Marketing Automation Magic

ExactTarget Raleigh NC - Isum12Wed
ExactTarget Raleigh NC – Isum12Wed (Photo credit: Thos003)

Drip campaigns; lead nurturing, multi-channel and multi-touch marketing automation

There is nothing more time consuming and off putting than either getting too close too quickly or spending time following up on leads with prospects that are just not ready to buy yet.

Spending time with current or potential customers that are in no position to make a decision is not a great use of your company’s valuable selling assets. Instead they should be focusing their time on leads which are ready to start looking seriously at what you are offering and don’t require “converting” because they are already aligned with your model as shown by your marketing and their continued interest, so it’s just a question of details.

Likewise, diving in with a phone call too early to new prospects can push them away, especially those that are unsure or still in what I call the “grey” transition phase, where a problem exists and they are not entirely convinced of what they should do or where they should go to get it fixed.

The pipeline is not just a funnel, its wave

The cycle that prospects move through to become customers reminds me of the idea adoption cycle where people have to first realise that there is a problem and then second understand that you are the best choice to help them. This moves in phases of understanding where knowledge is the key to being able to transition each phase.

Unconscious problem, conscious problem, unconscious solution, conscious solution.

Likewise, prospecting and selling should follow a similar process, using marketing and automation to generate consciousness about the problems that a prospect may be experiencing and guide them through the phases on a journey to a solution with you as the supplier.

You can use technology to help you ride the waves

Today’s marketing and its supporting technology along with more traditional methods gives customers many opportunities to meet and interact with your company. By blending multiple channels together and using technology you can deliver the right messages, consistently, to your prospects and customers over a specified period of time on auto pilot.

You are creating a workflow which triggers a sequence of events or activities requiring limited human intervention and allowing your prospects to decide how close they get to you before deciding to take things further.

Just because somebody filled in a lead form does not mean they are ready to buy and for the majority of leads that’s probably true.  Instead they are all at difference phases of the idea adoption cycle and our use of technology is to help people transition these waves without becoming and obstacles to them.

The main purpose is to build and reinforce the foundations of a relationship

Even though you may be able to technically deliver the features, advantages and benefits of hat you are offering your marketing will not be effect until it moves into the zone of creating a relationship founded on trust and rapport.

Your campaign sequence therefore should build on a relationship step by step and carefully balance your sales messages with the kind of content that truly does build a relationship and that is helping people to understand who you are and how you can genuinely help.

It’s not just the content the matters, it’s the frequency too.  Blasting people down with a wave of emails, letters and other messages which may offer good values is a sure fire way of overwhelming and undermining any relationship that you may have built up in the beginning. You’ve just rolled the dice and ended up on a snake, instead of moving up the ladder.

Be clear about how often people will receive communications from you so that they know what to expect.  A short course may be a 7 day continual email / snail mail combination package where they have specifically requested to receive the content of this period. Other communications and newsletters may only go out monthly or quarterly.

Once you have permission to send, it does not give you license to abuse, so use it wisely and carefully.

The phases of a campaign that builds a relationship

Getting to know you

Your first communications should acknowledge and respond to their request, clearly stating who you are, why they are receiving this and what they can expect.

Delivering value

Then you provide useful quality information and keep delivering.  This could include joint ventures, news and opinion from your niche and insightful research.  The number of quality communications you send during this phase should be representative of the value of the product or service you are delivering.

This is a great way to position you as the expert and deliver some really powerful marketing and show your prospects and customers just how much you know about this topic.

Remember that the quality of your product or service will likely be judged by the quality of the information you provide.

Opportunities to buy

Here you get to promote a product or service, only once you’ve got the foundation of a relationship in place. Again they will be information based and could even offer comparisons, reviews, customer success stories.

If it’s not your product share your own view about why you are recommending it

Putting it all together

In amongst these core emails you should also consider putting into your sequence answers to common questions or objections so that you can cover them as part of your sequence.

Always have research that backs up your views as doing this will help to uncover the unspoken questions, concerns and objections that prospects may have and bring the sales much closer to your door.

Your campaign should also make use of alternative media such as text, video or audio that has you and other expert’s discussing or debating a specific topic.

The time, order, content and media should be a carefully planned psychological sequence that connects you with your audience in a compelling way.

The Automation Technology

There are a few technical components that you are going to need to get this working.

The first is CRM system which enables you to capture prospect and customer data and profile them.  There are some excellent packages our there and some very powerful open source technologies that you can adapt for your purpose.

Next you will need an auto-responder that is capable of broadcasting over multiple channels such as email, snail mail, social media, mobile sms etc.  This maybe a blend systems of a single piece of technology.

Lastly you will need a fulfilment operation to ensure that snail mail and other physical media gets packed and sent to your prospect or customer.

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