Businesses tend to put a lot of focus on outbound marketing – getting their name out there through advertising and cold calling. While outbound marketing works and works well, businesses also have to deal with any inbound leads that reach out to them which can split resources, especially in a small organization with only a few salespeople. These inbound leads may or may not be actual, qualified leads who are serious about converting – some may just be looking to make casual inquiries and others may simply be spam.
In order to reduce this resource split and ensure that employees’ time is being spent as efficiently as possible without having to deal with false leads, some organizations are turning toward marketing automation for their inbound processes. Inbound marketing automation can assist businesses with streamlining the inbound process so there is almost no hands-on involvement until it can be determined that the lead is serious about their interest.
How exactly can inbound marketing automation be used?
Here are some easy steps an inbound marketing automation strategy can be implemented in an organization.
Gather inbound leads through signup forms
The first part of any inbound marketing automation strategy is ensuring that there is a way for inbound leads to reach out and be inserted into the inbound process. This can easily be done using a form that is either embedded on the business’s website or shared via the business’s social media accounts.
The purpose of this form is to gather preliminary information about a prospective lead – such as their name, company, contact information, as well as what they are interested in and their preferred method of communication.
Once a prospective lead fills out and submits this form, their information will be stored automatically in a unique contact profile in a CRM where it can then be utilized in the inbound marketing automation campaign.
Set up the inbound marketing automation campaign
Once a prospective submits the form that they came across on the business’s website or on their social media and the submitted information is stored in the CRM, what happens next?
The business can use a marketing automation platform to set up an automated communication campaign that includes multiple messages or “touches” that are sent to the lead, separated by delays which will pause the lead for a specified length of time until the next message is scheduled to be sent to them. These messages can be created using various communication channels and through decision logic, the platform can automatically send leads these messages via their preferred method of contact.
Once set up, this campaign will run anyone who submits the initial form through automatically, meaning that this will free up the business’s salespeople who will only reach out to these leads once the campaign has run its course, and only if the lead has made it all the way through to the end, essentially filtering out the false leads as well as anyone who may have just had some questions that were answered through the course of the campaign.
Organize leads using pipelines
Knowing where prospective leads are within the inbound marketing automation campaign is still important, even if they do not need to be contacted right away. A great way to organize these contacts into an easy-to-digest way is through a pipeline tool included with the CRM. Using the pipeline’s stages functionality and tying it into the structure of the inbound marketing automation campaign by assigning each touchpoint (message) a different stage in the campaign, these leads will automatically be moved through each stage of the pipeline without employees having to do any manual work.
Pipelines are a great visual way to see how many prospective leads are in each stage of the automation campaign, providing salespeople with a rough idea of any upcoming calls they will have to make. Essentially, the pipeline acts as a funnel – many leads may enter the first stage but not as many will come out the other side.
Personalize the campaign content
Once a business has set up the structure of the inbound marketing automation campaign and has assigned each step in the campaign its own pipeline stage, it is time to add the content to the campaign that will be sent out to any leads who sign up using the signup form. It is a good idea to vary the content from message to message in order to fully engage the lead. From blog posts to FAQs; from a newsletter to an informative whitepaper, a business can utilize the content it has already created rather than spending time creating new content specifically for the campaign.
In order to further engage with prospective leads, be sure to personalize these messages by making use of merge tags which will pull each lead’s personal information that has been collected through the signup form and stored in the CRM.
Businesses can even use conditional filters within email messages so that the email will only use content sections that include information each prospective lead has indicated an interest in, and no superfluous content. By doing this, the business can create one email message including all the available information but have the system send a version of that email with only the necessary information specific to a particular lead, guaranteeing increased engagement.
Complete a manual follow-up task
At the very end of the inbound marketing automation campaign, a business will want to include a manual follow-up task that will send a message to a designated sales representative informing them of the new lead that needs to be reached out to. Since the lead has progressed through the entirety of the campaign, this should hopefully indicate a high level of interest and a greater chance for a conversion.
This manual follow-up task should be the first time a live person would be interacting with the inbound lead, which just goes to show how much more streamlined an inbound marketing strategy can be when there’s automation involved!
Looking to get started with inbound marketing automation?
With the SimplyCast engagement automation platform, businesses can easily set up their own inbound marketing automation strategy using the all-in-one toolset the platform offers. SimplyCast provides businesses with tools such as the Form Builder, a built-in CRM, and a robust marketing automation workflow tool that can be used to create the multi-step automation campaign.
If you would like to see how easy it would be for your business to get started with inbound marketing automation, click the button below to sign up for a demo of the entire SimplyCast platform!