What Is Email Marketing Automation

What is Email Marketing Automation

Email marketing automation is the use of email marketing to efficiently communicate with your prospects and customers after they meet certain criteria and/or performed some action.

As digital marketers today, we all have a lot of stuff on our plates. Aside from email marketing, we also handle social media, advertisement, content creation, maintaining the website, SEO and keyword research, and many more. With more and more technology creeping up each day, we are expected to learn and master all of them.

Sadly, marketing budgets and salaries don’t increase at the same rate as these demands. It’s as if our bosses want us to work 24/7 without extra pay.

How Organizations Use Email Marketing Automation Today

Organizations use email marketing automation are through:

  1. A thank you email
  2. A cart abandonment email.

The thank you email is sent after the person fills-up a form on a landing page on your website to download or register for something. It’s used to deliver your marketing offer and/or inform the person about the next steps. The best practice of this is to use it with a thank you page.

The cart abandonment email is sent after the person adds some items to the cart but does not continue with the checkout. As its name implies, it is an email that reminds a person that they have something in their cart.

From these two examples, you can see that email marketing automation saves you time by doing things that are repetitive and, looking from the grand scheme of things, low-value.

Other Uses of Email Marketing Automation

There is, however, a marketing tactic that a lot of organizations in the Philippines don’t take advantage of — and that is lead nurturing. Unfortunately, a lot of marketers think that email marketing is limited to newsletters.

To put it simply, lead nurturing is a series of email that are sent after a certain trigger/event with the end-goal of moving the lead to the next stage in the marketing and sales funnel.

There is a lot expected from digital marketers today. The only way to achieve tangible results — and increased workload — is to work smart. Automate some repetitive activities, but at the same time, bring in the results we need.

So, what are you going to do next

I’ve written about lead nurturing in the past and how you can start creating a simple lead nurturing email campaign.

I also analyzed how some Philippine companies are using lead nurturing. I highlighted the parts that are great and the areas for improvement.

If you’re not using lead nurturing emails, you’re already behind. Imagine the marketers who do. They now freed up some time and are now learning new skills and technologies.

Are you using email marketing automation in your organization? Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

What Is the Marketing and Sales Funnel

What is the marketing and sales funnel

The marketing and sales funnel is a framework that has been around for a very long time. Almost every organization in the world uses it in one way or another.

In digital marketing, the marketing and sales funnel, or simply “the funnel” looks like this image.

Marketing and Sales Funnel
Marketing and Sales Funnel

It is a way of looking at certain metrics, its associated activities, and how they all fit in together. The funnel tells you how each stage flows into the next. This allows you to measure your digital marketing performance.

Marketing and sales funnel — a holistic approach

Let’s step back a little bit and take a look at the bigger picture.

Effective digital marketing affects the bottomline. This means everything you do digitally affects your sales, expenses, and profits.

If your digital marketing activities cannot be directly linked to those metrics, then you are not doing it properly.

With today’s technology, every little action your market does online is trackable. A like, comment, visit, click, download — all these are measurable online.

And if it is trackable and measurable, that means it can be linked to your overall organizational goals.

You only need a framework to do this.

The only tried and tested framework to use is the marketing and sales funnel.

Components of the marketing and sales funnel

Following the shape of an inverted pyramid, the funnel contains 3 basic parts: top-of-the-funnel (TOFU), middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU), and bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU).

Let’s walk through each one of them below.

1. Top-of-the-funnel (TOFU)

Creating educational and valuable content designed to attract and generate interest is the focus of the top-of-the-funnel.

Since the focus is not to sell, this is where funny and light-hearted content shines the most. Industry and thought leadership content also fall under TOFU content.

Activities associated with TOFU are blogging, podcasting, social media, and advertising (in some way). Generally, any form of content creation starts at the top-of-the-funnel.

The main metric to track at the TOFU stage is visits to your website.

2. Middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU)

Lead generation (or conversion) is the main focus of the middle-of-the-funnel.

It is the next logical step from TOFU — which is concerned with generating traffic. Now that you have the traffic to your website, it’s time to focus on converting these into leads.

These are mostly done through the combination of marketing offers, landing pages, and thank you pages.

The activities in MOFU are similar to the TOFU activities except for “gating” the content. Gating simply means not letting the everyone gain access to the content you created. For example, this white paper I wrote targeted to business owners is an example of a gated content.

Aside from PDFs (like that white paper I made), gated content can also be workbooks, email courses, spreadsheets, templates, etc.

The main metrics to track here are leads and lead conversion rate (visitor-to-lead ratio).

3. Bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU)

Turning leads to customers is the focus of the bottom-of-the-funnel. This is the only time it’s acceptable to “sell.”

An effective lead nurturing strategy often separates the successful businesses from the struggling ones. Why?

Because without a proper lead nurturing strategy, you need to keep on generating new leads every month. Given that more than 90% of leads you generate are not ready to buy, all the effort you spent acquiring them will just go to waste.

Remember that if they are not ready to buy now, that doesn’t mean they won’t buy in the future. Without a proper lead nurturing strategy in place, you are forced to get more new leads just to reach your customer and revenue targets.

Some other BOFU activities are sales calls, meetings, and presentations. Proposals and product demos are usually at this stage as well.

The primary metrics at this stage are customers, revenues, and customer conversion rate (lead-to-customer ratio).

How to use the marketing and sales funnel work

In a nutshell, there are two elements you need to remember about the funnel:

  1. Direction. The funnel generally flows from top-to-bottom.
  2. Volume. Looking at the shape of the funnel, you’d notice that the top-of-the-funnel is wider while the bottom-of-the-funnel is narrower.

These two elements represent the logical and real-life interactions of your target market with your organization. Combining the two elements, you read the funnel like this:

There are more people who know you and visit your website. A small part of those visitors converts to leads. And an even smaller part of those leads becomes your customers.

Proper strategies and tactics exist at every stage of the funnel. Each is measurable and have their own metrics that you can track. Improve these metrics and you will see an increase in your customers (and consequently, your bottomline).

So, what are you going to do next?

The marketing and sales funnel is a framework you should use if you want to be effective with your digital marketing. Approaching the components of digital marketing piece-by-piece might give you good results. But are you satisfied with being good?

There are a lot of variations over the years for the funnel, so I merely presented the simplest one. Are you using the marketing and sales funnel? How are you using it? How’s your experience with the funnel?

Let me know in the comments below!

What Is Remarketing

What is Remarketing

Remarketing is a marketing tactic that targets people who have previously engaged with your organization.

The most popular medium of remarketing is through ads. But it can also be done through email and messaging/chat bots.

How Remarketing Works

Have you ever browsed websites like Lazada or Galleon or MNLGrowkits then went back to Facebook only to see some of the products you were looking at show up as ads?

That’s remarketing at work.

You visited their website, browsed a few pages, but did not buy anything. You closed the browser. Hours later you opened Facebook. After a few scrolls, you see the items you were looking at show up there on your feed.

Why Is Remarketing Important

Using remarketing is one of the ways to achieve a higher ROI on ad spend because you are targeting people who are either engaged or interested with you already.

You’re not advertising to people who haven’t heard about you.

You already know they are engaged or interested because they went the extra action of clicking to your website — whatever marketing channel they came from (e.g. paid ads, organic, social, etc.). And if you’re using some advanced remarketing tactics (e.g. basing it on actions like add to cart instead of a simple page view), you can really create a targeted remarketing campaign.

Contrast that with how most marketers advertise today — they target ads based on demographics and location information.

In this type of advertising, people may or may not know you. Also, they may not be in the right stage of the buyer’s journey.

That is the reason why you spend a lot of money in this type of advertising (vs remarketing) because it’s a hit or miss.

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.

– John Wanamaker

Don’t take this the wrong way.

Cold traffic advertising is also a viable tactic provided that you know what you’re doing. What that simply means is once you get the cold traffic, don’t expect them to buy right away.

You create remarketing campaigns to move them down the funnel — to make them take action like adding items to the cart, downloading stuff, checking out, or an actual purchase.

Should You Use Remarketing?

Most of the time, eCommerce stores utilize remarketing to promote their products with the goal of you purchasing one of their products.

But non-eCommerce stores can definitely greatly benefit by using remarketing.

Remarketing can be implemented in many ways. It does not have to be a “purchase” type of ad. It can be educational in nature (i.e. brand building)

For example, you can create remarketing ads for your most popular blog posts. Let’s say you are writing about a series on remarketing. To maximize readership, you remarket blog post 2 to the people who read blog post 1. Then, once you finish writing blog post 3, you remarket that to people who read blog post 2.

This way, your ads have a higher chance of better performance because you already know the people you are targeting are not only interested in that topic, but also know they actually read them.

So, if I were to implement one, I will be remarketing my 10 Commandments for Effective Digital Marketing. Or, I can also group the topics of my 1-Minute Marketing Videos (1MMVs) and remarket those.

Remarketing via Email

Like I said, you can do this via email too.

Instead of ads, you create an email (or a series). This is sent after the person performs a certain action or trigger.

