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First, let's talk about your marketing funnel. A funnel is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. Generally, you use one to pour a liquid into a bottle. Without the funnel, most of the liquid would end up on the floor. True?
This is a little bit like your marketing strategy. At the level of 'first contact' with your business, there are many people who are potential customers but they have not yet progressed to the stage of becoming committed buyers.
In other words, they have not yet converted. The marketing funnel is your strategy to move your potential customers along the path to purchasing your product.
Sounds good so far. Your various marketing activities along that path of progression or along the "purchasing cycle" can be driven actively by yourself or you can use some well designed and clever tools that automate many of the marketing activities and in fact further drive your customers down your marketing funnel.
In this article, you will learn 8 things you need to know about marketing automation tools.
It stands to reason the more you know about your customers the more successful you will be in selling to them. Is that true? Yes in part. The vital element missing is that you need to not only know your customers but you need to use that information to target your marketing.
How does this work when using marketing automation tools. Every time you visit a website it will ask if you are ok with cookies. Basically, this is a small code that is saved in your web browser that can help personalize your web experience. Cookies can be used by your automated marketing tools to provide information on users visiting your website.
You can gather information about what they are looking at and which products they are most interested in and possibly the reasons why they may leave your website. That information is used to form a personalized marketing approach.
There is no doubt a "free consultation" is a powerful hook. This requires the potential customer to complete a form so that you can learn more about their needs. Customers recognize this as an essential step and willing submit relevant information.
When the form is submitted, your automation tools can segment your customers according to a predefined set of rules and then make sure they receive the most relevant marketing messages. This can even include a series of emails all designed to advance your client down the marketing funnel.
A clever addition is sending case studies that are relevant from other successful customers. All of this is automated. Now that is clever!
This has to be one of the most quoted expressions in business. That is because it is nearly always true. Every minute of the day that passes your business has expenses. Your time is precious and it costs your business money. Therefore you want to make sure you are targeting your personal efforts with customers who are the most likely to convert.
How do you know who they are? Through your marketing automation tools, you can set up a scoring system for your potential clients depending on where they are in your marketing funnel.
You can assign a number of points for various things that they do to indicate the strength of their interest. For example, you may assign more points for downloading a catalog as opposed to merely clicking on a product page. Then you can focus your time calling potential customers with the highest scores.
Successful sales is often a matter of timing. Being in the right place at the right time and saying the right thing will lead to sales. In contrast, even if you have the right product and the right price, if your client is not ready then you will not sell.
Marketing automation tools will monitor your active sales leads on your sites and develop some understanding of when is the right time to pitch your sales. You can 'learn' when your client is showing they are the most interested in your product through a set of pre-defined conditions and then pitch a special offer to close the sale.
In the world of sales, there is nothing worse than investing your time in a sale that never comes. All that energy and effort for nothing. Far better to apply yourself whole-souled to those customers who are most likely to convert.
Marketing automation tools allow you to conserve your emotional, intellectual and even physical energy for those type of customers. That means more enjoyable and more satisfying work and greater productivity of sales staff. This can even lead to reducing your sales costs by as much as 12.5%. Check out this article if you want to learn more.
There is no doubt that a marketing funnel driven by automated tools is a beautiful thing. This takes a huge amount of energy and work out of your ongoing sales effort. Instead, you can focus your energy on the important point of direct contact with your clients where needed.
However, automated marketing tools are sophisticated and require time to carefully set up and fine-tune their parameters. Implementation should not be overlooked. It is a significant investment of time and intellectual energy. Online marketing has many elements to it. There are some examples here.
It is fair to say that marketing automation tools offer a suite of software tools that enable you to approach your marketing from multiple angles. Exactly how you tune this approach will depend on the type of business you operate and the product you offer.
There is a "one-size fits all" approach. You need to become familiar with the various tools available and customize accordingly. There are many companies that offer automated marketing tools and by and large, they are similar but they can vary in the features that they offer. So make sure you know all your options before signing up.
These tools do not come cheap. You need to weigh the value of these tools against things like the value of your average sale. Also, the prices vary a lot between providers.
That does not always mean if you buy cheaper you will automatically get something inferior. Read the reviews and do your homework as this is a significant investment.
Final Thought - Good Decisions Are Not Automated
Marketing automation tools can make a big difference to your business. The automation is driven by intelligent decisions that you must first define. There is no avoiding this. It means these tools take time and work to set up correctly.
Choose wisely though, and they will work 24/7 for you and generate excellent sales. Check out some more top business strategies here.