Marketing automation, like any other kind of automated technology, exists to speed up time-consuming activities through streamlining their process, alleviating the level of human input needed to complete any series of tasks.
With marketing automation, you can set up marketing activities to run on autopilot, while also being able to analyse their effectiveness over time through analytics.
By taking a customer-centric approach to using marketing automation, you can start the conversation with your customers through automated campaigns, but then move it to high-quality one-to-one conversations with your prospects, when it counts.
Firstly, we should state, that marketing automation is not a process of pushing out spam, or a tech stack to replace your marketing team. It is a tool to empower your team, to give them the ability to plan and write a campaign, and then have the automation run it for you.
In this blog we will cover:
- Why is efficiency so important for your construction business?
- How does marketing automation work?
- What marketing automation software is available?
- Why you should automate your lead nurturing
- Why you should automate your email marketing
- Why you should automate your customer service
- How can marketing automation improve specifiers' customer experience?
- What is the difference between marketing automation and a CRM?
- Does my construction business need marketing automation?
- What marketing automation best practices are there?
Why is Efficiency So Important for Your Construction Business?
The building product and construction industry is known for having long and complex buying cycles, and that building and maintaining relationships with prospects and existing customers is a difficult, but essential, task.
Marketing, if not overlooked, can be the key to these one-to-one relationships and delivering a customer experience that generates loyalty and referrals for your business.
Investing in marketing automation, and the efficiency it offers, allows your construction business to offer an improved customer journey for your prospects, as the marketing communications they receive are relevant and helpful, but also improves your business through saved time and increased revenue.
How Does Marketing Automation Work?
If you are struggling with engaging specifiers and contractors online, knowing which leads to prioritise and nurture, and stressed about the time (you don’t have) to do it all? Then marketing automation is the answer for you.
Marketing automation can be amazingly helpful and valuable for construction and building product businesses:
- Its reported that your sales productivity can increase by 15% using automation,
- Actual conversions and sales can rocket to up to 50%, and
- Your qualified leads pipeline can be boosted by as much as 451%
Automation is all about making those everyday marketing tasks (emails, social media, lead generation) happen automatically and repeatedly.
Companies that use automation to manage their lead nurturing process are set to see a 10% or more increase in their revenue in the 6-9months following the implementation.
So, here is how marketing automation works.
- Each website visitor and existing customer is tracked across your website through a database that monitors their page views, action, traffic source, time on site etc.
- In the database, you can then set up lists to segment your audience into groups of similar attributes such as: signing up for your newsletter, site visits and clicks, products they are engaged with, what stage they are in their buying journey (or sales funnel), and more.
- You can then trigger certain marketing activities to occur when a prospect meets a certain condition, such as sending a lead nurturing email, a retargeting ad campaign, or a dynamic landing page designed just for them, etc.
What Marketing Automation Software is Available?
Marketing automation has the ability to become 'your extra technical sales rep', but like any new hire, you must research and vet the software you choose.
An all-in-one marketing automation tool, HubSpot is a comprehensive platform all designed around the inbound marketing methodology. This means it provides an integrated system where marketing automation is just one element of the process. It provides a marketing, sales and customer service hub, all in one.
Each section tracks your prospect throughout their customer journey so you can get an insight into how effective your entire marketing process is as you capture and then nurture your leads. HubSpot is an easy to use end-to-end platform and is directly targeted at small to medium sized businesses.
Similar to HubSpot, Marketo is also an integrated platform as it offers automation alongside content management tools, a CRM, and analytics.
Marketo excels in its offering for advanced email campaigns and workflows as part of the automation system. However, it is quite a technical platform and due to this mainly targets larger enterprise businesses with dedicated IT departments.
Originally an email marketing tool, MailChimp now incorporates a simple and easy to use expanded platform for marketing automation, social media marketing and content management.
MailChimp targets small to medium sized businesses who want to advance their email marketing to generate greater insights of their customers across their other digital marketing channels.
