As we enter a new decade, we can’t help but focus on the future of technology and the changes it’ll bring to digital marketing.
For years now, we’ve been hearing stories about automation taking over jobs in many industries — from manufacturing and transportation to agriculture and even customer service.
That last one is especially important: by the end of 2020, 85% of customer service interactions will be handled without a human rep. That number is expected to increase to 95% by the middle of the decade — just 5 years from now.
Think about it: the quality of a customer’s experience is part of your overall marketing. If they have a great experience, they’ll remember it, and come back for more. If they have a horrible experience, they’ll probably tweet about. Bummer.
Online and phone chatbots are taking over a large portion of customer service relations, but that’s not where automation’s role in marketing ends. In the realm of digital marketing, we’re seeing increased reliance on automation for workflow, email marketing, and lead generation, in addition to customer service.
Benefits of Automation in Digital Marketing
Automation presents some challenges when it comes to effective marketing and reliable customer service. But it also represents a huge opportunity for companies to grow their business without investing massively in a larger workforce.
Think of automation as the ultimate assistant to your highly skilled and creative sales department. With automation, you can amplify your ability to reach and communicate with new customers on a big scale. For starters, chatbots can take over a large majority of service issues, like returns, bill pay, getting account details, changing passwords, making a reservation, reporting a problem, and more.
And when the job is too complicated for a chatbot, the contact can be routed to your lean team of human representatives to deal with it.
The same goes for lead generation. Automated programs can send customized emails, produce dynamic ads based on each lead’s individual behavior, and optimize CTAs, landing page designs, and more through A/B testing.
Automation is here to stay. You can either decide to hide from it or take advantage of its potential. Here at BKMedia Group, we’re on the automation wagon. We jumped on years ago when it first started up, and now we’re ready to head into the next decade of automation, full throttle.
Read on to learn more about how each of these are quickly becoming the norm in the modern era of digital marketing.
Optimization of CTAs and Content with A/B Testing
Utilizing the power of AI, marketing software can now automatically optimize your content to increase overall conversion rates, and to persuade individual customers with personalized content.
This type of technology has been around for a while, but we’re only now seeing more digital marketers grasp how to use it to their advantage.
Through the power of A/B testing, computer programs can test various email subject lines, landing page layouts, link colors, images, CTA copy, and more to see which result in higher click rates and conversions with small sample groups, then apply those changes for all of your customers.
It can also improve your site’s SEO by optimizing for speed, an important ranking factor.
On top of that, automation can optimize your content even further through contextual testing.
The way is works is you link up your Google Analytics and use UTM parameters to provide more information to your automation software. With this data, the software can look at new leads and compare them to converted customers with similar attributes, and then optimize your content to look like what worked with past conversions.
Think of it this way: Sally and Bobby both came to your website and clicked on the big red button that says “Buy Now.” When you look at your customer data, you see Sally and Bobby both have an interest in tech, shop luxury clothing brands, and are surfing the web on an iPad.
Now some guy named Walter lands on our website for the first time. You see that Walter is interested in tech, regularly shops luxury clothing brands, and is currently browsing your site on his iPad.
So what color should the “Buy Now” button be? If you don’t know the answer to that question, then you definitely need our help.
The power and versatility of this technology will only increase in the coming years, so integrating it into your overall strategy now is key.
Creation of Personalized Ads and Offers
Just like automation can optimize your website based on customer data, it can also be used to offer up personalized ads and special deals to customers based on their interests, online habits, and what they tell your AI software.
Here are a few specific ways this idea can be implemented in reality:
Automation of Dynamic Ads on Facebook:
- Automatically create custom ads that offer products a person may be interested in based on their search and browsing history — even if they’ve never been to your website or heard of your company before
- Offer related products based on a customer’s previous purchases
- Provide limited-time offers and coupons to customers who’ve visited specific product pages on your website
Automatized Offers in Social Media Messenger
- An AI chatbot built-in to your Facebook page can ask a customer what they’re looking for and recommend products accordingly (see an example from H&M in the above video)
- If the customer doesn’t like any of the recommendations, the chatbot can ask more questions and continue to offer products more suited to the customer’s expressed interests
Triggered Emails Based on Customer Behavior
- Email marketing has the highest return on investment of any marketing channel
- Automation allows you to send customized emails to individual customers based on their behavior
- This could be in response to the customer clicking on a specific product, or a follow-up if the customer hasn’t checked out your site in a while
We expect to see more and more options for personalized messaging and communication between customers and automation software. As the options increase, so will the sales potential.
