How to Use Digital Marketing Automation to Increase Your ROI

Digital marketing automation combines personalization and automation, and is a huge time-saver that produces great results when done right. Here are the most effective ways to use digital marketing automation to create powerful campaigns.

Create Funnel-Optimized Content

Marketers know they need to create personalized experiences that speak directly to their target market. The way to do this is through creating funnel-optimized content. This approach delivers targeted content that addresses relevant concerns as the prospect moves down the sales funnel. Talk to sales and customer support to see what concerns prospects have and when they are most likely to want those concerns addressed.

Make Content Personal

We’ve gone way beyond just customizing an e-mail with the recipient’s name. Prospects have come to expect personalized content that is based on their behaviors and product preferences with a brand. Personalization such as an abandoned cart reminder, targeted coupons and discounts, information on related or similar products all work to drive sales. This is where machine learning and AI are a big help – more on that below. Marketers need to use data to provide the right content to prospects at the right time to drive conversions. 

Study The Data 

Digital marketing enables marketers to collect a wealth of data on prospects as well as loyal customers. However, if the data collected remains dormant and is never analyzed, it cannot provide insight into the effectiveness of a campaign or help drive sales. Marketers who study their data make better informed decisions. 

There has been a steady increase in the use of lead scoring. While there are numerous lead qualification strategies available, building a lead scoring process helps determine which prospects are ready to convert and which ones need more warming up through targeted content. Every prospect who connects with a brand is not the same. Lead scoring assesses a prospect using a series of quantitative measures: 

Implicit Data – Based on the information you already have

Explicit Data  Based on factual information from completed forms, CRM, etc.

Behavioral Data – Based on a prospect’s actions (clicks, downloads, form submission, etc.) 

Demographic Data   Based on specific demographics of a prospect (age, location, education, etc.) 

Lead scoring helps marketers prioritize prospects, working more effectively and efficiently to increase conversion rates. 

Unify Omnichannel Marketing

These days every brand is marketing on many different platforms to expand reach: websites, social media sites, mobile devices, etc. It is imperative that the messaging and branding is consistent to create a unified experience across multiple marketing channels. Making use of technology such as a CRM is one way to track sales pipelines and automate prospect interactions.

Automate Social Media Posts

Automated social media marketing is a gamechanger. Marketers can create posts in advance and schedule them to publish on a specific date and time. This helps ensure nothing falls through the cracks and regular content posting is happening. The platform used can also provide important metrics on the how each post performs.

Implement Chatbot Interactions

The use of chatbots is predicted to be one of the top digital marketing trends for 2023. That’s because chatbots enhance customer service and engagement so effectively. Chatbots help marketers build relationships with prospects and enable 24/7 interactions with prospects without lifting a finger. For more on chatbots, read this.  

Invest In Machine Learning

Machine learning and AI enable better data collection from what prospects are doing online. This helps marketers develop better campaigns and automatically sort the data collected.

Marketers can use this information to develop targeted, personalized content that speaks directly to prospects. 

Use Conversational Marketing

Marketing automation is all about making a more meaningful connection with prospects. It makes sense then that marketing materials should use a friendly, conversational approach while remaining professional. Keep automated messages light and friendly and not robotic. Prospects want to feel like they are interacting with a human even when they aren’t.

Automate Mobile Marketing

Mobile is where most marketers reach prospects. 70 percent of Internet time is spent on a mobile device and more than 50 percent of Internet traffic comes from mobile. Mobile marketing automation is a necessity, helping marketers learn a prospect’s location, browsing habits, device type, etc., so customized mobile content SMS updates and surveys, push notification, etc., can be created to engage prospects on their mobile devices, keeping a brand top of mind.

At Producers Digital Network we can assist you with all of your marketing automation needs. Let’s talk!

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Everyone’s Talking About Chatbots: What You Need To Know

The advancements in digital marketing require marketers to continue to upskill to stay abreast of the changes and the opportunities (or challenges) they present. The scope of digital marketing is forever widening. Having a good working knowledge of the latest advancements is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. Today’s consumers expect around-the-clock service. In response, companies are increasingly looking to implement chatbots and virtual assistants to respond to customers any time of day, any day of the week.

