Isn’t it somewhat ironic that despite all the mind-boggling advances in technology today, we are busier than ever before? No wonder we are so focused on achieving automation in every aspect of our lives – from automating savings from the monthly paycheck to automated bill payments for subscription services.
But what about your business marketing automation? Are you still processing most of your data manually, wasting valuable human resources and time that could be better spent on lead generation and customer engagement for your business? This is one of the biggest benefits of automation: the ability to leverage time and use it productively to maximize profits.
After all, when you chose the path of entrepreneurship, you didn’t swap a 40-hour-a-week job for the desire to work 70 hours a week in your business, and that too with ordinary results. Automation will help you get out of that cycle, reclaim time, and redirect it towards working “on” rather than “in” your business.
Since getting new customers is the lifeline of any business, in this guide, we will discuss how you can use automation to turn your business into a formidable lead generation and sales growth machine.
How to Automate Your Lead Generation Funnel?
If you want your website to churn out a consistent stream of leads without you having to do any heavy lifting, you need to rethink your website. It should be structured as the command center of your audience interaction and insight. This means actively reviewing the site data and then acting on it; this could include updating your content, conducting A/B tests, or changing your call-to-actions (CTAs).
Too many businesses set up their websites and then forget about them. They will publish an article but then never return to optimize it over time. Here at Next Level Marketing, we work with a lot of B2B websites and we see them lacking in several areas where lead generation should be strong. To meet your goal of maximizing leads and conversions, the following steps will help.
Understand the Customer Journey
Start with defining your audience segments, and then define customer personas for each segment. This will help you personalize your marketing for each persona or segment, making your message resonate more powerfully.
For a B2B business, the typical customer persona might include:
Job role and title
Who they report to
Size of Company
Problems, frustrations, and obstacles
Factors for promotion
From there, ask yourself the following questions to learn more about the customer journey for each persona:
What are they feeling (for example, worried or curious) when they start the journey?
What led them to start looking for a solution or information?
What are the specific questions they ask themselves when they come to your website?
What steps should they take to have a better user experience on your site?
And so on. Without understanding the journey for each persona, and without customer data, you will only have to depend on “guesswork”. You will be guessing what type of messaging you should have; you’ll be guessing what you should offer; you’ll be guessing how to resolve their problems. And you’ll be guessing how to convert them into paying customers.
Know What Potential Customers Want
When someone arrives at your web page, do you know what they are thinking? Do you know what questions they are looking to address? Making sure that your website answers what’s on the minds of your audience is super important, and will help you control how they consume the information on your website. People tend to filter out anything that doesn’t serve their mission.
For example, if you sell marketing software that’s designed to simplify campaigns and increase brand visibility, be sure that this message is crystal-clear to your site visitors as soon as they arrive. They shouldn’t have to scroll way down the landing page to get this information.
Create a list of questions each persona is asking when they hit your website, and then be sure that you are answering them very clearly. Failing to make it clear that your website (or a landing page) delivers its answers, you will see a high abandonment rate.
Don’t know what your visitors are asking? Don’t worry, that’s what the VoC (voice of the customer) research is about.
Capture Voice of the Customer (VoC)
Your website is like a window display that informs your visitors what you’re offering. But it works the other way, too. You can use your site to learn more about your potential customers. Many business owners overlook this and leave a lot of valuable insights on the table. You should be using your site as an audience insight engine; as a microscope into the minds of your audience.
This is why we absolutely love onsite surveys. They are perfect at capturing VoC, which is essentially an expression of how your prospects are feeling about their experiences related to your brand, services, and products. You can use on-page surveys to ask questions to a variety of different visitor segments who arrive at your site. They are also useful because you get real-time feedback.
Industry surveys are also effective in gathering VoC. You can offer them on different platforms that your audience is using. For example, you could email the survey to your list, have industry-specific magazines offer it, or have strategic partners share it with their own mailing lists, etc.
Create a Hook They Can’t Resist
Once you have collected VoC data and uncovered your customers’ deepest pain points and desires, use this information to craft your “hook”. Remember, this hook must be featured on your website. It would look something like this:
What makes your product/service different?
