Part four of our Four Step Marketing System is Marketing Automation. Marketing automation may sound impersonal but in reality, having systems in place that automate the whole customer experience process leads to better response time and an improved customer experience.
For example this past week my wife and I experienced poor responses from 3 different companies. If they had systems in place that automated the process we would have had a much more positive experience and I’d be writing about a different subject matter today.
I’m thankful that these local Charlotte companies do a poor job marketing. When they realize they are not getting sales or their process is broken, they will look for local marketing help here in Charlotte and I’ll be available to assist. However, I digress, back to our experiences this past week and how marketing automation can help you.
3 Companies, Same Poor Response to a Customer’s Inquiry
I am on well water and somehow dirt and sediment made its way into our system. For the past two weeks we had a putrid, rust color water coming out our faucets. Not only was it disgusting, but was causing problems with our faucets, toilets, washing machine, dishwasher, hot water heater, etc.
My attempt to have a well and pump repair company come out and take a look at the problem was disappointing and unsuccessful. My first call was to a contractor that helped trouble shoot a problem I had last year and had very good reviews.
The morning I called he was tied up for that day, which is understandable, but committed to call the following morning and make arrangements to come out the next day. Unfortunately, he never followed through. After 2 days I sent him a text asking when he could stop by. Another day went by and I still had not heard back from him. On the fourth day, I sent an email and requesting he let me know if he was interested in helping me solve my problem, if not I would start looking for another contractor. He finally did respond with a voice mail and assured me he would call the next morning and set up a time to come out…the sound of silence…crickets. I’ve yet to hear back from him.
Onto the second contractor. Again, another local well pump service and repair company with good reviews. When I called his office I received a message directing me to the owner’s cell phone number. I called the number and unfortunately, was directed by the owner to call back later in the evening when he was not in the field.
My wife’s experience was trying to reach out to a company that provides Ballroom dance lessons. It is something she has wanted to do for several years. She was ready to make arrangements for us to attend classes. She called, reached voicemail and never received a call back. Again, same result no response from another business we wanted to buy from.
You’re Loosing Customers and Don’t Know It
Are companies so busy that they can afford to turn down business? I see them advertising so I doubt it. A few simple improvements and some automation to their marketing systems and they would increase sales. However with the current systems they have in place, they are turning away sales and do not even realize it. How many customers just move on to the next service provider or another product?
Given the competition for business, can your company afford to turn away new customers? That first point of contact is so crucial. It determines whether a call will turn into a prospect or simply give your competitors the sale and you won’t even know it.
In our Four Step Marketing System, we boiled marketing down to four steps for business owners. Our final step is Marketing Automation.
The purpose of Marketing Automation is to make sure there is a system in place to capture every lead and then nurture and care for that lead until they become a customer and raving fan. So many companies like the three above just let leads and sales pass them by because they have no system in place.
Today’s technology allows you to inexpensively implement a tailored automated marketing system that captures the contact information and nurture the lead with customized tailored information to assist the prospective client through their buyers journey.
5 Simple Ways to Improve Marketing Automation
1. Answering Services and Virtual Assistants are a Must for Small Businesses with no Office Staff
If you are a small business and cannot afford a full-time administrator to answer calls and respond to customer inquiries, hire a service such as Answer America, Voice Nation or a Virtual Assistant that can take calls and forward messages via email or text to your phone.
These are simple inexpensive solutions that allow you to solutions to have all your calls answered by a live person and to have a message take and emailed and text to you. It projects a professional image for your business.
There is nothing more irritating to have a call go to voice mail and then wonder when or even if you will receive a call back. It is amazing the number of inquiries that receive no call back or no response.
If you can’t help the person, have the courtesy to return the call and direct to them to a resource that can help. They will remember you. If you help them, they will remember and can refer others to you if you take the time and help them.
2. Capturing Contact Information is Key to Follow-up
During that initial call have your administrator or answering service provider take as much contact information as the caller is willing to provide. Always have an offer such as a report, tip sheet, Video tutorial, EBook, or anything else your prospective buyer will find of value that allows you to obtain their email address in exchange for the information.
Your database of contacts is an asset to your company. It allows you to maintain contact and market to your database. Here is a bit of Earth Shattering News: Most people that contact you initially are not ready to buy! They may be ready later in the day, tomorrow, in a week, month or even in 5 years, but not during that initial contact.
3. Email Marketing and Marketing Automation
Then how do you create an on-going dialogue so when they are ready to buy, they buy from you?
Having their email address allows you to maintain contact with them and build a relationship and trust with them so when they are ready to buy you are the one they now and trust.
All marketing can be automated. One of the simplest and least inexpensive ways to maintain contact is through automated email. You can use Mailchimp, AWeber, Hubspot, Infusionsoft and a number of other service provider to setup a series of automated marketing messages that assist your prospects through the buying process. Not spammy emails screaming, BUY NOW, BUY FROM ME, but rather educational emails that will assist and teach your buyer about options, what’s important in the buying process, considerations and other relevant educational information that adds value for your buyer.
4. Customize and Automate all Marketing
Marketing is not simply grabbing contact information or buying a list and sending out mailers blindly or spamming email boxes. It is about developing a key message around your Unique Selling Proposition and based on your buyer needs. Your USP, message and the buyer’s needs have to align for the message to resonate. This whole process should be automated. It doesn’t matter if it via email, direct mail, or sms messaging it can all be automated so that at predetermined intervals you have a touch point and create an opportunity for dialogue with your contacts on an on-going basis. The goal is always to moving forward, building a relationship and trust.
5. Measure Marketing Performance and Hold it Marketing Campaigns Accountable
All marketing investment should be tracked and the Return on Investment (ROI) tracked. If you are not achieving a positive ROI, the marketing dollars should be cut and reallocated to more profitable campaign. Today, you can use tracking codes and conversion rates on web pages, phone tracking numbers to track response to advertisements and response rates to easily track conversions with email marketing campaigns. Tracking marketing activities, leads sources provides you the data to make intelligent marketing decisions based on performance and not “gut feel.”
The above steps help you create a system that:
- Improves your initial customer contact
- Projects an improved professional image about your company and its professionalism
- Builds a database of new contacts
- Creates an automated system for you to conduct follow-up marketing campaigns
- Measures marketing performance so you can improve your marketing ROI.
By the way a great book on systems and why developing systems are important is EMyth by Michael Gerber.