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The Future of Marketing Automation: What You Need to Know

The Future of Marketing Automation: What You Need to Know

By Maren DickeyMar 13 /2018

The advanced technology and capabilities of 2018 have brought new meaning to the term marketing automation. The goal of marketing automation is to help marketers better manage customer relationships by automating actions such as email sends, social media posts and contact lifecycle stage changes. What used to consist of generalized drip campaigns and internal notifications has been upgraded to so much more.

A good marketing automation strategy is focused on user needs, helping them to move through your sales funnel in a natural way. By collecting data from the interactions users have with your brand across multiple channels, you can deliver the right content at the right time. A successful approach will utilize this data to better understand your consumers’ intentions and buying habits to influence their decision making.

While it can be used in many capacities, B2B businesses can take their marketing automation strategy to the next level using these five techniques:

Communicating With Your Most Promising Prospects

As account-based marketing (ABM) grows in popularity, so will the tools and platforms that help you implement it into your marketing strategy. Platforms like Terminus help you target your best fit accounts.

Much like Google, Terminus allows you to target specific people, or in this case, companies. Even without having a contact in your system, you can tailor advertising campaigns for people associated with the company to drive awareness and create meaningful connections. Before they visit your site, you can direct them to personalized content, such as a customized landing page, to engage them.

With HubSpot’s integration, you can also utilize Terminus to advertise to prospects who’ve taken certain actions or engaged with your brand.

Relying Less on Forms

The use of forms on websites is meant to capture lead data in the hopes that you can start a conversation with prospects. But what if you could fast-track this process and talk to them earlier? Using a conversational marketing platform like Drift, you can.

This bot functions on your website as a chat box, allowing visitors to engage with your brand quickly and easily, find answers to questions and even self-qualify themselves. Moving away from the traditional use of forms and more toward conversations, Drift helps your sales team get the necessary background information they need to have more meaningful discussions. Using a platform such as this, you can minimize wasted time and focus on the leads that are ready to buy.

Responding to Prospects in Real Time

Picture going to a restaurant for dinner and sitting down at a table. How long is it before your server greets you and asks what you’d like to drink? In your best experiences, it’s likely not more than five minutes. Likewise, this kind of service is being expected in the marketing industry as well.

Integrating your website and CRM is essential to making this happen. It gives you the ability to see when, where and how prospects are engaging with your website and respond to them within minutes.

We know your sales team can get busy, but ensure that when a prospect or customer reaches out to you, they get a response right away, even if it’s to say you’re reviewing their information and will get back to them shortly. According to Harvard Business Review research, a whopping 23 percent of businesses failed to respond to leads. Don’t be one of them.

A great way to make sure your hot prospects aren’t waiting hours or days to hear from someone is to set up workflows to email them when they’ve taken a desired action (like downloading a resource or filling out a contact form). Then set up internal notifications to let your sales team know there’s a new lead that’s ready to chat. This way, your sales team doesn’t have to manually monitor user activity until they’re ready to talk, and it frees up their time to focus on those who are.

Expert tip: Chatbots can be helpful in doing this as well, weeding out those who may just need a question answered versus those who are ready to buy.

Setting Up Behavior-Based Workflows

Workflows aren’t new, but they are being used to send much more personalized messages using behavior-based actions than they were in the past.

For example, let’s say you’re an office supply company and have three core product lines: Printers, office furniture and conference phones. You wouldn’t sell printers the same way you sell furniture and likely not to the same people.

But you may be able to sell complementary products, like ink and paper to those who’ve bought a printer from you. So it’d be smart to create lists, segment your buyers and send them separate marketing messages. This may even include changing their lifecycle stage and interest based on what forms they fill out on your website and what products they’ve purchased.

There’s a fine line between overly complicated workflows and those that makes your life easier, but it’s definitely worth it to do your homework and find what works best for you.

Automating Social Media Outreach

Social media is something that so many people engage with on a regular basis, if you aren’t on it, you’re missing a huge opportunity to meet buyers where they are.

Existing tools like Sprout Social, Hootsuite and even HubSpot let you schedule, manage and report on your social publishing. You can also auto-publish content for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter using these platforms. Recently, Hootsuite became the first platform to allow auto-publishing on Instagram, but only for business profiles, and HubSpot is working on a similar integration.

Sometimes reaching the right audience can be difficult, especially if you don’t have someone dedicated to managing your social accounts. But, as social plays an increasing role in today’s marketing, new technology is emerging to manage it.

SocialDrift, a social media automation platform, helps you to grow your social accounts. You can set up filters to target your ideal audience and allow it to follow, like, comment and unfollow people to grow your following organically. This helps ensure that you’re reaching the most relevant audience with the messages you work so hard to perfect.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing automation. New technology is expanding the capability of marketers every day. Explore the possibilities of marketing automation and how it could help your business soar.

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Maren Dickey
The Author

Maren Dickey

Maren's strength lies in creating cohesive environments in which creativity flows and people thrive. She utilizes her relentless curiosity, passion for people and strong organizational skills to achieve success. As a marketer, she consistently keeps clients top of mind to ensure they are provided with a helpful and welcoming experience throughout all stages.
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