Marketing Automation: Turning Visitors into Leads

Marketing Automation: Turning Visitors into Leads

In this age of technology, efficiency is an evolving concept. What was efficient a year ago may not be as efficient today; heck, the best way to accomplish a task last month is probably no longer the optimal way to do it. Technology and innovation have a huge impact on both our professional and everyday lives.

Think about the things you do daily, even the simple ones right after you wake up in the morning. Your alarm, now set on your smartphone or other digital device, rouses you from your slumber. Then you brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush and mosey on downstairs to make an extremely convenient coffee with your Keurig machine. The last task before leaving the house is to automatically start your car and begin defrosting those windows – while you’re still inside sipping coffee.

In 2016, that’s what we like to call an efficient morning.

In our latest digital marketing video, we brought the efficiency conversation to the marketing table. The digital world is a tough realm in which to operate at maximum efficiency, but with marketing automation technology, Turning Visitors into Leads, and Leads into New Customers has never been easier:

1. Identify Your Audience

Before you can set up a workflow of highly personalized marketing messages, landing pages and emails designed to convert website visitors into leads, you need to understand who is interested in your products and services.

In other words, you need to identify your audience.

The only way marketing automation works is if you have in-depth customers personas that define the various groups of people that make up your target audience. It seems a little counterintuitive because creating customer personas isn’t an automated process, but trust us – it’s the key cog that starts the entire system on the right track.

2. Sales and Marketing Alignment

One of the biggest and most common inefficiencies companies experience is a disconnect between marketing and sales teams. If these departments aren’t aligned on the awareness, interest, evaluation, purchase, advocacy and retention of their leads and customers, marketing automation can’t and won’t work the way it was designed to.

3. Create Valuable, Helpful Content

We talk about content all the time, but in 2017 and beyond, content needs to be valuable and specifically targeted toward various points of the marketing automation funnel. If there aren’t enough leads coming in, brainstorm ideas for content that helps people enter your funnel and get to know the company. If you have enough leads but not a satisfying conversion rate, create content that helps your target audience make the decision to purchase.

For marketing automation to achieve maximum efficiency, your content needs to integrate with the overall process in a logical way.

4. Multi-Channel Lead Nurturing

Part of achieving efficiency, at least in a marketing sense, is using all of the channels available to you, with each one making an optimal contribution. For marketing automation to work, each channel has its own function and only together, as one cohesive unit, can the process remain efficient. Don’t focus on one area with marketing automation – let each channel do one small thing really, really well.

5. Test, Tweak, Repeat

Automation isn’t about sending only email communications or focusing solely on your blog to generate and convert leads, it’s about understanding the perfect mix of tactics that will really drive your marketing campaign. You don’t nail the perfect setup on the first try but the good news us a little tweaking and testing will help you find the most efficient process in no time at all.

If you would like more information on marketing automation or need help setting up your workflow, get in touch with your local WSI Digital Marketing Consultant today.

Forecasting 2017 and Beyond: 5 Marketing Predictions

Forecasting 2017 and Beyond: 5 Marketing Predictions

Well, it’s that time of the year again: the one where we make a few predictions for the marketing world, and revisit our past prognostications. We started doing these prediction posts back in 2014 after we read Rand Fishkin’s annual predictions. In case you’re curious about how how our future-telling escapades have gone, read our 2015 and 2016 marketing prediction posts.

As usual, we’re going to grade last year’s predictions before we allow ourselves to make another set but SPOILER ALERT: we’ll be gazing into our crystal ball either way.

Here’s the grading scale we decided on in 2014’s post:

  • Oracle (+2) – when we’re so right it’s like we channeled that nice lady from The Matrix
  • Oracle In-Training (+1) – we didn’t quite see the whole picture, but hey, we still saw the future
  • Clear As Mud (0) – we weren’t right, but we weren’t wrong, either
  • Just A Bit Outside (-1) – we tried to paint the corner of the plate, but the ump didn’t give us the call
  • Swing And A Miss (-2) – like a batter who expects fastball and gets a curve, we weren’t close

For 2016, we made these five predictions:

#1: People Will Start to Drop the “Digital” in “Digital Marketing”

Grade: 0

To be honest, we knew this was going to be a tough one to grade. Dropping the “digital” in “digital marketing” is something we wanted to see happen, but was it just wishful thinking on our part? As we’ve graded ourselves, the answer is clear as mud.