Chatbots secure a place on all of the 2023 digital marketing trends lists. That’s because they are so effective – 80% of consumers have interacted with a chatbot at some point.  In 2020, the chatbot industry was worth over $17 billion. By 2025, the growth is expected to increase to over $102 billion. With this in mind, this blog takes a closer look at chatbots.

The Buzz On Chatbots

What is a chatbot? There are two kinds: virtual assistants and messaging apps. 

Virtual Assistants – This chatbot helps users find information, remember stuff or buy things – Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are good examples. They are powered by machine learning; they rely on artificial intelligence to learn and figure out what a consumer wants.


Messaging Apps – This chatbot enables businesses and brands to be online 24/7, providing customer support – Facebook Messenger and WeChat are good examples. They use pre-programmed rules to interact with consumers.

Marketers would be hard pressed to find an easier or more efficient way to engage with customers. Chatbots provide around-the-clock customer service that few businesses could afford to offer with employees alone. Another benefit of using chatbots is marketers can offer instant responses to inquiries, which is imperative in today’s competitive, global online marketplace. Chatbot technology empowers a business to be able to provide service to hundreds of customers at once – all without taxing their staff with this chore.

According to a recent Mindshare report, 63% of consumers prefer messaging on chatbots to communicate with businesses or brands. The advantage for businesses is not just in increased sales or customer satisfaction but also in the diminishment of repetitive tasks employees no longer have to perform. Over the last couple of years, chatbot savings are estimated at up to $8 billion. In the next few years, that savings could easily jump to tens of billions of dollars as chatbot usage is more prevalent. As chatbots continue to reduce operating costs, the market will continue to expand, with chatbots used for marketing, payments, processing, and services. By 2024, worldwide consumer retail spending via chatbots will reach $142 billion – up from $2.8 billion in 2019, according to Juniper Research.

Here are some interesting stats from reporting by ServiceBell:

  • Nearly 90% of chatbot users view them as acceptable or extremely helpful 
  • Over 50% of online consumers love the 24/7 accessibility chatbots offer
  • 40 % of consumers would rather use a chatbot than talk with a human in a live chat
  • 1/3 of consumers think chatbots should be a staple for customer interaction with businesses
  • Chatbots help 55% of businesses generate high-quality leads

Messaging services are expected to surpass social networking sites in terms of the number of users. Questions raised by consumers are increasingly being handled with chatbots, with 90% of inquiries being answered successfully by a chatbot. This eliminates or greatly reduces the reliance on or need for telephone agents. 

Starbucks is just one example of a business taking full advantage of chatbot technology. They are doing this via the MyBarista app. Customers can now order from the brand by auditory message through Amazon Alexa or messaging. They are then notified when their order is ready for pick-up and can pay for their order and tip their server all through the chatbot. 

The growth in the chatbot digital market is a reflection of the growing need to offer24/7 customer service, an increasing consumer preference for self-service operations, and corporate desire to reduce operational costs by reassigning some tasks to chatbots. Chatbots developed for integration with messaging applications are projected to increase in usage as businesses continue to automate their sales and customer service. Chatbot technology enables businesses to deliver timely services at a reduced cost and is well worth investigating.

Why Customer Reviews are an Important Part of Your Marketing Strategy

 

client-reviews.pngWe can all relate to the importance customer reviews play when we are making a purchase, whether for a high-dollar item or a less expensive one. In fact, consulting customer reviews has become second nature for us, a worthwhile step in the buying journey. So, it makes sense that this practice is spilling over into our business purchases as well. About half of all B2B buyers use reviews before selecting new products or services.

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While still a somewhat new practice in the business world, if customer reviews aren’t rolling in, you can use the ones you do have to their fullest potential by including them in your marketing strategy. This will increase their visibility while helping you build a trust relationship with your customers and prospects. This graph shows you why that’s so important.

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TrustRadius conducted another poll that found 76% of respondents in an active buying cycle used customer reviews during their decision-making process.

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The influence customer reviews wield is evident. Consumers trust peer reviews to give them honest, accurate feedback on a product or service to save them from making a bad purchase. Now that we agree customer reviews are important, let’s talk about how you can incorporate them into your marketing for the greatest effect.

4 Ways to Make Customer Reviews Part of Your Marketing Strategy

1. Keep Your Reviews Honest

There really is no such thing as a bad review. So called bad reviews often times point out limitations that are an important component of the fact-finding mission and an important objection that your sales people will know they need to address. Having this information upfront decreases customer dissatisfaction. It also gives you an opportunity to respond to the unfavorable review with a workaround, update, or great customer service that everyone can view. Your customers and prospects want to see that you care. Show them that, and you win their trust, and that wins you loyal customers.

