What Marketing Automation Means?

The very basic formula of any marketing is:

Defining Prospects + Contact Details + Campaign = Marketing

The act of automating these steps with the help of technology and software turns it into Marketing Automation.

Thus, when with the help of a business software some or many steps of marketing are handled automatically by a software or application, that’s called marketing automation.

Beginning of Marketing Automation

So, at the beginning, when computer and internet were new and weren’t matured as much as they are today, the marketing companies used to compile a long list of prospective clients and then send them the same mail one by one. Then someone invented a function by which people were able to enlist all email IDs in one email and send a bulk email.

We can call that the first Marketing Automation attempt as the system had automated one part of the marketing campaign. Now there was no need to send each individual one by one. It was now done with a single click. Though, you had to create a database of all the email IDs first, but the repetitive process of composing the same email for every individual was discarded.

From the that time on, people have just built upon the same idea, transformed more manual steps into the automatic ones and more and more repetitive efforts performed by executives has turned into automated ones.

Today, it is possible to send one mail to a thousand (or a million) people without writing a single word, without entering email IDs manually or hitting send at the moment you want send it.

How? A few types of mails have readymade formats available for free. You can take that format as the body of your mail. Then there are services which provide you list of email IDs in the domains you require. And then on an email client, you schedule your emails to automatically be sent without your presence. See? Nothing is written and yet you have sent thousands of emails with a few clicks.

Though, such email with readymade templates will have a very low conversion rate. Yet, it reflects the reach and advancements in the marketing automation segment. You are only required to tell the software what you want to do and then, everything is done automatically.

Marketing Automation: Intelligence Gathering

Marketing Automation software has gone advanced and thus they have also made the every steps of marketing advanced. The aforementioned simple formula of marketing has become complex, much more focused, centralized and aligned for the maximum ROI. Nowadays, only gathering lists of email IDs isn’t enough. For maximum efficiency you have more software and techniques to discard the people and steps which have less possibility to turn into conversion. You can target only those people who have higher likability of turning into a customer.

How you/software know that?

Today, in the times of matured internet with the social media sites, increased internet footprints, there is software available which follows and tracks a person’s internet footprint on social media, search engines, different websites and all the things they click and look out for on the internet. After that, the software segmentizes the data and turns it into actionable information. Basing on that information, the tool suggests you the people which are most likely to convert into customer as they are probably following the similar things which falls into the product category of your product or their interests and search results suggests that they are interested into the product you are selling i.e. a person running a big firm is more likely to buy your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system than a man who sells candies at a local shop. Thus, you can discard the people who aren’t going to buy your product and focus only on the people with higher likability. This way, your spending on mail clients shows higher ROI with maximum efficiency. The rate of replies, mail openings, leads and ultimately to the conversion also stays high.

Thus, the software and tools are helping to maximize your performance by intelligence gathering from online sites and people’s online footprints. Collected intelligence is helping you to do marketing efficiently, smartly and with higher return.

Marketing Automation: Workflow Automation inside the Company

There is this third part of the marketing automation which furthers the game to the next level which makes sure that you are always there to close the deal for any customer who is interested in your product. It’s called Workflow Automation.

Workflow Automation actually tracks the performance of the recent marketing campaign and sees if the prospect has reached to a level where he is considering buying your product. He is probably visiting your website regularly, spends longer time on it or is visiting the product pricing page. At that time, the marketing automation software understands the prospect’s higher possibility of turning into a conversion. At that critical time, the software sends to one of your marketing executive an alert for such a prospect who, from there on, can take predefined steps to ensure the prospect turns into a conversion. The Marketing Automation Software are looking at the people’s profiles, habits, nature and collective psychographic data to understand if he will be interested in your product or not.

That’s marketing automation at its maximum performance.

You can understand that all the marketing automation tricks, techniques and ways described here are just the extensions of the decades old basic marketing formula. Those three steps are now highly matured with their own sub-parts, polished to a level where the conversion ration stays high, with segmented information about the prospects to target only the best ones and achieve results with far higher leads and conversions than its basic counterpart.

Marketing Automation isn’t only for Email Marketing.

That’s true. Whenever a person thinks of online marketing, email marketing pops up the first. But, as its well-known, there are a lot of other ways to market your product online. Social media posts, online conferences/calls/webinars, website promotion, advertisements, etc. There are a lot of options and each one is a marketing effort.