What sets your brand apart from your competitors’?
Why should they be using your products specifically?
Without clear differentiation, you will have a hard time converting website visitors into leads. In our experience, the strongest hooks are solely customer-focused. They are also straightforward and easy to understand. No matter how many bells and whistles your product has, buyers will focus and latch on to a single aspect, instead of looking at its many features and nuances.
Look, it’s tempting to throw every single detail about your offering out there to see what sticks. But all you’ll do is overwhelm your audience. It may sound counter-intuitive, but you should actually describe your product in as little and simple wording as possible. Simplify your messaging.
Create a Conversion Funnel
When someone arrives on your site, do you know exactly what they should do next? More importantly, do they know what step should they take next? This is where funnels come in. there are three different funnels that should be on your website:
Website journey; and
We have already talked about the customer journey above. Website journey is where they go from first landing on your website until the final conversion event. The offer journey is a part of the site journey; it’s focused on the window from when you make an offer to when they convert.
Every purchase a customer makes on a website is kind of a funnel. When someone comes to your site, they felt a need that led them to do so. What was this trigger? This is where the customer persona comes into play. Think of your customers and ask yourself if each visitor (regardless of their goal, be it to buy something or learn more about your product) would know where to go and what to do on your site.
When you are ready to address your audience based on their persona and pain points, it’s time to use the hook you created. Develop a step-by-step process that each visitor undergoes as they progress, from landing on your website all the way to the moment they convert. Marketing automation software and other marketing automation tools can help you in developing this process more efficiently.
Landing pages are usually the final step in a lead conversion funnel. To increase leads from your email marketing, social media, or SEO campaigns, create separate landing pages that are fully customized for the campaign. The landing page should mirror the design, appearance, messaging, and any offers used in the campaign to create a more intuitive user experience.
Here are a few tips to help your creative marketing and sales teams make your landing pages more effective:
Keep the design minimalistic and simple; don’t go all-out on design elements or the page will look cluttered
Use a compelling but concise headline at the top of the page
Speak clearly about the pain and frustrations that your audience is looking to solve
Focus on product benefits, instead of its features
Reinforce the pain they will feel if they don’t take action, i.e., buy your product
Include social proof (client testimonials, publications you’ve been featured on, client logos, etc.)
A/B test different features of your landing page so see what’s working and what’s not
CTAs take your visitors from a passive state to an active one. The general perception many among sales and marketing teams is that you should use CTAs at the end of a webpage. We don’t agree. You should be using CTAs throughout your site to drive them to take an action. Wherever you have content (webpage, blog, social media), you can have CTAs.
Use the Right Marketing Automation Software
Marketers have many tasks to perform in a limited span of time, but just one goal – to increase revenue. Using the right tools not only clears your plate to do more important things, but it also streamlines your marketing and sales strategies. In fact, studies show that using marketing automation software can help you generate 80% more leads than businesses that don’t.
The idea of automating your email marketing campaign is that you’ll be able to capture a list of prospects and set up emails that will automatically be sent out to them – say goodbye to manually adding people to email lists. There are quite a few marketing automation tools that can automate your whole email system.
Mail Chimp is a salient email marketing automation tool for beginners because it has a free version that you can use for a relatively small list. You can create a web form in Mail Chimp and insert it into your site for people to sign-up. Anyone who does is automatically added to your list in Mail Chimp and at the same time, you can have it send out a “Welcome” email that includes, for example, a free gift for signing up.
You’ll need to pay a monthly fee if you want to set up a series of auto-responders and use other cool marketing automation features. They have newsletter templates available so if you like, you can experiment with them before deciding to get your own design.
Aweber and Office Autopilot are also good marketing automation tool options to create forms and set up auto-responders.
Social Media Automation
If you don’t want to spend several hours every week updating all of your social media accounts, there are some great social media marketing automation tools available for you to set up and automate posts.
