard people casually throwing around the words “marketing automation”; maybe you’re one of those people who are so excited to talk all things automation, or maybe you’re the person on the other side of the conversation who smiles and nods to pretend like you’re in the know. Well the team at Unusual Comms are well and truly ‘in the know’, and trust us when we say that we’re the type of people who will talk your ear off about every exciting new development in the world of marketing automation.
So what is it really? Marketing automation simply refers to any sort of software platform that allows you to schedule and automate repetitive marketing tasks. Things like follow up email sequences, newsletters, confirmation messages, etc. The beauty of our current technological capabilities is that you can really design your automated sequences to be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. At the end of the day how we design your sequences, or ‘funnels’, will depend largely on your business, your target market, and the number of people you’re talking to (your leads).
The exciting thing about marketing automation is just how effective it is. According to some of the latest data, businesses that automate lead management see at least a 10% rise in revenue in just 6-9 months, and a massive 79% of the top performing companies have been using some form of marketing automation for 3 years or more. It’s expected in the next 2 years an additional 21% of marketing leaders will start utilising some form of automation software, and that by 2023 annual marketing automation expenditure will reach $25.1 billion globally.
Unusual Comms believes in embracing technology and utilising new marketing innovations to their full extent to get you the best results. As such we offer automation services including:
- Newsletters: Newsletters are a great way to touch base with your client list and draw them back into your ecosystem. Through a newsletter you can share exciting updates to the business, new products or services on offer, relevant changes to your industry, as well as link to any monthly blogs, articles, or podcasts connected to your brand.
- Email sequencing: The Unusual Team hate email spam, and we’re not here to create it. When we look at designing an email sequence for your business it’s about developing content that adds value to your client list and communicates with them in a way that is personal and warranted.
- Segmentation: At Unusual Comms we recognise that not all of your clients are at the same stage in their purchasing journey. Some might be new clients yet to take significant action, some might be one-off purchasers, and some might be loyal customers that have been following your brand for years. A simple sequence might send these clients all the same content and messages, but a more effective method is to segment this data, figure out what’s appropriate to what group, and send the right information to the right people. This way you’re meeting people where they are in the buying journey and communicating with them in a way that is always personal and targeted.
- Sales funnels: Although handing over the reins to an automated platform might feel impersonal, marketing automation actually allows you to go a lot deeper with each client during their sales journey. By developing a number of strategic sales funnels we can lead each customer down their own unique pathway to purchase, sending them the most relevant messages at the most relevant times during their journey, and nurturing each lead until they are ready to take the next step.
What really makes marketing automation a game changer is that once we set up these sequences and funnels, your business has the ability to nurture each lead and client with very little input from your staff until they are ready to purchase.
To better assist our clients with their marketing automation efforts Unusual Comms are certified in and have existing partnerships with:
- Ontraport: This platform is ideal for small to medium businesses with an understanding of the importance of marketing automation. Ontraport offers a holistic service providing a CRM, email, and landing page facilities in one space. The platform offers monthly subscriptions with no lock in contracts.
- HubSpot: Hubspot is known across the globe as a leader in inbound content marketing. Ideal for mature businesses that are serious about seeing significant growth from their automated campaigns. They do however offer a Freemium model which allows businesses to grow into the entire suite of services offered by the platform.
If you’d like to know more about the marketing automation management services offered by Unusual Comms or pursue a partnership, schedule your free discovery call with one of our automation experts now.
‘Automation’ is definitely a buzzword in the marketing community. Some marketers absolutely love it; while others seem scared even to dip a toe in the water. While the thought of automating aspects of your marketing might feel akin to letting a robot handle your customer relations, the fact is marketing automation isn’t about erasing human input from communications altogether, and it’s certainly not here to make marketers redundant.
Marketing automation at its best is simply about automating those menial day-to-day tasks so that you can focus your time and attention or more important things. As Neil Patel defines it,
“Marketing automation is the process of using software and technology to optimise, automate and measure repetitive online marketing tasks.”
So now we know what marketing automation is, and that it means us no harm, the question is where to start? How can you dip a toe in and test the waters without having to dive in head first?
First thing’s first: decide on a platform.
As with most things in life when you initially start down the marketing automation path, you’re going to have to make a few crucial decisions, and one of those will be deciding on an automation platform. There’s a lot to consider when weighing up the pros and cons of each option and if you’re new to the game this might seem a bit daunting but the best way to decide is by first figuring out what you want automation to do for you and your business.
If you want to start small then a simple, low-cost platform may give you everything you’re looking for, but if you have a large team behind you that you want all to be able to access and use your automation platform then it might be worth investing a bit of time and money into a more complex system. At Unusual Comms we partner with Hubspot and Ontraport but there are other options available.
Start small and expand from there.
