Most people now look online when making purchases, meaning that every company needs to understand how to engage with consumers in an increasingly crowded online marketplace. The good news is that thanks to automation in marketing, you can directly appeal to your target audience, convert leads, and grow your sales.
Almost three-quarters (71%) of businesses now use eCommerce marketing automation – and it’s paying off. According to Wishpond, 75% of businesses who utilize automated solutions reported a positive ROI within the first 12 months following implementation.
Aside from increased sales, the key advantage of automated marketing is that it can save you a lot of time. In fact, 74% of businesses who automate at least part of their marketing say that this is the main reason they continue to use it.
How Exactly Does It Work?
Let’s take a closer look at what you can do with these tools:
Personalize the emails you send to customers and leads who have expressed an interest in your company
Automated tools let you send customers product recommendations based on their purchases as well as any personal information, such as age and sex, that they have provided. Research shows that 53% of people shopping online value personalized recommendations.
You can also tailor promotional emails to each individual based on this data. Personalized emails make a slight but potentially significant difference to open rates. Also, including the recipient’s name in the subject line increases the likelihood they will read the message by 20%.
Build segmented customer lists for a more personalized experience
Your customers will exhibit different patterns of purchasing behavior. Automated tools let you create segmented lists, which in turn help you send the most relevant content to each group.
For example, some of your blog posts and special offers are more likely to resonate with some segments than others. “Sending relevant content improves engagement. You can also send each group down a different sales funnel, depending on their interests and history with your business,” recommends Marie Fincher, a digital content director at Trust My Paper company.
Here’s a screenshot from VerticalResponse, showing how their technology allows you to separate customers into groups for marketing purposes:
Coordinate social media posts across different time zones and demographics and get feedback on your advertising campaigns
Social media automation tools let you prepare and schedule social media posts, meaning that you can publish them at a time when your target audience is likely to be most receptive. This is especially important if your customers are spread around the world. Customers spend 20-40% more with businesses who actively engage with them via social media, so it’s worth cultivating these relationships.
Tools like Hootsuite let you monitor and update all your social media accounts from a single dashboard. They add further value by allowing you to analyze lead engagement, so you can adjust your advertising and marketing strategy accordingly. By accessing real-time results of your social media campaigns, you can quickly pull adverts that aren’t working, potentially saving you a lot of time and money.
Finally, you can also combine Facebook Ads Campaign with automated tools to launch and monitor the adverts shown to one or more of your segmented lists.
Create an automatic lead scoring system that helps you allocate your resources wisely
An automated lead scoring system uses an algorithm to grade each potential lead based on their interactions with a company. It then uses this information to highlight particularly promising leads, ensuring that sales and marketing teams do not waste time and money on pursuing consumers who are unlikely to make a purchase. Leads can be graded on various factors, such as their industry and the size of their business.
For example, if an individual has made several small to medium-sized purchases over the course of a year and signed up to a mailing list, their algorithm score may suggest that they are in the market to spend more money on a high-end product. Hubspot and Marketo are the two leading providers in this field.
Reward your fans and build your relationships
It’s easier to sell to existing customers than it is to convert new leads. Use automated tools to cement your relationship with people who have already bought your products. It’s simple to run a loyalty program automatically by using tools that identify repeat customers based on their purchasing behavior.
For example, the screenshot below shows ASOS’ loyalty program. When a customer signs up, they receive email notifications explaining when they have earned rewards and moved up to the next level.
Entice dormant customers to return with special offers
If someone hasn’t made a purchase for a while, you can use automated marketing to encourage them to buy using the retargeting technique. For example, you can use automated eCommerce tools to identify someone who hasn’t purchased anything for a year and send them a message offering them an “exclusive discount.”
You can also identify people who signed up for your mailing list or expressed initial interest but never followed through, and then attempt to revive their interest with an introductory offer. See this example from Ocado, a grocery delivery service, below:
Get feedback on your products and services, and discover the reasons why a lead went cold
Never miss an opportunity to discover what customers and potential leads think of your products, website, and brand as a whole. Not all customers will want to spend time filling in a survey, but even a modest amount of feedback can be valuable. SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, and similar platforms come equipped with integrated analytics that gives you a quick insight into your customers’ experiences.
It’s a good idea to send an automated “Welcome” email to everyone who signs up to your mailing list or service, thanking them for their purchase. Having begun the relationship, you can then ask them to tell you why they picked your product and what they hope to gain from it over the coming months or years (if applicable).
A few days or weeks later, you can then use a survey tool to send them a new questionnaire that asks whether they are enjoying the product, whether they would recommend it to others, and whether they have any issues or outstanding questions that require resolution. If someone raises a particularly interesting or valuable point, you may want to request additional information if time permits.
Surveys can also be useful for discovering why a potential lead initially showed interest in your company but then declined to make a purchase. For instance, you could contact a dormant customer and ask them to fill out a brief questionnaire to indicate why they decided to look elsewhere.
Finally, if you run a subscription service, you can automatically send a survey to everyone who cancels their subscription. This can help you identify recurring problems with your service, and gain a better insight into the reasons why you are not meeting the needs of your target market.
In summary, every modern business needs to consider eCommerce marketing automation if they are to make the most of the existing leads and convert new prospects into clients.
The marketing automation business looks set to reach $5.5 billion per year by 2019, so you can’t afford to ignore it! When used properly, these tools can make a substantial difference when it comes to both your profits and the relationships you enjoy with your customers.