Are you spending hours every day managing all your customer communications manually or have you discovered the time-saving, hyper-networking benefits of adopting marketing automation strategies?
*This article was updated on 05/29/19 to represent current marketing automation strategies in 2019.
Thanks to products from companies such as SharpSpring, Marketo, and Hubspot, more brands are beginning to adopt marketing automation to enhance their customer relationships. In fact, advances in marketing automation are expected to drive an increase in U.S. digital marketing revenues to $120 billion by 2021, according to a recent study by Forrester. As artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics software becomes more sophisticated, so do the tools software developers create to attract prospects, personalize customer experiences, and convert them to sales.
Consolidated Marketing Channels
Creating a consolidated, or omnichannel, marketing experience for your consumers will be critical in 2019. In fact, 87 percent of retailers said that having an omnichannel strategy is very important to their success. Creating an experience that combines your email, social media, content, and mobile marketing strategies through software such as Sharpspring simplifies tracking your customer journey, leading to increased conversions.
Imagine you run a car dealership. After visiting a manufacturer’s website, your customer finds a car they’re interested in at your property, but can’t complete their online research, so they request more information. Once you send your response email, they decide to make an appointment to test-drive the car and you send them a text confirmation for their appointment. This alone combines content, email, and mobile marketing together in a cohesive sales process for your customers.
Automated Social Media Networking
Research from MarketingSherpa shows 58 percent of an estimated 2 billion worldwide social media users are following brands on social platforms. Expect to see more automated tools to help businesses make these connections. To get an idea of this technology, check out SocialDrift, a service that uses a company’s basic target audience information to automatically engage with potential new customers through likes, comments, and follows.
Email Workflows: Integrated, Behavior-Based
Nurture your existing contacts by using an email workflow that triggers personalized communication based on customer behaviors, in addition to demographics. Software such as AdEspresso and LeadsBridge integrate email workflows with customer relationship management software to reach prospects, retarget online ads, and send emails in real time when leads have been collected.
Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence
Chatbots and artificial intelligence technologies bring an extra amount of versatility to a business’s consumer interface, and their inclusion in the marketing experience is expected to grow. Grand View Research predicts the global Chabot market will reach $1.25 billion by 2025 in the U.S. alone. As AI evolves to incorporate more customer service, lead prospecting, and purchase management interactions, adding them to your current marketing strategies will be a must for 2019.
Starbucks recently integrated their own chatbots to make it easier than ever for consumers to get their daily caffeine fix. Now through voices commands or text messaging, users can use the Starbucks mobile app to place their order and get automated responses when the order will be ready including the total cost. In 2018, Starbucks earned $23.4 billion in mobile sales alone, making it a leader in the mobile and chatbots industries.
Voice Search Integration
A new study revealed that 21 percent of people are using voice search every week and 60 percent feel it is important to the future. Voice search is continuing to gain traction among marketers and it’s important to know how your brand should optimize website content for search. Parallel Interactive’s “Make Smart Speaker Voice Search Work for You” blog breaks down the importance of optimizing your brand for voice search and how to get noticed by speakers such as Alexa.
Predictive Lead Scoring
Increase conversion rates on inbound and outbound campaigns with predictive lead scoring technology. Software platforms such as Infer leverage data to quickly identify a company’s most promising prospects, build targeted segments, and personalize outreach at scale.
Personalized Website Content
Think about your personalized experience when browsing on Amazon and Netflix. Expect to see more companies mirroring this marketing automation technology with services like Optimizely Personalization and Adobe Target. These platforms allow companies to deliver targeted content based on real-time customer data that’s attached to a visitor’s IP address.
A Human Touch
Marketing automation can significantly improve the customer experience, but without the emotional intelligence of the marketer, it can only go so far. Customers need to feel valued, otherwise your business won’t be able to thrive. When your customer comes face to face, voice to voice, or screen to screen with a human, make their experience memorable by investing in their interests, asking if there is anything more you can help them with, or providing an incentive to return to your company. Customers most likely won’t remember their conversations with your AI, but they won’t forget how a person on your team made them feel.