Most people are not fans of automated communications such as autodialers, email autoresponders and interactive voice recognition. In most cases, customers would rather talk to a live person. Maybe that’s why social media has exploded over the last few years and why things like auto-Tweets are dreaded annoyances in the social media world. People just want real interaction with other people.
So, is there a disaster waiting to happen as marketing automation companies start mixing social media into their brew of features that automate everything from emails to voice messages, faxes and text messages?
In some situations this could get really dangerous and backfire for marketing automation companies and their customers. But, the reality is that this unique blend of features could open up amazing opportunities for those who use it correctly. Let’s discuss a few possibilities.
Let’s assume you send out an email broadcast to your list and you included share buttons for your audience to share your email with their social networks. What if you could trigger a “thank you” email to people who actually share it? What if you could track how many people shared your content, how many times it was viewed from social visitors, what content is most popular, and how many new opt-ins you got from social referrals? Some marketing automation solutions are making this possible.
How about another scenario? What if your marketing automation software were able to bring in Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ data into your prospect and customer records so you could see a more complete customer profile? What if you could increase or decrease lead score based on pre-defined social activity? What if you could automatically reach out to followers with a personal message if their discussions around your product, service, or industry start to increase? Again, thanks to innovation in the marketing automation category these possibilities are becoming realities.
Let’s talk about what’s coming. I can imagine a day soon when your marketing automation system could scan your Facebook fans, your Twitter lists, and your Google Plus circles and “tag” those people to create specific segments. Imagine being able to send very targeted emails (or Tweets, Facebook messages, etc.) only to people who are in a specific circle, list, or are fans of your Facebook page. The possibilities get exciting.
The key to making all this work in a way that doesn’t turn people off is to automate communications based on people’s recent behavior. If y
ou know someone has just attended your webinar on “home cooking basics”, it would make sense to send them a home cooking recipe book. If you communicate with people based on their recent behaviors, you’re likely to be sending them things their interested in, things they want to receive. Isn’t that the way we do it in live one-on-one interactions?
When used correctly, marketing automation can facilitate personal interactions in a much more scalable way than any other tool. Particularly for small businesses who are strapped for time and have access to a very limited supply of resources, marketing automation can relieve them of the burden of following up individually with every prospect, and still allow them to maintain the small business “touch” that is so important to who they are.
What are your thoughts on the melting pot of automation, marketing and social media? What are your predictions? Automation can be a sore subject for many social media users. Do you see marketing automation as a benefit or a nuisance for social users? Feel free to share in the comments below.
Tyler Garns is Director of Marketing for Infusionsoft and has over 10 years of online marketing experience. He speaks to audiences across
the country about email marketing, lead nurturing, sales and marketing automation. A recognized expert in the field, he blogs for MarketingProfs, Small Business Trends, CRM Magazine and more. At Infusionsoft, he oversees the inbound marketing and content marketing strategy and team. Follow Tyler on Twitter @TylerGarns.