Whether your organization is an early adopter of marketing automation or you are considering it for the first time, there can be underlying worries about automation’s impact on your marketing efforts. Marketing automation is powerful, allowing your business to leverage algorithms to streamline identical, repeatable tasks that are part of your lead funnel strategy. However you, like many others, may be wondering about what is lost through automation.
Are you worried your marketing will become too cold, impersonal… robotic? That it will lose its efficacy? The main question for businesses is not “should I stop using marketing automation,” but “how do I strike the right balance of marketing automation and personalization?” If that’s you, you’re not alone. According to Social Media Today, 61% of marketers are concerned about the lack of personalization with marketing automation. To help you determine the balance of marketing automation that’s right for your organization, Bold Entity has put together a quick primer on the strengths, the weaknesses, and finding the intersection of marketing automation and personalization.
Marketing Automation Strengths
The greatest strength of a marketing automation platform is its ability to streamline your marketing funnel actions. Not only streamline your lead generation funnel actions, but visually represent them to you. This is great because it allows you and your team to see a visual representation of how prospects can move through your funnel. Distilling the often complicated, interwoven tasks and touches of your lead development process into a series of nested flowcharts; creating order from chaos. Having a straightforward, visual representation of your lead generation funnel can help you identify opportunities and make changes to improve your lead development strategy’s efficiency and conversion rate.
Marketing Automation Optimizes Team Efforts
When computers and automation started to become a reality we thought it would make life simpler for us. We know now with the benefit of hindsight that our work is not necessarily easier than it was before, but it is much different. Instead, computers and automation have allowed us to do more work, better, and faster than before. That is how marketing automation impacts teams that implement it. Marketing automation reduces the lower impact, “busywork” load on your team. Allowing your talented team to spend more of their efforts and energy on high-impact, high-touch lead development tasks that help push leads over the conversion goal line.
Automated Form Communication
If you have worked in lead development for any amount of time you likely have a file of communication templates you can quickly use to follow up with leads. Marketing automation shines at taking this time saving idea to the next level. By building your communication templates into emails, texts, and other communications inside the software you can make the lead development engine run without manual attention.
For each communication you can set variables, which can take the blanks in your templates that you would manually have to enter (lead name, interested offering, etc.) and pull the information directly from your lead’s profile. You will also develop one or more triggers for your message, which will be added to the visual flowchart, to determine when a lead should receive this specific communication. All keeping you and your team from having to manually copy paste communication templates and fill in details by hand while keeping your communication genuine and contact informed.
Marketing Automation Drawbacks
For all that marketing automation can do for your lead development efforts, it isn’t a cure-all. Marketing automation can improve your lead development strategy’s efficiency and effectiveness, but it cannot overcome the challenge of an underdeveloped strategy. It also requires you to walk a fine line to ensure your lead communication is not too generic or intrusive. Prospects and leads are likely to be turned off by your communication if it sounds too general or reads like a form letter.
But, they’re also liable to be turned off if your communication is too aggressive. Examples include getting multiple emails after submitting a website form or after a lead makes a follow-up visit to your website. You do not want to scare off leads by giving off Big Brother surveillance vibes.
Marketing Automation Isn’t Responsive
Certainly you can create a triggers that responds to incoming communication. What marketing automation cannot do is read tone or emotion in a prospect’s communication. This is the purview of your talented human team and what they bring to the equation cannot be replaced with any amount of marketing automation software. Your marketing automation cannot intuit the reason for a lead’s conversion hesitancy or troubleshoot their challenges. These issues require the human touch of an experienced professional to resolve.
Marketing Automation Isn’t Personal
Marketing automation can’t ask about a lead’s daughter’s soccer season or make a connection with a prospect by talking about how you both love 90 Day Fiancée. Creating a personal connection, making communication adjustments for a prospect’s personality, and speaking their sales language is not something automation can do. As sophisticated as marketing automation is, it cannot in make real-time adjustments for a prospect’s personality that can make the difference between converting a lead or losing it.
Marketing Automation: What’s the Right Balance?
The right balance of marketing automation and personalization will be specific to your organization. Overall, focus on making the strengths of marketing automation work for you. Use it as a way to organize and visualize your lead development efforts. This alone will help you adjust and refine your lead development process for improved effectiveness. It can also help you segment your audience to make your intentional communication more personalized to your leads.
A Little Personalization Goes a Long Way
It’s unlikely your lead is going to mistake an automated message for a human-generated message. The strength of automated marketing messages is adding multiple touches along the life of your lead. Having an automated email that triggers when a lead hasn’t engaged with you in a couple weeks can help your leads stay warm. Consider sending a personalized message that uses the lead’s name and language about how you haven’t heard from them in a while. Then ask the lead if they have any questions and offer a way they can schedule a phone call or video chat with one of your team. These little personalizations go a long way to creating a better buyer experience for your leads.
Use Marketing Automation to Capitalize on Hot Leads
When a prospect fills out a form on your website they often trigger an automated confirmation/thank you email. Also create triggers to notify your team of the new lead. This can allow someone from your team to directly reach out to a new lead while they’re still hot and fresh. Triggers can also be used to notify your team when a lead wants to schedule an appointment or wants to be sent more information about your company’s offerings. Creating these triggers can help you pull new prospects deeper into your funnel sooner.
Marketing Automation + Bold Entity
If you are interested in adding automation to your marketing and lead development efforts, Let’s Talk. Bold Entity can help you set up marketing automation, design your templates, and develop the right messaging for your automated communication. We can also include lead attribution tracking to help you see which of your digital marketing efforts provides the best ROI.
Looking for more ways to improve your marketing? Check out these useful, Bold Entity blogs on digital marketing.