By: Chris Robinson, Account Director at Bubblebox
Much of the fear or hesitation surrounding the digital and automated world stems from an uneasy feeling: a feeling that we’re straying from genuine human experience. The human experience is messy. Building relationships, gaining support for any cause or organization, and making sure resources and advocates are in the right place at the right time can be messy. Marketing Automation allows you to augment the messy, meaningful, face-to-face interactions with streamlined digital communications that consumers have come to expect.
The best part about Marketing Automation is in the name – its automated. This means that once a system is set in place, you’re able to take repetitive, tedious, and often complex processes of your already very full plate. Putting in place a set-it-and-forget-it system allows you to concentrate on what’s truly important – perhaps a cause, an event, or an entire student body.
But before we get ahead of ourselves in explaining how Marketing Automation can be advantageous to your organization, why don’t we cover the basics. Below we provide more information about some of Marketing Automation’s core concepts and terms, to help you understand how and why automated marketing may be a good fit.
What is Marketing Automation?
This is the umbrella term for any digital marketing efforts that are automated, and do not need to be created, sent or triggered manually for each communication. Many different tools can be used for Marketing Automation. Salesforce Pardot is a platform that handles Marketing Automation from beginning to end, including customer or supporter acquisition, engagement, and retention.
The conventional understanding of a campaign is a series of marketing assets (posters, billboards, coffee sleeves, emails, etc.) that are all part of a specific effort to promote or sell a particular product, line of products, or event. In the Marketing Automation world, campaigns refer to similar, digital equivalents: emails, landing pages, text messages, online advertisements. Campaigns are the thematic touch points through which a customer or supporter engages with an organization about a particular topic.
A landing page is a satellite page of an organization’s website. A user or subscriber is directed to a landing page purposefully, and one is not able to navigate to through the main website, nor are they able to search for it in Google. Think of a landing page like the moon. An organization doesn’t send just anyone to the moon – it has to be well planned out, and there has to be something for a user to do once they get there. In the same way that we sent a man to the moon to collect information, landing pages are intended to do the same. Landing Pages typically house a form that is to be filled out by the visitor; this is how an organization collects information about their users. Why would you need information about a user?
This is an excellent question. Marketing Automation is automated, but you have to give it fuel. Fuel, in this case, is data. By collecting more information about a user on a landing page with a form, you are fueling any Marketing Automation efforts. With more data, you can send more effective emails that get the right message to the right person. For example, if we ask someone (using a form) if they are interested in supporting an organization individually, or on behalf of their company, we can put them into 2 buckets:
We can then create a campaign that caters to the needs of these two segments. The differences here may include different frequency of communications or different content that resonates with a different audience. The more information you collect from a user, the more fuel you have to customize communications if you so choose.
Calls to Action (CTA)
So, how do you get someone to give you information about themselves? How do you get them to your landing page in the first place? This is where calls to action come into play. Their job is in their name – they are most often buttons or links within an email that encourage a user to undertake a specific action. Many of us will see buttons in emails that say things like ‘Sign up now!’ or ‘Register Now!’. If someone clicks on this button, we have lift off! This person has been launched, as it were, to the landing page where they can fill out the form.
Why would someone complete a form and submit information? The best way to think about this is like a transaction. Typically, forms are used to get information in exchange for something. For the ‘Sign up now!’ example above, someone clicks and is taken to a landing page where they fill out the form – they are giving away personal information in exchange for a spot in a class, webinar, or whatever they may be signing up for. If an organization doesn’t have something like this to ‘Sign up’ for, the exchange can be made more simple. Someone may submit a form on a website that simply signs them up for a newsletter. In this case, someone is exchanging their email address (information) for content (an emailed newsletter). Remember, Marketing Automation needs fuel, and its fuel is data.
Conversion is the process of acquiring new information about a new user. This means that prior to their completion of a form or having their email address, your organization had no knowledge of this user. Now they have completed a form, their email address and likely some personal information (like First Name, Last Name, or Country) has been captured. This data is now in your Marketing Automation fuel tank (your database) and ready to be used. The process of taking a user from being unknown to known is called conversion, and is both an important goal and metric within Marketing Automation.
Marketing Automation can help with the acquisition and retention of important people in an organization’s network.
The diagram below shows a simple example how an organization might convert a user, collecting new information about a new user OR how an organization might leverage existing contacts and their information.
Marketing Automation processes are designed to work alongside your marketing efforts to increase a user’s exposure to and engagement with the organization. Once in place, these processes are designed to help increase conversions, gain valuable information about users or subscribers, and increase the size of your organization’s network and reach.
Finding the processes that work best for your organization may be a challenge. Luckily, Salesforce.org has a myriad of partners who are dedicated to making Marketing Automation make sense for you and your team. Bubblebox is proud to be one of these international Impact Partners as well as a Salesforce Silver Consulting Partner, specializing in leveraging the Salesforce suite for effective marketing. Bubblebox offers implementation, training, and consultancy services to nonprofits and higher education institutes to ensure their focus stays on what really matters – the cause, the event, or the students.
You’re working to make the world a better place, and we’re here to help.