As we near the end of our series on email marketing and building our email lists here at Coffee Break Blogging, I want to talk about a more advanced topic…
Marketing Automation Tools
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How to make your tool and your blog “talk”
- How to make your blog proactively reach out to prospects
- How you can use lead scoring in combination with your blog
- How to rescue lost sales using your automation tool
This topic is a little more advanced for some folks, but in the least I hope it will open your eyes to the true marketing power of a blog when combined with the right tools.
And so, we are nearing the end of Phase 3 of our overall sequence of building an online business from scratch. Phase 3; if you look at the 7 Stages which if you go to coffeebreakblogging.com and opt-in, you will get this sent to you as the 7 Stage process that we are walking through. Phase 3 has to do with building up our email list and that is what we have been talking about for the last several episodes. And we are nearing the end of that. Pretty soon we are going to be moving on to the next one which is going to be all about Traffic.
But today, what I want to talk to you; as we near the end of Phase 3, is a little bit more advanced in some ways that you can actually use your email list specifically how you can use a blog and a marketing automation tool together and get serious results from it.
What A Marketing Automation Tool Is
A Marketing Automation Tool is essentially a CRM. It is a Customer Relationship Manager. So it takes your standard email list set up like Aweber or MailChimp or something like that, but then take it up to the next level where instead of having subscribers on these different lists, you got one list and then each person has an in depth profile based on anything they bought, any tags, any pages they visited; pretty much anything, you can track it on their profile. And you can email them unique messages, you can assign tasks to staff; you can do all kinds of very nifty things with the marketing automation tool.
The whole idea of marketing automation is that it literally automates your marketing. Your prospect does certain things and your system will react automatically. It saves a lot of work. And I will give you some examples of how this can work in this episode.
The 3 Big CRM Tools
First of all, in terms of marketing automation, what are the big options out there? There are several of them out there but there are three that often circulate in the online marketing circles and those are InfusionSoft, Ontraport (which is the guys that I use) and ActiveCampaign.
Now all these companies essentially do the same thing. InfusionSoft and Ontraport are very similar; it really just comes down to preference. InfusionSoft has been around a little longer so they do have more integration and stuff like that. But Ontraport is quickly catching up, and Ontraport; most people will attest to the fact that it is simpler to use than InfusionSoft. But you know, it is a give and take.
Now, ActiveCampaign has all the automation stuff the same way and it is a really, really great system from all things that I have seen about it. The one difference with ActiveCampaign is that it doesn’t have the eCommerce capability so you are not going to be running your orders through it or running an affiliate program through it which both InfusionSoft and Ontraport will do, but ActiveCampaign will do your email and you can do all kinds of fancy CRM stuff with it. The good thing about it is that depending on how many subscribers you have, ActiveCampaign is much cheaper than InfusionSoft or Ontraport. So if you have a small list and I forgot what the cut-off is; I think you can get started with ActiveCampaign for as little as $49 a month. And you can have a full powered CRM at your disposal; really, really cool stuff.
The Way It Works
Now the way these tools work is that when you set up; like you are going to have your opt-in forms and everything just like any email list provider, but these companies are also going to give you a little blurb of code that you are going to put on your blog and it is just a one-time thing, and that allows the system to track what your subscribers are doing on your site. And that is how you get integration between the blog and your marketing automation tool.
Once the person has subscribed to your list and your CRM is tracking them and knows who they are, then when they come back and they read a particular blog post or they visit one of your sales pages your CRM is going to see that. Okay? And then you can set up rules that will react based on what your prospects do.
A Few CRM Ideas
Now here are a few ideas that you can put in to play if you are using a system like InfusionSoft, Ontraport or ActiveCampaign…
When they visit certain blog post or certain pages, you can tag them accordingly. This can be used in different ways; for example if you know that you have a series of blog posts that is related to topic X, whatever that might be for you, and you happen to have a product related to topic X and you might have call to actions inside the blog post and everything but they are just not buying them… So you can tag them as having visited or read that blog post related to topic X and you can basically proactively turn them into a prospect for that product that you have related to that. And then you can follow up and you can tag them as a prospect for it. You can also, yes; automatically email them.
Automatic Email System
So let us just say that one of your subscribers, they come to your site and they visit your sales letter. Maybe you have got a membership site, and they visit the sales page for your membership site but they don’t buy. Now, do you want to just let that opportunity go? I mean, maybe they have a question; you don’t know what it is. You don’t want to just assume that they have no interest in your membership site; so what could you do? Well, you could just straight up ask them. So one thing you could do is have your marketing automation tool track visits to your sales page. And then, if they visit and they don’t buy then you can set a time frame that maybe the next day your system will automatically email them and just say, “Hey, do you have any question?”…Whatever it is that you want to say.
You don’t want to make it creepy like, “Hey I noticed you visited my page at 3:27 PM yesterday” that might be a little creepy, but you can still just be cool about it just like if you walk in to a store with somebody and you are looking at products and one of the employees will come over and be like, “Hey can I help you with anything?” You are essentially doing that, it is just that you are doing it in an automated fashion and you are doing it via email.