A flexible marketing automation tool, Active Campaign is specialised to provide marketing automation for small businesses. It offers an array of pre-built automation templates for improved ease of use and effectiveness.
Active Campaign also offers a CRM so you can measure your marketing effectiveness across your lead database.
Why You Should Automate Your Lead Nurturing
We all know that nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads, so why are 80% of building product companies not even replying to customer enquiries? Once you know a prospect is aware of your business, you have the power to nurture that lead and convert them into the sale. Marketing automation can make sure you don’t drop the ball and use that incredible power to nurture and support your sales funnel through automated drip campaigns, follow ups and lead scoring.
By implementing this process, your leads will nurture themselves and the software can allow you to stay in front of these leads, avoiding the possibility of your competitors suddenly stepping in. Marketing automation will begin those customer relationships on your behalf, even out of hours.
A lead database will keep a track of your engaged and unengaged prospects and assign lead scores to each customer, determined by their level of engagement with your website and other marketing channels. The technology can then be set up to send out either emails or other marketing tactics to those leads who are scoring highly, and nurture them with your helpful and engaging content.
It takes up to 8 interactions with a customer before they become a viable sales lead.
The automation platform can then alert you when human intervention will then get them over the final finish line, as those prospects will have learned about your product or service through their engagement with your drip campaign, and will have an extremely high intent to purchase.
Read more here: 5 Ways to Automate Your Construction Business' Lead Generation
Why You Should Automate Your Email Marketing
In the B2B sector, open rates increase 21% when you send at least 5 emails a month. Setting up an automated email campaign can allow you to save time and money, but still benefit from the increased brand awareness and email performance you get when you send emails to your database frequently.
Email marketing is one of the key components of marketing automation and can really be a game changer for your construction business’ marketing.
Trigger emails can be automatically sent out to customers or leads when they carry out certain behaviours on your website, such as filling in a form or requesting a quote. This means your customers are responded to quickly, before a competitor gets in their faster.
But it doesn’t end there, you can also set up trigger emails to be sent when a person engages with a certain product page or article on your site more than once. This email can be filled with useful advice and helpful content (blogs, FAQs, videos etc.) surrounding that product category, nurturing the lead and providing answers to any questions they may have.
Planning your email marketing automated campaign to deliver key information about your business to your lead database, over a period of time, will drastically improve your rate of conversion and customer satisfaction.
For the construction industry, where the lead funnel and sales life cycle are so long, automated email campaigns can allow you to save time while also making sure your leads are fully engaged with.
Why You Should Automate Your Customer Service
All-in-one marketing automation platforms can include customer service automation. This means your business can respond to customer queries 24/7, making it easier for customers to access the information, pricing, and resources they want, when they want it.
Poor customer experience was the cause for more than 47% of customers to stop doing business with at least one company, last year.
Marketing automation can include automated FAQs and AI powered chatbots. Frequently asked questions (FAQs) are called that because they are frequently asked! Save time by implementing automation that will answer certain queries and provide help articles or resources to your leads, allowing them to continue their product research, at a time that suits them.
An automated FAQ section will also then suggest similar questions to answer those questions your website visitor doesn’t even know they have yet. The more niggles or doubts answered means the greater understanding – and therefore trust- they will have in your business and product.
Incorporating marketing automation into your customer service offering will help you build strong customer relationships and gain your business the reputation for being fast, effective, and helpful.
How Can Marketing Automation Improve Specifiers’ Customer Experience?
Your marketing cannot be a one-size-fits-all strategy, but at the same time you have limited time to invest in these important activities. Marketing automation allows you to segment and market to specifiers throughout each stage of their buyer’s journey, with this technology that requires only a little upfront effort and upkeep.
With marketing automation, you can stand back while authentic engagement occurs with your specifiers and contractors, at the time and place that suits them.
