Marketing automation has become a staple of most marketing strategies. The ability to send high volumes of emails to customers with little or no human intervention saves considerable time.
It has allowed businesses to create long term nurture sequences to keep in regular contact with their customers. These simple campaigns provide users with a steady stream of content to add value.
The introduction of conditional logic has also made it possible for businesses to create sophisticated workflows. Depending on customer behaviour, different emails are triggered to drive desired outcomes.
Both of these innovations make it easier for businesses to communicate with their customers more effectively. And drive up conversions.
Marketing automation is growing in sophistication in line with the availability of data. The more data you have at your disposal, the easier it is to communicate with your customers about the things they care about.
Marketing automation is reaching a level of maturity that builds a high level of sophistication into communications. It’s a pretty exciting time for businesses that are already leveraging this technology to interact with their customers.
Customers are crying out to be understood. The race to the bottom within the eCommerce space has left most users wanting more than discounts and free shipping.
Despite the mountains of data most businesses have on their customers, they fail to utilise it. This has left customers feeling like most eCommerce businesses don’t care about building a relationship with them. Only their bank balance.
When you consider how most businesses only send generic email communications it’s easy to see why customers feel this way.
Generic emails only succeed in delighting no one. How can they do anything else when the majority of customers don’t feel those products are relevant to them.
Hyper-personalisation turns your communications into something that has genuine value for your audience.
By leveraging your customer data, you can create campaigns that can make recommendations based on purchase history. Including those products available in their size, or their preferred brand.
Personalised campaigns don’t stop with the inbox. With the right customer data platform, you can carry communications across multiple channels.
You can use web push to nudge customers who opened your email and clicked but didn’t purchase.
If they still exit your site without purchasing, a trigger will send an abandoned basket email. Most companies will just nudge them with the products in their basket. With personalised data you can also make additional recommendations, boosting the value of your communication. And with it customer spend.
Using your data in this way will not only boost retention but boost customer loyalty. Retained customers are more profitable than new customers. Loyal customers are an order of magnitude greater again.
Creating hyper-personalised emails for your loyal customers will not only push up their average spend but increase their lifetime customer value too.
AI and Machine Learning
Building on the personalisation of your communications, machine learning can further enhance recommendations.
The technology will be able to adjust product recommendations based on how customers behave. In some cases, the wording of emails and push notifications can be adjusted based on how customers responded in the past.
Essentially it can refine communications within the traditional marketing automation domain.
However, the sophistication of the technology means it can be applied to every stage of the buying journey.
AI can adjust the wording and the performance of paid ads. And it can do so any time of the day or night with minimal supervision. Set the parameters and let it work.
Artificial intelligence can also create personalised website experiences. This is especially powerful if users are clicking through via an email or other communication.
The AI can create an experience tailored to the customer’s preferences, buying habits and preferred brands.
Offers and discounts can be tailored to meet average spend plus X% to push the spend incrementally higher.
The more your customers interact with your website and your marketing automation campaigns means more data. That gives your friendly neighbourhood AI more data upon which to build the personalised experience.
AI and machine learning sit beyond the reach of most marketing budgets. But, an increasing number of CDP and multichannel engagement platforms have the technology baked in. This route gives you the added benefit of having all the tools in one tool chest. Rather than having to pay for multiple solutions and hope they can integrate.
The average consumer has a love/hate relationship with chatbots. Some are incredibly well-programmed, and others barely qualify as a bot because their pre-programmed responses are so poor.
The result is an inconsistent experience making customers reluctant to use them. As a business, this can undermine your communication strategy, at best. At worst it can actually cost you customers. Never underestimate the importance of getting the little things right.
If the chatbot on your site is a box-ticking exercise then take it down. All you’re doing is annoying your customers.
Much like the customer experience, if you’re going to use a chatbot, it needs to be exceptional. Nothing else will do in an increasingly competitive market.
The good news is that advanced chatbots are becoming increasingly common and therefore more affordable.
They use artificial intelligence to modify their questions and responses based on the nature of the query and user responses.
Chatbots can be integrated with your customer data platform. So, if your customer is signed in to your website, the chatbot can alter responses accordingly.
This adds a level of personalisation rarely seen. It will be able to address the customer by name and tailor questions based on the customer’s data.
AI powered chatbots can ask customers if their last purchase met their expectations or if they would like personalised recommendations.
The complexity of the chatbot is entirely down to what you want to deliver as a business and the quality of your data.
This can’t be understated: you need good data. Without it, your chatbot will appear poorly programmed and be frustrating to use.
Lead scoring historically has been painfully manual and relies on two factors. The first is the ability of your sales person. This can vary wildly based on skills and experience and can result in missed opportunities.
The second is the willingness of your prospects to pick up the phone and talk to you. Again, even if they do, their mood and time pressures will influence the conversation heavily.
But, assuming the conversation goes well, the lead scoring is heavily biassed. Your sales person could skew the score up or down based on how they personally feel the call went. Or how badly they want to impress senior management.
While there is something to be said for gut instinct, manual lead scoring is inconsistent, not to mention time consuming.
Most modern marketing automation and CDEPs (customer data and engagement platforms) have lead scoring built in.
The technology scores leads based on their online behaviour. The more they interact with your website and other online channels, the more detailed the profile becomes.
By using tags you can monitor the content users are consuming. The content and the frequency the user visits your site gives you an idea of their buying intent.
Tracking user activity in this way helps you to understand what they’re interested in, how soon they might be willing to buy and what kind of challenges they may have.
This information equips your sales or customer support teams to better help the customer.
Automated Split Testing
Split testing, or A/B testing, is fairly common practice whether it’s an email campaign or paid search. It’s an effective way to determine which messages resonate with your audience.
Or which ad copy generates the most leads or sales.
The problem is it’s painful manual and limits the results to just one which, therefore, still relies on mass market appeal.
The assumption that one message will work with the majority of your audience is problematic. Not least because you’re pigeonholing an audience who want to be treated as individuals.
Increasingly marketing automation and customer engagement tools offer AI or machine learning based split testing.
This allows you to gradually refine your message on an individual basis rather than en masse. Customers receive messaging that is most relevant to them, rather than a message that is relevant for the majority.
Better quality communications results in better engagement and an uplift in conversions. With these trends in marketing automation becoming more prevalent, there has never been a better time to engage with your audience.
While it can take time to build the processes you need, the result will be a more engaged, happier audience. This will increase sales and reduce churn as your business will maintain relevance.
To learn more about how you can integrate your data sources to build in-depth customer profiles, request a demo today.
Xtremepush is the world’s leading customer data and engagement data platform. We work with various top brands within the eCommerce industry. Schedule a personalised demo of our platform to learn more about how we can help your brand drive repeat customers and increase revenue.