Stop me if you’ve heard this one: marketing automation will save you time and increase your engagement and efficiency. Okay, you’ve definitely heard that one, and it’s all true. The problem is you may not be getting to the biggest benefit that marketing automation has to offer: time.
Automating can drastically increase engagement while cutting down on the time you spend doing manual tasks every day. If you’re new to marketing automation, you might ask yourself, “What am I supposed to do with that saved time?” Start by looking at what you already do. You’re already trying to provide a positive customer or member experience, and maintain strong communications with them. Let’s start with that first part, about the experience.
Put Experience First
We’ll put away the digital marketing aspect for a moment and look at trends in two common, competitive markets: movies and restaurants.
Movie theaters are competing with streaming services and premium television services. People still go to the cinema for the experience, so to compete the experience had to change. Now the choice includes 3D (according to Statista, over 15,000 3D screens have been added in North America since 2007), IMAX, and the increasing popularity of theaters that serve dinner during the film.
Restaurants still need and promote a friendly wait staff and good food but again, to compete, the experience has evolved. In 2017, 61% of consumers say they would rather spend more money for a better experience. Now there’s a farm-to-table backstory for the food, Edison lightbulbs galore to set the proper mood, and specialty craft cocktails constructed by mixologists.
The fundamental services didn’t change. It’s still really just dinner and a movie, but in these saturated markets, the experience went beyond good support or service.
Personalize the Member Experience
When it comes to your digital marketing communications, the experience you provide needs to evolve as well. Whether it’s movies, food, or getting someone to engage with your own brand, you are vying for a person’s time, attention, and usually money. When the choice is available to them, they will naturally be drawn to the experience that suits them best.
For associations, the first year of membership is vital. If a member renews after that first year, they are more likely to renew in following years. Nurture their experience throughout that first year and keep them connected to your brand.
This is where marketing automation comes back in. Use the time you save by automating tasks to engineer and implement the full experience you want your members or customers to have. If you’re just beginning to explore your options, you’ve probably thought about the basics, like implementing a Welcome Campaign or Abandoned Cart Campaign. That’s a great start, but keep going! Plan the whole experience from start to finish.
- Expand the welcome campaign with automation and give that same farm-to-table backstory of where your brand came from.
- Use automated email campaigns to encourage social media engagement with you and give them that special 3D engagement experience.
- Set up web tracking to trigger campaigns based on website activity.
- Did they view a specific product or resource on your website? Provide attentive service by sending them more personalized content to lead them to similar things they might appreciate.
Give them the experience that will keep them coming back to you.
Capture Data for the Ideal Experience
Define the ideal lifecycle for your audience by looking at all the points where we can capture data to track their experiences. What do you capture in your AMS? How can they engage with your web site or social media properties? Which events are they attending? How have they interacted with email campaigns? Every single point of captured data allows you to provide each audience member with a personalized journey to follow.
Automate Tasks so You Can Focus on Experience
You’re already doing the basics to stay connected to your audience. Now, automate what you can to free up time to elevate the experience. When you’re not tethered to the same daily communications tasks, you can dust off all those ideas that you wanted to try, but never had the time or staff for.
The question that we started with was: what do you do with all the time that marketing automation is supposed to save? You do more, and you do better.