Marketing Automation: Nurture without Feeling Metallic

Marketing automation software is a great boon to marketers, no question. It allows companies to do more things without having to do them by hand. However, more is not always better. Just because you can mechanize the process doesn’t mean you should take all the personality out of your marketing. For example, you can send out more emails automatically to more people who visit your website, in the hopes that you’ll convert them to customers and make the sale. But if you’re not using that software to personalize your emails to target customers individually, then you’re basically spamming them. You still have to nurture your leads; you can’t wear them down by sending them tons of content.

Learn all you need to know about keeping your marketing human in our whitepaper, “Toolkit to Natural Marketing Automation: How Not to Look Like a Robot.” Read on for a quick introduction.

Keep Your Marketing Copy Friendly

As we’ve discussed before, customers like it when you speak their language. Make sure your content reflects the tone and terminology your customers use. A good place to start is to track what they’re already saying about you on social media and other channels. Marketing Land suggests you watch for these specifics especially:

  • Degree of formality, e.g. in emails, do you address people with “dear,” “hello,” “hey”…?

  • Use of colloquialisms and regional dialect, e.g., “do you understand this?” versus “are you down with this?”

  • Stance on swearing, e.g., the occasional use of a mild curse word such as “damn.”

  • Elements of humor, e.g., plenty of witty phrases and plays on idioms.

  • References to pop culture, e.g., a careful use of reference to globally famous artists on social media only.

Or, try this tip:

Another approach is to picture your ideal customer in front of you. How would you explain your product to them? What words would you use to describe its key benefits?

Be in the Right Place at the Right Time

Think back to our post on Target, and how the company’s marketing department sent people who bought swimsuits in April sunscreen coupons in July and coupons for diet books in December. Or how they sent baby-related coupons to women they suspected were pregnant. Their strategy? Data-driven, 1:1 marketing to identify what their customers need and when they need it.

Blanket all your leads in the same deals and your company will get lost in the noise. Instead, you need to track your customers systematically and in great detail, to divine their buying habits. Marketing automation software makes it easier to gather the data, but you still need to analyze the data to create a marketing plan.

[Tweet “Blanket all your leads in the same deals and your company will get lost in the noise.”]

Similarly, utilize the channels that your customers use the most. You’ll save time and your marketing will be more effective. Per a recent Forbes article (ellipses are mine):

By targeting your content to channels, you’ll increase the chances of publication and limit wasted time creating content that doesn’t get picked up … A smart channel strategy focuses on publishing your content on outlets that your prospects and customers pay attention to.

Don’t get too Big Brother-ish on your customers, though. Target learned its lesson the hard way when it figured out that a teenage girl was pregnant before her father. Think carefully about the times you choose to engage with your customers, and try not to freak them out.

You Don’t Always Have to Sell

Wait, what? What kind of marketing content doesn’t sell product? The kind that trustworthy brands produce.

Customers will almost certainly get annoyed by a constant stream of “cannot miss!” opportunities, and it makes your company seem like it’s run by a bunch of computers, not people. Develop insightful, high-quality content that does something other than sell. A lot of what you’ll develop will depend on what content your customers like to consume. Do they use informative whitepapers or articles? Do they watch funny YouTube videos? Do they love snarky blog posts?

Give your customers what they want, and you’ll show them you’re here to help, not just market to them.

 

 

 

William Flanagan

CEO & Founder, Audienti. Former VP-Cognio, Founder-sentitO/Verso, SALIX/Tellabs, PrimaryAccess/3Com, CompuServe. Expert in data-driven marketing.

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