We found an article discussing one big marketing agency’s decision to drop the “digital” from all the organization’s job titles, which we count as a win for us. Yet it still doesn’t seem like enough people have embraced the digital realm as the marketing realm. Heck, we’re still using it ourselves, so we really can’t award any points for dropping the world “digital” in “digital marketing.” Maybe 2017 is the year the domino finally falls.

#2: Mobile Payment Adoption Rates Will See a Significant Spike

Grade: 0

Another mediocre prediction by us. There is no better microcosm for shopping than Black Friday, and a recent study found that mobile payments accounted for just 0.6% of all sales during the 2016 post-Thanksgiving shopping holiday. The fact that this represented more than double the rate of mobile payment usage on Black Friday 2015 is the only thing keeping us from negative points.

#3: Content Marketing Will Grow Again – In Every Way

Grade: +2

We said we’d show you the stats, so here they are:

  • 73% of major organizations now hire someone to manage their content marketing strategy
  • On average, 39% of marketers anticipate their content marketing budget will increase in 2017
  • 88% of respondents to a survey indicated that content marketing is an important component of their organization’s marketing program in 2017 and beyond It took three predictions, but we’re finally on the board!

#4: Ads Will Continue to Get More Pervasive

Grade: +2

Yes, I’m still using Waze during my commute, and yes, I still see ads flash by all the time. The ads are sometimes even interactive as all of the sudden a message will pop up and as me if I’ve seen any Tim Horton’s restaurants along my route. Well duh, I’m in Canada – there’s a Tim Horton’s on every corner up here!

But seriously, the title of this article says it all: Digital Ad Spending Will Surpass TV Spending For The First Time In U.S. History. Without a doubt, ads are showing up in more and more places, whether it’s on our computers, phones, or tablets while we’re watching videos or perusing our social feeds, there’s a personalized ad lurking around every corner.

#5: Predictive Content Tools Will Drastically Improve

Grade: -1

I’m confused as to why this didn’t happen, but I don’t think there is any evidence to support the claim that predictive content tools drastically grew in 2016. Articles such as this one tout the uses of predictive analytics – similar to the way we have in the past – but in there’s more excitement about the potential rather than facts about what we currently have. It’s a shame, but maybe things will take off in the next couple years.

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Final Score: +3

We’ve done it again! By the skin of our teeth, our 2016 predictions were more right than wrong. So without further delay, here are our best guesses for five things that will happen in the marketing world during 2017:

#1: Jobs for Data Scientists and/or Analytics Gurus Will Continue to Grow

This may already be a trend, in which case it’s a bit of a softball, but data-driven marketers are the best kind of marketers, so we’ll see the number of job postings for data scientists (or any similar titles) continue to grow. Full disclosure: by “any similar titles” we reserve the right to deem “geeky math nerd” as the equivalent of data scientists.

#2: Influencer Marketing Will Gain a Foothold

Until now, influencer marketing has been operating in the shadows of the digital world. You’ve probably heard tell of large sums of money being paid out to popular Instagrammers to simply put on a dress and take a picture, but that was during what we’ll call the Wild Wild West of influencer marketing. Now, with more influencer marketing platforms emerging and marketers realizing there needs to be more of a relationship between brands, influencers and customers, this relatively young tactic will begin to fully develop.

#3: More Small Businesses Will Embrace Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is huge – there’s no denying that. But the cost and complexity of setting up and managing a marketing automation has been a huge obstacle for small businesses; it’s hard to find the time to learn and setup automaton when the one thing you don’t have is time! As the platforms continue to get better and using them easier, small business owners – and the marketers who serve them – will realize marketing automation is the way of the future.

#4: The Use of Video Will Keep Climbing

Stats show that a third of all online activity is spent watching video and the average user is exposed to 32.3 videos in a month. Smart marketers are in tune with these numbers, and whether it’s video ads, video storytelling, or live streaming, they’ll find a way to incorporate more videos into their 2017 marketing strategy.

#5: A New and Significant Content Marketing Technology Will Emerge

This is going out on a limb a little bit, but I believe the advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning will soon impact the world of content marketing. As these amazing technologies are used to create real-world applications and devices, it won’t be long before somebody finds a way to use them to do better content marketing – hopefully in 2017!

See Ya Next Year!

Wish us the best of luck with our 2017 marketing predictions. If you believe in us, you might even get a jump on your competition by using these predictions to implement some new marketing processes. And don’t forget, check back here in 12 months time to see how we did and do it all over again!