During these unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic times, businesses are sailing in uncharted waters, some thriving while others fighting for survival. The unpredictability of the pandemic is also making it harder to plan for the future of businesses, hence the need to adapt and innovate.
With various countries around the world adopting measures recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) including social distancing as well as use of cashless transactions, businesses and customers have had to shift to online in place of physical interactions – making e-commerce to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the crisis as its nature perfectly match the measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. For instance, according to the Bank Indonesia (BI), digital transactions in the country rose by 102.5% year-on-year in the first four months of 2020.
In Kenya, mobile commerce is in on rapid growth and is shaping the future of ecommerce in the country. When the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) approved the increase of daily M-Pesa transaction limits from Kes. 70,000 ($700) to Kes. 150,000 ($1,500), it was aimed at supporting small and micro business enterprises (SMEs) and by allowing individual Mpesa wallets to host transactions of up to Kes. 300,000 ($3,000), up from the previous limit of Kes. 140,000 ($1,400) in a day, it effectively translates to consumers having more leeway to tend towards digital transactions thereby leading to an increase in consumer digital behavior.
This means therefore that Covid-19 s pushing everyone’s thoughts to digital transformation. But what does this mean for marketing executives?
To start with, changes in the marketing landscape make it necessary for marketers to adapt and innovate or die. With businesses struggling to stay afloat, it is unavoidable that marketing budgets has continued to reduce significantly, thus the need for a change in strategy.
Automation, the process of utilizing available technology tools to streamline marketing efforts and make them more effective, makes use of one or more platforms to manage all the aspects of the marketing campaigns. For marketing executives and professionals, automation offers an exciting opportunity for greater efficiency, cost reduction, and an enhanced customer experience. A business should never waste a crisis, therefore embarking on an automation journey is what will set apart the business from the rest.
Automating marketing efforts makes it easier to target customers with automated and customized messages across email, websites, social media, and texts or push notifications. A sets of instructions (workflows) are used to send custom-made message templates built from scratch or modified to achieve the intended results.
The intended results are getting more leads, increased conversions rate while saving time, money, labor and reducing human error.
Research has found that businesses that use automation have seen increased leads and sales, driving a 14% in sales productivity and 12% reduction in marketing overheads.
To fully automate the marketing process, marketers collect information from various touch points including web visits, downloads and social media activity. Then, engage in automatic direct marketing by recommending products according to each customer behavior.
This enables automatic scoring, qualifying and prioritizing of leads, driven directly from wider nurture campaigns.
Stages to automating marketing efforts
- Initiation stage
Create landing pages that your potential clients will access directly or in directly once they click on product communication. It is the page with the call-to-action (CTA) where customers can place orders or subscribe to a newsletter, login portal or payment methods.
It is important to be keen when designing the landing page by deciding on the action you want your visitors to take (create a page to help you drive that action), with an easy to complete form. Do not overcrowd the landing pages, make them clear and specific.
This will lead potential clients to exactly what step to take next and smoothly transition to a conversion stage.
The landing page should also load fast because every second delay in page loading speed can reduce your conversion rate by almost 7%. In addition, faster loading speeds will boost your search engine optimization (SEO).
- Conversion Stage
This is the fulfillment stage which works to getting the customer to place an order or subscribe to the services. This is the most important stage as it aims to ensure that the customer is fully satisfied. It is at this stage that Marketing Automation comes in handy to drive communication campaigns that will nurture the customer towards a sale. This can be achieved through:
- Trigger-based Marketing Messages
This identifies key events in a customer’s life, and triggers personalized and timely marketing to the customer – for instance, a simple offer presented on the week leading up to their birthday. The message can be through personalized emails, text or through social media.
- Drip Campaign Messages
This involves sending automated multiple pre-written set of messages at specific times/dates to the customers. The regulated ‘drip-feed’ emails seek to maintain customer’s interest by not letting them forget about the brand. These messages often take the form of email marketing, although other media can also be used.
- Personalized Messages
A marketer can initiate an email campaign targeted at specific subscribers by leveraging the data available about them, the last product they bought, where they live, how many times they log into your app, or a number of other data points. Automate the system to recognize this data and send out emails with this personal information aimed at connecting per level.
Each of these tools offer powerful marketing assets that allow a business to continuously connect with customers with minimal effort.
- Aftersales Stage
As a marketer, a successful conversion does not end upon a sale or subscription. Follow up services are necessary not only to handle returns, refunds but to also measure customer satisfaction. This will give you a basis on areas that need improvements.
Since COVID-19 remains unpredictable and will stay with us for an unforeseeable future, marketers will need to quickly adapt to the new normal by adjusting the communication messages and creating solutions that address the needs of the moment.
As a marketer, it is important to note that while embracing technology, keep a human touch as automation will not address the emotional side of the customers. Marketing automation guided by human hands makes a powerful marketing tool where the machine handles analytics and the human handles the emotions through the content that is put forward.
Article published by Alice Ngatia for Kenyan Enterprise