Are you ready to make the leap from a basic email service provider (ESP) to a full-fledged marketing automation platform (MAP)?
Have you thought about it but just aren’t sure if you need to commit to a MAP?
Here are some questions to consider:
- Are your newsletters not performing?
- Do you feel online marketing is more of a chore than an engagement driver?
- Are you bogged down in a ton of manual processes just to send out a single email campaign?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may need a marketing automation system. But, here’s the exciting news – marketing automation can take your marketing efforts to the next level!
- 79% of top-performing companies have been using marketing automation for three or more years. (Venture Harbour, 2017)
- Marketers say that the biggest benefit of automation is saving time. (Venture Harbour, 2017)
- Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or more bump in revenue in 6-9 months time. (Strategic IC, 2017)
- Businesses who nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost 33% less than non-nurtured prospects. (Strategic IC, 2017)
We’re not discounting ESP’s – they serve a useful purpose. They’re cheap (or free) and they allow you to cultivate lists of emails. But always remember that you get what you pay for. In order to make the leap to the next level in business, you need more than the generic services and metrics that an ESP provides.
If you want to get to the head of the pack, you need to embrace technology. In fact, businesses are currently adopting MAPs very aggressively. You need to do the same in order to keep up with your competition.
The essential difference between an email tool like MailChimp (your standard ESP) and a MAP lies in the amount of data you can collect on potential prospects and the ability to use that data to customize your customers’ journeys.
Here’s a table that breaks it down for you:
|Email Service Provider||Marketing Automation Platform|
|✓ Batch & Blast email sends||✓ Automate Email Nurture|
|✓ Email Metrics||✓ ROI Metrics|
|✓ Manual List Management||✓ Dynamic List Segmentation|
|✓ Simple Opt-in||✓ Preference Center|
|✓ Multi-Channel Campaigns|
|✓ Landing Page + Forms|
With a MAP, you’re not just sending emails anymore – hoping they strike the right nerve with your customers. A MAP gives you the information you need to nurture your prospects and add dynamic content to your emails.
So, what happens when you graduate from an ESP to a MAP? It’s important to recognize that you’re not just graduating your technology – you’re also graduating your strategy. You’re moving everything to the next level! This is important because if you just keep doing the same thing over and over, you cannot expect to grow.
Here are some of the things you can expect when you’re migrating from an Email Service Provider (ESP) to a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP):
1. The ability to segment lists becomes dynamic.
No longer is your email list static. No more manual updates to each and every list for a single email send. A MAP allows you to update your list dynamically based on demographics or behavior data points. This saves you a lot of time and effort.
An ESP offers a very manual process of updating and segmenting email lists and target lists. A MAP will automate much of that tedious work by allowing you to set up automatic rules that will capture customer data and automatically put customers/prospects in the correct lists.
2. You graduate from the single touch experience.
Batch and blast emails are a thing of the past when you move to a MAP. You can automate customer journeys to educate and nurture your contacts, providing multiple touches over time.
3. You can tailor and personalize messages to individuals.
Because you can now see individual as well as aggregate behavior data, you’ll be able to tailor messages to individuals rather than blasting emails out to large groups. Your MAP allows you to record digital behavior (above and beyond the basic vanity metrics). Now you can see what pages people have visited and for how long. You can gather information anonymously and then attach it to a record once they raise their digital hand.
4. You can see individual as well as aggregate behavior data.
With a MAP, you have access to a plethora of data you didn’t have before. You’ll be able to see email as well as web activity – individual and aggregate behavior data. You want this information so that you can segment your email lists, but this data can also help you strengthen the alignment between Marketing and Sales.
You might say, “Well, we’ve got Google Analytics for that.” Google Analytics is fine, but it doesn’t give you the whole story. It does not tie the info back to specific people. It’s buckets of information, but you’re missing the bridge from email to web activity. With MAP, you get both the email and web activity tied into a single record.
