Marketing Automation does exactly that. It automates your marketing.
We often forget that it’s supposed to streamline our marketing processes.
Not replace it.
Earlier in my career, I worked for Eric. He was head of sales and he needed me to compile sales data in Excel.
Back then, I did not know “VLOOKUP” existed in Excel (how silly was I). I created some crazy formula with “RIGHT”, “INDEX” and some other funky functions. I still had to copy and paste a lot of stuff but at least it was not “one by one”.
Once I discovered “VLOOKUP”, I streamlined my compilation process like crazy.
Excel did the work while I focused on data analysis to help my boss make decisions.
It did not make decisions for Eric or raise my income.
No, I had to do my job, but I had MORE TIME to do it. Enormous difference.
The “VLOOKUP” for the Grown-Ups
Marketing Automation is certainly the VLOOKUP of VLOOKUP’s. And today I want to share with you 11 awesome tricks that you should use or you might end up doing some strange cross-data crunching ;).
To help you implement all these tips, here’s a FREE Trello board I’ve prepared with all 11 tips that you can use to implement all the tips (step-by-step).
1) USE HIDDEN FIELDS
The most beautiful form of automation is the ones your leads can’t see. They think it’s all magic.
Let me show you an example of the smart fields in action.
Let’s say I have a campaign that runs in a specific niche on Facebook that redirects to a landing page. I could insert a hidden field called “persona” on the landing page. And then, I can add in “?persona=SMB” to the URL that redirects to the landing page.
The lead will not see the field, but it will be auto-filled with “persona=SMB”. I can segment that lead into an SMB persona and customize the emails I send to them in the future.
In my example, I used persona, but it could be: source, company size, interest, etc.
2) IMPLEMENT A “SEGMENTATION NOMENCLATURE”
This might sound “OCD”, and it is. But it’s important to name your lists properly or you might get confused at some point. Or worse: send emails to the wrong list. BOOM.
Here are 2 good reasons to use OCD-nomenclatures.
- You will save a ton of time with regard to creating “logical” names that sound right when they’re set up, but aren’t quite as evident later.
- You will not waste any time guessing about the list your colleague created four months ago.
The best method is to write down the template and send it to everyone who might create/modify/use the lists.
The structure should be adapted to your needs. How do you filter them most of the time? What info is the most important for your analytics?
Since we often run campaigns based on what content the lead has consumed, here’s what ours look like.
Example: ebooklandingpage-download-fb or signup-trial-ppc
Let’s say Christmas is coming and I want to push a discount campaign to a specific interest (landing page), I can easily target that specific segment by calling that list.
3) RETARGET WITH PAGE URL
A popular trick is to build custom retargeting lists and submit them to Google/Facebook as custom audiences. Retargeting is effective but you don’t have to stop there.
That’s right, take it to the next level with an irresistible offer, based on their behavior in their mailbox.
You KNOW they are shopping for “Green running shoes under $100 for men” because they visited the “SHOES” category on your website and they filtered by “COLOR” and “PRICE”.
Their intent is pretty clear.
Do you want to impress them even more? Send an offer via email with “GREEN RUNNING SHOES W/ 40% DISCOUNT – NOW UNDER $100 FOR 48H!”. If they don’t click it… I don’t know what to tell you!
4) THINK LIKE A GAMER
Imagine this: You are the King and all your website visitors are exploring your website to find ways to score points. Each time they visit a page related to apples, give them 1 APPLE POINT. Each time they visit a page related to oranges, give them one ORANGE POINT.
Now here comes the fun part: if they reach 20 APPLE POINTS, send them a highly-customized email with an awesome deal on APPLES. Same goes for ORANGES. Conversion rate will skyrocket.
Why does it work? People may lie, but their behavior doesn’t. If I visited pages related to ice cream on 20 separate occasions, then there’s a solid chance I’ll jump on the next ice cream discount. So why not help me convert?
The beauty of this system: you will never send a generic “GET 20% OFF ON EVERYTHING” again. A 15% discount on strawberry ice cream will convert at a MUCH higher rate.
And do you know what the funniest part about this is? The ice cream lover will tell all her friends what a great deal she got. It’s as if God heard her prayers! I’m not saying you are God, but…
5) DESIGN FOR MOBILE FIRST
I’m guilty of this all the time. I design landing pages for desktop first, and then I quickly rescale the whole thing for mobile. It’s quick: I hide some text or photos that are “not-so-nice-looking” on mobile.
Don’t get me wrong, it works well! But here’s a trick that’s going boost “responsive design” even more.
Check out your analytics. Take a look at the conversion rate you want to improve. Switch to the “mobile only” tab. Take a look at: visits, numbers of conversion and conversion rate.
If you’re getting most of your visits on mobile and your conversion rate isn’t that high, why not design the mobile version first?
