5 Ways B2B Businesses Can Utilize Marketing Automation Tools
When it comes to creating a personalized experience for your customers, the word “automated” seems like it would do the exact opposite—turn an authentic moment into a programmed one. As a B2B marketer, however, automation has the power to build customer engagement by targeting customers with precisely the right marketing content at precisely the right time using tools to automate the process. And when you automate repetitive tasks such as executing social media posts, email campaigns, and the like, you improve efficiency and open the door to greater creativity—all that time saved becomes the time you can invest in research and playing around with new ideas that will entice and delight customers.
Marketing automation is the “how” to content marketing’s “what”—it’s the engine that gets your content where it needs to be when it needs to be there, allowing you to automatically send and post content based on pre-defined and customizable workflows. And that’s just the beginning. Industry analyst Gartner defines it as software that assists marketers with customer segmentation, customer data management, and campaign management. Here are five ways it can help you reach new customers and nurture relationships with the ones you already have.
Target customers across multiple channels. – People have lots of ways of getting information, from their social feeds to their inboxes to the articles they peruse online. Email marketing remains an effective way to reach customers, and more than 3.2 billion people are active on social media every day. Marketing automation tools let you post your content to multiple channels efficiently while maintaining a cohesive brand identity, giving you the ability to scale your personalization efforts. You determine the who (audience segmentation), what, where, and when, and the automation tool takes care of the how—usually, from a single platform. Other features may include social listening tools and direct messaging capabilities, both invaluable in building customer relationships.
Make A/B testing a breeze. – It’s hard enough to keep up with one campaign, let alone versions of that campaign that allow you to identify the content that’s best hitting the mark. Then there’s your web content, your product packaging—the opportunities to test content are endless. Many marketing automation tools put the power of A/B testing at your fingertips, enabling you to fine-tune your content, website, URLs, landing pages, product or service, and more. Some will allow you to run multiple experiments simultaneously. If A/B testing is what you’re solving for, make sure the marketing automation software you choose comes with robust, easy-to-use reporting, and dashboards.
Don’t guess how you’re doing. Know. – Marketing automation tools not only distribute your content, but the best of them also give you insight into how well that content is performing via robust analytics and intuitive dashboards that give you a clear view across a number of key performance indicators, from content management metrics to revenue by the program, lead intelligence and more. Marketing automation software that offers SEO auditing capabilities can take that insight to the next level by telling you why your site may not be getting the traffic you expect. All of it points to one thing—the more you know, the faster you can adapt to keep moving prospective customers toward a sale.
Get deep, data-driven customer insights. – A robust marketing automation platform is constantly collecting and analyzing data on customer behaviors—and that’s marketing gold. That information gives you deep insight into what motivates customers to consider and choose your product or service, and you can target them accordingly with content relevant to their interests. All marketing automation software comes with its own strengths, from web analytics to demographic trends to source tracking. For instance, web analytics may allow you to track prospective customers and visitors in real-time to understand their online behavior, including their location, the devices they use, the browsers they prefer, the pages they visit, and where they go next.
Put the power of AI to work for you. – Artificial intelligence (AI) is already behind some of the most powerful marketing automation tools. It enables marketing teams to turn data into decisions fast—decisions that boost engagement by ensuring the content customers receive actually means something to them. Some marketing automation software uses AI-driven algorithms to automatically score leads based on customer purchase behavior.
Forrester predicts that global spending on marketing automation tools will pass $25 billion by 2023, a 14 percent annual growth rate. There are many marketing automation tools and platforms out there. Once you find the one that’s right for you, put it to work!