1 Companies that operationalize automation best practices deliver better customer experiences and improved conversion rates. Marketing Guide April 2012
2 2 How can you make a bigger impact with your marketing campaigns without investing more dollars and manpower? automation is the answer. continues to be an effective communications tool after all, virtually everyone in the online world uses it. For marketers, the high penetration rate of means that it s a great way to reach customers at a low cost. And because it s a direct sales driver, the returns are very strong. It comes as no surprise then that according to a B2B Magazine 2011 poll of business-to-business (B2B) marketers, 68 percent reported that they plan to spend more on marketing this year. Understanding how to make the most of marketing programs starts with an understanding of automation and how it can be utilized within the context of customer relationship management. A belief that automated messages are robotic and impersonal couldn t be further from the truth. automation done right improves the customer experience, as well as deliverability, marketing efficiencies, relevancy and ROI. Within the digital sector, far outperforms every other channel on return on investment (ROI), which is projected to average an impressive $44.25 for every dollar spent in B2B Digital Spending Increases 2011 Source: B2B Magazine, 2011 In this guide, we ll cover the latest statistics, facts and trends in automation, discuss the benefits and opportunities, and provide strategies that can help you improve campaign performance: Leverage welcome programs to maximize subscriber value at acquisition. Incorporate dynamic content to improve personalization and relevancy. Implement trigger campaigns based on subscriber activity and behaviors. Create drip campaigns to strengthen subscriber relationships over time. Plus, check out our Bonus Checklist: Idea Starters for High-Touch Trigger Campaigns.
3 3 Automation Stats, Facts and Trends automation can be defined as the use of software tools to automate management, including welcome programs, dynamic content, trigger campaigns and drip marketing. Automation makes otherwise manual processes much more efficient and frees up time and resources for new, more sophisticated programs. Plus, when you automate, you unquestionably save time and money you re not recreating the wheel every time you launch a campaign. Automated programs done right also improve relevancy, because automation allows you to customize content dynamically and ensures that you re delivering the right message to the right subscriber at the right time. In fact, according to a 2010 Aberdeen Group study, best-in-class companies leverage automation 45 percent more often than weaker performing organizations. Automation also improves open rates. Depending on the content and industry, marketers are reporting that automated s are garnering a percent open rate. This is a wide range, but when you compare it to open rates achieved through manual programs, the impact is clear. Automation = Better Subscriber Experience = Higher Revenue MarketingSherpa presented findings on the impact of trigger s sent immediately after onsite searches for lowfares. com. By sending these highly targeted and timely messages, lowfares.com achieved 200% higher open rates and 50% higher click-through rates than what they were able to get with their standard newsletter. Manual programs deliver open rates of percent on average significantly less than automated programs. This metric is particularly important because it directly impacts revenue. If more subscribers open your s, more subscribers convert. And more conversions mean more revenue. Automation Benefits Having established the importance of automation in marketing, the challenge becomes how to successfully capture all the benefits that automation can deliver to your campaigns: Benefit #1: Significant improvement in the economics of your campaign performance overall. Automation allows you to understand your subscribers better, and the more that you know about your subscribers, the better able you are to deliver value. And better delivery of value translates directly into higher revenue. The beauty is that you can achieve this revenue bump without incurring additional costs. In fact, automation reduces your resource requirements both man hours and cash investment through creating a streamlined, efficient workflow. Benefit #2: Improved deliverability and sender reputation. Your deliverability reputation is a combination of positive response rates things like opening and clicking and negative response rates, which include things like spam complaints and subscriber inactivity over a certain time period. When you automate effectively, you engage your subscribers in the way that they want to be engaged. This translates into stronger trust and less fraud, which in turn increases your deliverability rate and improves your reputation. Internet service providers (ISPs) carefully watch response rates and complaints to assess your sender reputation. If your subscribers are more engaged, more of your messages will land in the inbox.
