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The idea of marketing automation might be familiar to you, whether you have a business yourself, are a marketing expert in an organization, are in B2B business or B2C, or even if you are simply a consumer who experiences marketing daily.

The goal of ‘marketing activities’ is simple: get as many potential customers as possible to the business, so the salesperson will be able to finalize the deal and increase the business’s income. Marketing automation can make this process easier.

How do we do ‘Marketing Automation’?

The first step is to get ‘Leads’

In the marketing world, the term ‘Lead’ means an identified person; an identified person is someone who has interest in your business and has given you details about himself (most often name and email address).

There are many ways to get your potential client details, one of them is frontal tradeshows; another is a web advertisement, which directs clients to landing pages with forms. Other possible methods are websites that lead to a “contact us” form or phone calls to the business, and so on.

The second step is the database management

As time goes by, the number of leads will grow. Some of the leads will be automatically created in the marketing automation (due to form fillouts), and some will be uploaded to the system (for example – leads that you get from tradeshows and phone calls). It is important to keep the leads database clean (without duplicates) and relevant.

The next step is to create your own “Marketing Funnel”

Imagine a funnel, large at the top and narrow at the bottom.

At the top of the marketing funnel you will find all the leads, and at the bottom, you will find only the leads that are ready to close a deal, and those will be directed to the sales department (those are MQL – Marketing Qualified Leads). There are more steps in between, but we will not discuss them in this article.

The fourth step is Engagement

This step’s goal is to increase the interest in your product or service.

One of many ways to do this is to send emails with content that describes your product or content with an added value to the potential customer; the content should be sent once in a particular period of time (this process is called nurturing). Another possible way is to send text messages (SMS) with special offers or to create a webinar with added value.

So, why automate?

When your database is small, you can manage it manually. However, when it grows to more than a few dozen entries, you will need to start using applications that will help you to automate, or you may lose potential sales opportunities. Marketing automation applications offer to schedule sending times for emails and text messages (SMS), offer to create invitations for webinars, and above all, they can manage lead movement through the marketing funnel, and pass the leads to the sales department when it is the right time to make a “sales call”.

The most efficient way to identify the MQL is by the marketing automation scoring system. In this method, every lead gets a score for each action, and the number of points for each action is set by the marketing and sales departments. When leads obtain the right score, the marketing automation platform (which is synced to the sales system) sends an alert to the specific salesperson and notifies that now is the right time to contact this lead and close the deal.

A small comment about marketing

The world of marketing is vast, and the people who work in the marketing automation industry sometimes forget this. This article is not about marketing activities themselves, and it is important to say that the content, the advertisement itself in addition to schedule timing – all have a crucial impact on the number of leads you obtain, and their quality. Always remember: marketing automation does not replace marketing itself, it only makes life easier and assist with pushing more leads toward sales.

Many of our marketing automation customers asked us how to deal with the new CASL rules. We wanted to share some valuable information about this, feel free to share:

 

What is CASL?

It’s Canada’s new anti-spam law generally prohibits sending any commercial electronic messages without the recipient’s consent (permission), including messages to email addresses, social networking accounts and text messages sent to cell phones.

 

What is the timeline?

The CASL was introduced in July 2014, as a new set of rules that protect Canadians from malicious spam, (with 3 years to comply) and it took full effect on July 1, 2017.

 

Who is affected by it?

The CASL will affect all businesses, including charities and non-profit organizations. Even if a business is located on the other side of the globe – it may still be subjected for a lawsuit!

 

What type of communication is prohibited?

CASL applies to emails, SMS (text), social media or instant messages, and any similar messages sent to electronic addresses. Note that the anti-spam law applies to “commercial electronic messages” only, and it does not include telephone calls/voicemails within that definition.

 

What about my customers?

Your current Canadian customers are not affected by the law, as long as you have previously provided your products or services to them and they haven’t opt-out.

 

Your new Canadian recipients of a commercial email (it’s an email related to an offer to sell some product or service) must explicitly say they want to receive your emails and you have to prove it if asked. They must be fully “opted-in” to send them any marketing content. That means the contact must have expressly agreed to receive emails about your products/services. You will need to have a record to back this up, that the contact actually requested to be contacted or otherwise checked a box agreeing to receive additional information. (i.e., if someone signed up at a trade show, you need to have records showing that this is how you received the opt-in).

 

What are the implications?