Now, in each of these techniques, if there is a Marketing Automation Software available which is making a few steps automatic i.e. posting on multiple social media sites at once or posting articles/press releases automatically on multiple article directories or article/PR submission sites, then that software is helping in your marketing campaign and is making it automatic. That is also a marketing automation software.

Marketing Automation isn’t bound only to email marketing.

How to know if you require a marketing automation software?

The criteria is simple. If you rely on email marketing, social media marketing and other traceable online marketing techniques, then here are the situations to use a marketing automation software:

  1. If you are repetitively sending thousands and thousands of emails to your prospect on daily/weekly/monthly basis
  2. You require a detailed review of your marketing campaign
  3. Using a software reduces cost/time/efforts spent on the task greatly

Benefits

Benefits of marketing automation are:

  1. It accelerates the whole campaign tremendously
  2. Marketing Intelligence helps you to target only prospects with higher conversion possibility
  3. Your employees get great support to track down and assist the most interested prospect. Thus, it goes to the last mile to ensure one more deal is closed.
  4. The detailed analytics and statistics help you to get better and better with your every campaign

The Top 5 Referral Marketing Ideas for New Businesses

Do you have a brilliant business idea that’s taking off? Are you at a point where you have a product and your customers love everything about it? Have you considered leveraging the power of referral marketing to help even more people discover your product? There are numerous referral marketing ideas that can help you increase your sales.

Consider this – nowadays, a business has to sell more than just a product. You have to sell a full customer experience; An experience that has inspired your customer to share your products with friends and family.

Marketing conditions are continually changing. Unlike a decade ago, businesses these days do not only sell a product or service to customers, but also an experience. They are given a full experience that will inspire them to share the product or service with friends and family – all of whom are potential customers. Word-of-mouth referrals are the most effective way to grow your business, and this is especially true when you are just getting started as a business.

According to Entrepreneur, an ever increasing number of businesses in 2015 and beyond will try to be more open to feedback from their customers. Here are a few referral marketing ideas on how you can make the most out of your customer referrals.

1. IMPROVE YOUR REFERRAL MARKETING STRATEGY

A Nielsen Trust Study from 2013 showed that referrals are the most trusted form of advertising. This information should be good motivation to establish a solid referral strategy, one based on various referral marketing ideas.

Research is the foundation of any marketing strategy. When you want to craft a good referral marketing strategy, the initial research should include the basics, such as understanding customer desires and needs. But we also advise you to conduct research on any potential referral channels, such as news publications, influencers (bloggers and social media influencers), as well as finding all possibilities to produce customer reviews and opinions online.

Once your research is done, use the data to find the right referral marketing ideas, and then craft a successful strategy which includes:

– Exceptional customer service. Give customers or potential buyers a reason to engage, care about and tell others about your brand. Satisfied clients provide great referrals that are invaluable to small businesses

– The 80/20 rule of referral marketing

– Shareable product experiences. A simple Facebook post, Twitter tweet or Instagram selfie can now reach hundreds, if not thousands of potential customers in a few seconds.

– Referral marketing program. Consider including an obvious incentive in your referral marketing program. Customers are more likely to refer friends and family when there is a valuable incentive involved. If the incentives are worthless or undesirable to the company’s existing customer base, the customers won’t be interested enough to participate in the referral program. Make the program more visible by placing signs in stores and using any internet marketing tools that apply.

Influencer. Find a person who is sufficiently influential in your niche. It doesn’t have to be a celebrity; A popular blogger, YouTuber or Instagramer will do the job.

References. Use references as referrals because people consider other people’s opinions before determining whether they should purchase a product or not.

2. FOCUS ON ONLINE REFERRALS

Referral marketing can be highly effective in an online environment due to the popularity of social media and sharing sites. Internet referral marketing can potentially spread information faster and to a wider audience than most offline marketing strategies.

These days, average customer reach is much larger than ever before and for many people with strong social followings, it can be enormous. Customers now have the power to make or break a business by what they say about it online.

According to research carried out by social media experts, 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, whereas only 14% trust advertisements. Perhaps that’s why online communities are so good at generating business referrals.

Dropbox, an online file storage company, implemented a very successful referral program in 2009 asking users to tell their friends about the service. The program offered rewards for both sides in the form of additional free space.