I had a landing page for an e-book that was performing OK. One day I decided to check the analytics. 75% of my traffic was on mobile. While the conversion rate was OK (35%), I was losing a lot of potential leads because the mobile version was not as sleek as it could be. So, I removed the e-book picture, as I found it was too “in your face” on mobile.
And here’s another reason: if that specific offer gets promoted on social media a lot, design for mobile first and then adapt it for the desktop version!
Before we continue, I just want to point out that if you don’t know that Trello is, I highly suggest you check it out for yourself. It’s a productivity tool that allows you to categorize your tasks and easily move them around different boards to create a logical workflow!
Don’t forget, here’s a FREE Trello board we’ve prepared with all 11 tips that you can use to implement all the tips (step-by-step)
6) USE LEAD SCORING
If you want to make sure your sales team is top notch, you need give them the right fuel.
Forget all the buzzwords TOFU, BOFU, SQL, Spaghetti and Pineapple.
Here’s the logic: you want to TAG your leads with their “level of readiness”.
Here’s how you can score your leads based on their behavior.
Depending on what the leads consumed in your resources, they might become warmer over time. You must decide on the resources – be strategic.
If they’ve just signed up from a pop-up on your page, they might not know anything about you. Take the time to create a bond. Send them some free resources. Ask them questions and be sure to demonstrate your availability to help them as needed.
If they sign up for a free trial or sign up for a demo, they are right there – waiting to be sold to.
In our case, we created automation to change the “status” of the leads to “warm” if they interact with our e-books.
They become “hot” if they go for the Free Trial.
That’s when our sales reps start building a stronger relationship with the “hot” leads to eventually close the deal.
Lead scoring puts your sales team on the right target at the right time while you work on the warm and cold leads.
7) ASK BETTER QUESTIONS TO QUALIFY YOUR LEADS
People often divulge more information about themselves than you would think. Your role is to find which info you need to better qualify them as they come in your pipeline.
As you scale your business, you will start getting tons of leads (hopefully!). You don’t want to waste an hour on a demo to a lead only to learn that they don’t have the budget to buy your app. Ask them BEFORE they even schedule a call.
For example, we added some qualifiers such as company size, other tools currently being used and the timeframe needed to change tools. This helps target the burning-hot leads that we should call immediately. It creates a priority flow.
8) USE A 2-STEP SYSTEM – CONVERSION HERO
A big yes often results from several smaller yeses. The idea is to get your leads to send you their basic info first. Following up with more questions once you get their email is a better way to qualify them.
For example, once the lead has converted on your free trial, it’s easy to ask for a bit more info. Once they fill out the second step, you can give them the resources they wanted.
If you try to ask for too much information on the first attempt, you will have a very low conversion rate. No one is willing to give up all their secrets at once!
9) AUTOMATE YOUR MAID TO CLEAN YOUR MESS
I’m sure this is happening to you right now: you create offers, push traffic on them and gather emails. Your numbers are growing at a satisfactory rate.
A few months later, you still have the email addresses used to sign up, but none of your other emails were opened after the confirmation email.
Flash forward to a few years later; you still have those contacts. They are probably not even using the same email address anymore, and you’re wasting time analyzing open rates and promotion success rate.
I have a “maid” trick for you!
- Flag subscribers who do not open your emails for several emails in a row
- Set a threshold at which they should be unsubscribed (for example : after 8 unopened emails, they should be removed)
- Send an email to try to wake them up with an offer
- Unsubscribe them after a short while if they don’t respond
WARNING: You want to make sure it’s consecutive days and you want to monitor this automation closely the first couple of days to be sure that it’s working properly (or you might end up with just four email addresses left after a few weeks!)
I made a Trello Board to make it easier for you to implement this. But here’s a recap :
I use the “user property” for my cleanups. I create a new property called “Loyalty” and I add 1 value every time an account does not open my email. If they open one, it resets to 0. That way, I make sure the ones who only open a few of my emails can still stay subscribed!
10) REVIEW YOUR AUTOMATIONS
Say you create one offer per month. Twelve offers later, if I download 3-4 offers and sign up for your newsletter, how many emails do I get on day one?
Set yourself an alert to review your funnel’s synergy every month.
Sign up for a few offers and see what you receive in real-time.
We tend to set and forget. Over time, it builds up.
11) ERRORS MAKE YOU HUMAN
If you choose to go for a “humanized” automation (which you should), throw in an error here and there. Not too many, but it could show that you are human after all. Be careful on which funnel you apply this trick. It works well when you try to tell a story or when you try to warm up the relationship. Not when you are about to try to sell a $997 item. Be human, not stupid. 😉
Another fun trick is to forget an attachment. Send an email with an awesome resource and resend the email with the attachment 3 minutes later. Very high opening rate usually!
That’s it for this round-up of tips! I know this a lot to read and I thank you for reading this far!
While writing this article, I thought of creating a Trello Board to help people implement my tips. We always read stuff and forget to take action. Download this Trello Board and copy it in your own Trello to be sure to implement that which makes sense for your business!