A lot of salespeople and marketers are already aware of what marketing automation can do to nurture leads and convert prospects. When you’re trying to stay on top of communicating with leads, marketing automation can help keep that conversation flowing and ensure that no one fall through the cracks.
But the potential applications for marketing automation technology extend well beyond the bounds of just communicating with prospects. Here, we’ll take a look at ways you can get creative with marketing automation when communicating with existing customers or even your own team.
1. Automate Your Social Media Approach
Social media is the best way to meet your customers where they are online. According to Pew Research Center, most adults have at least one social media account, and most check them daily.
But it’s the daily nature of social media that can make it so difficult to keep pace on this channel. When you need to be creating and updating content for social media each and every day, that takes up a lot of time and energy.
Automating at least some of the social media processes can help to ease that burden. There are a variety of platforms—like Buffer and Hootsuite—that allow you to schedule social media posts across platforms in advance, meaning you can set one day aside each week to upload the following week’s posts, rather than having to do that piecemeal each day.
When you put together a cohesive social media strategy, rather than throwing content up on various channels here and there, it allows you to develop a clear, distinct voice for your business. Having a clear voice and tone helps to build trust, which is not only critical in winning over prospects; it also turns one-time customers into repeat business.
2. Stay In Touch After a Purchase
One of the places where some businesses falter is right after a customer’s purchase. As Joey Coleman noted during his interview on our podcast, 20 to 70 percent of customers disappear after making their initial purchase because they’ve been neglected by the company.
Once you’ve put in all the hard work to convert your prospect to a first time customer, you need to follow through on the promise you’ve made of excellent, attentive service. Marketing automation can help you to make sure you don’t forget about those new customers.
Establish a set of emails that are triggered when someone makes a purchase. Let’s say you own a furniture company, and you have a customer that just purchased a dining room set. The first email that they might receive immediately after that purchase could contain a how-to video that walks them through assembly, plus basic maintenance and cleaning. Several weeks later, you might send a second email checking in on how they’re enjoying their purchase so far. This not only gives you an opportunity to address any issues, but you can also ask for an online review. Your third email might go out in the fall, and contain helpful tips for making the most of your dining space when having friends and family over for holiday dinners.
A set of follow-up emails after a transaction gives the customer the sense that you’re still invested in their experience. It wasn’t just about closing the sale—you genuinely want them to enjoy their purchase. This only helps to reinforce their trust in your business, and makes them all the more likely to become a repeat customer or to refer you to a friend.
3. Build Your Referral Program
Establishing a successful referral program is a great way to make sure that your business always has a steady stream of qualified leads coming from your existing customer base. Marketing automation can help you to grow this program by ensuring you stay on top of communicating with happy customers.
Once someone makes a purchase, this should trigger an email asking for a review or rating. If they don’t review immediately, you should have a follow-up sequence of emails set to go, reminding them to review and offering a way to get in touch with you directly if they have an issue with their purchase.
After a customer does leave you a favorable review, you can then kick off a series of emails introducing them to your referral program, outlining the benefits to them and those they refer, and inviting them to join.
Plus, marketing automation can help you establish a regular rhythm for communicating with all repeat customers, not just those who have signed up for your referral program. Whether it’s with a newsletter or emails alerting them first to new products or offerings, regular communication is a great way to stay top of mind so you’re more likely to be the business they think of when a friend asks for a referral in your field.
4. Use it for Employee Training
Typically, marketing automation is thought of as something to use on an external audience. But there are internal applications for these tools as well. Automating necessary training modules or an onboarding program for new employees can be a creative way to make sure you’re providing your team with the information they need to be their best, most effective selves at work.
Let’s say you own a pet grooming business. After doing some customer research, you’ve discovered that people don’t like your booking processes, so you’ve instituted a new online booking system and have revamped the way you handle incoming calls about booking.
In order to get your team up to speed on the changes, you can create a series of training videos, set to be emailed to your team on a regular basis. Each new email introduces another facet of the new approach, contains a quiz to make sure they’re absorbing and integrating the changes, or maybe a survey asking how customers are reacting to the new system (and if they have any thoughts on how to refine it).
Fortunately, you have a number of tools to choose from when it comes to a selecting a comprehensive platform. Our current favorite is ActiveCampaign.
Marketing automation is a powerful tool that can have many applications beyond follow up emails to prospects. When you get creative with your approach, you can nurture your existing customer relationships and even strengthen your team’s effectiveness and engagement.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Marketing Automation.