2. Recruit Brand Ambassadors

It’s likely you have many satisfied, loyal customers. However, it’s also likely that most of them haven’t written a review of your product or service. There is nothing wrong with asking a happy customer to write a review. If appropriate, you can also invite them to record a video testimonial or write a guest blog about their experience with your product or service.

3. Make Your Reviews Easy to Find

You want to make sure your customer reviews are very easy to find. You’ll want to feature customer testimonials – written or video – on your website, in e-mail campaigns, and on social media. Stack the content to get the most bang for your buck.

4. Actively Monitor Your Reviews

Depending on your business, you’ll have reviews on the media you control, but reviews of your product or service may also appear on third-party sites. Make sure you are actively monitoring where your customers are leaving reviews and what they are saying. This enables you to get a complete picture and to respond to positive and negative reviews in a timely manner. Again, it’s all about sending the message that you care about your customers’ experience with your brand.

By encouraging, acknowledging, and promoting customer feedback, you are showing your customers and your prospects that you value their opinions and you want to make their buying journey with you a satisfactory one. Customer reviews are a great way to build trust, which goes a long way toward building your business.

5 Strategies to Help You Meet Your Revenue Goals in 2019

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Business graphAs we prepare to say goodbye to 2018, the timing is perfect to concentrate our attention on developing a solid plan for success in 2019. That means you need quality prospects in your pipeline and a comprehensive marketing plan. Here are five tactics to help you drive performance.

1. Start small with a very precise target market, then expand.

Disclaimer: this means the number of leads in your pipeline will likely be smaller than normal. However, you’ll work toward gathering analytics that will enable you to cast a wider net to catch even more quality prospects. You’ll do this by capturing critical data about your highly targeted prospects throughout their journey – think: who, when, where, what. By focusing your energy and resources on identifying and speaking directly to a smaller, highly targeted pool of prospects, you’ll have the tools to develop a better long-term and broader reaching strategy.

  1. Respect your prospects’ time and privacy.

Global data privacy laws are being deployed, and they bring with them significant consequences for companies that don’t comply. It is essential in today’s digital world that your prospects and your loyal customers have transparency when it comes to how you will respect and protect the information you gather on them. Have a policy and make it available. Adapt a permission mindset and always use an opt-in option for building your database.

  1. Collect useful data.

I know this seems like an odd strategy, but it isn’t if you consider that a recent survey by DemandGen Report showed that on average more than 35 percent of the data in existing databases is unmarketable and can’t be used. That’s a waste of time, energy, storage, and money. Use 2019 as a fresh start and clean up your database, purging “junk” data like invalid addresses, duplicates, non-compliant, and unstandardized prospect information. This process should be done regularly. It will help improve your targeting results and save you money that can be used for other revenue generating initiatives.

  1. Pick up the pace.

We live in a “now” society. If it’s taking you several days to respond to a lead, you’re taking too long and risking losing a qualified prospect. Start the new year by identify ways you can route your data faster to respond more quickly. At this stage, it also makes good sense to take a look at the stages in your pipeline to see where changes can be made to shorten and streamline the prospects’ journey to a sale.

  1. Measure your results.

Success means different things to different people. Make sure you have agreed upon metrics to measure success. This means you want all the key players to agree on the key performance indicators (KPIs), what technology or tools you’ll use to measure performance, and how this information will be shared. Remember, there is no such thing as bad insights. It’s very valuable to know what’s not working in addition to what is.

The new year is right around the corner. It’s the perfect time to get started on making sure your revenue marketing strategy performs and delivers in 2019 so you meet or exceed your revenue goals. These five tips will get you moving in the right direction.

Why User-Generated Content Must be Part of Your E-Mail Campaigns

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ugcUser-generated content (UGC) is content that comes from your customers most typically these days via their chosen social media platform such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blog posts, etc. UGC is like gold because it helps you connect with your current customers and prospects in a more personal and relevant way not possible before. UGC can (and should) be used in your marketing to both reinforce brand loyalty while also attracting new prospects. It works!

