06 Jun Using Marketing Automation to Fill Your Sales Funnel
Using Marketing Automation to Fill Your Sales Funnel.
Marketing automation may be the best way for small businesses to level the playing field against larger competitors. Are you fully utilizing your marketing tools to encourage prospects to become paying customers?
Every organization dreams about having an unlimited number of leads that magically turn themselves into sales after flowing through a perfectly-formed sales funnel. While this level of perfection doesn’t exist in the real world, there are ways that you can leverage each step of your marketing automation funnel to encourage prospects to blossom into customers, repeat customers and eventually advocates for your brand.
Digital marketing may seem like a mixture of science fiction and art, but using marketing automation relies a great deal on psychology and a deep understanding of your customers and prospects. Today’s customers do not follow a linear path to purchase. Instead, they may trickle in from a variety of different places. When you have your marketing automation fully built and running on all cylinders, you’re able to meet each prospect and influence their unique journey by providing the right piece of information at the right time. Get it correct, and you’ll have an endless supply of engaged prospects to fill your sales funnel.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is a term that you’ll hear used in a variety of different circles. However, it may mean something completely different to an enterprise marketing director than it does to a small business owner. You may think that just because you don’t have a full complement of marketers to drive content throughout your brand channels that you don’t need the complexity involved in marketing automation. Nothing could be further from the truth! Marketing automation allows the savvy marketer who truly understands their audience to define a variety of paths that customers are likely to travel and create a sequence that works for a broad spectrum of users. At each step of that path, prospects and customers have a choice: to engage with the information being provided or to ignore it. Ignore enough information, and the smart marketer knows that you should try different tactics to involve individuals with their brand.
Think of it like this: in a face-to-face sales call or even on the phone, you can quickly tell when your prospect is losing interest. Either their eyes will glaze, they’ll change the subject or simply dismiss you from their presence. Before that happens, a good salesperson looks for ways to re-engage by changing topics, bringing in a new visual element or switching sales tactics. Marketing automation will perform these same tactics for you — at scale.
Marketers rarely meet their prey in this type of situation, and instead have to rely on hidden cues or extrapolate (guess!) what’s going on in their prospect’s head based on data points. With marketing automation, there are specific triggers that your prospects aren’t engaging with your content such as:
- Low email open rates and click-to-open rates
- Fewer website visits
- A limited number of downloads of your content upgrades
- No recent additions to your newsletter
Each one of these metrics tells you something about the quality of your content and the willingness of that particular audience member to engage with your brand. When you are resonating with your audience, they are eagerly waiting for the information that you have to share and are actively seeking out new details to help them make a buying decision.
First-Time Website Visitors Aren’t Ready to Get Married
Be realistic, do you ever see something for the very first time and immediately decide that you must make a purchase before doing additional research? While this may happen once in a great while, the majority of first-time visitors to your website are the digital equivalent of window shoppers. Something may have caught their attention for a moment, or perhaps they clicked through from another website. If their attention isn’t grabbed immediately, they are more likely to be skipping merrily off to another website than looking for a “Buy Now” button. Your job as a marketer is to get just enough information from the prospect that you can deepen the relationship through marketing automation.
Here’s an example of how marketing automation could work for a real estate agent:
- Bob is moving to Atlanta, so he goes to Google and types in “real estate agent Atlanta”
- There are several different options, but he thinks Betty White looks like a good pick
- Bob visits Betty’s website, where he finds a house that looks interesting that is about to go on the market
- Bob fills out a form on the website to be notified when the home is available for sale
Now, here is where it gets interesting. In a non-automated sales process, Bob would probably get a call from Betty or her assistant who would answer any questions he has and put his name on a mailing list to get an annual calendar. However, with marketing automation the lead nurturing process looks more like this:
- Bob immediately receives an email confirmation with demographics and information about the Atlanta area, signed personally by Betty
- The email would also include other listings that were similar to the one in which Bob indicated interest: same neighborhood, general price-range or school system
- For the next week or so, Bob receives automated emails with tidbits of information welcoming him to the Atlanta area, telling about fun things to do and generally building a relationship between Betty and Bob — all without Betty lifting a finger!
When Betty does have an opportunity to connect with Bob in person or on the phone, Bob already has a great feeling about Betty. She appears to be thoughtful, proactive and willing to help make his home buying experience easy — which is what all customers truly want. This additional information that trickles through to Bob aids his comfort level in the decision to select Betty as his real estate agent; a lucrative decision for Betty.
Using marketing automation to fill your sales funnel doesn’t happen overnight, and there is some level of complexity involved. However, the benefit of working out the kinks is well worth the time you invest as it will work for you 24/7/365 to shuttle leads through the customer journey to becoming paying customers for your business. Get started on a customized marketing automation strategy for your business by calling the digital marketing and advertising professionals at Webociti at 678-892-7157 or request a free quote online.