Today’s Guest Post is by Sarah Burke – Enjoy!
The customer’s journey is often defined in 3 stages: Awareness, consideration and decision. For small business owners and marketers, keeping track of each and every customer, and where they are in this journey, is one of our biggest struggles.
Luckily, this job can be made much more efficient with marketing automation, which – when used intelligently – is vital in helping marketers and business owners do their jobs to the best of their abilities.
According to TFM&A’s 2014 marketing automation report, the top three reasons marketers use automation is:
- It takes repetitive tasks out of their hands (36%)
- It helps improve customer targeting (30%)
- It helps improve customer experience (10%)
So, the question goes, how can we map how we use marketing automation to our buyer’s journey?
Stage 1 of the Customer’s Journey: Awareness
At the awareness stage, your prospective leads aren’t doing research with the intention of purchasing anything from you. Instead, they’re simply looking for answers, entertainment, or information! Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy.
And that’s exactly why, at the early stages of the customer’s journey, we create content that is educational and entertaining. We lure them in, with the hopes that when they are ready to buy, they’ll think of our business.
To get this content in front of eyeballs, SEO and social media marketing play a huge part.
Social is a powerful thing. Searchmetrics’ Correlation 2014 study showed that social signals actually affect your content’s visibility in search results.
To get people clicking, liking, sharing, tweeting content, you need to be sharing that content on social media platforms consistently. Unfortunately, the process can be awfully routine, and unless you have a dedicated social media team, it can be very time-consuming. You’re the perfect candidate for marketing automation!
With just a few clicks (and about 20-30 minutes), you can easily schedule your posts to be published at specific times throughout the day – even when you’re not necessarily there to do so. Buffer and Hootsuite are probably the most well-known and effective social media management tools out there.
Stage 2 of the Customer’s Journey: Consideration
Once your customer has moved from general browsing to specific research, then they’ve moved into the consideration stage of the customer journey. At this point they’ll be looking at free trials, reviews, competitive information and… unbeknownst to themselves, how well you can nurture them.
One of the best ways to nurture leads is by tracking their activity. Once you know what pages they’re visiting, what links they’re clicking and emails they’re opening, you can create triggers that then send relevant messages to them.
For example, if a lead visits your pricing page, you might then send them a coupon code 24 hours afterwards if they haven’t bought anything.
Of course, targeting leads like this would be humanly impossible normally.
But marketing automation isn’t human – it’s technology! It can be hard to choose the right marketing automation software for lead nurturing campaigns because there are a lot out there. Some of the better-known ones include JumpLead, Infusionsoft and Leadsius.
Stage 3 of the Customer’s Journey: Decision
It’s not just about generating leads folks! Retaining them is just as important.
Support Emails are a great way to ensure that your users are happy with their experiences.
For example, if you’re a software company you might receive alerts from a specific account that something isn’t working. Rather than waiting until your customers are fed up with the difficulties, take this as a great opportunity to automate an email response that reaches out to those customers offering assistance.
Being in tune with your customer’s needs is extremely important, and marketing automation helps you reach your customers in a more targeted, meaningful and relevant way.
By using marketing automation throughout the customer journey, you’re improving the customer’s experience while also freeing up your own time so you can provide an even better service/product.
So where’s the downside?
Well… you can’t just “set it and forget it” if you want marketing automation to work. It needs a lot of tweaking, testing and monitoring. But the good news is: the time you save on the automated processes is much more than the time you will spend tweaking and improving the automation.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Marketing Automation.
Sarah Burke works as a Digital Content Marketer for GetSpokal.com, an Inbound Marketing Automation software that’s designed specifically for small businesses. She creates useful, helpful and engaging content aimed to help small businesses and startups compete with the big behemoth businesses of the world. Before joining the Spokal team, she was an English and History secondary school teacher, and she has an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture. Connect with her on Twitter!