Even now, we’re helping our clients increase conversions by close to 800% through automation.
Providing Faster and More Effective Customer Service
With chatbots, you can take your customer service to the next level. This is especially true for small businesses.
You may have a small or nonexistent team of dedicated customer service reps, and they probably don’t work 24/7 and on holidays. Chatbots do.
On top of that, they can do a lot of the heavy lifting, and only send customers to a live representative when necessary.
Some of the things that chatbots are now able to do include:
- Provide personalized messages based on the customer’s position in the sales funnel
- Automatically send messages to site visitors with special offers, questions about what the customer is interested in, etc.
- Fully handle returns, exchanges, account inquiries, and more
- Respond to customers immediately, even in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve
And get this: A recent survey found that a majority of people would choose a chatbot over a human rep, if it will save them time.
As automated chatbot technology continues to improve, you can bet that for many functions, it’ll be the best way to get customers exactly what they need, when they need it, as fast as possible.
Smart Analysis of Customer and Marketplace Data for Lead Generation
Data is the key that unlocks your company’s digital marketing potential. The more you know about your customers and leads, the more effectively you can market to them.
Historically, marketers have had to manually dig through all the data and make their own conclusions. But now AI can automatically execute smart analysis of your leads, your customers, and the overall marketplace to help generate new leads.
That’s a pretty powerful tool, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of contacts to sort through, and a small team to do it with.
A few ways we expect to see this increasingly be used in the next decade include:
Website Visitor Tagging
- Every time someone visits a specific page or takes action on your website, you can tag them accordingly for future marketing.
- If you tag leads for a year, you could end up with a nice big database of an already segmented audience, which you can send automatically generated emails and ads to.
Predictive Lead Score Generation
- Mailchimp and similar email marketing and CRM platforms have recently begun offering automatic scoring of leads.
- These AI softwares use comparative analysis of new leads versus past conversions to segment off high value leads that are more likely to convert.
Data Gathering on Prospective Customers
- Understanding your current contacts is critical. But so is understanding potential customers who’ve never had any interaction with your brand.
- Now with AI and automation tools being integrate into data services like Aeroleads and AccuData, the amount of information you can get on the market for your service or product is astounding.
- By comparing your current customer and lead data to all potential prospective customers out there (either in your geographic region, specific countries, or the entire world), these softwares can generate a list of contacts with similar attributes to your in-house list.
- These are people that “look like” your customers and have exhibited interest or have a history of purchasing similar products or services.
Increasing Efficiency and Saving Companies Money
When you invest in automation, you’re making an investment into your bottom line. Automation is already giving companies a better return on their marketing dollar through the features explored above
Automation can take over repetitive tasks, and give your human employees more time to work on big picture strategic and creative work. The result of that work is a business more poised for success against the competition.
And with optimized and automatically triggered content, personalized messaging, immediate customer service, and business-specific lead generation, automation will allow your business to increase conversion rates without having to hire more employees.
But you can’t make the most of automation if you don’t understand how to use it. That brings us to our last point.
You Can’t Take Advantage of Automation If You Don’t Understand It
The technology we’re talking about here is sophisticated, and you can’t make the most of it if you don’t know how to use it. That’s where real live humans come in.
Automation may be complicated, but it’s what we do, all day, every day at BKMedia Group.
And the automation discussed here is just the tip of the iceberg — the advances of the next decade are sure to surprise us, but we’ll be there every step of the way learning and growing to help our clients reach their business goals.
One of the biggest ways we’re integrating automation into our marketing strategy is with CRMs. But CRMs can be complicated and expensive.
Many of our clients are small businesses who can get many of the automation features of a full-fledged CRM within their email marketing platform.
As your business grows into the next decade, you need to decide if you need a CRM for your marketing automations, or if your email platform will do the job. Read our guide on whether or not you need a CRM to automate your marketing efforts »