As marketers, we are always looking for ways to automate, optimize, and make things simpler for ourselves so we are able to run more programs, produce more content, achieve higher ROI, and the list goes on. What’s more, less than half of consumers say that brands could do a better job engaging them. Customers now expect an engaging, personalized experience. But creating engaging, personalized experiences for our audiences is an aspect of marketing that most marketers find difficult, and at times insurmountable. This is because to effectively engage with your audience you need a deep understanding of what they are actually doing and connect with them on a personal level at the exact, right moment. In today’s data-filled world, it isn’t the collecting of data that’s hard—it’s the use of that data to create those experiences across channels that are difficult.
In a recent survey, we asked marketers from all over the world what aspects of technology marketers need for effective engagement. Overwhelmingly, most of this engagement can be achieved with a marketing automation platform.
In this blog, we will cover five marketing automation features that drive engagement.
1. Email Marketing: Nurturing Your Audience with Timely and Personalized Messaging
The email marketing capabilities in marketing automation platforms allow marketers to send simple emails and more complex sets of email—for example building sequences of emails that are sent to customers automatically, based on pre-defined triggers, behaviors, demographic data, or other criteria. Email can be used for simple automation, such as:
- Sending customers a discount or special promotion on their birthday or anniversary.
- Sending customers a survey to collect their feedback after making a purchase or interacting with your team (such as a demo).
- Sending customers an email when they abandon their shopping cart without making a purchase.
One of the most powerful capabilities of marketing automation is its ability to help marketers nurture prospects, by delivering the right content to prospects at the proper stage of their journeys to ultimately nudge them toward the next conversion—whether that’s a download or a sale. For example, nurture can be used to deliver content to segmented groups of customers—the segmentation can be based on a variety of parameters like buyer persona, historical interactions with a brand on any channel, location, and other attributes. And the only time commitment required by marketers is the effort in setting up the email campaigns, sequences, and triggers…and of course, some routine maintenance to update material as it gets stale.
2. Mobile Marketing: Creating a Consistent Experience Across Devices
Your buyers are on different channels—so you need to be too (especially mobile). Adding mobile can be easy, but ensuring you have a consistent, unified experience across all channels is essential. With mobile marketing automation, marketers can:
- Engage with customers in a mobile app with push notifications, in-app messaging, and sales or customer service chatbots.
- Deliver the right message at the right time by sending a push notification about a sale when a customer who’s downloaded the app is near a retail location.
- Roll mobile engagement metrics into the same platform as a desktop for holistic, unified reporting.
- Create a seamless brand experience regardless of what device audience members using.
Mobile marketing automation improves customer engagement by helping your brand speak to each user as an individual. A desktop “conversation” can be picked up on mobile, mobile engagement affects email personalization and more.
3. Integrating Social Media: Track and Boost Engagement on Third-Party Channels
The most engaging social media marketing programs don’t happen in a vacuum—they’re integrated with all of your other marketing campaigns and channels. And using marketing automation can help simplify your social media marketing by integrating it with your website, blog, mobile app, analytics and more.
With social marketing automation, marketers can:
- Create the types of posts that customers enjoy engaging with, like polls and contests based on their interests.
- Create personalized web pages on social channels and track engagement.
- Add sharing buttons to all site content to allow your audience to share brand content with their friends effortlessly.
Marketing automation platforms also capture essential data about the people who engage with your brand on social: additional demographic information, behavior such as what content they download, how often content on social is clicked, and what type of content followers are most interested in.
These metrics can all be used to improve your multi-channel campaigns and share more targeted content thus boosting engagement.
4. Analytics and Reporting: Measure Results and Adapt to Optimize Engagement
Building an audience engagement strategy is a significant first step. But if you do not measure the effectiveness, it’s less of a strategy and more of a hypothesis.
The best engagement plans contain proven strategies. The initiatives have to be tested, measured and validated as successful before full implementation. That’s only possible if you’re tracking the right engagement metrics, evaluating the effectiveness of different campaigns, and narrowing your strategy down to focus exclusively on those that work.
By diving into what’s working and what’s not, you can make decisions to increase customer engagement and focus in on the channels, content, updates, promotions, and messages that create the highest engagement—and therefore highest ROI.
5. Website Visitor ID and Tracking: Personalize at the Earliest Stages of the Buying Journey
In an ideal world, every customer would engage with your brand for the very first time on one channel or another, use brand content and sales pages to proceed through the entire buying journey, and convert on the same day during that same session.
But it’s not an ideal world, and that’s not how your audience operates. Instead, customers and prospects might see a social post a friend shared and follow it to read a blog post on your site. A few months later, they view a few sales pages and case studies. This can continue for months before they ever supply an email address by subscribing to your newsletter or downloading gated content.
With the website visitor ID and tracking feature of a marketing automation tool, often called web personalization, you can learn more about these anonymous visitors before they provide you with their information, enabling more personalized experiences.
Website visitor ID technology allows marketers to gather valuable information—like location, company size, and industry—that makes anonymous visitors less anonymous (even if you don’t have their name, email, phone).
This allows marketers to deliver retargeting ad campaigns, and track how and where leads at the beginning of the funnel are most likely to engage. And ultimately provides useful information in building a customer journey map that can be used to engage future leads and anonymous visitors by delivering them the right information, at the right time, based on proven data.
These five features of a marketing automation platform can help you take your engagement to the next level and get you ahead of your competitors. What other features of a marketing automation platform have been useful to drive engagement in your experience? Let’s keep the discussion going in the comments as I would love to hear your thoughts.
Via Marketo blog.