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Monday, 06 February 2017 11:40

Business & Marketing Automation Core Concepts

This is Jaime from Bloominari. Welcome back to marketing Fridays and today, we’re going to be on Episode 5, talking about business and marketing automation concepts. So, important things you should know about automation in order for you to understand the rest of the future that’s what we’re going to be talking about.

Let's get started. The first thing that you should know is what’s the difference between business automation and marketing automation.

Marketing automation is part of business automation because marketing is something that we do within the business. So, marketing automation, specifically, it's about using software specifically related for marketing processes to automatically communicate with your customers and prospects. So, when we talk about marketing automation, we’re really just talking about how to automate things related to marketing. Okay?

And you know, really, what’s the goal of all of these things? Why are we doing all that stuff, right? It's important to know that. So, the whole goal of automating anything is mostly to save time and for you to be efficient in your business processes. So, the whole point and the whole world watching all the videos and implementing any of this is really to make your company more efficient, save you time, so that with your extra time you can do other things.  So, that’s the goal.

Core Business Automation Concepts

We're going to be talking about several different concepts and some of them are directly related to automation and some of them are not but they're all still very important. So, let’s talk about the first one which we did talk about before but CRM.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

What is a CRM? Again, it stands for Customer Relationship Management systems and it is initially something that was designed to manage contacts and leads. Thus, customer relationship. But today, it’s really more of a tool that allows you to do a lot of other stuff including email marketing which is related to marketing automation. These days, we can also do everything to do with support tickets, creating calls, sending text messages and all sorts of fancy stuff. So, definitely, we’ve got the other video where we explain what CRM is. So, you can get more insight into that and that's a short intro.

Software-as-a-Service (SAAS)

The next concept is SAAS. Software-as-a-service. That’s something that you should probably be familiar with if you’re going to be automating anything in your business.  And this only relates to things that are web-based. Because software-as-a-services is just a way to say: “We’re providing some type of software-as-a-service and the fact that we’re charging – not we, but the company that created the software they’re usually charging – you usually a monthly fee.

So, for example, Google App for Work or what is called now G Suite is Gmail’s paid version for companies, like what we use.  That’s a Software-as-a-Service, that’s a mail, I mean an email service offered as a service.  So, software offered as a service.  So, that’s why, here, I wrote: It represents things like CRMs, Gmail, QuickBooks online, email marketing software, pretty much anything that you pay for monthly is a SAAS type of service.

Application Protocol Interface (API)

Now, moving on to concept number three, API. If you have anything to do with programming, or you’ve talked to programmers, you may have heard of this, an API. The API stands for application protocol interface and this is really what specifies how one software, in this case, any specific software, can communicate with the outside world.

Think about it as a common set of structures or language, that the company who creates the software gets to write down an API, gets to write down the language that will allow other third-party solutions or other people outside the organization or the software to be able to talk to the software and not only talk to it, but actually get information out of it. So, in a way, it’s like being able to give other companies access to the software without letting them know how it works.

So, let's say that you know you want to get information from QuickBooks online, right? You want the CRM to access certain information about a customer. For example, getting to see what their invoices of the specific customer look like, whether it’s the invoice amount for a specific customer, you know, you don’t really want to know how QuickBooks works, but you need to allow some type of software to connect to QuickBooks and then, gather that information and take it back.

So, the API is the protocol actually used for connecting one system to the other. So, everything that we're going to be talking about automation is going to be related to one API of one software talking to the other API of the other software.

In this case, there is now an amazing tool that I keep talking about called Zapier that lets you connect with each other without having to actually hire a programmer.

So, if you don't have Zapier, the normal way of using an API will be to hire a bunch of programmers and tell them, “Hey! I want to connect software A with software B. I already made sure, you know, they both have an API which means they can be talked through from a third-party solution.”  And then they would have to write a software that would let them talk to each other. But of course, that would take time and it would be more costly. So, the idea here is to use the tool that basically avoids having to get a programmer and lets you do it on your own and again, that tools for us is Zapier.com. Alright?

Workflow Automation Tools

Now, moving on to concept number 4, workflow automation tools. These are specific tools such as a CRM or Zapier on its own which lets you automate some type of workflow. Whether that’s a business workflow or automation for marketing or anything that relates to a series of activities, which is what a workflow is all about. So, usually, again, the tools are web-based which means they are software-as-a-service.  So, a workflow automation tool simply described specifically (is) the actual tool for automating different things.  In this case, it’s really about connecting one API with the other or in the case, for example for marketing automation it’s sending a series of emails in a sequence. Okay?

Now, for additional concepts, let’s talk about this. Once you are going to try to create some sort of landing page and advertising campaign, you’re gonna wanna know how each of these things connects to the automation part.

Website

So, on website, you already know what our website is. I’m not gonna really describe what it is.

Landing Page

A landing page is something different. A landing page could be a website but landing page is usually a page specifically created for the purpose of converting a user and converting means whether that person gets to call you or usually fills out a form with name, email and some other information. When some user fills out a form, they are converting. That means they are converting from an anonymous user into a known user and the landing page is specifically designed for that.

Usually, a landing page doesn’t have a menu or doesn’t have almost anything you can click on except the button, the CPA, the call to action button for whatever you want the user to do. Okay?

So, it’s very important to know because, usually, a lot of the marketing automation things that we do get started through a conversion. That means once a lead fills out some type of form, either on your contact form or in the pop-up for capturing a new potential personal interest in whatever you’re offering, that is usually the trigger that starts an automation flow.