Like we mentioned, marketing automation is all about taking those menial, repetitive tasks out of your hands to free you up for more creative assignments. So, if you just want to test out automation and see what it’s capable of, then there’s really no better place to start than automating simple tasks like emails and reply messages.
Marketing automation at its simplest is really about building cause-and-effect funnels: e.g. if a customer clicks ‘subscribe’ to our newsletter, they automatically receive a ‘thank you’ email, without our staff even lifting a finger. These funnels can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be, but the idea is to lead potential clients down their own unique pathway to purchase with very little input from you or your staff until they are actually ready to purchase.
Far from being impersonal, by taking human-error out of the equation, marketing automation assures that no lead gets lost, ignored, or forgotten because an instantaneous chain of events is set off from the moment they click that subscribe button. Along with their automatic ‘thank you’ email and monthly newsletter, your new lead could also receive an automatic follow-up email a few days after every newsletter is dropped. This follow-up email could invite their feedback, which if they supply, they would then receive another automatic email reply offering them 20% off any purchase they make in the next 48 hours and so on and so on.
Start small and expand from there. Test out what works and what doesn’t and continue to build and grow. Marketing automation is not a short-term win, but if you are willing to invest some time and effort into your campaigns, they will yield some worthwhile results.
Bring in an expert.
Okay, so we might be a little biased in this and we get that it’s a very personal choice. For some, it might seem like a no-brainer to bring in somebody who knows the ins and outs of automation; for others, the idea of bringing in an outsider might be close to blasphemy. And whilst there are plenty of ‘self-taught’ automaters out there, the fact is you’ll never really get the most of your automation platform if you don’t understand it.
We recommend to bring somebody in for the initial start-up process at the very least. That way they can help you set everything up, show you the ropes and give you a push in the right direction.
So, we hope you are now ready to dip at least your pinky-toe into the crystal-clear waters of marketing automation. It might seem a little daunting (only at first, we promise) but automated marketing is the future, and once you give it a chance to ‘wow’ you, trust us, you won’t want to go back.
Marketing Automation is a still a bit of a touchy subject with the marketing world, and whilst it definitely has the power to divide a room, more and more companies are starting to agree that in order to deliver effective communication you need to be using some form of automation.
Think of marketing automation as the mobile phones of the marketing world. Back in the nineties people had some pretty strong reservations about these new pieces of technology, but before we knew it everyone was using them and now, nearly 2 decades on, we can’t imagine life without out. Here at Unusual Comms we’ve got a pretty strong hunch that ten years from now we’ll look back on a time before marketing automation and scratch our heads wondering how people ever got by without it.
But before we jump into a lengthy laundry list of why you really need to be using marketing automation (and don’t worry we will), for those of you who are new to the debate, what exactly is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is about creating a series of automated pathways or funnels that will help to gently nurture your leads and take each potential client down their own unique pathway to purchase. For example, if someone signs up to your site and ticks a box that says they like to go skiing, they’re going to get an email when your ski gear goes on sale. If they then purchase a pair of snow boots, they might get a text message offering them 10% off your range of snow jackets. They might also get a follow-up email a month later asking them to review their snow boots and jacket. Or if someone else purchases your range of skin products and you know that on average they last around two months, just before the two-month mark they might receive a special loyalty offer giving them 5% off their skincare bundle or even just reminding them that they’re due for more.
Alternatively, it could have nothing to do with products, this funnel could be about promoting your upcoming workshop series; the more links your client follows, the more engaged you know they are.
These funnels and cause and effect triggers will look different for every business, but the point is that you can nurture your leads and keep your current customers in your ecosystem with very little input from your marketing team.
And it’s not about making your marketing team redundant so that you can save on wages - trust us, if that was the case we’d already be out of the job! It’s actually about making them more efficient by taking these menial tasks, that literally a robot can do, off of their hands and giving them more time to be creative and focused with new marketing campaigns and what they do best.
But beyond all this, there’s one big reason why you really should be using marketing automation, and it’s a pretty simple one:
the companies with continuous leads and engaged clients are already utilising automation.
Okay, we know what you’re thinking: “If all the top marketers jumped off a bridge would you?” And, well, no we wouldn’t. But if all the top marketers are using a particular platform, we’re naturally going to want to know why, and the fact is that 70% of companies say that marketing automation actually improves the targeting of their messages and with very little sweat from their staff.
So why should you be using marketing automation? Because it’s going to make your communications with your clients easier, more effective and more personal, and if you do it right, your business won’t have to sacrifice one bit of its unique charm to do it. If you really want to integrate marketing automation into your communications strategy but aren’t sure where to start, book a free discovery call with one of our automation experts here.
Marketing automation, when used well, can give you time back in your business and help you keep in regular contact with clients who otherwise might never hear from you. At Unusual Comms we know that these are big wins to any business owner.
