If you're like most Building Materials brands, you have a large set of contacts that your company is targeting and working to develop a relationship with or even continue as a customer.
You probably have an email program you use to blast the list of contacts with the same messages for everyone. Nothing is tailored to the individual based upon where they are in the buying cycle. It's a one size fits all for your email marketing..
You might send messages to this list once a week or just sporadically throughout the year, but ultimately you're not sure if you're seeing the right kinds of results.
Does this sound familiar?
Marketing Automation is a game changer for the building materials industry. It solves the problems of a jammed-up sales funnel, sending the same generic email to every lead and never being sure what a potential customer really wants from you. Marketing Automation is a software system that hooks up to your website and helps you track actions of people coming to your site and follow-up with those people with information (emails, eBooks, case studies, etc.) that they'll want to read from your company. Companies like Act-On, Marketo, HubSpot and SharpSpring are all great options for building materials companies looking to get started with marketing automation.
If you're still getting your feet wet and trying to learn more about what exactly marketing automation is, read my Getting Started Guide to Marketing Automation for Building Materials Companies.
Here are seven reasons why your company should consider marketing automation.
Whether you target just one type of buyer or several types, each of your audiences can be, and should be, further divided into more specific categories, which allows you to send specific messages to each segment based on their wants, needs and the actions they take on your website.
Marketing automation helps you track what each person does when they visit your site and what they do with the emails you send them so you can continue to give the information they want, and stop sending them the information they are not interested in.
Confused? Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
Let's say you're a roofing company that targets both contractors, distributors and DIYers. You're tracking the actions of two separate leads on your site, and based on the pages they visit and the documents they download, you can determine that one is a contractor and the other is a DIYer.
Because you know that your first lead is a contractor, you'll be able to send him/her a series of emails based on their specific needs as a contractor:
- Email #1 - Technical specs about your products
- Email #2 - A comparison with your competitors
- Email #3 - Contractor testimonials
- Email #4 - Information on how to talk about your product to their clients
But DIYers don't want to know all that, so you'll send them a separate email series:
- Email #1 - Instructions on how to estimate the amount of materials they'll need
- Email #2 - How-to videos
- Email #3 - Homeowner testimonials
- Email #4 - A list of places where they can rent the tools they'll need in their area (and you'll know their area from Marketing Automation too)
- Email #5 - Local contractor's contact information in case they get stuck
We've all received emails from companies that are completely irrelevant to our needs. it makes you feel like that company is out of touch and just doesn't "get" you.
As people progress through your sales funnel, they want different kinds of information. The further along they are in their buying journey, the more in depth they're willing to go. Take a look at the illustration below. We call it The Content Diamond.
Marketing automation helps you nurture your leads through the sales process. You can track the types of information people have looked at and are looking for so you know where they are in your sales cycle and when they are ready for a sales call.
For example, imagine you just met a potential customer at a trade show, so you put them into your contact list as someone who is at the top of the sales funnel. Since they are probably evaluating your product in comparison to a competitor, your marketing automation system can send them an email aimed at describing how your product is different than your competitor.
If they click on the links you provide in the email and spend time on certain pages of your website that demonstrate they are interested in finding out more information,
your marketing automation system will automatically pull them to the next stage of the sales funnel and start sending them more in depth information because they have demonstrated they are a potential customer.
The best definition I know of for marketing automation is that it gives you the ability to send the right message, to the right people, at the right time.
The example I gave in the previous point illustrates how a website visitor's actions can trigger them to be moved into a different part of the sales cycle and thus receive different messaging.
Imagine being able to set up an alert so that you know the exact moment when contacts visit important pages on your website.
For example, you could set your marketing automation tool to alert your sales team when a contacts visits your pricing page for a second or third time. This would allow your sales team to send a very timely email about how your prices and product quality compare to the competition.
Or, you could even call the contact at the exact moment they are looking at your website, showing them that you're in-tune with what they're doing and you are a company who can help them grow their business.
If one of your leads is clicking through 4 or 5 emails from you, they are moving down the sales funnel as they learn more about your products.
If you've sent someone 5 emails over the course of a month or so, and you know they've clicked through at least 4 of them, then they are probably ready to hear from you sales team about making a purchase.
Additionally, you'll know what products or information specifically grabbed their attention and what didn't. So, your sales team will be more informed and thus able to speak more directly to their needs right out of the gate. Now even new customers can be treated like your life-long customers. Your sales team will be fed first-hand knowledge from the marketing team making both teams more successful.
Marketing automation brings marketing teams and sales teams together by offering both teams vital information that helps them do their jobs better. The marketing team will have a better idea of what marketing strategies are working because of the detailed reporting available.
Sales teams will be able to close more sales because they'll have a more transparent view of what each lead has been looking at, clicking on and what hasn't been grabbing their attention.
Any good marketing automation platform is armed with comprehensive analytics about your customers. It tracks who has opened and clicked on every email you've sent and what people have done on your website (eg. what pages they visited, forms they filled out, blog articles they read, etc).
This not only gives you the ability to tell what an individual contact has done so you can be better prepared in a sales call, but it can also tell you what parts of your marketing campaigns are working and what isn't.
You'll be able to see the gaps in your email campaigns and website content because you'll see where people stop progressing through your sales funnel.
You'll then be able to make adjustments accordingly, so future emails, blog posts or web pages will be even more effective than previous ones.
As you gather more and more information about what your audience wants and how they want it, you'll be able to quickly adjust so that you're always writing for your needs. Email marketing alone simply will not give you that type of insight.
Marketing is defined as the process through which products and services move from concept to the customer.
So when I talk about scaling your marketing efforts, I'm not just talking about sending more emails. I'm talking about actually selling more of your product!
I mentioned above that you might have hundreds or thousands of leads in your contact database. When you set up a marketing automation platform correctly it will take your contact list and get it work for you and grow your business.
You website and email campaigns will always need improvement but marketing automation can help you scale of your marketing efforts in a way that helps walk the customer through the sales funnel with greater ease.
I plan on making this very point its own blog article in the near future because it is such a hot button topic for marketers. Measuring the ROI of our marketing efforts has long been one of the greatest obstacles that marketers have had to deal with.
What marketing automation allows you to do is measure how each marketing initiative translates to sales generated by tracking the number of leads that are created and then handed off to your sales team.
It's easier said than done but it's achievable.
With the right pieces in place, you can track exactly how many leads each email campaign created and how much each of those leads ended up spending with your company, so you'll know down to the dollar how much you're earning from your marketing automation investment.
I believe that the building materials companies that adopt marketing automation now will be the ones that out-think and out-market their competition in the coming years
They'll have more customer insights for helping each of their respective audiences through the buying cycle because they are delivering the right messages at the right time to the right people.
Marketing automation is one of the best ways to scale and grow your marketing efforts, increase your leads, move leads through your sales funnel faster and increase the accuracy of your marketing ROI.