Automation: An effective way to enhance marketing success

Posted by Pete Muckley, VP of Marketing, Trust Company of America on August 24, 2017

Advisors today are busy. Real busy. While having to manage a large book of client accounts, they also need to come up with effective ways to market themselves to drive new business.

To do this, they may want to develop and deliver content designed to educate investors about financial planning strategies, investment solutions and market trends. And in these marketing efforts, they want to, above all, promote their services and expertise.

The challenge is, even when advisors have great ideas for content and the best intentions to improve client communications, they never get around to it. They just don’t have the time.

Fortunately, there’s an effective solution provided by technology: marketing automation.

Marketing automation is way of keeping your message top of mind without having to think about it. It enables you to consistently nurture client relationships or drip a focused message on your ideal prospects.

5 Benefits of Marketing Automation

As an advisor, your work involves personalization, analytics, diversification, scalability and efficiency. Marketing automation can offer all five of these attributes through services such as: email management, social media curating, CRM integration, lead nurturing and general campaign management.

  1. Personalization

Marketing automation is similar to the goal of client relationship management (CRM) systems: enable personalized, organized, systematic, targeted communications. In fact, many CRMs include an integrated email automation service. These, and independent email services, offer customizable messages and newsletters you can use to promote your value proposition. Within these messages, you can address clients’ specific financial needs or life events, such as a job change or a birthday. Automatic appointment scheduling services also increase an advisor’s ability to check in with clients and prospects. The more personal touches advisors deliver to clients, the more they cater to clients’ expectation to be informed and cared for.

  1. Analytics

Along with automatic mailings and scheduling comes the technology to track client engagement. Several campaign management, lead nurturing and social curating platforms include analytics to track how many people are reading or interacting with your content. Using this information, you can determine how you wish to market to certain segments of your client base. You can also better determine which messages do well and which don’t, enabling you to adjust your approach for maximum effectiveness.

  1. Diversification

With a marketing strategy, it’s important to include various kinds of touches to reach current and potential clients. Automated systems can help coordinate your marketing channels (social media, email, website, blog) by driving traffic from one to another, and track engagement from all. You can schedule, publish and analyze in one place.

  1. Scalability

According to a survey by Three Deep Marketing, increasing lead generation (68% of respondents) and improving lead nurturing (60% of respondents) were the most important goals of an automatic marketing strategy. Advisors know the effort to pull in new clients can be a long road and sometimes ends up at a dead end. With lead scoring analytics, automated campaign management systems can prevent advisors from chasing dead leads. This can shorten your sales cycles and result in greater success for your targeted efforts.

  1. Efficiency

Marketing automation systems offer a kind of outsourcing, so you don’t have to do it all. Not everyone has the experience and skills to plan an effective strategy, that’s why 73% of marketers outsource all or part of their marketing automation planning, according to the Three Deep survey. There are options to hire creatives (designers, writers, etc.) on a per-project basis and feature their work in your digitally managed email and media campaigns.

5 Best Practices of Marketing Automation

With automated marketing, you still command the content and need to know what will resonate with your target clients. You’ll need a thoughtful strategy: 58% of respondents to the Three Deep study said the most significant barrier to success with marketing automation is a lack of an effective strategy.

Here are some tips on how to implement marketing automation, getting the most out of your time and money:

  1. Don’t spam – “drip.”

Email marketing is one of the most-used methods and has a wide variety of automated services to choose from. Campaign management services can help you create multiple email templates to send out on specific dates, and build landing pages for engagement hyperlinks in the emails. The trick is to plan a steady flow of drips to keep the recipient’s attention but avoid fire hosing inboxes. A communication calendar lets you plan the types of content you want to send each month – for example an email on one day (drip), a blog post in a few more days (drip), and a follow up email the next week (drip). A recent Morningstar study found about 30% of clients prefer weekly emails from their advisor and approximately 36% prefer them monthly. It could also help to think about your targets’ day and tailor what you send/when you send it to their schedule for optimum open and engagement rates.

  1. Segment your audience

Tailoring communication to particular groups in your client or prospect base is another way to show them you know them. And it can help restrain you from sending too many emails to the same recipients. Potential segments might be based on age, life cycle stage, net worth, or investment style. Developing your content and matching the messages to the right people can be informed by your communication and revenue goals.

  1. Be relevant

Similar to personalization and segmentation, making sure your content is relevant is key. Pay attention to trending topics on social media and networking platforms, then match the conversations to the needs and concerns your clients and prospects face. Send your own content addressing the subject or share other people’s content to show you’re actively researching and want to be a partner in learning the best way to address needs and provide solutions.

Your message could introduce an issue, educate the reader and then calling them to action by presenting your value proposition. According to one automatic campaign platform, Eloqua, using videos can reduce email opt-outs by as much as 75%, and including a P.S. at the end of your communication can reinforce your offer to help. Language is important, so consider subject lines that address the reader directly to catch their attention and drop the formality in favor of meeting the clients at their level of financial understanding. Your marketing is about inviting people into a conversation, after all.

  1. Track results

A marketing strategy put into motion still needs adjustments every now and then. With automated marketing analysis, it can be easier to track successes and areas for improvement. Take into account the client engagement through email replies, website traffic, time spent on landing pages and informational content. Compare the value of that activity to the dollars spent on your marketing automation services to justify your investment.

Another thing to keep in mind as you’re increasingly, and more efficiently, creating content and sharing online: compliance with FINRA regulations. There are digital platforms you can use to archive posts for easy access if there is any question of a violation or you just want to recall what you’ve sent out.

  1. Take your time

Experimentation is inherent to marketing. Advisors shouldn’t fear trying new content strategies or platforms, campaign schedules and automated services. However, the most common mistake business owners make is trying to change everything at once. Automated tools are good to rely on to a degree, but don’t put your brain completely on auto-mode. Try creating a checklist system for content reviewing to make sure you’re not working too fast and missing errors as messages are scheduled and sent out. Allocate time for testing one strategy at a time, and set up a communication calendar.

Maximize your efforts by employing smart technology

The time you spend on client management and meetings is important to protect. Yet, client communications and targeted marketing can be equally important to make clients feel they are following advice from a well-informed, well-connected guide. It’s also a crucial catalyst to effectively building your business. With automated marketing, you can consistently integrate communications, prospecting, brand-building, education and relationship management into your busy schedule.

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