But the truth is marketing automation isn’t necessarily as seamless as some would have you believe, and implementing it certainly isn’t as easy as clicking your fingers and watching everything fall into place. Don’t get us wrong, the benefits far outweigh any heavy lifting but we don’t like to let our clients stumble around in the dark, so here are 5 things we think everyone should know before choosing marketing automation software:
It will get harder before it gets easier
Much like any big change, you’re going to have to put a bit of work into the initial setup of your automation software before you can start “coasting”, and that means, first and foremost, figuring out and implementing a strategy. Knowing what you want to use your automation platform for, the end result you’re looking for and who you’re speaking to will go a long way to ensuring you’re setting up the right campaigns with the right pieces of content that will add value to your clients.
Honestly we can’t stress how important this is: if you are going to invest any time and money into marketing automation then the first thing you should focus on is bringing in an outside opinion to help you develop an expert strategy. And yeah, we might be a bit biased, but that’s one thing we’re great at.
You need to know your clients or you’ll alienate them
A lot of marketers worry that automated funnels and messages are impersonal but it’s actually not the fault of marketing automation, it’s the fault of the marketer. Automation is about sending the right messages to the right people at the right time, so in that regard it has the potential to be way more personal than any other delivery method. But in order to achieve that it does require some real attention when creating your content.
If you want your automated messages to feel personal, you need to understand who you’re talking to, what sort of communication and engagement they’re looking for from you brand, and when and how often they want to be spoken to.Set your dashboard or tracking measures up early so you know what’s working
Depending on the automation platform you decide on, reporting and dashboards will look a little different. The point is though, each platform has reporting metrics, and most will allow you to set up your dashboard to monitor the things that are important drivers for you and your business. Take some time to learn how to set up your dashboard to reflect the numbers you want to know. That way as soon as you log in you’ll be able to tell what’s working, how many people are in your pipeline and where your gaps are.
Make sure you get everyone on bard who needs to use it
It won’t just be your marketing team who will benefit from automation software, everyone from your sales team to your resolution department will be able to and should be making use of the software, so make sure you get them on board and provide the appropriate training to really get the most out of your marketing automation.
You’re going to have to update things once in a while
If you’re saying the same things over and over again, it’s never going to feel personal, and it’s also going to quickly turn ineffective. Marketing automation gives you the chance to monitor your customers’ feedback and respond by giving them what they want, but in order to do that you can’t simply ‘set and forget’ everything.
You need to be constantly tweaking and testing. What worked really well last quarter actually might not be working this quarter. What didn’t get as many responses last month might be getting a ton of engagement this month. Test, tweak and test again (x infinity).
So there you have it. We hope we haven’t scared you off because the truth is marketing automation is the future and once you start making use of it you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it. If you’d like to talk about how marketing automation could benefit your business book a free discovery call with our team here.
At Unusual Comms we are all for Marketing Automation, in fact one of the main things we do for our clients is to help them integrate automation into their digital marketing strategies so that they’ll yield better results and get more engagement from their ideal clients.
But we don’t want you to just take our word for it, so we’ve put together a list of the 3 top ways that marketing automation will benefit you and your business:
It will give you your time back
We have never met a single business owner who doesn’t feel hopelessly time poor. It’s kind of part and parcel of the deal. Yes, you set your own working hours (which is great, sure), but you also take on all the responsibility and a very large portion of the workload. So the Unusual Team take great pleasure in knowing that through implementing marketing automation in digital marketing strategies we help our clients get a whole lot of time back. How exactly?
Well, marketing automation takes all those menial, mindless tasks off your hands and does it for you. Once you set your funnels up you really don’t even have to lift a finger, and you can relax knowing that your customers are hearing from you when they need to.
Automation increases your productivity
Okay, so now you’ve got all this time back what are you going to do with it? Get a decent night’s sleep might be on the top of your list but we’re also willing to bet that you’re going to get time back throughout your working day to focus on more creative and complex tasks, things that actually can’t be handled by a robot or automation software.
When you let marketing automation take care of the simple tasks you have more time to create great content, develop targeted campaigns and review your strategy, allowing you to use your time in a way that is truly productive and take your business to the next level.
It increases customer engagement
Many businesses and marketers fear that automated funnels and messages are impersonal, and that this lack of person to person contact can lead to customers feeling alienated and disengaged from the brand, but the truth is when used correctly automation actually gives you the ability to create and send out messages and content that targeted, timely, and speak to each person directly where they are in their buying journey.
At Unusual Comms we find the problem with disengagement usually comes when marketers take a “set and forget” approach to their automation. Whilst your automation software does mean that you don’t have to think about pressing “send” on every single email, newsletter, and message, you should still be thinking about the messages you’re sending out and whether they’re still relevant to your brand and your clients.
So there you have it; marketing automation isn’t just a cool new buzzword that people are throwing around, and it actually can have a significant impact on your business and your communication strategy. If you’re ready to dive in and take the next step with marketing automation then book your free discovery call with our team here.