Improve customer journey with marketing automation
Engage with customers at every stage of the customer journey. Digital marketing automation makes it easy and streamlined for you.
Why perform time-consuming tasks manually when you can automate them? The question is simple, and the logic for choosing automation is attractive. Today, automating marketing activities are the easiest way to track your customer’s journey, nurture them and give them a gentle but firm push towards purchase. 75% of Businesses are already using marketing automation(1). Top three reasons being – streamlining marketing and sales effort, improving customer journey by personalizing it, and increase in conversion rate.
It is important to nurture audiences at various stages of the customer journey so that they feel valued and remember you for the consideration you show.
However, how do you achieve it for thousands or millions of customers? If a healthcare company has a contact list of 1000 lab owners, 500 doctors with private clinics, and 400 hospital procurement heads, how would it reach out to all of them in a personalized way?
That is where Marketing Automation comes in – it makes it easy to nurture your audiences, irrespective of the number, while keeping in mind their position in the customer journey.
Of course, marketing automation may seem overwhelming at first. Where do you start?
This blog will help you get to know the basics of marketing automation and how you can use it to improve your customer’s journey. Needless to say, an improved customer journey means better chances of sales. To use marketing automation successfully, you first need to be clear about the customer journey.
Five stages of B2B customer journey
From first hearing about a brand to finally making a purchase is a very long journey, at times unpredictable. So many things can happen in between to take the audience off the course – a bad review, a distraction, better content marketing by a competitor, not finding content relevant, loss of interest.
While some things are not in your control, many are. Keeping them engaged and hooked on to your content is in your control if you know their stage in the B2B customer journey.
Let us look at the stages of B2B customer journey:
- Awareness: That is the first time the prospect gets introduced to your brand. Note that the prospect at this stage is aware of their problem. For example, it could be that a diagnostic lab cannot manage appointments for testing smoothly and is looking for a tool to help solve the problem. If they chance upon your ad now, you pass the first step.
- Consideration: At this stage, the prospect has identified products of certain brands and is in a comparison state. They are trying to judge which suits their needs and budget the most. Here, it is important to strategically provide content to help them identify your brand as the leader in the market.
- Conversion: Here, the prospect turns into a customer by making a purchase. The lead is handed over to the sales team to turn the purchase intent into reality.
- Retention: While a deal may end after purchase, the relationship must continue by sharing information, updates, and new offers. This is how one can retain the loyalty and trust of the customer.
- Advocacy: At this stage, customers become brand advocates because they believe in the ability and values of the brand. This stage is possible through consistent, and quality content shared over a period of time.
At every stage, appropriate and timely communication and engagement can help the prospect move forward in the customer journey.
Why does customer engagement matter?
Engaging customers is an investment for the growth of your brand. How so? When you tell stories of your brand journey, share your value system, offer prospects your quality products, provide offers to make them feel a part of your brand, and converse with them – you are engaging them to build a stronger relationship. Two primary goals are achieved through this – one is that you create a memorable experience for them, and the second is that you understand them better. Both these things help you stand out from the other competitors.
In short, consistent engagement with the customer helps you:
- Understand their needs and behavior
- Inform them of your products and services
- Make them feel valued through offers, and special services
- Improve their experience of your brand
- Convert them from prospects to customers
You can engage in many ways – inform, educate, entertain. All this is made simpler with marketing automation.
Using marketing automation in every stage of customer journey
Yes, marketing automation can streamline and simplify every activity at every stage of the customer's journey.
If your prospect is in the awareness stage, they must actively look for solutions to address their problems. Here, social media paid ads on search engines and display ads on relevant sites can help bring your brand before the eyes of prospects.
With marketing automation tools, you can create and publish content on social media from the same place, launch ads and track them, and understand how many new visitors are visiting your website, who they are, and much more.
For the consideration stage, nurture the audiences with personalized communication and push them towards conversion. For example, if someone has opted for a product demo and filled in the contact form, start sharing product brochures and personalized offers, talk about the value additions beyond the product's functionality, and so on.
Similarly, make them feel sure about their choice for the conversion stage. Automated marketing communication such as automated chats for resolution of queries and email blasts with offers of comprehensive servicing and warranty plans can help.
Key Point to Remember – What these tools help you achieve is sending out the communication when it matters the most so that the audience is driven towards action.
For example, suppose a few diagnostic lab owners have downloaded your product brochure after submitting their email addresses. Using this database of email addresses, you can instantly send out an email with a discount offer while the topic is still fresh in your mind. If no action is taken on this offer, another email can be scheduled within a week as a reminder.
