Written by James Scherer
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5 Ways our Clients Use Marketing Automation To Simplify Success

I talk to a lot of people on social media, in blog comments and at marketing meet-and-greets. And a lot of them know the value of online marketing but studied sports medicine, psychology, economics or history in university.

It's like knowing that if you could only drive a stickshift you'd be given a Ferrari. But you've only ever learned automatic.

I guess what I'm saying is this: If you're reading this article, thinking that something like marketing automation is beyond your expertise, budget and time, you're not alone.

It's an idea that's ingrained in the heads of many marketers for a couple reasons:

Marketing automation isn't new, and so if you know what it's like, then you probably know it's prohibitively expensive, complicated and time-consuming for you and your business.

Except you're behind the times.

There are several software providers who have built their platforms after recognizing a niche market of businesses who could benefit greatly from marketing automation but can't afford the time, energy or considerable marketing budget to pay for what's currently out there.

Believe me - I was in several dozen meetings discussing this exact thing over the past 18 months.

So let's just say that every marketing automation use-case I'll show you in this article is possible for your business (no matter its size) and can be done for considerably less than you might think.


#1. Identify and Reach out to Leads When They're Most Likely to Buy


Hot lead is a term we use to describe someone deemed to have a high level of purchase intent. For instance, someone who comes into your clothing boutique, looks at a blouse, smiles, tries it on and comes out with it over one arm, walking towards the counter.

That's a hot lead: they haven't bought yet, but nor would now be a good time for you to take your break.

Get it?

It's a bit more complicated for SaaS, B2B and Ecommerce, so here are a few reliable ways for you to define a "hot lead:"

  • Based on page visit: For instance, someone who viewed your pricing page twice in two days but didn't convert
  • Based on actions: For instance, someone who opened and clicked through a VIP demo email but didn't sign up for one
  • Based on lead information: For instance, someone who has selected the "ready to buy" checkbox within your real estate landing page form.
  • Based on lead score: For instance, someone who has A: Visited your pricing page, B: Visited your product page more than once, C: Downloaded a white-paper or comparison guide, and D: Clicked through on a sales email (but not converted). Individually this isn't enough to label someone a Hot Lead, but, together it's a strong indicator of strong interest.
  • Based on conversations in chat or a demo: Your support team can always manually add a lead to a segment.

Now, you might be thinking "that's all well and good, James, but how the heck can I tell if any of those things have happened? My Google Analytics barely shows me page traffic."

Great point, so let's quickly add a marketing automation tracking pixel into your site. Just drag and drop this into the header of your wordpress theme code, or (if not using Wordpress) onto each page you want to see your traffic's interactions:

marketing automation use cases

So now that we've defined our leads and ensured we won't miss a hint that someone's ready to buy, here's how we'd set up the automatic process for adding people to a segment we could target…

First, set the conditions for your hot lead. In this case I've kept it simple, with anybody who views my pricing page twice in two days and has not yet signed up:

marketing automation use cases

Secondly, I set the action which is triggered by those conditions being met. In this case it's simply adding that lead to a segment (my Hot Leads list):

marketing automation use cases

I could then take this list of Hot Leads and use joining that list as a condition for triggering a sales email, internal sales notification (see below for more on that), phone call or even a dynamic change to my website to prompt them towards a conversion (perhaps an exclusive discount which only hot leads can see).


#2. Reduce Ecommerce Cart Abandonment with Follow-up Email


Someone has visited your product page and selected a product or service. They've reached your checkout page, but didn’t complete the transaction.

It's frustrating. You were so damn close!

It's okay though, at least 68.55% of people who add an item to their shopping cart end up bouncing, not completing the purchase.

This use-case gives you a strategy for dealing with shopping cart abandonment, automatically.

Here's how you would you to deliver an email which notifies them of a discount on that product, and prompts them to complete their purchase:

Firstly, set your workflow conditions. This simply says "IF someone views the checkout URL but not the thank you URL..."

marketing automation use cases

Then, very simply, set these conditions to trigger an email notifying your leads of free shipping.

marketing automation use cases

"Surprise" fees (such as shipping charges) are among the top reasons your prospective customers cancel at the checkout stage. Alleviate this with a simple marketing automation workflow.


#3. Send an Internal Sales Reminder so Nobody Slips Through the Cracks


One of the coolest functions of marketing automation is that it can be a safety net, having your back when you don't have the time to monitor every single one of your thousands of leads and customers.

