By Jimin Lee on Jun 29, 2015 9:30:00 AM
Marketing automation is inevitable and would be gladly received by busy marketers since they need to wear multiple hats. But as more Singapore businesses automate their marketing in order to save time, leads and customers get more inundated with information. Is there a tipping point where automation will lower conversion rates and profits?
Frankly speaking and depending on work situations, not even a small team can effectively cope with all of the Inbound Marketing* work that comes with running a business without automation. There are just too many things to do, and it's necessary to either automate or outsource (or both) to maintain good conditions. Automation is usually the preferred choice, because outsourcing is often more expensive and comes with its own issues.
The problem with marketing automation is that you can seriously estrange customers if something goes wrong. I had a very annoying experience in which I found myself in four or five email funnels simultaneously after buying a subscription and signing up for the blogger's newsletter. I kept getting the same emails over and over again, in a different order and with a slight time delay. I ended up cancelling my subscription.
On average, for every customer complaint, 26 other unhappy customers are not complaining. Most customers who are dissatisfied do not complain. They just leave.
Then what exactly should I do about it?
In the early stages of your business, it's a good idea to focus on high-touch marketing, sales, and customer service instead of automating every single thing. It will help you get sales leads much faster than providing run-of-the-mill service, which will pay for itself, given that loyal customers are worth up to ten times as much as their first purchase.
Here are two ideas for keeping things high-touch without spending all of your time on email:
1. Do Not Automate If You Can Systematize Your Personal Touches
Author and entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau sent a short welcome note to every single newsletter subscriber for the first year of his blog, which amounted to about 10,000 people. Later he said, “These actions (sending the note, then replying to any follow-ups) took a lot of my time but the effort was totally worth it! I built genuine relationships with many of the readers, some of whom are still with me five years later.” I’m not saying that you ought to write a short note to 10,000 people. Do not automate as long as you can systematize your personal touches. Customers—in fact, every one of us—prefer emails for themselves to emails for the general public.
Based on my experience, through the Inbound Marketing software of HubSpot, we can automate personalization of email to every prospect based on the stage of the purchasing cycle that he is in. That saves me a lot of time.
2. You Do Not Need to Automate Everything.
Have you heard about 'bots'? An Internet bot, also known as web robot, WWW robot or simply bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone. While some find bots annoying ,others opt to use them when planning their social media shares.
If you do FULLY automate your posts (which I don’t recommend), at least keep your eyes on your social media. If someone comments, respond. In addition, you may not have time to read everything, but at the very least skim through the articles. You may find that the headlines do not accurately reflect what the article is actually about. Personally, I hate it when I get an auto DM on Twitter. We just met! I am not going to like your page on Facebook. Replies should be personalized to each recipient, by YOU or the person you hired to do it for you.
It's important not to look like a bot when you automate. Done properly, social media automation and scheduling can be a thing of beauty.
As mentioned above, you need to keep your marketing and service high-touch, and raise your rates accordingly. Research has shown that 55% of customers would pay more for a better customer experience.
Above all else, make sure that you and your team are treating long-term customers with respect and giving them more attention (and benefits like first access to new products). In the end, it’s more expensive to acquire new customers than retaining existing customers (five times more expensive), so the margin is high enough that you can spend that extra time with existing customers and still be saving money.
In my opinion, the Inbound Marketing software of HubSpot is one of the most effective ways to automate marketing, while retaining the high-touch that all customers expect from you.
* Inbound Marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, Social Media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.