This program came to be very fruitful. Namely, by 2010, 35% of daily sign-ups were the result of a referral, while signups had permanently increased by 60% overall. The company estimated that within a 30-day period (April 2010), their users had sent more than 2.8 million direct referral invitations.

Dropbox debuted as a Y Combinator startup in 2007. It now has 300 million users and more than 500 employees. Follow the trend and take advantage of the variety of social media approaches to increasing your referrals. Brainstorm on various referral marketing ideas and try them out.

3. USE CONTENT AS A REFERRAL TOOL TO FORGE STRONG REFERRAL RELATIONSHIPS

Most often, customers are too busy to leave referrals, even though they are satisfied with the product or service. In situations like this, valuable content can generate referral introductions in ways that are constructive and valuable as opposed to shallow and fruitless.

Valuable content is an effective tool for attracting strategic partnerships as well. While many business owners focus most of their referral efforts on customers, non-competing businesses that serve your target market can be one of the most potent sources of referrals.

4. CONNECT WITH RELATED PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

The old premise “It’s not what you know but who you know” is still very popular in the business world. Even though you may be skilled and dedicated to your new business, your chances of success will rise exponentially when you connect with the right people.

Many companies collaborate with complementary businesses and cross-promote to each other’s customer bases. In order to promote your business, identify a connection that would be interested in setting up a barter program with you, one in which you’ll work for them and refer new clients to their business and vice versa.

Networking is the key to obtaining more customers and earning brand trust. For this reason, view every moment as a potential networking opportunity and watch your business grow.

5. SEEK CREATIVITY IN REFERRAL MARKETING IDEAS

Having a variety of electronic devices available to you and your customers, you have infinite possibilities of creating inspirational referral marketing ideas. If your client is willing, try to capture a testimonial on video. This can be a really powerful asset. Offer them an incentive to motivate them to make a creative referral.

Another idea you can try is thinking of a witty way to ask for referrals. There is an interesting example of a computer repair company using stamps reading “We Crave Referrals” on every paper that customers receive – including newsletters, marketing material, and invoices.

Remember, the best referrals are the ones you don’t even have to ask for. Thus, provide your customers with an exceptional experience that will make them eager to share it with others. Try various referral marketing ideas and see how they work for your business.

7 Game-Changing Marketing Trends You Need To Know About

Over the last few years, technology has changed a lot. The pace of change in technology is very fast. It is getting even more difficult for marketing firms to keep up with this change in technology. So what kind of technological change should you expect soon? You need to be prepared for these upcoming changes. Here are some, coming very soon:

1. Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is also known as customer relationship management (CRM). It is focused on long-term engagement and relationships with the customers instead of short term relations. The aim of relationship marketing is to emotionally engage customers with the brands. This leads to free word of mouth marketing and loyalty. It is different from traditional marketing approach because it is not focused on individual profit generation.

2. Marketing Automation

Market automation refers to the latest technologies and software that are designed for marketing departments. These software and online channels are used to promote products at different platforms like emails, blogs, social media and websites.

3. Location-Based Marketing Technology

The location-based technology uses mobile phone location for marketing the products. It is another direct marketing strategy. An opt-in is usually activated to process this type of marketing. What actually happens is that when opt-in is activated it starts tracking the location of device holder and sends a text about nearby product or service which is available. This includes any free coupon schemes or any discount deals. This technology actually bridges the physical gap between customers and the available products in their nearby places.

4. Virtual Reality

One of the most prominent marketing strategies that should be utilized by every marketer is virtual reality. Virtual reality artificially creates sensory experiences. It can be aimed at sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch. It is used in the depiction of business products, games, movies, and arts.

5. Ephemeral Marketing

Snapchat is one of the best examples of ephemeral marketing. It is one of the latest leaps in technological development. Marketing firms and businesses can use it for their own benefit. Ephemeral marketing means providing something to the customers for a very short period of time. This has many advantages. For instance, when discounts and special offers are announced like this for a limited time period it will enhance the excitement of customers. Similarly giving a sneak peek of the new product, which is not yet launched in the market, could also increase the excitement of people. In this way, people will be more attracted towards the product.

6. Search Past Search Engines

Many social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are trying to create their own search engines. It will also boost the marketing opportunities for the marketers so they need to be prepared for this change.

7. The Internet of Things

Internet of things is actually a network of physical objects. For instance vehicles, devices, buildings etc. which are electronically connected with each other. For marketers, it means that their data is more easily accessible to the customers so they can market their products more efficiently.