Marketing CRM: The Tools of Attraction
Marketing wears many hats. One of them is working the frontline, facing people who have never had anything to do with a particular business or brand.
No department provides prospects for marketing. Yet, marketing has the important task of supplying the sales department with leads.
Like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, the marketing department is sometimes required to generate prospects and customers from unexpected places.
But when is a lead ready to be turned over to sales?
In ecommerce, is it when somebody simply lands on a page after clicking an ad or a search result? Or is it after someone answers a CTA? Maybe this transition only happens when a visitor browses some products, or even loads up a cart, only to abandon it at checkout.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Leads turned over too quickly might not be ready or qualified, thus wasting a lot of the sales team time, while turning over leads too late risks incurring higher drop-out rates.
Today’s digital economy is thankfully more sophisticated than old-school tactics of playing “pipeline hot potato” with potential customers. Thanks to CRM software, marketing and sales work together to attract visitors, nurture leads and close more deals.
The kernel of CRM may have been with sales, but its overflowing utility has popped well into marketing and service teams. This is not your typical expansionary business practice. CRM is built around the principle that overlap is a good thing.
But each department still has its own specific tasks, and marketing’s unique “frontline” challenges may be ones to which other departments are least capable of lending a hand.
Luckily, there’s marketing-driven customer relationship management.
Marketing CRM’s bag of tricks
These are arrival touch points after clicking an ad or a search result. They’re often different from homepages, as landing pages are more specifically related to what was searched for, or what ad attracted that click.
It might change based on the temporal or geographical coordinates. For example, if you own an online clothing store for women, your landing page may show swimwear to American customers in July and to Australian customers in January.
Marketing CRM helps build and design landing pages using no-brainer visual editors and customizable templates. Otherwise, back-end coding and front-end design can be slow and costly when one needs to constantly whip up new pages on the fly.
Ads and SEO
Often, Marketing CRM also includes templates to create ads, mostly on social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram where they’re non-obtrusively inserted into people’s timelines. Because no one likes pop-up ads.
Ads and landing pages need to include hot SEO language to come up on top for related searches. Marketing CRM sometimes features spontaneous SEO suggestions when composing texts.
For example, maybe you’re writing a page to promote your line of plastic handbags. While you write “plastic,” the word “PVC” is suggested, which was based on algorithmically-accrued data from recent online fashion trends.
Segmenting and Emails
People who land on a page, or even fill out a form, may not be strong enough leads to be passed down to sales just yet. However, light leads still need to be nurtured.
Marketing CRM segments these leads into different categories, for example: based on how much time they spent on the site, what links they clicked, or how much personal info they shared on a form.
Based on segments, CRM helps marketers prepare different campaigns so their brand stays “top-of-mind” until the lead is ready to become active. This usually takes the form of email reminders.
Like with pages and ads, composing and designing emails is quick and easy with marketing CRM. “Drip” features allow a scheduled series of emails to arrive incrementally over a time-period. Single blast emails are useful for announcing big news like new products or promotions.
Just as people behave differently on a landing page, so too will they react differently to marketing emails. Marketing CRM tracks this behavior by noting opened mail and counting click-throughs, which in turn creates an even more detailed picture of each lead.
Regular testing the efficacy of landing pages and emails is a sharp tool in the marketing CRM kit. Features like A/B testing reveal what gets higher engagement, and this data is regularly fed back into the planning and composing of the next round of marketing content.
Marketing craves data. All that testing and tracking means there’s gushing wells of the stuff, which makes for invaluable analytics reports.
Workflows and automation
Finally, there are automated workflows. These are tasks which are triggered by events that marketing CRM lets you set up.
Say, you create a trigger prompting an email request when a new prospect visits your site. A pre-composed email then gets auto-sent to the prospect with a reminder, maybe offering an added incentive. Or if someone drops out near the end of a purchase, a sad picture of their abandoned item can appear in their inbox.
Some platforms to pick from:
As the name suggests, Drip eCRM focuses on two things. First, they specialize in drip marketing, where potential leads get steady reminders about a brand through a scheduled succession of emails. Second, their services are geared towards ecommerce.
Another selling point is that they are highly affordable, and therefore primed to help small and independent businesses. Their automated email modules are deliverable as either drip campaigns or as broadcasts, which are big blast emails to a whole mailing list or segment. Drip also has a dedicated Facebook ad builder.
HubSpot was at the ground floor of the inbound marketing movement—that is, attracting people to your brand with great content, rather than pushing products onto people to get their cash.
Blogging qua marketing is huge with HubSpot, as it’s one of the main forms of original content that brings in leads.
Like many options, HubSpot has codeless page and email builders, with A/B testing modules, and spontaneous SEO suggestions. You can get the basic platform absolutely free, or pay for up to four times as many features. HubSpot also integrates with Salesforce for even closer marketing-sales relationships.
Infusionsoft sets its sights on small businesses mostly within the service sector, so there’s a bunch of features for appointments, quotes and invoicing. When it comes to marketing, they improve customer interactions by offering visual editors for building campaigns like emails and landing pages, as well as some ready-to-use templates available from their marketplace.
The tracking features collect leads into different segments, each of which gets delivered personalized “nudges” to close more deals, while workflows automate tasks based on triggers. Data from campaigns, tracking and workflows become intelligible through statistical reporting.
Don’t hesitate to integrate
Marketing automation, like all automation in CRM land, is meant to free up time and energy for the species homo marketus.
While many marketing CRM has plenty of automated features, one can always look for a CRM that integrates with 3rd-party automation apps. For example, there’s Customer.io and Mailchimp which, among other things, help build and automate the delivery of emails, texts, and social media ads.
Then there’s Autopilot, a visual-heavy everything-marketing automator, overflowing with features like email A/B testing, SMS marketing and ad retargeting for both Facebook and Google.
Open door policy
Marketing may open doors, but marketing campaigns are so much more than a doorman.
Positioned as the first step of a customer’s journey, marketing sometimes fumbles around blindly without proper customer data. Yet with the right marketing CRM, your marketing department can capture as much data as possible, making all internal operations a whole lot easier.