Now is the “golden” time for marketers. We can track every click of a potential client. And this means that we are aware of almost all the actions of our clients in the network. This knowledge can be supported by data obtained from social networks, search engines and ecommerce.
If all this data is put together, we get the so-called “big data” (big data). Thanks to them, individualized marketing (one to one marketing) is no longer fiction, but routine. With this, you can additionally automate it.
If you have never heard of this concept, I advise you to read the book “The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time”. It was published in 1993 by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers – five years before Google!
In it, the authors described a new way to learn the wishes of customers, and also suggested the idea of creating personalized marketing messages for each client. It was new at the time and became a kind of “Holy Grail” of direct marketing.
They were twenty-six years ahead of time. And now we are discussing individualized marketing here. Terms like “dynamic content” and “ marketing automation ” originate from the same book Peppers and Rogers. The only difference is that now they have become a factual reality.
Their ideas are not suitable for giant Fortune 500 corporations, but for small firms, provided they take proper planning and apply their digital knowledge and skills. Ideal tools for this are marketing automation and social networks.
What is marketing automation?
Here is the definition given by Wikipedia:
Marketing automation is specialized computer programs and technologies created for marketing departments and firms with the goal of more efficient sale of goods and services through various online channels (for example, email, social networks, websites, etc.) and the creation of automated recurring tasks.
Simply put, marketing automation is software that can automate various marketing objectives. It is not limited to a single platform or type of marketing. Marketing automation can be used for anything from lead generation to customer retention.
Some companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in their marketing automation platforms . They deploy complex software, which can take weeks to configure, and months to learn to work with it. And some companies just use email.
Yes, the most ordinary email-mailing. Mailings are the workhorses of most marketing automation systems, because email is one of the best tools for automating and customizing marketing messages . We will simplify everything too much if we reduce marketing automation to email; nevertheless, this point of view is a good starting point. Many companies use another tool for marketing automation – social networks.
Different levels of marketing automation
In simple terms, combining marketing automation with social networks is to integrate email marketing (especially autoresponders) with social networks. If you automate some of your actions in social networks using tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite, then you are already using marketing automation with social networks.
There is one key aspect that differentiates basic entry-level marketing automation from advanced. These are portraits (profiles) of clients. If you use customer profiles, you do not send the same messages to all potential or existing customers. You divide clients into several groups and send emails and updates on social networks, adapted to the interests and needs of each such group. Group 1 and group 2 will receive completely different content.
It is the segmentation that marks the difference between standard coordination of tasks in email marketing and social networks and a full-fledged marketing automation platform.
Automation of news reports in social networks is fraught with difficulties. Without it, even a full-time professional will hardly keep up with the pace of posting, even in a small firm. He must be on his feet at 7 am to send the first tweet of the day, and not to sleep until 11 pm to send the last one. Imagine that you need to do this every day … it’s just unreal.
Experienced managers customize the publication of news in social networks using automation tools. And the rest of the time they are busy with other important things. For example, they can:
- Reply to follower comments;
- Communicate with clients in social networks;
- Check reports to see which posts had the best performance;
- Interact with other employees of the company to create interesting content for news and posts.
We recommend reading: 4 social networks that you may not use (and why you should do it).
Fortunately, the social media marketing manager often works alongside email marketing experts, and sometimes he himself is such an expert. This facilitates the coordination of work in social networks and email-mailings, and vice versa.
Possible actions of such specialists:
1) They actively collect email-subscribers through social interaction platforms. To do this, they:
- Add a subscription form to the company’s Facebook page;
- Announce the upcoming release of email newsletters on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and other platforms using a call to action, namely a call to subscribe;
- In the section “About the company” add a link with an invitation to subscribe to the newsletter.
2) They include social networking content in email newsletters.
These may be customer reviews, popular posts, results of the draws – everything that happened on the company’s pages on social networks. Also, do not forget to post calls to action – subscribe to your profiles on social networks.
3) They post on social networks or announce the release of content, to read / receive which you must provide your email address.
Reports, webinars, e-books – all this can be advertised on social networks, and more than once. Take small portions of content from each newsletter, for which you need an email address from the subscriber, and use it to fill the news feed on social networks. Even a small amount of high-quality information may be enough to interest the contact and induce him to subscribe to the newsletter.
4) They include social networking buttons on emails and make it possible, without additional efforts, to subscribe to a company profile on social networks in order to follow the updates.
5) They post on the subscription confirmation page an offer to follow the company news in social networks.
If possible, the company also adds a similar offer when unsubscribing from the newsletter.
We advise you to read: 9 rules of social networks that you should break .
If you implement automation (autoresponders) in social networks, this is what can happen:
1) Welcome autoresponder chains that introduce subscribers to your best content presented on the site and the main social networking platforms.
You can add automation elements to email messages so that when a contact clicks on a specific link in them, a GetResponse automated email campaign runs, for example, another autoresponder chain or campaign for a segmented contact database.
2) When someone downloads content on a specific topic that requires the provision of an email address, you can add it to a special segmented list or to a separate list to receive thematic information, after which you can send him email newsletters adapted to his needs and interests.
Suppose you are a recruitment agency and someone has downloaded instructions on how to hire employees. In this case, you can add it to the list of “employers”. Subsequently, you will send this list of messages interesting to employers.
More personalization and automation
Now let’s talk about basic marketing automation. As mentioned above, in order for marketing automation to work properly, you must have implemented automation, targeted mailings and customer segmentation into groups . Each such group should move forward in the sales funnel.
Example: even if you have a list of employers, you would not send the same message to employers who have just signed up and to employers who have been in your database for several months.
Decision? Send new subscribers a welcome letter . Set up triggers that run after downloading instructions or something else, causing the contact to be moved to another list.
Although it is useful to highlight several stages of customer interest, do not get carried away with this. Segmentation has advantages, but try to limit the sales funnel to 3-5 steps. Otherwise, your automation system will become too complex.
The last stage of setting up an automated and segmented marketing automation platform is sending news messages in social networks to various contact groups, i.e. You send to the contacts in these groups relevant news reports of social networks as they move through the sales funnel.
This stage, most marketers miss. They decide not to send individualized messages to their audience. Instead, they publish news bulletins in the aggregators of all social networks. News in such tapes will be of interest to various groups. For example, every second news may be interesting for employers, and every tenth – for employers who have just signed up.
This method is not perfect, but it works. To reach a new level, you need to find contact with each new follower . If you have a lot of them, this task may not be easy. But if the base is small (for example, 100 new followers per week), then the sales team can send individual welcome messages. As soon as a new subscriber clicks on a link in a welcome letter, the automation system adds it to a special list, whose members will receive information that is selected based on their behavior.
Nobody said that marketing automation was just
Once you have set up all the processes, you can begin to optimize them, test and improve them. Without automation, you would have to do a lot of mechanical work to keep up with the news release schedule. Marketing automation requires a lot of effort, but it has a good return. And there is a huge number of tools that simplify its operation.
How smoothly does your marketing automation system work? Do you send individualized messages to social network followers? Tell us about the results (positive and negative) in the comments below.