In an earlier post, I cover the different marketing automation systems available to businesses today. My goal was to demonstrate that there are clear distinctions between each type of software – and that their features are suited to particular businesses and objectives. In other words, not all products qualified as ‘marketing automation’ do the same thing. This time around I will show how each breed of software meets specific goals when it comes to winning and retaining clients. I use the consumer buying decision-making process as a framework to demonstrate the strengths of each software found at one or more of these different stages.
I’ll start by listing the different types of marketing automation software – in case you need a refresher. Next, I’ll list the different stages of the consumer decision-making process show which software is best suited for each.
- Email marketing software – (MailChimp, ConstantContact)
- Prospect nurturing software – (Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign)
- Inbound marketing automation – (HubSpot, Marketo)
- Relationship marketing automation – (Rocket Referrals)
Inbound marketing is effective at educating prospects about the potential need for a product or service. This is accomplished by providing content to relevant audiences and funneling prospects to websites and landing pages that accommodate these needs.
Relationship marketing actively encourages a company’s promoters to reach out and educate their friends and family about a potential need for a product or service. Essentially making introductions that would have otherwise not have been made if existing clients were not encouraged to do so.
Inbound marketing uses unique content to not only educate consumers but also increase the flow to websites by way of organic search engine optimization(SEO). People searching for information regarding a specific need are more likely to locate a business that has a robust content inbound marketing strategy.
Relationship marketing is designed to actively collect online reviews that effectively improve the local SEO for companies operating in a specific community – which increases the likelihood they are discovered by prospects searching for their services or products. Online reviews are particularly useful for businesses operating locally (e.g. restaurants, insurance agencies, dentists).
Email marketing is useful when reaching out to a number of prospects and educating them about a business or its services. By allowing for segmentation users are able to communicate with people based on predefined profiles/stages of the sales cycle.
Prospect nurturing software can be used to continuously educate prospects on the features and functionality of their products and services. Companies can set up campaigns to control how and when prospects learn about particular benefits they will likely compare against alternatives.
Relationship marketing is designed to collect testimonials from existing clients which increases social proof. It also encourages positive word-of-mouth and increases the perceived value and reputation of the company and its services.
Prospect nurturing software specializes in channeling prospects down the sales pipeline and converting them into sales. This is accomplished by automating communication over time—thus keeping the company top-of-mind until the prospect pulls the trigger.
Relationship marketing targets existing clients with the goal of increasing referrals, improving retention, and encouraging the active promotion of a company’s products and services. This is done by discovering the loyalty of individual clients and automating a diverse range of communication across several mediums.
A key component of relationship marketing is the Net Promoter Score (NPS) which groups clients by their loyalty toward the company (promoters, passives, detractors). This allows automation to communicate with individual clients separately and with different objectives. Detractors, for example, will be uncovered so their specific grievances can be addressed. Promoters, on the other hand, can be encouraged to promote the company. In either case, the personalization and quality of communication provided by relationship marketing is designed to improve the overall relationship with existing clients—thus increasing overall retention and positive word-of-mouth.
By focusing on efforts after the sale the business can considerately increase the number of referrals clients send their way. When this happens prospects are often fast-tracked through the consumer buying decision-making process – as trust is more quickly established, cutting down on evaluation and time to purchase.