Over the past two or three years, full-power marketing automation has finally become available to businesses of all sizes. It’s now relatively easy and affordable to set up systems of triggered messages that help your leads to progress along the sales funnel. And with an effective social media marketing program in place, you can attract new, highly targeted audience members who are likely to find your product to be a great fit for their needs.
By finding and engaging with these people on social media, always in a manner that’s more helpful than sales-y, you can expand your audience and capture a consistent flow of qualified leads for automated follow-up.
How Marketing Automation Works
The guiding principle behind marketing automation is that by collecting the right data about your marketing prospects, it’s possible to segment your audience and email people with event-triggered, personalized messages that help build trusting relationships with your brand. Taking human factors out of the equation, marketing automation is more efficient and scalable than manual lead nurturing activity. In addition, by tailoring your messages to be specific to your audience members’ interests and their purchase cycle advancement, a well-executed marketing automation approach is far more effective than “spray and pray” email marketing.
Here’s an example of how the buyer’s journey might look under the influence of marketing automation. Frank, who first learned about your product when he was searching for information on Google, clicks around your website a bit, getting acquainted with your brand and your solution. After two weeks of asking you questions on Twitter, he signs up to download a white paper. Three days later Frank receives an email inviting him to join a webinar in order to learn more about his specific topic of interest.
Frank attends the webinar, and the following morning, he receives an email providing links to additional resource materials, which he instantly downloads. A week later, Frank sees a more sales-oriented email offering him a discount on the product he saw demonstrated in the webinar. He might not be ready to pursue the purchase, but he does click through to the product page to do additional research on your solutions. At each stage, the prospect has been called to action, and each step has brought him closer to the sale. The time has come to call Frank and close a deal.
Realizing the Goals of Each Set of Tools
Marketing automation aims to nurture leads until the point when they’re deemed to be sales-ready. This is called an MQL, or marketing qualified lead. Therefore, in order for automation to succeed, it’s important that the right messages go out at the right moments in time. When used in tandem with marketing automation, the goal of your social media marketing efforts is to reach new prospects so you can engage with and educate leads to the point of sales-readiness.
Social media allows companies to slowly build relationships of trust and authority, while keeping your brand name in front of customers so they are aware of what you have to offer. The more information you have about your leads, the easier it is to segment, nurture and score them. Connecting through social media is an excellent way to collect data on customers that can be useful not only for optimizing your automation efforts but also for building lead-specific dossiers that will eventually enable your sales team to close.
Data Loops for Attracting and Nurturing
But true success here depends on closing the feedback loop. To gain the insights you need for optimizing both lead generation and the nurturing process, it is essential that your social dashboard and automation tools share information with each other. As an example, when you integrate Oktopost, a social media management platform that focuses specifically on B2B marketing, with Marketo, the leading marketing automation platform for SMEs, it’s easy to see what’s happening across all channels.
This level of integration allows marketers to know which messages on which social channel were of most interest to which prospects, the exact pages they viewed on your website, which emails they paid the most attention to, and the specific downloadable materials that they saved.
This type of integration allows marketers to automatically assign social engagement data to user-specific records. It provides detailed information such as which social network first brought in each lead and even which campaign and post created the lead. This data can then used to determine which email message to send to the prospective customer. At later stages in the conversion funnel, the activity logs stay with the lead’s records, so it’s possible to nurture the relationship and remarket to prospects with maximized relevance.
The other game-changing benefit of sharing data between your social media marketing dashboard and your marketing automation platform is access to the big picture of what’s happening at all stages of the sales funnel. Which social media channels are bringing in the most leads and/or the leads with the highest conversion rates? What types of posts and messages attract your newer audience members or encourage dormant ones to take action? What are the most successful combinations of social media engagement and email automation when it comes to driving sales in general and especially lucrative sales specifically? If you can’t answer these questions, then you’re not leveraging your marketing data.
As Big as Necessary
Big data was once available only to large enterprises. But today powerful social media marketing lead generation tools and automated lead nurturing tools are accessible to pretty much everyone. And when you’re all set up with data sharing integrations between your tools, manual analyses and follow-ups are truly no longer necessary. By establishing and maintaining strategic marketing workflow scenarios that automated systems can handle on your behalf, your lead nurturing will be far more potent and capable of taking on a far higher volume of business.
Written by: John Rampton Source: www.Forbes.com
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