My personal favorite use (in this part of MA's capacity) is the internal email. Like when Facebook reminds you it's a friend's birthday (seriously, what would we do without that?), you can set your marketing automation to, essentially, ping you when something important occurs within your website, funnel or customer lifecycle.

Here's how a B2B company with a 3-month sales cycle might set up marketing automation to "ping" a sales associate when one of their accounts reaches a certain milestone…

Step #1: When your salesperson first completes a sale, they manually add that customer's contact details to a "Customer" List. Each salesperson can, if they like, have their own List within your marketing automation system.

marketing automation use cases

Step #2: Create a workflow, the conditions of which are simply "becoming a member of James' "Customer" List:"

Now, every time your sales associate adds a new customer to their list, that person will meet the workflow’s conditions and the actions below will be triggered:

marketing automation use cases

Note: Remember to set the the automatic “are you ready to buy more paper?” email to be from the sales team so they receive an email if the account responds).

Another great way to use this workflow would be to trigger an email to your sales team when a high-value customer is inactive for a certain period of time (indicating they may be considering dropping your service). Do this by tracking their email opens, logins, page visits, or any other indicator you can think of.


#4. Nurture Blog Subscribers into Sales with an Email Drip Campaign


Segmentation is a crucial component of lead nurturing.

You need to know a bit about your leads in order to expose them to the proper content which will turn them from a prospective customer into a loyal one.

The easiest way some of our clients have found to do this (including Wishpond itself) is to create downloadable, segment-sensitive content and then segments leads based on what they’ve downloaded.

The easiest way to do this, of course, is to send leads from your segment-sensitive content campaigns into a single segment (or marketing automation list).

Perhaps it'll make more sense if I show you.

marketing automation use cases

This screenshot shows the conditions of my "Landing Page Leads from Content" List. Essentially, it's a single list made from all the leads who become leads on my landing page-related content.

Now, every time someone new is added to this list (by converting on one of the landing page campaigns) you could send them a series of emails focused on what they're interested in while encouraging a paid conversion.

Here's how that would look:

The workflow conditions: marketing automation use case

The workflow actions:

marketing automation use case

For more on nurturing segmented leads into sales with content they're interested in, check out my articles "How to Create Email Drip Campaigns to Nurture Leads" or "B2B Email Drip Campaign Ideas and Examples."


#5. Use Javascript to Add Hot Leads to a Remarketing Audience


This one might sound a bit complex, so if you're not familiar with remarketing, I recommend you check out my introductory article on remarketing(also called retargeting).

If you're already well-versed, let me show you something really cool…

No matter if you're using Facebook retargeting, Google remarketing or another 3rd party provider, they'll be able to give you a bit of javascript. This is what the one Wishpond uses to retarget people interested in our Instagram contest tool looks like:

marketing automation use cases

Here's how you can use that Javascript to create a "hot lead" list within your remarketing tool:

Step 1: Set your "hot lead" conditions as you did before (see Use Case #1)

Step 2: Copy and paste the snippet of Javascript provided by your remarketing tool into the "Run Javascript" option of your workflow's actions.

Step 3: Set your code's trigger to be any visit to your homepage. This needs to be done because your remarketing javascript must be triggered by a page visit.

marketing automation use cases

Step 4: Set up a remarketing audience of "hot leads" within your remarketing tool which will be populated by this workflow.

Step 5: Create a remarketing ad specifically targeted at "hot leads," featuring a limited-time discount or benefit to converting soon. Something like this one from American Express:

marketing automation use cases

This will not only increase the ROI of your ad spend, it will also save you money, as you'll be only targeting your website visitors who are genuinely interested in purchasing and just need that last push to convert.


Wrapping it Up


Hopefully those five (relatively simple) examples will help to convince you that marketing automation is a powerful tool. If you're still not convinced that it's simple enough or affordable enough for your business, let's talk.

My new year's resolution is to help small and medium-sized businesses implement marketing strategies (like automation) which they believe to be beyond them.

If you have any questions, concerns or just want to chat, reach out in the comment section below.

P.S. Don't forget to download the downloadable PDF for this article, which has a bonus (even cooler) use-case for marketing automation.

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Written by James Scherer

James Scherer is the content editor at Wishpond. When he's not writing or designing for Wishpond he's risking his life biking around the city. Reach out to him on Twitter @JDScherer.