• Seventy percent of consumers place peer recommendations and reviews above professionally written content. (Reevo)

• Twenty-five percent of search results for the world’s 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content. (Kissmetrics)

UGC works great to build consumer confidence in your brand. It brings a human quality to your product or service that helps build a trust relationship. And, e-mail is the perfect platform since studies show consumers prefer e-mail for marketing communications. And, UGC in your e-mail to prospects is like letting them talk face-to-face to your loyal customers. You can’t beat that.

A word of caution here. One thing I can’t stand is when I see a testimonial, but it’s cloaked in a veil of secrecy. That doesn’t work. Make sure you use at least the first name of the person whose UGC you are using. You may also want to provide a link to their social site. This is the only way your prospects know you are using UGC from real people. That goes a long way.

UGC helps build brand loyalty and sales. Use it strategically to speak to your prospects where they are in the buying cycle. If it’s your first communication with a prospect, consider using several UGC that show the different products or services you offer. Then, as your prospect gets closer to buying, you may choose to use a more in-depth UGC testimonial with a strong call-to-action.

Trends in User-Generated Content

One trend in UGC is to sponsor a contest. Actually, this one works really well to generate UGC! That’s a win-win. Your customers will jump at the opportunity to post UGC for a chance to win something of value to them. Yes, you must offer something that they will actually want. And, be specific about what you want the UGC to contain. Must it picture your product? If so, indicate that.

Another hot trend in UGC is to partner with a charity and encourage your customers and prospects to participate by posting a photo of themselves with the purchase, using the hashtag you’ve promoted that they should use.

UGC has taken off and is here to stay because it is a very effective tool for building a relationship with your customers that also works to drive leads. You can leverage UGC to build trust and demonstrate your brands uniqueness. Using UGC on some of your e-mails will help boost your credibility and sales.

5 Things You Can Learn From The Best Performing Sales People

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I work with some of the best sales people in the business, and I’ve summarized a few things that they have taught me about why they are so successful at what they do.

  1. Develop Solid Relationships

You notice I said “relationship,” right? That’s because the top sales people know that it’s not about going for the sale, it’s about building the relationship so the sale organically falls into place. You will have a higher close rate and better repeat business if you foster your relationships.

  1. Add Value Whenever Possible

If you bring value to your communications with prospects, your conversion rate will respond favorably. Use every touchstone as an opportunity to build value and thus momentum in your prospects’ decision making.

  1. Implement A Multi-Channel Approach

Take advantage of all of the different platforms you have at your disposal to reach your prospects. Tailor your messages to these different platforms so you can add value to your prospects wherever they are accessing your information in the sales process. By leveraging a multi-channel approach, you create more chances to interact with your prospects in a meaningful way.

  1. Build Relationships That Lead To Referrals

Top sales reps know the better job they do at building a relationship with a prospect or customer, the greater the chance the prospect or customer will refer them to someone else who could use their product or service.

  1. Educate At Every Opportunity

No matter where your prospect is in the sales pipeline, make sure you have a strategic plan on how and what you want to communicate in order to educated the prospect on your product or service. And, leading sales reps know that the education and courtship doesn’t stop with the sale. These five steps continue throughout the lifetime of your relationship with your prospect, building consistent and lasting revenue opportunities.

The key to better sales is to use today’s technology to spark meaningful conversations that build a lasting relationship, just like we did in the good ol’ days.

Do you have any sales tips you’d like to share with us? If so, let us know.

4 Ways Your E-Mail Headlines Can Have Bigger Impact

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As you set about creating meaningful content, don’t forget the power of your headline. In this one line, you must and can accomplish much. Here are four ways you can make the most of your headlines.

  1. This is no place for mystery. Make it very clear what you are talking about.
  2. What do your prospects need to know? Use your headline to communicate the information that your prospects need to know about the topic you’re communicating about.
  3. Raise your prospects’ curiosity. Don’t give everything away in the headline – just enough to make them want to read more.
  4. Imply a teachable moment. You can use your headline to imply that your prospects don’t know about something but should and can read on to find out.

Strong headlines open the door of communication with your prospects. Make sure your headlines get the attention they deserve. Craft your headlines (and your messages) so they encourage your prospects to engage and learn from you.

What strategies do you use when writing your headlines? Tell us about them.