5. You can create trigger campaigns to react to lead behavior.
Now that you have access to all the behavioral data, you can create trigger campaigns that react to that behavior.
Newsletters are one way to communicate with your database, but what if your prospects need a little nudge? Let’s say you have several prospects that have shown interest in purchasing a product or service (which you know because of the web/email activity tracked by the MAP). Now you need more than a newsletter – you need a nurture campaign.
How do you get prospects interested in purchasing? How do you figure out who’s a good lead? Who qualifies for your product/service? The answer is to develop content that’s relevant to the product or service you’re promoting and then send out emails to these prospects at a regular cadence. This keeps your prospects engaged and keeps your product/service at the top of their mind.
6. You can share digital behavior to Sales.
Migrating to a MAP breaks you out of the ESP bubble. Now that you can tailor your messages to specific people, you’ll be able to share valuable information with Sales. Sales will now know when specific people are spending a lot of time in specific places on your website. With this information, Sales will be able to target prospects more intently.
The sales engagement type platform gives Sales a glimpse into what marketers do. Sales can see, for example, that Marketing is doing several onboarding campaigns and a welcome nurture. This helps Sales be smarter when it comes time to talk to prospects. Why bother with cold calls when you have all this new data to warm up the call?
Depending on the tool, MAPs have some really neat features. The Marketing team gets to drive the motorcycle, but Sales is along for the ride in the sidecar! Sales get to see Marketing’s efforts and they get the results of those efforts as well.
7. You can prioritize leads for Sales based on lead scoring.
Now that you have MAP, you can start up a lead management process that will connect and align your Sales and Marketing teams. A MAP gives you the ability to score leads for Sales. You’ll be helping your sales team prioritize and focus their workload.
The point of a MAP is to automate the top of funnel/mid-funnel work, giving good leads to Sales once the leads hit the right score. By letting Marketing handle the front end of the sales cycle, MAP creates efficiency for Sales. Your Sales team will get a priority list of people to talk to that have already shown interest in your product/service.
8. You can measure beyond email vanity metrics.
An ESP will give you basic vanity metrics (opens, clicks, unsubscribes, etc.), but it won’t tell you if a customer converted to a prospect. And it won’t tell you how many opportunities were created.
With a MAP, you have the ability to track web-behavior. When everything is set up correctly, you can tell when an anonymous person visits your website. That person (which we identify with a unique IP address) might decide to “raise their digital hand” by filling out a form. Now you can connect the previously anonymous behavior with an actual person. All of the anonymous activity gets merged into the known records, tracking the digital footprints of visitors to your website. You don’t get this information from an ESP or Google Analytics. You get it from marketing automation.
These are gold nuggets that you want to capture and utilize! You might say, “Well, Google Analytics gives us the web behavior we need.” Does it really? Google Analytics, like ESPs, will give you basic vanity metrics. With MAP, you can capture inferred data – for example, where the majority of website visitors are coming from. You’ll be able to see people coming from a specific company and spending time on your website, which pages they visited and where they spent the most time.
9. You can see what channels/campaigns generate revenue via source data.
With the valuable data, you get from your MAP, you can see what revenue you’ve been gaining. This is because you now have the source data! Migrating to a MAP will allow you to track a person back to their original source, helping you see where your Marketing spend should be focused.
Being able to track back that information (through the use of hidden fields, UTM parameters, web tracking, etc.) will give you a full picture of what is happening and will allow you to report ROI. You will know if your company made any money as a result of what Marketing did!
Being able to see the ROI is a huge benefit to having a MAP. Marketing will no longer be the “make it pretty” department. Now you’ll be able to prove the money given to you for a certain thing brought about a certain return. You need a MAP to be able to track that ROI.
Think further! You might say, “We’ve always done it this way…” Well, what’s the next step? What do you want to happen next? Are you going to keep doing it this way for the next 10 years? What if you add scoring? Then you’re doing more than simple email blasts. You’re collecting data that will be useful to Sales and to Marketing.
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