You’ve probably heard of marketing automation or the related terms drip marketing, account-based marketing, personalization or lead nurturing. Options abound when it comes to software programs that can send targeted emails to potential customers based on their segment, place in the funnel or past behavior.
While automated marketing campaigns will ultimately fail if they lack compelling content or clear goals, marketing software may be worth adding to your toolbox for at least five reasons:
- It can help you get new customers. Marketing software programs can help you start nurturing new leads right away by automatically sending them a welcome email or series of emails when they sign up for your email list. You can nurture these leads according to a “lead score,” taking into account each lead’s demographics and behavior, such as pages viewed, webinars attended, content downloaded and more.
- It can help you retain existing customers. Your existing customers are your most valuable assets, and marketing automation can encourage them to stick around. Order confirmation emails and special offers based on past purchases can help you engage with your customers in a way that feels personal but takes surprisingly little time on your end. To help your customers feel appreciated, you can send messaging on holidays or even birthdays, if you have that information.
- It can encourage your customers to spend more. With some marketing software, automated emails can be triggered when customers add items to their shopping carts but don’t complete purchases. You can set up your marketing software to encourage them to complete their purchase with an automatic email, without your ever lifting a finger.
- It can help you conduct targeted market research. Some marketing automation platforms allow you to automatically send invitations to review products to customers who have purchased them, giving you new insights into which products lead to customer satisfaction. You can also send surveys to those who unsubscribe from your email list to help you improve your email campaigns in the future.
- It costs very little to implement. This month, MailChimp announced it would start to offer its marketing automation features – previously only available to premium users – to non-paying users, including the ability to trigger automatic emails based on email sign-ups, engagement with previous emails and engagement with your online store. Even if MailChimp’s free marketing automation features aren’t robust enough for your needs, more feature-rich platforms like HubSpot are available for as little as $200/month.
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Competition for a person’s time and attention has never been fiercer, and this is especially true in a person’s inbox (see Are Your Marketing Emails Being Ignored? Here’s Why). As marketing automation becomes more mainstream, you won’t be the only one sending targeted, more frequent emails – your competitors will be, too.
In the end, it won’t be the quantity of emails you send that gets you noticed by customers; it will be their quality. For tips on writing content that recipients look forward to receiving, see Is Your Marketing Content as Special as You Are?