Many businesses struggle to create consistency in their marketing because they don’t have a marketing machine that will produce leads or identify warm prospects at will. Consulting companies, in particular, are vulnerable to variability in project work – especially in the beginning – but even larger companies can never put their guard down. You can’t put expensive consultants and programmers on the shelf and wait for the economy to pick up next year. Cash flow typically evens out once you have systems in place. Systems help predict cash flow, resource gaps, and find areas of opportunity.
You do believe in systems, right?
So, let me ask… do you have a marketing system in place? Many businesses have systems for everything except marketing – or their marketing systems are cobbled together and their processes are undocumented.
To get to the next level of growth, you need a solid foundation to build on. Your marketing software can be the one thing you need to do to achieve the next level of success.
Marketers, start your engines!
And keep ‘em running! If you keep your baseline marketing engine running all the time, you can hit the accelerator when you need more business and ease off when you want to coast for a while. However, if you turn your marketing efforts off completely for too long, it takes a lot of fuel (time and money) and sometimes expensive repairs to start back up again.
The way to keep your marketing going at all times is to use the right marketing tools. Technology can make a huge difference in your results, and in your ability to measure results.
At the minimum, you need:
- An updateable website
- An email marketing system
- A social media marketing system
- A contact database (CRM system)
- A lead management system
- A marketing calendar
- A customer support system
- Reporting / analytics software
If those are all different systems, that becomes a lot to manage! Instead, many businesses are turning to all-in-one systems and affordable marketing automation solutions. A report from Software Advice shows that 98% of small businesses looking at marketing automation are doing so for the first time. Almost 47% of those buyers are coming from manual marketing methods. Marketing technology is finally easy enough and affordable enough for even the smallest of businesses.
Use automation to your advantage.
If you are new to marketing automation, here are some tips on how to get started:
- Set up welcome messages – not just one automated reply. When someone downloads your free piece of content and opts into your email marketing system, send them a burst of emails in a short time, let’s say 4 the first week to make sure they are digesting the content they just downloaded. Offer personal assistance if you can. You can set up auto-responders to go out for weeks and months into the future.
- Create clear steps for every product/campaign. Your marketing funnel might be very simple. Step one is to get them to download an eBook. Step 2 is to get them to watch a video. Step 3 is for them to attend a webinar. Step 4 is for them to agree to an intro call. Then at that point, they are marketing qualified and would be turned over to sales. Keep the focus on making these messaged educational, while at the same time, including the next offer to pull them deeper into the marketing funnel.
- Move people to different lists/segments based on behavior. When someone takes you up on an offer, you don’t want them to keep receiving solicitations to take that step. Set up automation so that they are automatically tagged or moved to a new list when they buy, hit a specific webpage, watch a video, attend a webinar, or whatever you set as your marketing goal for that campaign.
- Setup automatic lead scoring. A simple system is to give each prospect 5 points every time they visit your website, 10 points when they download a document, and 20 points when they attend a webinar. Now you instantly know which leads to pursue.
- Integrate social with your contact list. Pull in big data. The more you know about your customer, the better decisions you can make about which deals to pursue. People are interacting everywhere. Create a fuller relationship with your prospects and customers by listening to what they are saying on social media, and interacting with them.
- Notify people internally. Keep other people in the office informed automatically by assigning tasks once your prospects complete certain actions.
- Send out satisfaction surveys. After a webinar, event, sale, go-live, you can set up rules to survey the customer to solicit feedback or even online reviews for your company.
- Weed your list. Many busy professionals are so inundated with email that instead of taking the time to unsubscribe, they just hit delete. If someone hasn’t opened your emails in a while, first look at what you might do better or differently. Are you personalizing your emails? Is your content interesting? Is your targeting on point? Are you sending at the right frequency? Once you’ve looked inward, use automation to re-engage these sleepers. If they still don’t respond, remove them from your list. Yes, I said it! Those ghost emails hurt your deliverability.
Finally…Add the human touch.
At the end of the day, no matter how consistent or automated your marketing is, your marketing results will only be as good as the people you have doing the marketing. You need interesting stories, strong visuals, and compelling offers. You also need someone who can think sequentially through all the steps to make sure the right message is getting to the right person. The final cog in your marketing machine is the person – or people – who will plan and execute your marketing strategy.
Don’t be afraid of the marketing machine. Make it your friend, and it will make you money!
Adrianne Machina can help you select the right marketing software, and create the compelling content that will get you noticed. Set up a free brainstorming session or sign up for the FREE Invisible to Impactful eCourse.
This post first appeared in The Partner Channel Magazine. Adrianne is a regular contributor.