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Five Innovative Ways To Implement Automated Marketing For Improved Sales With the right automation strategies and tools, the efficiency of your marketing activities can be improved significantly.

By Ademola Adekunbi Edited by Tamara Pupic

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Automation and AI are two very important trends that have begun to reshape different aspects of business operations over the past few years, and marketing is no exception. Marketing, as an aspect of running a business, involves a lot of time spent looking for leads and nurturing them to become customers.

With the right automation strategies and tools, the efficiency of your marketing activities can be improved significantly. Social media automation is straightforward and easy to implement (check out a few creative strategies for Guerrilla marketing in this Entrepreneur article by Lama Abdelbarr), so it won't feature in this article.

The focus here is to see the new ways small businesses can use automated marketing to get ahead of the curve in the inevitable dominance of AI across all business areas. It's natural to be hesitant though, so here are easy ways you can gradually begin to implement marketing automation while you expand it into other areas:

1. Score your leads
The process of getting leads to sales-ready status can be very hectic and imprecise, resulting in situations where a large proportion of leads would turn out to be unqualified ones – that is; leads that have the very low potential of converting. That's where lead scoring comes in, to automatically sort your leads into different categories according to how likely to convert they are.

You can set parameters based on how well the profile of the lead (think location, company size, role, experience, etc.) matches your ideal buyer persona. You can also factor in their engagement with your business up to that point (clicks, downloads or signups on your website).

After a lead reaches a certain threshold, their details would then be passed on to your sales team. That way, you'll be feeding your sales team high-potential leads instead of having them chase down leads that have little chance of converting. It's also beneficial because you can engage a lead at the ideal point in their buyer's journey when your pitch would have the most impact.

2. Personalize your online journeys
What's the best way to make a good impression on someone and make them willing to buy from you? According to Matteo Trinca, Chief Customer Officer at Cluey Learning, it's to tailor your discussion around their needs and preferences. Help them find what they want to buy, use or learn – the sale can and will come later.

"Use the latest marketing automation tools and be smart about data deployment. This will allow you to harness lead and consumer data (who they are, what they want, online behavior, etc.) from cookies or other tracking methods to fully personalize and contextualize content to visitors. In our case, presenting visitors with suggested personalized learning programs that can help them reach their goals has increased engagement significantly."

There's a privacy concern here, but if you focus personalization and customization tactics on simplification and relevancy, most consumers will appreciate and engage with the content you present. This strategy will build more personal relationships that would likely lead to increased conversions.

Related: Why Automation Matters To Your SME

3. Connect with your email list
Automated emails are not a new innovation in marketing by any means. What's new are the strategies available to small business owners to optimize their email marketing by segmenting their lists on a much more granular scale than ever before.

Instead of just sending emails when a customer signs up for a newsletter or adds something to their cart, you can now trigger emails on much more specific actions such as how long they spent in a category or even their interactions with your social media pages.

A large proportion of businesses are using email marketing nowadays, and the only way to stand out and get good open and conversion rates are to make your emails relevant in terms of time and content.

4. Engage on-site
Personalization is key for brand loyalty, and your website is the first opportunity you have to begin creating that connection with your customers. A website that's more responsive to a visitor's needs will naturally leave them with a better impression of your business, according to Chris Genge, CEO of 1st On The List

"One simple but very effective example of this is in how you implement pop-ups on a page. Do you show them immediately someone lands on your page, when they've scrolled halfway or when they're leaving? Any one could work well, but you'll get better results if you choose a specific one to suit your audience and the content on the page. For instance, you could estimate the time it'll take to get to a specific point in the page, or you could show the pop-ups earlier for people coming from social media since they're more likely to be itching to go back through their feed."

Like email list management, there are a plethora of software options to implement this, depending on the platform you built your site on. Choose the one that gives you a great user experience combined with the most possible customization options. That way, you'll be able to switch things up easily whenever necessary.

5. Track and test your outreach
Regardless of which marketing channels you're operating in and the tools you're using, tracking your activities and testing different approaches is going to be crucial for maximizing efficiency.

A/B testing often seems daunting at first – it's difficult enough to build and deploy one website or to write one email and monitor the results, so why add on the extra stress of building or writing two, three or four ones. The good news is that even though you'll still have to build and write multiple versions, monitoring results has gotten incredibly easier as most online software move onto a serverless model, making them easier to integrate with one another.

Now you can configure your results from across many channels to show up in a single dashboard. That way, you'll be able to identify what's working and what is not, and then make the changes necessary to improve your customer engagement, conversions and ultimately, income.

Related: How Content Marketing Can Help Your Company Do More For Less

Ademola Adekunbi

CEO, Regal Inks Content Marketing

Ademola Adekunbi is a writer, entrepreneur, and CEO of Regal Inks Content Marketing. He works with companies to boost their search engine positions, and ensure an increase in customer engagement and revenue. 

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