For eCommerce stores, the most common is the cart abandonment email. Here’s how that works.

When you add some items to the cart but did not purchase, you get an email from them a few hours later reminding you to complete your order.

The trigger in this case is the non-completion of the purchase after adding one or more items in their shopping cart.

Another example is a “how can we help” email. The trigger would be when the person visits the knowledge base section of your website.

After their last session, you send them an email asking if they found what they were looking for. And that they can simply reply to this email if they have further questions.

This can then be supplemented with ads that display the same message (i.e. complete your order), but will show up on Facebook or on Google.

The only requirement for you to implement this is an email marketing software that allows you to integrate with others (or if you have a full marketing automation suite).

So, What Will You Do Next

I already shared how to do this in my post about how to create a lead nurturing campaign. The idea and the process is similar.n

Remarketing campaigns — whether done via email or ads — can increase your ROI. A simple cart abandonment email campaign can generate additional revenues by as much as 20%.

Since you are already using tools like an email marketing software or AdWords or Facebook Ads, it’s worth investing a couple of hours to set this up. It takes minimal work but the rewards are exponential.

What Is Organic Traffic

What Is Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is a source of traffic that comes from search engines like Google and Bing.

It is one of the default sources of traffic your website gets. If you’re not familiar, below is a list of the default channel groupings as recorded by Google Analytics:

  1. Organic
  2. Direct
  3. Referral
  4. Social
  5. Paid
  6. Email
  7. Others

Where does organic traffic come from?

Organic traffic comes from searches from search engines that leads to your website.

For example, when people type “email marketing statistics 2018” in Google, several results show up.

Google Search Email Marketing Statistics 2018

When people click on one of those searches — assuming it’s a post from your website — that’s when your analytics software records that specific traffic as an organic traffic.

Why is organic traffic important to digital marketers?

There are over 3.5 billion searches on Google per day. And that’s still growing.

And in the Philippines, there are over 67 million internet users. Imagine what a tiny slice of that traffic can bring for your organization.

Remember that the typical online conversion path starts with traffic. The traffic then become leads, then eventually customers.

All things being equal, the higher your website traffic, the more leads you can convert. And with more leads, you have more opportunities to sell to them.

Best Type of Traffic

Organic traffic is free.

In most cases, has both the highest conversion rates and return on investment. Assuming you continue to create quality content and not “game” the system, your organic traffic will just keep growing. These are the reasons why organic traffic is the holy grail of digital marketers.

Getting there, however, is another story. It is a mid- to long-term play — at least 6 months before you see some significant results. There is a lot of work involved. The only proven way to increase your organic traffic is to create content.

So, what are you waiting for?

What Is an Email List

What is an email list

An email list is a database containing information about your prospects and customers like name, email addresses, and phone numbers.

Originally, an email list is simply that — a list of email addresses you send mass email to.

But now, they have evolved into a complete database that contains all interactions with your organization — from social media, emails, and even sales calls.

From this database, you can slice and dice the data to give you actionable insights on your prospects and customers.

It is now the heart of effective digital marketing.

Without an email list that tracks all these information and interactions, you are in left in the dark. You start guessing. Make assumptions. This can lead to a poor customer experience.

The Dreaded (and Useless) Voice Prompts

Don’t you just hate it when you get asked around for the same information over and over by the person you’re talking to on the phone?

Recently, my wife got on a call with a bank to dispute some credit card charges (short story: her replacement card was not delivered to her because she was out of the country yet someone was able to use it).

One of the frustrating things here is that upon calling the customer service hotline, you get asked to enter your 16-digit credit card number. Then, after minutes of hearing the useless voice prompts, you finally got to chat with a real person. Yey!

Then, they asked you for your 16-digit card number again. They also ask a couple more questions for additional verification. I can only imagine this is a requirement before some data in the system shows up on their screens.

You know what’s even more frustrating? After all these verifications, you finally got to tell them your issue. They said another department is handling that and will transfer your call.

Stop for a moment. What do you think happens when after you get transferred to another person?

They ask the same verification stuff again.

It’s no wonder why a lot of customers shout and curse at customer service reps. They are already frustrated with an issue — in this case, someone used their credit card — then it takes them a very long time just to talk to the right person.

It’s neither their faults for this poor user experience. That’s “just the way how it’s done.” That mindset has no place in today’s fast-paced world.

And to clarify, my wife didn’t do any of those. But I was beside her. I was the one shouting and cursing in my head.

Customer Experience Matters

Customer experience matters. Period.

No matter how big your organization is, like Globe and Smart, the moment someone better comes along, people will switch.