In our case, for example, anybody that goes to our website and fills out the contact page, we have a workflow that as soon as they fill out, an email gets sent to them, you know, thank you for filling it out. Then, that information of the actual user gets saved into our CRM and once it’s saved into our CRM, a note is created with whatever the person wrote on the form and then, we add an additional task to follow up with that person and we assign into our sales people. So, that’s the importance of why we are talking about these specific things.

Capture Form

Third, capture form. The capture form is specifically the part with the landing page or the website that’s really just the online form that’s asking for your name and email. And when using a Landing page, you actually have to type in your email.

When it comes to Facebook and something known as Facebook Ad leads or Lead ads, the beauty about that is that actually you don’t need to type in anything because Facebook already knows your information and the moment you click on the ad from the Facebook, if it’s a specific type of ad called the lead ad, then, it will pop-up some sort of immediate, let’s call it, landing page within Facebook and it will be pre-filled with your name and email. So, you don’t have to type it. That’s pretty cool.

Double Opt-In Process

Now, moving on to other things. There’s another concept for email marketing that is directly related to what we were just talking about, the double opt-in process. So, in order to make sure that people who are receiving your emails really wanna receive them, there’s something where you don't only just ask them to fill out the form on your website, but then, you go through the double process of asking to make sure that they want to opt-in. So, that usually means when they sign up for the newsletter or they sign up for the anything, they’ll receive an email with a link that says, “Hey, you know, click here to verify that you really do want that from us”. That email with the link, that’s the second part, which is why it’s called the double opt-in. First opt-in is people are clicking to opt-in to have your form online and the second opt-in is when they are clicking to verify on the email that they get.

Auto Response

Now, one of the most important concepts of this is Auto Response.

What is an Auto Response? It really means, simply something that happens automatically, of course assuming that you set it up after something gets triggered. So, in this case, the very common Auto Response is whenever you fill out something online, you’re probably going to get a Thank You email or when you buy something online you’re gonna get a receipt.  That’s an Auto Response.

In this case, it’s an automatic email. And it’s acknowledging that the information that you inputted was received and, you know, it serves as providing instant gratification which is something we’re, unfortunately, getting 2 years until today and everybody wants to be gratified with something on their email automatically. Okay?

Workflow

Now, the next concept is called the workflow. What is a workflow? Well, we’ve already spoken about it briefly but a workflow is a series of actions that happen throughout an automation process. There’s two types of workflows. Either linear, which means one thing happens after the other or it could be non-linear which means one workflow starts and, then, you know, one of the elements or the steps check, hey, you know, this person go to our website or not? Or did they open an email or not? Depending on how the user interacts with it, then, a different tangent of a different action is taken. In that case, it’s a non-linear workflow. And you can look it up in the other videos I talked about that.

And finally, the last three concepts that we’re gonna cover today. That’s lead nurturing, lead scoring and the sales funnel. So, these are all related, of course, with your marketing because a lead is usually a prospect that you’re trying to get for them to buy.

Lead Nurturing

So, initially, the process starts with buying when you gather that information but then, it really is about sales. So, lead nurturing is the process of being able to continue to communicate with your prospect which is called the lead.  And usually, when it comes to automation, it’s about sending a series of emails where you’re going to be educating your prospect about what your company is, what type of products you’re offering, how do you actually help your customers solve their challenges, and it’s everything related to nurturing that lead on ‘til hopefully they actually become a paying client.

Lead Scoring

Moving onto the next concept. It’s the process of assigning a numeric value or a score based on how that lead or prospect engages with you, your company or your website. So, when we’re talking about doing everything automated.

One of the ways that we can see whether a lead is interested in our product or not is by measuring, you know, how much interaction they have with all of our digital touch points. That includes email and everything they do on your website. So, if you have everything set up correctly, you should be able to track your users’ web activity. So, any time they open your email if they click on at least one link that can take them to your website. From that moment forward, you will be able to track everything that they are doing on your website.

So, you could set up a specific rule that every time somebody visits a page, they’ll get one point. So, every page that they go through in your website, they’ll get one point or you can make, for example, the “How it Works” page be worth five points and if they get to that page, they will be added five points.

The whole idea here is that the work points you have as a lead, the more likely it is that you’re interested in whatever product or service that you’re looking at, right? Because let’s say that you have a 100 people that are the leads for this week. You may not have time as a sales person to talk to all of them. So, in this case, you wanna really focus your time only in the ones that are most likely to become customers and that’s the reason we use lead scoring.

Sales Funnel

And finally, the sales funnel. The sales funnel is a concept that is also part of the automation. When we’re talking about lead nurturing, each of those different emails that you’re sending through an automated campaign are a part of the sales funnel. Why? Because as we continue to educate your lead, that person gets to understand more about what the company’s about, how they can be helped through using the product or services that the company offers and a funnel really is one of those things that have the shape like this.

At the beginning, you have a lot of people, and they’re filtering and filtering people. Each of the different sales process stages is part of the sales funnel. So, you usually start with a lead. That lead, once its qualifies and becomes a prospect. Once it’s a prospect and it’s even more qualified, it can become something else and you know, eventually, that lead will turn to be a customer. So, the sales funnel is really the series of stages in the sales cycle that the prospect moves through and automation helps identify those prospects that are most likely to buy one of those things that we said the lead scoring concept.

 

So, that’s pretty much it. I covered it pretty quickly but feel free to pause and rewind, and you know, learn each of these concepts a little more. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Please write some comments below. Thank you so much for being in this episode of Marketing Fridays and again, this is Jaime from Bloominari, a San Diego Digital marketing agency. That’s it for today.


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Jaime Nacach

Marketing Strategist

I love helping small businesses with their digital marketing and business strategy. I'm a young man with a passion in entrepreneurship and international experience in business development, marketing, sales, and web/graphic design. 

Find me on: Team Page | LinkedIn | Google+Personal Website

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