Did you know that 51% of businesses currently use marketing automation? And, another 58% are planning to adopt the technology. What's the reason behind this shift?
Marketing automation saves you time - both in lead generation and lead nurturing by efficiently accomplishing the task. So you can invest that time into creating greater brand awareness and retaining your existing customers.
A study found that 71% of people prefer personalized ads that take into account their interests and preferences. And marketing automation can help you create such ads quickly and easily. The best thing about using marketing automation for ecommerce is that you can target both existing and potential customers in a personalized manner.
In this post, we’ll take a look at how marketing automation can help you improve your ecommerce marketing campaign and achieve the desired results. You’ll also see how efficiently automation translates into enhanced brand visibility and revenue.
1. Increases customer trust and loyalty
The tides have drastically shifted in SEO and strategies such as random link building are out. You need excellent content, a decent social media presence, and high-authority sites or influential people talking about you. You also need to put your content in front of people who are more likely to share, comment, or mention it.
Influencer marketing is one of the best ways to boost your social presence and gain customer trust. Recommendations from influencers have been known to increase purchase intent by 5.2X when coupled with tweets from brands.
A great way to boost trust and loyalty (and even sales) is to share sponsored blog reviews written by your influencers. Hershey’s, for example, partnered with 15 popular family, lifestyle, and food bloggers to promote their birthday-themed packs of “Kisses.”
The campaign had great photos and ideas for inspiration, creating a lot of hype and engagement. Content generated from such campaigns can be very effective building your credibility and increasing customer loyalty.
Hershey is of course a giant, but small businesses can also leverage influencers. A major challenge in this endeavour is finding and connecting with the right influencers and this is where marketing automation can be really beneficial, by helping you find relevant influencers for your ecommerce business.
Influencer marketing platforms usually provide a large database of influencers that you can filter by category or social platforms. Platforms like BuzzSumo, BuzzStream, or HYPR can help you identify and connect with the right influencers for your brand.
So how can marketing automation help you run influencer campaigns for your ecommerce business?
Once you are able identify your target audience, create a smart marketing plan. This strategy will impact how you create your landing pages, email marketing campaigns, and keywords. It will also impact your choice of influencers for your campaigns. You need to find influencers who have the same kind of target audience as you so that your campaigns reach the right people.
Tools such as Mautic will help you accomplish this task. Mautic is a powerful marketing automation platform that has the capability to organize multiple campaigns based on your target audience. Mautic allows you to test keyword strategies, landing pages, and form conversions. So you can better identify your potential leads the smarter way.
2. Improves customer retention
Have you heard of the 80-20 rule? It refers to businesses that are making 80% of their profits from 20% of their customers. Returning customers generally make up the major portion of the profits of any business. It’s also a lot cheaper to encourage existing customers to come back.
Capturing new prospects and converting them into customers is a much more expensive proposition. So, while you do need to attract new clients, makes sense to devote a portion of your marketing efforts to enticing your existing customers back.
Subscription services are great at ensuring your customers keep coming back to you. Amazon Prime is a really good example of this. The program was based on a simple promise: Pay $10.99 per month or $99 annually to get free two-day shipping. Membership basically doubled in 2 years.
Image source: CIRP
Though the shipping isn’t actually free - as the customers have paid for it - they’ve managed to boost satisfaction by making users feel as if they've been granted free shipping. The CIRP analysis found that Prime members spend almost 2X more than non-members due to the frequency of their visits rather than purchase amount per visit.
“Amazon Prime membership encourages much more frequent shopping, likely because the free shipping benefit knocks down a key barrier to buying online often and makes Amazon their first stop for online purchases."
The option to gift Prime memberships to non-members is a further ingenious way to reward existing loyal customers.
So how does marketing automation help with all of this?
With marketing automation, your ecommerce campaign subscriptions can become much easier to manage. The system automatically triggers alerts to remind subscribers it’s time to renew, monthly or annually. Automation keeps everything running smoothly and frees you from the tasks of running batch processes or time tracking individual accounts.
3. Helps to re-engage inactive customers
Although the definition of inactive customers can vary from brand to brand, marketing automation can be pretty useful in re-engaging inactive customers of your ecommerce business.
To achieve solid results, you need to first identify your inactive customers. Analyze the following data:
- Who has subscribed to your newsletter but not purchased?
- Who purchased from you about a year ago and never returned?
- Who inquired about a specific product and vanished?
For each of these cases, segment the users. You can then use automated email workflows from providers such as MailChimp to re-engage them by offering exclusive deals or discounts.
Email remains a highly effective way to reach customers and done correctly, is permission based, ensuring you stay on the right side of privacy regulations.
Image source: Shopify
Here’s a great example from clothing retailer Boden.
Image source: MailBakery
Feedback forms, competitions and surveys are also good ways to try and reactivate dormant customers. If you have a loyalty scheme, you can remind people of how many points they have or offer a boost.
4. Boosts your social media reach
In this age of social media, its vital for brands to be present in all the right places. Customers are everywhere and they want you where they hang out. With marketing automation, you can connect with your target audience on different channels, at the right time, without spamming them. This can prove real handy when it comes to interacting with hard-to-engage customers.
Most businesses have a presence on multiple social channels, and it’s difficult to manage them all - to post content that’s tailor-made for a particular platform and engage with audiences on all of them.
Wondering how you can pull this off?
Simply integrate marketing automation tools like Sprout Social, Marketo, or Hootsuite with your social media accounts.
Sprout Social makes social media management a piece of cake. It monitors your social media mentions across multiple platforms and brings them to you in a single stream. You can easily join conversations, answer questions, and reply to comments to make sure you’re engaging effectively with your audience.
Marketo helps you engage with your social media followers in innovative ways such as sweepstakes or polls.
Hootsuite integrates all your social media profiles into a centralized dashboard making social media management really easy. You can automate your publishing and quickly respond to comments or mentions across all channels.
Remember, when coupled with segmentation, automated social media ads add great value to your brand’s email marketing campaigns.
Image via Instagram
You can use automation to share your content with the right audiences. It will also ensure that your content is shared across various social media channels instantly after publication.
These easy to implement automation ideas will help you improve your ecommerce marketing campaigns. Identifying and engaging your target audiences and then tailoring your campaigns to their needs is a crucial part of marketing. Not only does it help to increase your brand awareness, it also strengthens long-term customer relationships.
Remember, with all email marketing - and especially following the GDPR privacy regulations - it’s important that you have consent from your users to contact them and store their details.
Can you think of any other ways in which automation can help your ecommerce campaigns improve? Let us know in the comments below.