Automated marketing software that communicates with customers in real time as they interact with your brand will generate an enormous return on investment – but only if used correctly. Nine times out of ten, brands are using marketing automation technology to lead, rather than support, the customer experience, and should switch their focus to succeed.
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Health check your data
You might think that your database with hundreds of thousands of contacts is impressive, but unless you are actively engaging in a two-way conversation with each person, it’s just data. If you don’t understand the true value of that data, you won’t be able to use it to communicate effectively – or profitably.
It’s in your best interests to regularly review the quality of your customer information and remove any inactive, irrelevant or duplicate contacts. Take time to establish the accuracy of the data you collect at source. Brands that dump every email sign-up from their website, or worse, buy random data lists and simply integrate them into their existing marketing campaigns without checking quality first are going to damage the personalisation and relevancy of their automated marketing communications – potentially beyond repair.
The most valuable customer information is that which is earned from your real target audience – as opposed to bought or collected at random – which means you need to offer something in exchange for it. For example, a supermarket that promises to send vegetarians only meat-free special offers will attract the personal customer data they’re looking for with minimal effort.
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Reach the right customers
Once your data is clean and clearly segmented, you can use it to engage with your customers and prospects. Direct your marketing budget at nurturing these contacts with strategic content campaigns that speak directly to their needs and offer them something useful.
Make sure that every piece of content you send is personalised and delivered to each individual via their preferred touchpoint. Focus on relevancy – sending emails to your loyal customers in London about your summer sales in Edinburgh is not going to do your brand any favours, especially if they’ve also asked to receive the information via SMS.
With automated marketing technology on your side, there really is no excuse for getting this wrong. If you do abuse automation in an attempt to reach as many customers as possible – regardless of relevancy – not even the most advanced systems will be able to help you win back lost customer loyalty.
Predict the future
There is no plug and play automated marketing software that guarantees positive results from the outset. Every customer engages with your brand differently. Some click on an email, others pick up the phone and there are those who respond to discounts with an immediate purchase. You could take advantage of insight services such as propensity modelling which allows you to segment your customers according to which actions they’re most likely to take, and therefore make more informed decisions on who to target. This is a great option particularly when you don’t have huge amounts of historical behavioural or transactional data on individuals; you can map similarities of your base to your best customers and test from there.
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Review the results
Use your automated marketing software to help you continuously track metrics such as conversions, and adjust your campaigns in response to the results. Customer loyalty, and how it translates into tangible transactions, is not as easy to measure, but tools like Net Promoter Score (NPS) can help you better understand how different types of customers view your brand. This in turn will prompt you to focus on strengthening ties with ‘promoters’ (those likely to promote your brand to others) and ‘passives’ (those who are satisfied, but unlikely to promote) instead of trying to win over detractors (those likely to spread a negative brand message).
Your satisfied customers are ultimately your most valuable asset, and you need to keep them happy as their repeat business is worth far more to your company’s bottom line than a customer who has only engaged with your brand once. The irony is that many marketing budgets are poured into acquisition campaigns with little return, while retention campaigns are often less expensive to run and yield the most profitable results.