4 4 Benefit #3: Improved subscriber engagement. When you send a subscriber the right message at the right time, you improve the quality of the dialogue and relationship with that subscriber, which, in turn, improves your response rates. By automating activity tracking, you make it possible to understand what your subscribers need and what will motivate them to act favorably within the always-critical window of opportunity. Automation Opportunities Whether you re getting started with automation or looking to build a broader automation infrastructure, it s important to understand the range of automated programs available to you. Each serves a different and important purpose in your campaign toolbox. Welcome Programs If you do nothing else with automation, the welcome program is unquestionably the most important. Welcome programs are ideal for automation because the messages and delivery are pre-determined, saving you time, money and manpower. Welcome messages are sent automatically immediately after someone subscribes, places an order or registers with your company. They serve as the foundation of your relationship with your subscribers and present the perfect opportunity to get off on the right foot and learn a host of valuable information about them giving your company an advantage in the long term. Information gathering through welcome programs is best achieved through a structured path of engagement and data capture. The process involves funneling subscribers to a landing page featuring data capture forms. Once the subscriber submits the requested information, a confirmation is sent asking new subscribers to verify that they did indeed intend to opt in. Confirming this helps keep your list clean and improves your deliverability through a more engaged subscriber base. Welcome campaigns should be linked to all opt-in sources. Every business has a unique set of opt-in opportunities what s important is to capture registrations from all your customer touch points, including newsletter subscriptions, point-of-sale, account registration, first purchase, reactivation and social media. You can also leverage interest-based signups things like trade shows, events and product releases. By implementing a welcome program across all opt-in sources, you give your new subscribers a chance to expand their interest categories through preference setting. It s also important to remember that welcome programs are not only applicable to a first point of contact. They can also be employed at any new milestone in a relationship, such as when a customer signs up for an additional subscription, registers a previously unregistered account or reactivates after a period of time. To recap, here are the key points to focus on when executing a welcome program: Conduct a touch-point review to make sure that you re capturing data across all opt-in sources. Make sure that the call-to-action in your welcome is in a logical place, visually distinct and communicates an obvious benefit. Funnel your prospects to a concise landing page to capture only data essential to completing registration.
5 5 After registration is complete, immediately send out a confirmation to express your thanks, verify the optin and invite the new subscriber to set preferences. Once you have captured subscribers content preferences, make sure to deliver consistently against those preferences and provide the opportunity to update their choices. ESPN Welcome Engages and Informs Lyris client ESPN uses a solidlyexecuted welcome program to deliver highly-targeted, relevant content to its subscribers, based on their reported interests. Once a new subscriber completes a Web form to sign up to receive , ESPN sends out a welcome to acknowledge the registration. Notice that it confirms the subscriber s name and provides prominent calls-to-action to set preferences. The also communicates value through a list of contents and prizes that the new subscriber can access. There s also an opportunity to connect on social media. Dynamic Content A dynamic content is one in which the content is varied to create highly individualized and targeted messages. The content is based on a wide variety of gathered data, including contact information, demographics, behavioral patterns and preferences. By pulling from these different data points, marketers can create content blocks within offers to create a customized stream. The key benefits of dynamic content are the ability to create a personalized experience, achieve better relevancy and timeliness, and spur more active customer engagement. The value that automation delivers to dynamic content lies in the ability to create filters that seamlessly deliver customized content without any manual intervention. It s a great way to deliver highly relevant, timely and personalized messages that generate better performance for you and a better experience for your subscribers. Dynamic Content Best Practices The use of dynamic content in automation has been proven to increase order size, response and revenue because these types of s are more relevant to the recipient. Dynamic content is as effective as the data that it leverages. That s why it s critical to execute a fully featured welcome program to capture both demographic and preference data. Then, by overlaying behavioral data, filters can be set up based on predetermined business rules, in effect automating personalization. Welldesigned filtering rules can vastly improve the subscriber experience. Trigger Campaigns Today s most successful marketing campaigns use triggers to automatically send based on customer behavior. A trigger can be a customer action or response, an event like a date, a website update or a response to Web analytics or Web visit data. By establishing a set of business rules and criteria around such customer behaviors, marketers can decide the right message, the right customer and the right time, and use the combination for highlyeffective programs.
