It’s the holy grail of online marketing.
It lets you do almost anything faster, better, and more efficient.
Not only could it make you a greater marketer or salesperson, it also enables you to:
- Get closer to your customers
- Segment email lists
- Automate CRM entries
- Keep prospect information updated
- Track marketing campaigns that span over several channels
- Keep a close relationship with your customers, even when you don’t have the time for it
- Not spend time on boring stuff (like segmenting lists, ugh)
Marketing Automation allows virtually any business to grow faster with fewer resources.
Yet, some people talk about it as if it’s just another buzzword, destined to be dumped by the side of the road and soon forgotten.
Let’s take a look at this trend report from Google:
Marketing automation has been trending for almost 10 years! That’s a long lifespan for a buzzword if you ask me.
Probably because it solves a need that has been around for centuries…
Here’s why it matters:
People are more interested in themselves than anything else in the world, and there are studies that back this up. Let’s see what science says about it…
What science says about personalization
Researchers from Harvard University (The Neuroscience and Social Cognitive lab) conducted two fMRI-studies where they asked 195 participants to…
- Talk about themselves and their own personality traits
- Talk about other people and their personal traits
The researchers then compared the difference in neural activity between the self-focused answers and the answers focused on other people.
Unsurprisingly, the prefrontal cortex – an area previously known to be associated with self-thought – had an increase in activity while the participants talked about themselves and their own traits.
But on closer investigation, they discovered something more…
Dopamine is a feel-good hormone that is released when you eat great food, have sex, or after a great workout.
It was previously unknown that self-thought was closely linked to the dopamine system.
But, the subjects in the room were alone in this experiment. They didn’t know if anyone actually listened to what they said.
So, the researchers wanted another experiment.
This time, the participants were asked to bring a friend or relative with them. The researchers then divided them into two groups:
- The first group was told their responses would be shared with their friend or relative.
- The second group was told their responses would be held private, never to be seen by anyone.
The reward system for the subjects that were told their responses would be shared, lit up like a Christmas tree when they answered questions about themselves.
The second group had a slight increase in neural activity, but nowhere near the first group.
In other words… We love ourselves.
It’s our favourite subject of all time, and with the help of marketing automation you can maintain a 1:1-communication with your customers or website visitors, from when you’re just starting out, to when you’re as big as Amazon.
And, it allows you to tailor almost any of your marketing activities to the individual needs of your audience – ensuring you always present an offer they’re interested in.
There’s a flipside to it that most don’t mention.
There’s actually a few areas of your business that you shouldn’t automate.
Not only will these things stump your growth, but potentially actually hurt your business.
Because if you go all-in, fully automating these 3 areas, your users and visitors experience can go south really quickly.
Let’s dive in.
#1 – Don’t automate customer support
Back when I still lived with my parents, over 10 years ago, I remember listening to my mother talking to the support of our landline provider – a company called Telia.
She was always frustrated when she encountered a problem because of one simple reason…
Their automated customer support.
When you called in, you spoke to a robot who would ask questions. Depending on your answer, it would connect you with the corresponding department.
Here’s how it would usually play out:
Telia robot: “Welcome to Telia, how may I help you? Please state your question now.”
Mom: “I want to talk to the billing department for landline phone services”
Telia robot: “I will connect you to a support agent for our broadband, say “NO” if you want to start over”
Mom: “No! Billing – BI-LL-ING”
Telia robot: “Welcome to Telia, how may I help you?”
Telia robot: “I will connect you to a support agent for installing fiber on Mars”
Mom: “BILLING, LET ME SPEAK WITH BILLLLLIIIINNGGGGG”
I know what you’re thinking…
“Yeah, but that was 10 years ago. Now A.I’s are much better at speech recognition, and some can even sense the tone of voice (irritated, happy, angry, etc).”
And, that’s true.
But… just because you can doesn’t mean you always should, and here’s why:
People want to speak with other people.
We’re not selling to companies or machines, we’re still selling to people IN those companies.
Sure, a bot can understand requests to a certain extent, but it can’t read between the lines or understand the context like your best support agents can.
Here are a few ways you can automate your customer support without going overboard:
1. Handling of support tickets
Assign your support agents to specific areas. That way whenever a new ticket is created within that area, it will be immediately sent to the right person. You can do this with a service like Zendesk.
2. Use LiveChat
Website chat allows you to streamline and speed up support services, especially if you can automate the first welcome message to help initiate a conversation.
