Marketing Automation: Connect With Customers Digitally to Grow Your Business
Are you looking for ways to keep your printing business thriving? Marketing is vital to the survival of any business. Without marketing, your customers don’t know where you are, what you do or what your business can do for them.
Marketing keeps your print business strong by bringing in new clients and strengthening connections with old ones.
Digital marketing is especially vital these days. Your customers are online, consuming content and marketing information all the time. You need to be there to meet them and let them know that print is very much alive and well, and ready to meet their needs.
There’s just one problem: Marketing takes a lot of time and effort. That’s where marketing automation comes in. But before we get to that, let’s take a look at why your print business needs to embrace digital marketing.
Your product might be physical, but your marketing still needs to have digital elements. When buyers look for a print provider, they don’t go out and search for a brochure. Most of them will fire up Google or Facebook and begin their search for a print shop that way.
Your customers are out there on the Web. They’re not just looking for print services, either. They’re talking about problems they have and issues they’re facing - issues you can help them solve. Maybe they’re discussing digital marketing and whether print still has a place. You know it does; marketing gives you a way to make sure your customers know it, too.
In short, digital marketing: connects you with customers and prospects; is a path to building long-term, loyal customer relationships; encompasses your customers’ favorite mediums, such as email and social media; gives you the chance to join conversations; and is an opportunity to tell your customers what problems you can solve for them.
Why One Size Marketing Doesn’t Fit All
Your customers aren’t the same. Each one is at a different stage in their relationship with your print business. Each one has specific needs and pain points.
One-size-fits-all marketing is a dangerous business. Sending the same marketing messages to all your clientele means that many of those messages will get deleted or ignored. Even worse, one-size-fits-all marketing can lead to your business being seen as “spammy”—which won’t help you build strong client relationships!
Instead, segment your customer base so each client only sees the content that really matters to them:
- If you have customers who are especially interested in cross-channel marketing, create content just for them and make sure they know about it.
- Send out a “how did we do?” email for new customers and listen to their feedback.
- Create special offers for repeat customers and send them a coupon.
- Let clients who always come into the print shop know that they can order more quickly online.
When you segment your marketing, you ensure each customer only sees the content that really matters to them. And the easiest way to segment your marketing? Marketing automation.
What Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation means using software to automate marketing tasks. These might include sending out emails, making posts to social media, scoring leads, tracking what visitors do on your website, inviting customers to schedule a call with you, and sending out SMS texts and personalized messages.
Marketing automation lets you set up a series of workflows to help you connect with your customers in the best way. You set different trigger points, which then initiate a specific action. These triggers could include:
- A customer’s order is completed, triggering an email seven days later asking for their feedback.
- Someone downloads a specific piece of content, triggering a staggered series of emails expanding on the content.
- A repeat customer hasn’t ordered in six months, triggering a “can we do anything for you?” email.
- A customer signs up to receive SMS messages from you, triggering an introductory message.
It’s all about crafting different pathways to fit different circumstances and setting out milestones (or triggers) along those pathways.
Business Benefits That Come From It
Marketing automation offers big benefits to your print business:
- Time savings. Once you’ve set up your initial workflows and triggers, marketing automation takes care of the rest. No more time spent carrying out each task manually.
- Never miss an opportunity. It’s all too easy to forget to send a follow-up email or put in a call. With marketing automation, everything is scheduled.
- More relevant marketing messages. With marketing automation, you can make sure your print customers only see information that’s relevant to them. That means you’ll stand out as truly understanding their current needs.
- Better lead nurturing. From an initial website visit, email or phone call, you can nurture each lead towards creating a business relationship.
- Build customer loyalty. More relevant messages and better segmentation mean better customer loyalty. It helps you to nurture along-term relationships.
- Improve your reputation. As well as making sure information is sent in a timely fashion and contacts are always followed up, marketing automation also cuts down on human error, such as spelling mistakes. It helps ensure that your business looks professional at all times.
- Save money. Marketing automation cuts down the amount of time your staff needs to devote to marketing tasks. Instead, they can spend more of their time on core business tasks.
There are many ways to use marketing automation to grow your print business. However, they all start with two vital things:
- First, know how you’re going to segment your audience. You might segment your audience by length of time as a customer, the industry they work in, previous orders and actions such as ordering online or downloading content.
Second, make a plan for each audience segment. Ask yourself:
- What do I want marketing automation to achieve with each segment? What can I offer them that is truly useful? What can I do at every stage of our relationship to move them closer to a purchase or to build their loyalty?
Practical Ways to Build Relationships
Once you’ve identified your audience and your aims, there are many ways to use marketing automation. As examples, schedule social media posts to keep you in your customers’ minds. Reach out to new clients to get feedback on what their experience with you was like and if there’s anything else they need from you. Alert returning customers to a special offer just for them.
You can also send out SMS alerts to customers to remind them of your most relevant services. Invite customers to schedule a call with you to discuss their printing needs. Send qualified leads useful content that establishes you as an authority. Use emails (and other content, such as blog posts and white papers) to show clients and prospects what your services can do for their businesses. Send out follow up emails after a purchase or download. And ask customers to fill out a survey or let you know what they need from you next.
Marketing automation is a game changer for any printing business. You’ll be able to laser focus your content and speak directly to your clientele for long-lasting and profitable relationships, while saving time and effort.
About the Author
John Foley Jr. is the CEO of interlinkONE. One of interlinkONE’s latest marketing automation solutions, MAX, was recently re-done and upgraded. Foley was recently honored with a No. 15 ranking on Forbes’ “50 Influential CMOs on Social Media” list. For more information, contact email@example.com or follow MAX @MarketWithMAX!
John Foley Jr. is the CEO of interlinkONE and Grow Socially. John and his team help printers get on a strong path to marketing success. Their approach includes software solutions, consulting, Website development, marketing audits, and strategic marketing plans. interlinkONE’s software solutions for the print industry include their marketing automation platform, MAX, and ilinkONE V8. Learn more about MAX: Marketing Automation. Executed. by visiting MarketWithMAX.com, John at JohnFoleyJr.com, and his companies at interlinkONE.com and GrowSocially.com.