A lot of these CRMs, a lot of these marketing automation tools; you can also instead of sending them an email you can assign a task automatically to one of your staff members to call them. So if you are dealing with a higher priced product and they visit that page on your site then you could trigger a task to one of your team members to call that person and just see if they have any questions. There are a lot of different things here that you could do by setting up these systems and having your marketing automation tool actually react proactively to what people are doing on your site.
Now I am not going to get real technical into lead scoring here; this is a little bit more of an advance topic. But lead scoring is basically an arbitrary score system that you can assign to people in your database and depending on the actions that they take you can either increase or decrease their score. So the way it works is that the higher the score, the hotter that lead is. And so if they visited your sales page, they probably are going to be a hotter lead than if they just visited one of your random blog posts. So you can adjust the scores accordingly. And also, typically you will set a schedule so that as time goes on their lead score will decrease automatically. So somebody who visited your sales page two weeks ago is not going to be as warm or as hot as a lead as somebody who have visited it today.
So one of the things you can do with your marketing automation tool is increase their lead score the more they visit your blog. Your system will track this; your system will be looking at what your leads are doing and if they come back frequently you can actually increase their lead score automatically. And that means they are much more engaged with you; they are a hotter lead for products that you have on offer. Because these people, they are in there, they come to your site often and you want to know those things and your CRM can track it and you can run a little report and find out who those hot leads are and follow up accordingly.
Follow Up Email
Now here’s another thing… There are businesses out there; let us say you are a coach, you are in a coaching business. And you got a site, you have a blog that has a contact form; a way for somebody to apply for a strategy session or something like that and they fill out a form.. Now you can have your CRM; your marketing automation tool, track your lead going to that application form. And let’s say they don’t fill it out. Does that mean they just work a lead for that? I mean maybe something spoofed them, whatever. You just need to follow up with them and be like, “Can I help you with anything?” So; and especially on a coach because typically the pricing, (if you are a good coach) you are going to be charging prices that make you happy with the service that you provide.
So if that one lead is something that could actually be worth a few thousand dollars to you, it would be worth it to have your marketing automation tool track that activity so that you can automate some follow up and maybe rescue some sales that would otherwise had been lost by the fact that they didn’t actually totally fill out that form and hit submit. Okay?
So those are some ideas here. Now one thing to know about this is that in order for any of these to work, your marketing automation tool does need to know who the person is. So essentially they need to be a subscriber already before your system is going to be able to track this stuff.
If you have somebody who is not a subscriber and they are visiting your blog; well that is great. It is just that your marketing automation tool is not going to be able to do anything about it because it doesn’t know who they are. So that should be pretty obvious, but I just want to make that clear.
Now again, the top three tools that will make this stuff really work for you is InfusionSoft, Ontraport and ActiveCampaign; all good companies, all with different styles of things so you basically will just need to look into them and see which one works for you. One thing I will put out there, because I know a lot of people have different experience levels are listening to this podcast; and that is if you are new to all these, if you do not have different products on offer and stuff like that yet, then you don’t need to do this yet. A marketing automation tool is definitely something that your business has to be at a certain point before it is really worth it because these marketing automation tools are not the cheapest things around.
I mean, I am paying almost $300 a month for my Ontraport account. Now I am just not wily-nily going to throw $300 a month around it if I wasn’t clearly making that back. And so if you are just starting out, you are not ready for this type of stuff. Now there are some automation built in to other ones like Get Response has a way of tracking what pages that people visit on your site.
I think Aweber has the same thing so you can actually track visits on your site to your subscribers but what these companies do not have, typically, is the way to automatically trigger certain reactions based on what they are doing because those are more traditional, what I call “linear” email systems. They are not marketing automation tools. But you can still set up the tags. Aweber, I don’t know what they call it… email analytics tag, whatever; but you can still install that on your blog and you can at least track how much traffic your individual emails are giving you… Not just from the clickthroughs but also to follow any follow up clicks that they do. You can track that stuff inside of Aweber. So you do have some ability even with the more traditional email list hosts.
But if you are a little bit more advance or let’s say you are already using one of these tools, InfusionSoft, Ontraport or ActiveCampaign; definitely look into setting up some automation where it makes sense because that marketing automation tool plus your blog make a very powerful combination. And in fact, it turns your blog essentially into an extension of your sales team, if you have one or if you are your own sales team, it is almost like turning your blog into another member of your staff. Okay? It’s cool stuff. Your blog has so much marketing power but sometimes you got to combine it with the right tool for the right job. And the marketing automation tools combined with that blog, is a really, really powerful combo.
Hopefully you found that useful. I want to end off by reminding you about my webinar that I am going to be doing at blogmonetizationwebinar.com; as you can tell from the URL there, it is about monetization. We are actually going to be looking in to a lot of the traditional ways that bloggers monetize their blog and then I am going to be bringing it forward into 2015 into the way that you need to be focusing on it now. I am going to show you the exact structure on how you monetize and set up your blog so that it will actually make you money in a sustainable way.
Again if you find these episodes useful, I would highly appreciate it if you jump over to iTunes and post a little quick review for me. And the shortcut right into that is blogmarketingacademy.com/itunes.
Thank you so much and see you soon! 😉