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These days, it’s rare to find a startup that have not at least considered implementing a marketing automation solution to drive increased revenue, and for good reason.

According to Circle Research, after 6 months of using a marketing automation solution, 8% of businesses report an increase in revenue. That number rises to 32% after one year of use, and to 40% after two years.

The longer you leverage marketing automation, the more efficient and effective your team becomes in using it, and the larger the return on your investment.

But what exactly is marketing automation? Simply put, a marketing automation solution automates a wide variety of daily marketing tasks that previously had to be done manually. It saves significant time and resources for your company, while simultaneously boosting your ability to find and convert new leads into customers.

A strong solution lets you automate the sending of emails, execution of short or long term marketing campaigns, dissemination of content based on a lead’s stage in the sales funnel, scoring and ranking of leads based on behaviors, and analysis of your efforts so you can continually improve your results.

Agile CRM, for example, is considered a leading automation solution used by small businesses to streamline their sales, marketing, and support teams. They conducted a survey amongst their customers to determine the best and most effective practices when it came to marketing automation in order to better understand the state of their customer’s marketing efforts. What they found may help calibrate your own marketing efforts.

The data from those conversations has been organized into following categories:

  • Number of emails and campaigns per week
  • What does a good email campaign look like?
  • How do most marketers track, nurture and convert leads?
  • What do most marketers present to visitors on their company’s website? 
  • What strategy do effective marketers use to keep prospects engaged while exiting the company website?
  • What are some best practices for mobile marketing?
  • How are most marketers dealing with social media?

Number of emails and campaigns per week

Most marketers Agile talked to are starting 1 or 2 new campaigns per week. On average, each campaign is sending 6 or 7 emails over the course of 3 or 4 weeks. Therefore, a total of 4 to 6 campaigns may be running in parallel at any one time. The number of contacts in each campaign varies from just a few hundred, to tens of thousands.

What does a good email campaign look like?

There are two broad KPIs most marketers measure themselves on:

  • Open Rates = Total number of emails opened, divided by total number of emails delivered
  • CTR = Total number of unique individuals who clicked on a link in the email, divided by the total number of emails delivered

Open rates of 20% or higher are considered pretty good by most marketers. Although, it really depends on the recipient list you use. If the list is well qualified (e.g. your existing users), then you should expect to see open rates at or above 20%. However, if your list is not very qualified, seeing a 20% open rate is good, though 10% is more likely.

Most marketers always place a call to action in their emails—such as a link to featured content, a link to a form, or a link back to the company website or a landing page. CTRs for well-qualified lists should be above 10%, while for unqualified lists, this number may drop to 2%.

If your open rates are lower than those mentioned above, it is time to employ A/B testing on the subject line of your emails. However, if the problem lies in a lower CTR, it is time to consider revising the body of your emails.

How do most marketers track, nurture and convert leads?

Most effective marketers have figured out how to automate and create multiple cadences for email marketing. They can score leads automatically based on user engagement, something that is easily done in Agile CRM. Therefore, good marketing teams can identify the right contacts as qualified leads who are ready to be handed over to the company’s sales team.

What do most marketers present to visitors on their company’s website?

Most of the answers to the question varied, and included the following:

  • Web forms to capture leads [the most common answer]
  • Popups, coupons, and discounts to engage anonymous visitors
  • More targeted/personalized messages to known contacts

What strategy do effective marketers use to keep prospects engaged while exiting the company website? Most marketers seem to have adopted one or both of the following strategies for prospects existing their website. They either offer smart exit intent messages to keep visitors interacting or they offer coupons or discounts where applicable, to tempt customers to at least keep looking and consider purchasing something.

What are some best practices for mobile marketing?

First and foremost, every website needs to be mobile friendly. It is easy to preview mobile views of your website on a desktop by shrinking the browser window or tab to 3.5 inches and seeing how it looks.

Second, most forward-thinking marketers are not simply using SMS, but rather have actually integrated SMS into their CRM to automate SMS campaigning. SMS campaigning produces much higher open and engagement rates than email marketing, but you must first check on the legal restrictions around the use of SMS marketing in your country.

How are most marketers leveraging social media?

Most effective marketers have decided to build their presence on 2 or 3 social networks – focusing energy and resources where their prospects hang out, rather than going after every network.

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the most commonly mentioned networks by Agile users, although Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat are also mentioned from time to time.

Most effective marketers have integrated their social engagement with their CRM, so that they can track and manage all customer interactions regardless of the channel.

Hopefully, your marketing efforts weigh in at the top 10% of your competitors. If not, it might be time to reevaluate whether you have the right tools to drive results—such as a new CRM, that can help your business align and automate your sales, marketing and support functions from a single platform.

Are you keeping up with your competition and automated your marketing efforts yet?

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JT Ripton JT Ripton
JT is a business consultant and freelance contributor for sites like BusinessInsider, Entrepreneur.com, The Guardian, Tech Radar, etc. @JTRipton

  • Theo

    Thanks for the tips! We’ve started using marketing automation some time ago with GetResponse, but I see that we still need to do quite a lot to catch up!