There are no automatic penalties, but the range of enforcement tools available are from warnings to penalties (up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses).

 

How will CASL change the way I use my marketing automation system?

You will have to Identify Canadian leads. It is recommended to use as many ways as possible: Country, Zipcode, Provinces, data provider check ext. And email to implicit or explicit consent ONLY. Opt-out/unsubscribe notices need to be prominently displayed, even where you have approval.

 

Do you have any recommendations?

It is highly recommended to document your mailing policy (process, responsibilities, training), adding a procedure of double opt-in for leads in Canada, use a dynamic consent box in all forms (opt-in box is shown if country=Canada), using no pre-toggled/pre-checked boxes, etc. and most important you should validate your database to clean and enrich it.

Many of our customers ask us, “What’s the best time to send out emails”. Before we dive into numbers, let’s get technical first…..

For starters, there is a lot that should go into play before sending your emails:

  • The quality of prospects is and should be #1. We target our audience by as many segments as possible for example the industry of your customers, healthcare/doctors have different hours as compared to a school teacher or restaurant owner.
  • The subject line should stand out.
  • Make sure you are sending emails according to each main region time zone.
  • Personalize your emails when possible.

Let’s dive into the numbers now and figure out when is the best time to send emails. In this research, they took the results from 998,384 emails that were successfully delivered over 12 months, sent out between 8 am to 5 pm. Here are the numbers:

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In the first impression, it seems that all day would be a good time to send emails, but the open rate is not what we are looking for real. We want our customers to respond to our emails, therefore, we should look at the response rate numbers:

 

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Now it’s clear, sending the emails early in the morning will get you the best results. From 08:00 to 11:00 the response rate was 75.77% of all responses.

You can conduct your own research by running numbers by yourself.

Part of seeing what times work best for your customers is to look at past emails you’ve sent. Check the open rate and response rate reports to check on patterns.  Another popular way to find the best time is to conduct an A/B test, by sending an email to different groups at a different time and then comparing the results.

 

What Is The Best Time To Send Emails - Responsive  Marketing

Don'ts:

  1. Never use “dear” or “hello” when addressing someone you don’t know well.
  2. Avoid polite text such as “I hope this email finds you well”; you’re writing to someone who doesn’t know you, so just cut to the chase.
  3. Don’t write a long message. No one will spend more than 10-15 seconds on your message, so try to be as clear as possible.
  4. Don’t send marketing emails from outlook! This is a big no-no. Give your audience the option to unsubscribe by clicking on a link (and NOT by replying).
  5. Never send the same exact email twice. If they don’t react to the first email, alter your message and try creating a sense of urgency.
  6. Don’t put more than 1-2 links in an email. The more links you include, the greater chance they will click the unsubscribe link.
  7. Try to avoid hard selling emails. Engage with people first by showing them the opportunity that comes from their problems or difficulties.
  8. Don't send emails just for "the click". Focus on your content and try to create value for the target audience.
  9. Don't neglect your subject line! Also, don’t use words that are known as “spammy” words, avoid writing complete words in capital letters, and avoid "!" (spammy subject lines often include things like "special offer”, or “download our latest ebook").
  10. Avoid using a general signature such as “marketing team”. Use a personal signature with your title.

Do’s:

  1. Make it personal – use “Hi” at the beginning of your message and add the lead’s first name.
  2. Use line breaks when needed, as large amount of content looks spammy.
  3. If you’re sending an email, use normal font colors, normal font sizes, and a normal font-family – have you noticed that most of spam emails look more or less the same?
  4. Talk briefly about the problem and state that the solution/opportunity is here (“click here to see”).
  5. Build a smart journey for your leads so they will engage with you.
  6. Track your success, using UTM parameters and other tracking methods in order to see the results of your efforts. If there’s no tracking, there will be no success.
  7. Think ahead – what happens next? Always consider using gated content, so your leads will have to do something (fill out a form, or even just click a button) to get what you are offering them.
  8. Target your audience. Send emails only to people who might have an interest in your product or service.
  9. Consider using A/B test in order to determine the effectiveness of several versions of your emails.
  10. Use a catchy subject line! Give serious thought to it, because this is your first impression and this will decide if your clients choose to open your email.

Bonus - make sure that the unsubscribe link has the same color like the email text and not the blue link color

Good luck,

Ronen Wasserman, Marketing Automation Expert

Responsive Online Marketing

www.ronlinemarketing.com