6 6 Trigger-based marketing programs seize the moment by capturing just-in-time data and turning it into automated, executable campaigns while the window of opportunity with customers and prospects is wide open. Trigger campaigns are effective because they are customer driven when a customer signals you and you respond, you nurture your customer relationship. You re then in a good position to implement high-touch campaigns that deliver value with each message. Messages won t be perceived as unwanted and annoying because they re initiated by your subscriber. Once set up, trigger programs work automatically and don t require day-to-day management. They aren t subject to delays when resources are tight or other priorities come up. And trigger can complement broader communications like newsletters, special offers or acquisition programs. The Bonus Checklist at the end of this guide provides 12 ideas for trigger campaigns that you can use to strengthen your relationship with your subscribers. Drip Marketing Drip marketing is defined as a communication strategy that sends or drips a specified sequential set of messages to customers and prospects at predetermined intervals. Unlike other types of automated campaigns, drip marketing isn t driven by subscriber behaviors and preferences. Instead, it s typically driven by the marketer. So what kinds of things can you incorporate into your drip campaigns? Educative content things like Webinars, white papers and guides. This provides immediate value and a halo effect around good will and thought leadership. Events like an invitation to a seminar, a party at a tradeshow or a networking event. Your campaign could include offers around discounted registration or an invitation to a bonus event followed by a formal invitation and a last chance offer. Special offers that motivate engagement with your products, services and people for instance, you can entice a subscriber pre-conversion to try your product for free, or you can offer consultations. Setting Up a Trigger Campaign Drip marketing is frequently used as a sales cycle management tool. Particularly for industries with long sales cycles, it can be a very effective technique for keeping prospects in the pipeline. Automate customer-driven activities and events. The window of opportunity to respond to these interactions is narrow; automation ensures timeliness. When designing your campaigns think through the migration of your customer through your trigger program and establish rules for what happens for all the possibilities. Develop a trigger plan that defines what will be sent, to whom and when. As your data capture continues to grow, look for new opportunities to expand your trigger programs, and remember: your performance improvement hinges on the quality of your business rules.
7 7 A drip marketing best practice is to leverage good will offers things that will help your subscribers succeed. Try content, event and other special offers to deliver meaningful value. Since these offers require an investment to fulfill, make sure that you re qualifying your leads and segregating them into tiers for drip campaigns. While you don t want to lose lower tier leads, you also don t want to invest a significant amount to convert them if the return is low, nor do you want to get distracted from higher value targets. The key at the end of the process is to secure the conversion with a strong ROI. Sonic Bids Drip Campaign: Daily Alerts to Upcoming Events Lyris client Sonic Bids helps bands get gigs and promoters book the right bands the site connects musical artists and agents. Sonic Bids has set up a triggered daily drip campaign about new upcoming events, a great way to provide relevant, timely information and stay top-of-mind with their subscribers. Conclusion automation delivers a wealth of opportunity for marketers today. It s a key driver in delivering the consistent growth and returns enjoyed by best-in-class companies who systemize best practices around automated programs. Automation done right goes beyond improving campaign performance. It also contributes to improved deliverability, sender reputation and subscriber engagement through a range of automated programs that serve different and important purposes: Welcome programs are essential to getting off on the right foot with new subscribers. Gathering information and setting preferences lay the foundation for a great experience. Dynamic content provides a great way to keep content fresh, interesting and personalized. Trigger campaigns leverage customer-initiated actions that provide the opportunity to respond in a timely fashion and seize the moment during a narrow window of opportunity. Drip marketing is an important tool for managing the sales process and building customer retention. As importantly, automation is a strong contributor to the bottom line, leveraging s superior ROI performance over all other marketing channels and improving marketing efficiencies to free up time and resources for other initiatives.