Maintaining this from beginning to end gives them a reason to stick around and even become advocates for your business. A seamless customer experience benefits from marketing automation through its efficient and effective way of nurturing prospects and delivering them the right content at the right time.
What is the Difference Between Marketing Automation and a CRM?
Both customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation software help businesses achieve their marketing goals through applying technology to streamline, integrate and manage marketing processes.
A CRM is focussed on storing, managing and tracking information about your customer database. It then uses this information to monitor the interactions your customers then make with your website and marketing channels.
Marketing automation then uses the information in this database, and the ability to track visitors and their behaviour on your site, to trigger automated follow ups. It also uses the CRM’s information of what stage in the customer lifecycle your prospects are in, and what interactions they are having with your marketing, for your automated marketing campaigns.
The automation software works on sequences and workflows that are triggered when certain actions occur, or conditions are met.
Marketing automation is essentially a specialised system that can be considered a subsegment of CRM. However, each CRM and marketing automation platform is different, so the tools they offer can either vary dramatically between them or seem identical.
When integrated together in a centralised platform, this technology allows you to see your entire sales cycle and how each marketing activity builds off the last. It gives you the insight into how everything is working together, or if it’s not.
Does My Construction Business Need Marketing Automation?
If you are considering marketing automation for your building product business, then answer these questions candidly:
- Can you identify, track, and engage specifiers online currently?
- Can you look at a list of customers and order them from high to low likelihood to buy?
- Are your sales team spending their time engaging all leads, regardless of fit?
- Can you tell from looking at your database which products each lead is interested in?
What is it that sets businesses apart nowadays? It’s not that they’re smarter or more creative, its that they simply have the right tools that allow them to implement a strategy where they can gain insight into their entire sales funnel and marketing activities, from beginning to end.
A tool that more effectively determines for them when their leads are actually ready to buy. A tool that saves them time and money and moves your marketing from a cost centre to a revenue generator.
A survey of 700 marketers found that 80% of marketing automation users saw their number of leads increase, with 77% seeing their number of conversions increase.
For small to medium sized businesses in the construction industry, you need a tool that will work as hard as your sales team does. Choosing a marketing automation solution is a decision that will successfully create a return on its investment, and grow your business, in this competitive digital era.
Still not convinced? Read this: 5 Ways Marketing Automation Saves Time and Money
What Marketing Automation Best Practices Are There?
Firstly, remember that marketing automation is something you set up. So, knowing your specifier’s buyer’s journey, and what is relevant to them, will allow you to plan out automated campaigns that will work towards moving them further down the sales funnel. For example, if they are on your pricing page, set up a trigger for an email with decision stage content that will help them further with their buying decision such as FAQs or testimonials for that specific product.
Secondly, don’t forget you can use marketing automation for after the final sale too. Set up emails to be sent at the end of your specifier’s project, even if it’s after a year, to ask for their customer review, testimonial, or to recommend you to a colleague.
Existing customers are 4x more likely to refer someone to your business!
You can also use this to your advantage, by making sure you maintain contact and stay top of mind for that specifier, for when their next project rolls around.
The final piece of best practice advice for marketing automation is not to forget to humanise your automated campaigns. Although your marketing may not be running on autopilot, personalisation can still go a long way.
Being human and helpful is always appreciated and is one of the main aims of implementing marketing automation. Your business can become more supportive and reactive than it ever has been before.
Read more here:
Marketing automation allows you to effortlessly engage your specifier, stay top of mind, and deliver helpful content that pre-emptively answers any question your customer has about your product or business- before someone else answers them.
A good customer experience is one where the final feeling your customers have about your brand is trust and positivity. It is the outcome of consistent, quality interactions with them throughout their entire buyer’s journey.
This can be successfully achieved through marketing automation software.
As the only HubSpot certified agency to major on construction marketing, we bring together construction marketing strategy, digital strategy, website design, SEO, content marketing, email marketing, sales automation, marketing automation and HubSpot CRM implementation to produce successful campaigns and great results for our clients.