Marketing Automation

How to get the most out of today’s set-it-and-don’t-quite-forget-it tools

By Colleen Malloy

Have you ever wished you could click a button and your marketing would be taken care of for you? While there’s not a magic button you can push for comprehensive set-it-and-forget-it marketing, there are tools that can do some of the heavy lifting for you! Using marketing automation tools as part of your overall marketing strategy can save your team time and help you market more effectively across multiple channels.

Marketing automation automates repetitive tasks (like assigning leads to your sales team or sending email replies when a customer submits a form on your website) and can help you move leads through the sales funnel by sending them email content that feels highly personalized based on their actions. In many cases, marketing automation tools can also be incorporated with your business system to give you a robust solution for managing your interactions with prospects and customers alike.

Let’s see how this could help as the season really heats up. You are probably too busy answering the phones and dealing with customers in your store to follow up with every Internet inquiry as it lands in your inbox. Well-planned automation emails can actually fulfill a portion of the role of an Internet sales advisor.

Here’s how it might work. When customers take an action on your website, like submitting a form, it kicks off a series of drip emails. Some of these emails will allow customers to take further action — like downloading a brochure or clicking a link — which can determine the next email they receive. If customers don’t download a brochure that was sent to them, you might send them a different follow-up email than people who did download it.

In your dealership, using marketing automation might look something like this:

1) A shopper requests a quote for a new riding lawn mower that person saw on your website.

2) Shortly after submitting the request, the shopper receives an automated email with the quote.

3) A few days later, the shopper receives an automated email with a link to download a brochure with more information about the lawn mower.

4) Several days after downloading the brochure, the shopper gets another email with a call to action to request financing.

5) Once the shopper requests financing, the system recognizes said shopper as a qualified lead and automatically gets assigned to a sales rep for follow-up.

Instead of just lumping your leads into a general email list and hoping the content appeals to everyone, marketing automation allows you to tailor the information to an individual’s interests or actions. It doesn’t make sense to send information about your snow blower sale to a shopper who indicated an interest in lawn mowers. Whether shoppers fill out your Contact Us form or request to be notified when a unit comes in stock, the actions that they take on your website can be easily used to slot them into automated email workflows designed to get them to buy from you.

Not only can automation save you time and initiate that sales conversation, but it also allows you to refine and segment your outbound marketing campaigns to target groups of your customers and prospects with what feel like more personalized offers. When people make a purchase, add them to an email list that will send them service discounts, let them know when there’s a sale on products that complement their previous purchase, or give them news on the latest and greatest innovations. These personalized touches can keep your customers engaged and help get them back in store to make another purchase.

While marketing automation might seem like a quick fix for not having the time or staff to dedicate to marketing your dealership, it’s not a stand-alone solution — you still need to pay attention to all of the sage advice that I’ve shared with you about your comprehensive digital marketing strategies and executable plans that I’ve helped you develop as you read this series of articles from month to month. (You can read my past articles online at the OPE Digital Edition Archives at outdoorpowerequipment.com.)

In fact, marketing automation can help you meet those defined marketing goals. Let’s say you want to see a 10-percent increase in push mower sales. You could create a banner on your homepage that takes shoppers to your most popular push mower models; then, you could associate email marketing drip campaigns with the lead forms on that page similar to the earlier example.

If you aren’t seeing conversions against the campaign, make changes! While it can be tempting to set and forget these drip campaigns for the long term, just don’t do it! Be sure to spend at least an hour a month measuring success and updating your campaigns for optimum performance. Are prospects dropping out after receiving a particular email? Are the leads that your sales team is receiving not as qualified as you’d like? These are cues that some improvements might be needed in the way that you’ve structured your automated marketing.

With investing just a bit of time to set up and track your results, a marketing automation tool can help you efficiently optimize your dealership’s marketing efforts and take a bit of work off of your team’s shoulders.

1504_OPE_FS_Social Strategy2_author-Colleen Malloy-webColleen Malloy is the director of marketing at ARI Network Services. Prior to joining ARI in November 2013, Malloy served as the editor of Motorcycle and Powersports News. She is dedicated to the mission of helping dealers improve their operations through the implementation of ever-evolving best practices paired with ARI’s suite of award-winning data-driven software tools and marketing services that help dealers “Sell More Stuff!” — online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in the outdoor power equipment, powersports, marine, RV, automotive tire and wheel, and white goods industries. More than 22,000 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website (www.arinet.com) and eCatalog platforms to “Sell More Stuff!”

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