In today's highly competitive market, any business must continually generate new leads as well as retain existing clients to succeed. It’s even more important for small business owners, agents, brokers, and consultants. It's not enough to rely on word-of-mouth referrals and automatic renewals. Successful companies use a comprehensive marketing strategy to attract and nurture potential buyers and cultivate long-term relationships after the sale.
Lead Generation with Inbound Marketing
The average person is bombarded with interruption-based marketing throughout the day. And they've become very creative in blocking it out with tools such as spam folders and caller ID. Today's customers are savvy; 78 percent of respondents in a recent HubSpot survey stated that they research a product on two or more channels before making a buying decision.
Pro Tip: The most popular automated marketing systems such as HubSpot pack a lot of useful features, but their steep monthly fees can be a barrier to use for many small companies. Fortunately,
Customer Life Cycle Management
The big benefit of marketing automation is that it helps you
Automated Marketing Accelerate The Sale
Here's what automating your marketing process looks like throughout the customer life cycle:
- Lead Acquisition
- Use SEO tools to make your blog and website more effective
- Automate posting content marketing articles on social networks
- Manage social profiles; promote content, monitor social activity easily and effectively
- Email campaign management that automates regular marketing for lead generation
- Prospect Evaluation and Consideration of Options
- Capture prospect information via opt-in for emails or newsletters
- Automatically trigger customized emails based on behavior, such as when a customer has visited a product page on your website several times but hasn't made an inquiry or purchase
- Decision-Making, Cultivation, and Profiling
- Automate emails through the welcome and onboarding phase
- Send reminders and engagement prior to renewals or upgrades
- Promote specials, coupons, and new product announcements
- Collect user information to improve your offers and targeting
- Manage customer loyalty programs
- Publish newsletters and blog posts
- Termination and Win-Back
- Conduct data collection and exit surveys
- Send automated win-back emails at six and 12-month intervals
Encourage Ongoing Business
Sales people often focus on the initial sale and neglect to nurture the client over time. Every business is a highly competitive industry where alternatives are many and clients can be fickle.
Rewarding loyalty is another technique that enhances long-term relationships. Rewards don't need to be costly or even involve cash outlays; in many cases, a simple thank-you email or, when appropriate, a shout-out on social media is more than enough.
Automated marketing can be configured to trigger milestone emails as part of your ongoing relationship-building with customers and your loyalty program.
Team Task Management
Most marketing automation systems provide high-quality tools to coordinate the activities and measure the results of your sales team. Tasks are assigned through the system, which can be configured to send texts or email reminders so each sales person knows what is happening with each prospect or customer as they progress through the sales cycle. Managers can access reports and real-time data to measure each sales person’s activity, for example, or to determine how each marketing campaign is performing.
Putting together the strategies and creating the content and strategies for moving prospects and clients through your sales funnel starts with creating what is often referred to as the “The buyer’s journey.”
One final advantage to marketing automation systems is that most integrate with mobile technology, allowing the sales and marketing team to be more flexible and manage their time more efficiently.
Four Platforms to Consider
- Marketing Essentials. This platform has three tiers depending on your needs with features including SEO, email marketing automation, social media marketing, and contact management. Unfortunately, the company doesn't publish prices, so contact them for a quote.
- Leadsius. This is an ideal choice for the insurance business, because it combines a fairly robust CRM that focuses on lead generation and nurturing, email marketing, and landing page and web form creation and management. It's free for up to 250 contacts, a real bonus.
- InTouch. The most popular UK CRM starts at about $70 a month and includes all the essentials: email and marketing automation, lead generation and customer pipeline management, social media, and task management.
- ActiveCampaign. Primarily used as an email marketing and triggered campaign platform, ActiveCampaign also includes lead nurturing and sales automation. Plans start at $9 per month for 500 contacts.