Hootsuite is a reliable marketing automation software. It’s a dashboard that links to all of your social media accounts (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more). Instead of you having to log in and out of each account individually to make updates, you can keep up with the whole social media management from your Hootsuite account.
It also has a scheduling feature that allows you to set up a series of posts to go to any of your social media platforms, and you can even set those for specific days and times. You can also see how people respond to your posts and interact with anyone who comments or sends you a message online.
SMS or texting has increasingly become a more important marketing tool as most people these days are carrying around a smartphone. There are many ways you can use an SMS lead automation tool to grow your business, including:
Turning leads from Facebook Messenger into SMS contacts
Converting site visitors into SMS contacts using webchat bots
Leveraging your existing contact list to kick off new marketing campaigns
TextMagic is one of the best marketing automation software options to send messages and receive replies on your email, app, or API. You can set up automation tools like templates to make it faster to send repeat messages (like “thank you for your purchase”) and automate responses to customer texts.
For running marketing campaigns, SimpleTexting works great. It has a very intuitive user interface and every feature is accessible right from the main screen. You won’t need to watch any tutorials to learn how things work, and the marketing automation features are very user-friendly.
If you’ve decided on an SMS marketing automation platform and are wondering how to use it for marketing, we have a couple of ideas:
If you ever organize an event, use SMS to remind them of the upcoming event and keep them engaged. You can send something like “looking forward to seeing you there” to stay in touch and rekindle their passion for attending.
If you are a local business (like a dentist or a beauty salon), use SMS messaging automation tools to connect with clients for upcoming specials. For example, you can try a message like “the first 10 people to call this number will get $50 off”.
OFFLINE CONVERSIONS AND CUSTOMER DATA AUTOMATION TOOLS
One way to improve your marketing funnel is to automate customer match list integration and leverage offline conversions. Customer match helps Google know who your ideal customers are, so they can find similar audiences to deliver your ads to. This is a form of offline data intelligence. Offline conversions occur when you import offline conversion data based on different triggers and actions that happen in your sales funnel such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads.
Google’s ad system includes the Customer Match feature, designed to help advertisers reach the exact audience they want with relevant messaging. These custom lists lead to better retargeting but take active and ongoing work to make sure your lists are up-to-date- unless you’re leveraging automation.
Automation can help you create campaigns centered around customer lists that are more accurate and relevant without having to manually update data day-to-day.
Check out our favorite use cases of Zapier automation for customer match lists:
New email subscribers
Google allows you to add new email subscribers to their customer lists. This ensures that all new leads are pushed into your remarketing funnel immediately. You can start showing them offers to keep them engaged so they’re seeing multiple marketing messages from you right away.
New CRM contacts
New leads can come from various sources, such as phone calls, the contact form on a website, lead ads, or sign-ups through a lead magnet. Once these leads are added to a CRM (customer relationship management software), you can use Zapier to push that data straight through to relevant Google Customer Lists so you can start remarketing no matter how the lead got in touch.
Changes in lead status
Theoretically, leads don’t stay leads forever. They can become customers, become cold leads, or vice versa. When a lead changes status, Zapier can automatically add them to new Google Customer Lists so they see the right ads at the right time.
If people sign up for webinars or in-person events, you can show them specialized ads to entice them to convert into customers. You can show them ads to upsell items like special group meetings or networking opportunities related to that event. This is an easy way to keep a niche audience engaged across multiple platforms without having to lift a finger.
Retargeting and upselling are great ways to remind your customers that you haven’t forgotten about them. You can also use Customer List building tools for Google Ads in order reengage them with ads, or cross sell other products while targeting people who have already bought something else recently!
We Can Create Strategic Automated Marketing Campaigns to Streamline Your Lead Generation
You need a proven and effective marketing automation strategy to help you automate your lead generation and marketing efforts, and optimize your website for greater impact. At Next Level Marketing, we use a wide range of marketing automation tools for our clients, including advanced data enrichment solutions to build a ready-to-convert pipeline and chatbots to segment your prospects for winning results. Contact us today to discuss how our teams can help you build a powerful sales funnel.