Marketing Automation 101: Streamline Your Business for Success
Digital marketing has transformed the way organisations take their goods and services to market. Despite the benefits that can be gained through cross-channel digital campaigns, strategic planning and tactical implementation can often be disconnected. Consequently, many organisations don’t achieve the right level of return on investment (ROI) from their digital marketing activities. This is often because they don’t implement the right metrics to track and monitor conversion.
At the core of any good marketing strategy is the concept of measuring and testing. Analysing conversion through traditional channels has either been subjective or not backed by quantitative metrics. With digital marketing, every channel can be tracked and measured using Unique Tracking Marks (UTMs), Cookies and analytics software. At the very basic level, Google Analytics gives us the ability to setup goals and events to monitor conversions across different acquisition sources and devices. This means we have no excuse to not achieve a better ROI. Marketers have nowhere to hide, so our campaigns must result in quantifiable outcomes. This requires the digital community to be more ruthless than ever and stop wasting time and money on practices that don’t produce return.
At the heart of any good digital strategy lies good tracking. Every mention, every click, every engagement needs to be tracked and measured against the contribution to the customer experience, or better still – against the bottom line. In our multi-channel world where we need to think carefully about behaviour across different platforms and devices, the customer experience and user journey need to be measured separately to ensure increased ROI. The simplest way to achieve this is to use UTMs across social media, email marketing and paid media; and I always ensure native search and ‘Above the line’ media are always linked to goals and events within Google Analytics.
Tracking visitors that come to your website is an essential component to your digital marketing strategy. Whilst Google Analytics will tell you how many people have been on your site and offer a means of monitoring conversion, the free version won’t give you the full details of prospects.
Tracking software sits behind your website and looks at the IP address of each organisation that visits your website. When a prospect comes onto your site using a fixed internet connection, the tracking software can cross reference the IP address of the prospect against their company name. Of course, the downside is that mobile traffic can’t be monitored effectively using this strategy.
Tracking software enables you to sort prospects by the frequency of their engagement as well as setting up automated notifications to your Sales Team whenever prospects reengage with your content. The software I use takes it a step further by integrating Cookies across the website. This enables me to track individuals rather than just companies. Using lead scoring, we can identify “buying like behaviour” and then trigger automated email campaigns back to the prospect based on their specific user journey. This is a powerful way to generate leads that ensures maximum ROI for minimal investment.
Marketing automation is the practice of tactically automating your marketing campaigns in order to nurture leads, get new business enquiries and increase sales. It is one of the keys to achieve better ROI from your digital marketing activities.
Marketing automation enables organisations to automatically target different individuals without having to individually initiate separate campaigns. Automated marketing activity enables the entire lead acquisition strategy to run behind the scenes without the need for manual intervention. Whilst this requires a significant amount of time to setup and map out the required user journey, it does produce better results in the long run. Those marketers concerned with the customer experience will be sure to look at the user journey throughout this process. Automation ultimately increases business efficiency and gives you more time to focus on analytics, tweaking your campaigns to improve conversion throughout the course of the campaign.
Many entrepreneurs and online marketers will already be using some forms of marketing automation techniques without really thinking about it. Applications that manage scheduling on social media and automated email marketing campaigns are all good examples of automation. However, these techniques only scratch the surface of what can prove to be a hugely beneficial and lucrative way to get better ROI from your digital marketing. Big data and the emergence of cross-relational databases have resulted in automation platforms that can achieve greater results than ever before.
The jury is still out on whether personalisation is better than automation; with many senior marketers still calling for better personalisation at the campaign level. Whilst I tend to agree with the sentiment behind this, I am yet to find a personalised campaign that has produced more conversions than campaigns that have used marketing automation.
Digital marketing has fundamentally changed the way marketing professionals operate. In this dynamic environment, return on investment can be more easily achieved, but only when marketers ensure that the right tracking and metrics are in place. There is no room for failing digital campaigns anymore, as lazy marketers will be found out and replaced by those who understand the science behind digital marketing.