Look at software such as HubSpot’s complete Marketing Software, which helps you create blogs, social media posts, emails, attractive landing pages, and forms and launch them from the same place. You will realize that content creation for every customer journey stage is not very difficult.
Getting started with marketing automation
Once you have decided to go ahead with marketing automation to achieve your company goals, you need to set specific objectives and then everything follows. Overall, the following are the main steps involved in the process.
Set specific objectives -
This is crucial to the success of the whole activity. First, identify the goals set by the company, for example, increasing sales, getting more leads, and so on. Then align it with specific and measurable objectives: increase sales by 20% over the next four quarters or increase website visitors by 50% by the next quarter. Objectives need to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
- Choose the right tool -
Next, you must choose a marketing automation tool as per your need, budget, and overall ease of use. All these tools come with a subscription fee, thus, invest in one that fits your marketing budget. You do not always need the most premium plan. Do thorough research of the features and capabilities of the tool.
- Build team capability -
Every marketing automation tool has different interfaces and functions. You need to give your team time to learn and explore the tool. Only once they know the complete functionality can they utilize the tool to its full potential.
Set up tool-
Since this tool will help you automate tasks and get wide visibility in one place; you need to spend some time on the integration and imports. Some of the activities include – integrating the tool with CRM, importing contacts, importing data from offline marketing campaigns, creating content assets using your brand templates, creating audience segments, etc.
- Build and launch campaigns -
Now we come to the best part of the whole exercise – designing and launching a campaign. First, define the objective of the campaign, for example – to increase website visitors by 30% by the next quarter. Decide the social media channels you would use or if paid advertisements are the way to go about it or some other means. Create assets such as posts, blogs, paid ads, and display ads. Make the campaign live and send out personalized communication to your audience.
While most of the tools are such that you can get the hang of it with some practice, you may not always have the resources or bandwidth for it. In such cases, you can choose a marketing automation agency to help you with these steps.
Choosing the right agency as your partner in digital marketing automation
There are several agencies that help companies in B2B marketing automation using their knowledge of digital marketing and tool expertise. However, choosing an agency also requires some skill as you need to gauge at their expertise in the given industry, look at their case studies, check the availability of skilled team members such as content writers, designers, subject matter experts and so on.
Typically, look for an agency that can help you with:
Setting clear goals and objectives-
Often, companies know the general direction in which they want to go but cannot define them in measurable ways. The agency can help you define SMART objectives that align with the company goal. The goal can be to attract, capture, nurture, or convert.
Setting aside a budget based on the goal-
The agency will guide you on the expected expenditure for a campaign. This can help you ask for funds from the management.
- Choosing appropriate tools -
Many agencies have partnered with marketing automation platforms, which becomes an added advantage for you. This is because they know the tools in and out and utilize them in the best possible way. Tools that are comprehensive and allow integration with other tools such as analytics, and social media management, are the ones to go for.
- Designing a solution -
Based on your goal or the problem you are trying to address, the digital marketing agency will develop marketing automation solutions. Every challenge will be addressed in the form of a campaign. For example, if the goal is to increase sales, display ads, Google paid ads offering discounts, retargeting interested audiences with email blasts, and captivating landing pages are some solutions they may offer. The agency will create the required creatives. A calendar will have to be drawn.
- Executing the campaign -
The agency you choose should also help you execute the campaign by posting the creatives as per schedule. They will track the posts and ads' progress and monitor the emails' responses. Accordingly, they may suggest the next plan of action.
A marketing automation agency should be looked at as your partner in achieving your marketing goals. Your industry knowledge and clarity of goals, combined with their digital marketing and automation experience, should help execute campaigns that show results and deliver a good return on investment.
To sum up, marketing automation streamlines your efforts to engage with the customer and personalizes it. This impacts the customer's experience with your brand and takes them forward in the customer journey.
Now you know what are the things to consider to start digital marketing and how to choose an agency. Check out how you can improve your customer journey with Ethosh.
How Ethosh can help you improve customer journey with marketing automation?
Ethosh makes it easy for you to interact with customers at the right touchpoints using marketing automation. Our deep expertise in this field has helped deliver quality strategies to customers; strategies that maximize marketing effectiveness and ROI. From defining goals to execution of the plans, leverage our complete array of marketing automation services. We are a HubSpot-certified partner, and have vast experience with Adobe Marketo.
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