While a fully automated chat is not a great idea, having a human ready to answer any incoming requests will make chat one of the best additions you’ll ever add.
Triggerbee integrates seamlessly with LiveChat. You can see who chatted, as well as get the full transcript so the whole team can review the conversation. Check this out:
3. Create a FAQ
A FAQ is essential to any business where you might receive a lot of questions about your service or product.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll soon see that many of your customers have similar problems and ask the same questions. A FAQ eliminates the need of repeatedly sending out the same answers.
#2 – Don’t automate your whole sales funnel
Don’t get me wrong, we’re all about automation here at Triggerbee. But, it’s important to know when to step in and how to help your prospects or customers.
For example, we have a demo request automation that looks like this:
This is only one automation, and things can easily get out of hand if you don’t keep an eye open.
In the first step, we send the lead to a list in MailChimp and create a new deal in Pipedrive, our CRM system.
Based on whether the visitor requests a demo from our Swedish or English site, we update a field in Mailchimp with the respective language for future communications.
After that, we send out a personalized email invitation, prompting them to suggest a time and date for the demo in the coming week.
For us, the response rate for this email is quite high– around 90% or so – but what if someone drops off at this point?
Sure, sending out a bunch of reminders could work, however…
We always keep an eye on incoming responses and make sure that someone from our team steps in and follows up with the person if they haven’t responded to the demo invite.
In our case, we can just look up the contact information from the lead in Triggerbee and forward it to someone on our team.
Check it out:
Just like we mentioned earlier, people want to talk with other people, and your customers want to talk about how your product or service can help them grow their business.
Creating more leads is one of the top priorities for companies, just look at this graph:
And while there’s nothing wrong with creating a sales funnel to send your sales through the roof, you’ll soon see your results decline if you don’t know when to step in and take over the conversation.
Here are two ways you can automate your sales without leaving it all up to the automation:
1. Create new deals in your CRM based on website activity
At Triggerbee we use Pipedrive as our CRM of choice, and it’s also our top recommendation for our customers.
Our seamless integration with Pipedrive lets you track your leads behavior on your website and send this information to their record in Pipedrive.
You can also set up an automation which moves your lead to the next step in your pipeline when they fulfill a specific goal (e.g. visit a specific page, fill out a form, or click a specific link).
Here’s an example:
Step 1: A website visitors downloads a whitepaper or eBook from your website.
Step 2: You create a new deal in Pipedrive and add your lead to the first step of your pipeline.
Step 3: You send out a few automated emails and you prompt the lead to visit your website and fill out a form to get a quote.
Step 4: Your lead clicks your link in the email, fills out the form and then Triggerbee moves them to the next step in the funnel.
Step 5: Send a notification to a salesperson via Pipedrive and make sure they follow up.
2. Create an email sequence
If you’re selling anything online, you need an email sequence. Not only does this nurture prospects automatically, but also enables you to keep track of who drops off at each stage.
As long as you keep track of where things are heading and know when it’s a good time to step in yourself to continue the conversation, you’re good.
#3 – Don’t personalize too much
Personalization is automation at it’s best.
On average, we spend 60% of all conversations talking about ourselves.
But when we use social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, 80% of our posts and conversations are about ourselves and our own accomplishments.
I mean, how many of these have you seen in the last 24 hours?
But when it comes to marketing?
Personalization is life (and there’s good reason). But – remember that it’s a fine line between being personal, and being a creep.
You don’t want your audience aware that you know everything about their online habits and behavior on your website.
According to the RichRelevance report, 37% of consumers considers geo-targeting creepy, and 64% of consumers would consider an in-app greeting containing their first name a bit too much.
This means that you’re never far from being too personal, even if it’s common knowledge that companies track almost everything we do.
Someone once told me that personalization is not about being able to address someone by their first name, but actually about making someone feel like they discovered something on their own – even though you know they’re interested in it.
It basically means this:
Don’t talk to your prospects directly, simply present offers and content similar to what they already like and make it seem like you just happened to offer them something interesting.
Humans are explorers, and we want to discover things by ourselves.
Marketing Automation and personalization lets your visitors explore and discover new things on your website, on their own terms.
If you are looking for a way to gain a competitive edge, you should definitely look into implementing a marketing automation system.
The truth is that once you pass a certain amount of incoming leads, it’s virtually impossible to maintain the communication with each and every one by yourself.
And that’s where you need marketing automation to step in.
Just make sure you have a clear plan of what and how you want to automate.
Now, the only remaining question we have for you is this:
What are you going to automate first?