Thanks to the advancements in technology and the internet over the years, marketing automation is something that has grown exponentially. Rather than doing everything manually and wasting precious time on repetitive tasks, marketing automation allows for a more efficient process. With certain aspects of the marketing process taking care of itself, your team is free to invest the saved time on strategies to generate more leads.
Marketing automation will expand even further in 2019. However, what are the trends to pay particular attention to?
Chatbots and AI
We couldn't possibly create a guide on marketing automation and leave out Artificial Intelligence. For those concerned that AI will replace humans, this isn't the case. Instead, the aim is to automate specific processes and free marketers to complete tasks that can't be automated by technology.
Can AI be implemented as part of your marketing automation strategy? In truth, it has plenty of uses, including:
- Collecting data
- Creating buyer personas
- Monitoring social media
- Predictive Analytics for CRM
- Content optimization & much more
If we pick up on one of these points, CRM, which is the relational database that helps us understand our customers and prospects to tailor our service to their needs (in terms of personalization and customized products). By introducing AI, your CRM can be both simplified and advanced. For example, AI can help to predict customer behavior which then allows marketing materials to reach consumers with the best chance of converting.
We should also mention chatbots since these are becoming more common across all industries. Rather than having your employees talking to customers and answering the same questions over and over again, a programmed chatbot does it with ease. The simple addition of a chatbot provides a better experience for your customers, as well as save time and money. For example: If a customer has a question during an online midnight session on your website, a chatbot could offer an immediate answer rather than your customer having to wait until the next day for someone to respond.
Furthermore, chatbots can reduce human error, they can deal with more people at the same time, and they can be set up to respond with the tone and voice of your brand…even if it includes humor.
In years gone by, businesses would have no option but to advertise to a vast pool of people in the hopes that a handful would be interested. These days, we can target specific demographics, and this is possible through personalized content.
Look at tools such as Optimizely. They watch consumer behavior and collect data from previous purchases and so-called ‘social listening.' From there, they can generate the content that's most likely to yield results. For example, somebody who just purchased a golf club may want information regarding golf club care and how to improve their swing.
Predictive Lead Scoring
Which leads are most likely to buy a product or service from your brand? Well, this is something predictive lead scoring looks to solve. By automatically assessing past purchases, as well as abandoned carts based on a score assigned to each interaction, you'll get a better idea of your target audience. Suddenly, you have the ability to reach out to a customer who is looking for a specific product or service and present them with that option. Not only will you save time with automation, but the aim is also to improve the lead-to-sale conversion rate and customer experience.
In case you didn't know, 2018 was the year that kicked voice search up a notch or two. Nowadays, millions upon millions have access to Google, Alexa, Siri, and other voice search tools. If we look at the statistics provided by Gartner, around three in every ten searches in 2020 will be conducted without the use of a screen. If you don't take 2019 as an opportunity to optimize for this growing trend, you'll quickly fall behind the competition.
How can you ensure success? According to experts, voice assistant technologies will be looking for content that uses long-tail keywords and offers a conversational tone. Therefore, this needs to be the focus of your content generation. Over time, automation can be used to ensure that all content is uniform and to learn more about the audience using such tools to search.
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Whether it’s CRM, predictive lead scoring, or AI, marketing automation will allow your business to be more efficient and competitive in the market. Marketing automation will also help your customers enjoy a more helpful, connected, and personalized experience with your brand. The more you understand about your customer, the better positioned your brand can be for success…this is where marketing automation shines!