8 8 Bonus Checklist: Idea Starters for High-Touch Trigger Campaigns Abandoned Shopping Cart These campaigns more than double the number of orders and the order size. Send an announcing a special offer, free shipping or other sweetener to encourage someone to come back and complete his or her purchase. Refine these messages by testing different offers and timing: while you may think that the sooner an is sent, the better, many companies have found that timing the trigger to go out 24 or 48 hours later is more effective. Win-back programs Set up trigger messages that include incentives for those who haven t purchased or visited your website for a while. Start with those who haven t purchased in the last three months, six months and a year. Use their purchase history to determine the right offer and then use dynamic content to easily deploy to a wide variety of audiences. Satisfaction survey Send trigger with a satisfaction survey after the first purchase and on a metered schedule after that. Consider offering a discount or prize for those who take the survey. Remember to quickly act upon anything customers have complained about and investigate their suggestions. Cross-sell Use trigger to cross-sell from other products, particularly from lower performing products to best sellers. Set up a trigger whenever someone either buys or looks at a product on your site that isn t one of your top 10. It should promote a special offer on your strongest product and hopefully convert visitors to customers and larger sales. punch card program Set up a program to keep track of the number of purchases by unique customers. When customers have purchased 10 times, give them a free gift or discount coupon. Use a trigger series to let them know how many punches they have made and to promote special offers or products to encourage them to add another punch to their card. Customer service trigger For those who have contacted customer service, trigger a follow-up asking if their concern was addressed to their satisfaction. Provide contact information, hours of operation and response time frame for unresolved customer service inquiries. Internal notifications While not a customer-facing application, don t be afraid to use the trigger functionality to communicate with your sales or customer service teams. For instance, you can set up alerts so a sales rep can follow up to make sure all is well if a customer reviews particular content on your website or goes to a customer service page. Or, send alerts to your PR team for follow-up when reporters visit your press room. Seasonal trigger If you sell sports-related products, set up triggers before championship matches to promote logo merchandise. For health care or beauty products, set up triggers to automatically remind customers to order more allergy medicine or sunscreen when hay fever season or hot weather rolls around again. Use holidays or special events as triggers, segmented by purchase history, to create trigger messages for products and offers that are relevant to your subscribers. Service reminder triggers If your company provides a service such as tire rotation, software upgrades, dental checkups, furnace filter replacements and so on, send reminders to set the next appointment or to take advantage of special offers. Milestone Offer your customers a discount or gift on their birthday, anniversary or other special day. If you market to businesses, send an offer on start-up anniversaries or on the first day a business started working with your company.
9 9 Reactivation If customers have not purchased or clicked through an in more than six months, their likelihood of purchasing in the future is low. A reactivation can promote new targeted offers or a general discount to get those customers to purchase from you again. alerts Encourage your customers to modify their profiles to set up alerts when new products are in stock, when their favorites go on sale or to receive alerts when new content is uploaded to your website. These are great because they are truly customer-initiated.
10 Contact North America United States Corporate HQ 6401 Hollis Street, Suite 125 Emeryville CA USA Silicon Valley 4 North 2nd Street, Suite 1100 San Jose, California Toll-free Intl Fax Latin America Argentina Luis Maria Campos rd floor (C1426BOI) Ciudad de Buenos Aires Main +54 (11) Brazil +55 (11) Mexico +52 (55) Europe EMEA United Kingdom Vauxhall Bridge Rd London, SW1V 1AU Main France Sales Support Asia Pacific Australia 5/ Harris Street Ultimo, NSW 2007 Phone Fax About Lyris, Inc. Lyris, Inc. is the global digital marketing expert, delivering the right blend of technology and industry knowledge to help businesses achieve value with their marketing campaigns. Through its in-the-cloud integrated marketing suite, Lyris HQ, and reliable on-premises solutions, including Lyris ListManager (Lyris LM), Lyris provides customers the right tools to optimize their online and mobile marketing initiatives and deliver quantifiable ROI. Copyright 2012 Lyris, Inc. All rights reserved. lyris.com
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