It’s the same thing with me. I no longer have much brand affinity. I have been a Globe subscriber for more than 6 years (an additional 9 years if you count my usage under my parent’s plan).

But because of some issue they have internally that a lot of customers are already complaining about, they are passing the blame to me. I immediately switched to the next competitor — Smart.

I recently read that there’s a new telco coming to town soon.

I’ll be very vigilant when that time comes. Because if they do offer something better and Smart doesn’t reciprocate, I won’t hesitate to jump ship.

The Modern Email List

With the rise of chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI), the requirements of organizations from the modern marketer continuously increase.

If your email list is simply collecting information like names and email addresses, you’re at a great disadvantage.

At the very least, your email list should tell you what forms/landing pages they filled out, what pages they visited, and if you’re an e-commerce store, their purchase data — the number of times the person ordered, amount, and products ordered.

These data points allow you to segment your list further and create automation rules that trigger when certain conditions are met.

For example, you can segment people who downloaded your industry report last year and offer them to download an updated report for this year. Or perhaps invite them to answer a survey to be used in your new industry report.

Or you can segment people whose latest store purchase is twice than your average order value. You can probably give them a gift card, or maybe even a personal call or email saying how much you appreciate them.

If your email list doesn’t give you these data nor allow you to capture them, it’s time to search for a new one. And if your email list allows it, but you aren’t using it, then it’s time to start doing so.

Don’t wait until you are forced to adopt these changes. It’s always easier and less stressful to implement/change your systems when your neck is not on the line.

What Is Internal Linking

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Internal linking is the process of adding links from your content (like blog posts and pages) to other content on your website or domain.

On the contrary, external linking is adding links to contents OUTSIDE of your domain.

For example, whenever I mention digital marketing on its own, I link to this page ????

Effective Digital Marketing: What Is It and How Does It Look Like

That is an example of internal linking. I link to other content on my website.

In cases where I don’t have content about a specific topic and used it in my blog post, I use a link from other websites. Here’s an example for external linking.

Four Benefits of Proper Internal Linking

1) Helps with SEO by Adding Site Structure

Other marketers refer to this as the content pillar or content pyramid or cornerstone content.

Whatever name you call it, the point is to have a single piece of content sitting at the top of your pyramid, then have another content link to it.

Sample Link Pyramid
Sample Link Pyramid

What this does is sends a signal to search engines that the “most linked” content is the most important one.

Having a proper internal linking strategy is important if you want to succeed in ranking your pages properly.

For example, in my site, you will find this in action. I want to tell Google that my page for Digital Marketing is the most important one. So, I link back to it from this article (among others).

Sample Link Pyramid
Snapshot of my own website’s internal linking | Sample link pyramid

I want to tell Google that my page for Digital Marketing is the most important one. So, I link back to it from this article (among others).

2) Allows You to Focus on Your Content

The other benefit of a proper internal linking strategy is you can focus on creating content about a single topic, instead of rambling on and on about other topics.

To write a “complete” article, sometimes it’s impossible not to explain some concepts or terms. Just like what I did in the previous paragraph — I linked the word “content” to my previous article called “What Is Content” so that I don’t have to discuss what I mean by content.

Because these side comments oftentimes make your content longer than is necessary. With attention spans growing smaller, it’s already hard to keep your audience engaged. Adding more to what is necessary will bore your audience.

With internal linking, you can just use the concept and add a link to it, instead of explaining it in 5 paragraphs.

3) Provides Better User Experience by Making Additional Resources Readily Available

With a proper use of internal linking, you are giving your audience a better user experience. They can read about other topics related to the post directly.

They don’t have to open up a new browser, type in the concept you’re talking about, and search through the millions of search results. All they have to do is click on that link and read it.

Which leads us to the last benefit…

4) Keeps the Reader on Your Site

Keeping your viewers on your site for as long as possible is one of the proxies marketers use to determine engagement. Time spent on the site and pages visited are the metrics you need to keep an eye out for in Google Analytics. This is especially true if you are using that as one of the goals for your website.

But the benefits don’t just end there.

If people spend more time on your site browsing your other pages, you have more chances of converting them. If you are following best practices and have calls-to-action all over your site, you should start seeing an increase in your leads and, eventually, customers.

So, What Are You Going to Do Now

Now you know the benefits of internal linking, it’s time to assess your own website.

Determine the pages you want to “rank” for which keywords. Then, create your own content pyramid with those pages at the top. Meaning, link your articles back to those top-level pages.

This will give you a boost in your SEO rankings and a more focused content.

Who knows, if you’re using a proper lead generation strategy on top of internal linking, you might see a significant increase in your leads and customers.