How To Generate More Prospects With E-Mail

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When it comes to e-mail campaigns, you’re only as good as your list. If you’re sending your e-mail to the wrong prospects, you’ll get nowhere. And, Internet service providers, spam monitors, and e-mail security services have set standards for what constitutes an acceptable e-mail campaign. So ongoing maintenance of your e-mail list is a must if you’re looking to engage the best prospects. You want your spam complaints, undelivered messages, and unsubscribes to each be under set thresholds to avoid account suspensions from your e-mail platform, penalties, fines, and otherwise lackluster marketing results. Use these four tips to get you going.

1. Invite Prospects to Opt-In

As you are building your e-mail list of hot prospects, it’s important that you ask them to connect with you via e-mail by opting in. A great place to do this is on your website. A small teaser add is usually sufficient with an option to submit their name and e-mail address. Ideally, once your prospect has opted in, it’s a good idea to send a follow-up confirmation e-mail where they can click on a link to start their subscription. This double opt-in process ensures you have a valid e-mail address.

 2. Don’t be Afraid to Purge

In order to have the best e-mail list, you have to remove prospects that aren’t bringing anything to the table as well as clean up any errors. Look for the following issues on your list and fix or remove as appropriate.

  • Incomplete e-mail addresses, bad addresses, dormant ones, or those with typos
  • Duplicate e-mail addresses
  • Two or more soft bounces
  • E-mail to individuals and not generic addresses such as info@company.com
  • Inactive subscribers or those who’ve been on your list for years
  • Honor unsubscribes promptly

 3. Ask to be Added to Address Books

Prospects who subscribe to your e-mails should be more than happy to add your e-mail address to their address book. But, they likely won’t do that unless you ask them to. The reason it’s a good idea to do this is because you want to make sure they receive all of your e-mails and that they don’t go in to junk mail.

4. Keep in Touch

A good rule of thumb is to e-mail at least once a month. This keeps your prospects engaged, but it also enables you to clean up your list by seeing how many bouncebacks you get.

How do you clean your e-mail list so you’re reaching the best prospects? Share your ideas with us.

How to Create an Effective Mobile Landing Page

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Last week I talked about the importance of a clickable phone number for your mobile users. Today I want to talk a bit more about mobile prospects and how you need to think about your mobile marketing to them since more and more website visitors are accessing your site from their smart phone.

By focusing on some key elements, you can make your landing pages work much better for you, especially with your mobile visitors who now fully expect and require your site to be operational and viewable from their mobile device.

  1. If you’re promoting a product or service, pick just one. Your viewers don’t want to scroll a lot.
  2. If you want to promote branding content, offer only one piece and make it worth their while.
  3. Make your offer very specific and not a generic promotion.
  4. Provide an icon that when they click on it, it calls your company directly. Make sure the call to action (CTA) call icon is above the fold.
  5. If you want to include additional clickable icons for additional information, place those below the CTA, under the fold.

What are your secrets to creating great landing pages that work well for your mobile visitors? Share them with us.

Why Content Marketing Matters

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Everyone is talking about content, but few are actually doing something about it. That’s unfortunate since content marketing is one of the most (if not the most) effective ways for businesses to get double duty from their marketing dollars. How is that achieved, you might ask? Here’s the answer: content marketing improves both your online presence as well as increasing customer engagement. So, if you are looking to drive prospects to your website, then it’s essential that you create good content for them to see once they get there. And, remember the content has to be interesting, relevant, and easily obtained.

Content marketing is the perfect companion to social media because both work so nicely to keep your message and your brand in top of mind. This enables businesses to make more meaningful (and lucrative) connections with their customers. Through the use of white papers, special reports, blogs, newsletters, videos, etc., your content is telling an important story and directing your prospects through the sales pipeline. Here are some tips to help you do that well:

  • Apply a layered approach that communicates a central theme, using content on your website as well as social media.
  • Think about the timing and the vehicle of your delivery so you’re communicating the right message to the right audience and in the right way.
  • Shake it up! Don’t be afraid to try something different. Look at your business the way your customers do, then approach your content marketing to address your customers’ needs.

Content marketing is a powerful tool to help sell. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to reach out to your prospects and develop a meaningful “dialogue” with them to enhance their relationship with your business as well as their loyalty. Follow these guidelines and create a content marketing strategy that will help drive more prospects to your website and convert them to qualified leads.

Share some of your content ideas with us. Let us know what’s working for you.