Can You Keep the Human Touch When Using Marketing Automation?
Marketers, we find ourselves in a quandary: We wish to automate as much of our marketing as possible, yet we don’t desire any of it to feel automated.
We ‘d enjoy to be able to just set it and forget it. However great content marketing is created to build relationships (that drive profits). And sadly, automating our communication can make that objective harder– not much easier– to attain.
Sure, there are tools developed to automate posts on social media profiles and even the direct messages sent through LinkedIn. We can likewise select to automate our most important interactions, such as our welcome emails and thank-you notes.
But when we do, the resulting messages do not feel genuine. They do not have personalization– a vital consider relationship-building and profits generation. In fact, research from McKinsey found companies with the fastest rate of revenue growth were more likely to focus on customization in their communication.
So, as much as we may wish to put jobs on autopilot to increase performance, we wonder how much our relationship-building efforts might suffer if we do.
What Should Marketers Automate?
I’ve invested the last 3 months wrestling with that question, and it turns out I’m not the only one.
Even in 2017, 43% of marketers mentioned the most important goal of a marketing automation technique is enhancing productivity. It’s not hard to understand why. The typical marketer spends 1.25 days every week on non-core jobs, according to brand-new research study from Airtable. That’s 25% of our workweek spent handling, organizing, authorizing, reporting, event, and shuffling our marketing campaigns and content through the marketing mill.
That’s 1.25 days we could reclaim by automating the right stuff.
Where do we begin?
What is the “right stuff”?
Here’s what a couple of experts had to say on the subject:
” Automate the admin, the ordinary, the data collection. Stimulate the rest with character,” suggests Patrick Lyver, creator and president of the web design firm Kleurvision Inc. “It works for me, and there are a lot of tools that can help.”
Gloria Lafont, president of Action Marketing Co., concurs: “Automation does not imply set it and forget it, nor remove the human. It indicates getting rid of as lots of recurring jobs as possible in the marketing application, so you have more time to focus on making the relationship-building more effective.”
Our team reserved 30 days to explore ways to follow Patrick and Gloria’s advice. By embracing three easy, tactical ideas, we discovered a method that automates ordinary, recurring tasks without removing the human touch.
My core belief is all great marketing begins with the customers you’ve got. Instead of starting our automation activities with prospecting, social media, and lead generation, we focused on the procedures implemented immediately after acquiring a new client.
From the instant we sign a new deal until the final billing is paid, our team recognized 49 separate multi-step automations that could conserve us time. More significantly, those automations enabled us to craft a special, constant, and top quality client experience.
Designing these automations was surprisingly simple: List every little interaction, task, and deliverable in the client relationship. We just had never attempted to formalize or automate them. It’s things we’ve done manually for a decade. It’s second nature. Then, we utilized our CRM’s built-in automation workflows and Zapier to turn each task into a tiny automation.
Just how much time did we claw back? It’s difficult to state specifically, but I ‘d guess four to six hours weekly. That’s 6 hours we can now invest in marketing instead of handling.
Yet, we have actually likewise recognized that to achieve marketing success with these automated efforts, we need to maintain a high-touch, highly individualized experience for our customers.
That brings us to our 2nd technique:
Any CRM can “customize” an email or text message: Simply insert here, include there, and schedule it to be sent out.
However, I am unaware of a CRM or perhaps an AI tool that’s truly aware of the communication subtleties across various client relationships. For example, some of our customers are “business-casual” communicators. Their emails feel like they’re wearing shorts to the office:
- They use additional exclamation points and emojis.
- They send out short, punchy text messages.
Other customers interact with all the procedure of a black-tie affair:
- Their messages are packed with corporate lingo.
- Every you can possibly imagine stakeholder gets cc’ ed.
- Even their email signatures include legal disclaimers– simply in case.
Then, there are clients that fall somewhere in the middle. I call this design “the mullet of marketing”– all business up front and party in the back.
These subtleties matter in communication. They’re what products that human touch we’re so scared of losing when we automate.
So, instead of sending out pre-written, generically customized emails directly from our CRM, our group produces ready-to-personalize messages.
Ready-to-personalize or RTP messages don’t get sent out directly from the CRM to the client. They need a manual action included into the account management process: For each campaign, the account manager receives a notice that a draft requires their attention.
The CRM has actually currently filled in all the vital customer data– such as given name, business name, and amount due. All the account supervisor needs to do from there is include some brand character to the message. It could be as easy as appearing a few emojis, getting rid of the exclamation points, or asking how the customer enjoyed their long weekend or a recent trip.
Then, they struck send out, and off it goes.
RTP has actually transformed our perspective on how powerful marketing automation can be.
Yet, that still leaves one last component of our method that still needs work.
Develop a single source
Zero percent– yes 0%– of marketers have a single source of fact for current information on marketing activities, according to the Airtable report.
Typically, Airtable’s 300 study respondents report they need to reconcile in between nine and 11 data sources to build a holistic view of their marketing activities and audience insights.
That’s a lots of work.
Any marketer who’s tried to marry their Google Analytics with their customer database, e-mail marketing platform, social media insights, and a pipeline of chances has actually faced this headache head-on.
Thankfully, there’s a solution: customer data platforms. CDPs used to be for huge business blessed with a large IT staff capable of developing customized adapters for exclusive platforms.
However that was the old days.
Today, any company (even yours) can use totally free (or affordable) web-based tools to build your own CDP.
We’re preparing to use those tools to minimize the number of platforms required to run reports and find new insights. We’re confident those insights will help us discover the ideal balance in between automated performance and genuine communication that constructs client relationships. So, that’s next on our list.
With our initial 90-day automation experiment closing, we’re delighted to see if we can accomplish comparable results when communicating with our potential customers, leads, and open chances.