Want Better Marketing Automation Results? Think Outside the Inbox
By Pam Neely
When most of us think of marketing automation, we think of email. Automated emails, also called “drip emails,” “drip campaigns,” or “auto-responders,” are the backbone of marketing automation.
These pre-scheduled emails go out at certain times, based on specific actions your subscribers take. By planning and optimizing these emails, you can create an impressive lead nurturing system for many different types of prospects. You can use all these same tools to retain your existing customers, too.
That’s all well and good. It’s great, in fact. Marketing automation works, and it works extremely well. There are plenty of studies that show it generates excellent returns.
And yet, using email is really only Marketing Automation 101.
It’s time we all thought outside the box with marketing automation. It’s time to go beyond what we can do in the inbox.
Before we dive in, though, let’s frame up some definitions. Namely, how lead generation, lead nurturing, and loyalty fit within marketing automation.
Marketing automation – Is it lead nurturing or lead generation? And what about loyalty, too?
Short answer: It’s all three.
Longer answer: Lead generation and nurturing are nearly tied as priorities for marketing automation, at least according to recent research from Ascend2 and Dun & Bradstreet. Their report, “Optimize Your Marketing Automation: Mastering Marketing Automation with a Quality Data Foundation,” has lead nurturing just edging out lead generation as the most important goal of a marketing automation strategy.
You can borrow most of the ideas from this blog post for either lead generation or lead nurturing. But, for the most part, we’re going to focus on lead nurturing here. I tend to think that marketing automation is really more suited to lead nurturing, simply because the word “automation” implies a process. Lead nurturing is more of a process. I think of lead generation as that first touch – the first step of lead nurturing, if you will.
Of course, marketing automation shouldn’t stop once someone becomes a customer, either. In many ways, the party’s just getting started once someone places their first order. Marketing automation is fantastic for building loyalty, whether it’s through win-back campaigns, cross-sells and upsells, or referring new customers. All those actions should be included as you plan the architecture of your marketing automation machine.
One thing’s for sure with all this, though: You don’t have to limit yourself to email. There are many different channels to use for marketing automation. Each one has strengths and weaknesses. But if you’re ready to move to the next phase of evolution with your marketing automation program, it may be time to expand into other channels.
1. Phone calls.
Okay – no big surprise here. But I thought I’d start with the most obvious alternative.
Your sales team is probably already making calls based on how people interact with your emails. And, hopefully, you’ve integrated your data well enough that sales can see each interaction a prospect has had with your marketing … while they’re on the phone with Go to the full article.