Integrated Marketing Series: How Marketing Automation Can Enhance Sales Conversion and Customer Loyalty (5 of 6)

MarketingAutomation

Sep 24, 2014 | Marketing & Branding

In senior living, and virtually every other industry today, traditional sales and marketing approaches are giving way to more data-driven and evidence-based processes. Driving this change is the need for greater effectiveness, efficiency and ROI.

A Changing World for Sales and Marketing

In today’s e-commerce world, sales and marketing professionals need to better understand their prospects and create a more personalized approach to effectively cultivate and nurture them toward a successful conversion. How you engage and interact with your various customers – including older adults, their adult children and referral sources – can have a significant impact on your lead generation, close rate and occupancy goals.

For many growth-oriented senior living communities today, marketing automation technology is providing the desired solution.

New Processes Mean Better Results

In the article “Guide the New Buyer’s Journey With Marketing Automation,” Atri Chatterjee says, “Marketing automation serves many purposes, but its biggest advantage is in enabling marketers to tailor their activities to the customer’s buying process—which has changed dramatically in the past few years.”

“These days, long before a prospective customer is receptive to connect with a salesperson, that buyer has been busy doing all kinds of Internet homework. Buyers educate themselves, refining their understanding of the problem they hope to solve. They read reviews, sit in on webinars, watch social media conversations, visit websites and download whitepapers. In short, they control the process, forming opinions about which solutions and vendors can help them, mostly on their own.

Marketing automation provides the structure that allows engagement and nurturing to be executed with relative precision, and at scale, via a marketing automation system.”

How Marketing Automation Works

According to MarketingAutomationTimes.com marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed to enable organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online – such as e-mail, social media and websites – and to automate repetitive tasks. Sales and marketing employees benefit by specifying criteria and outcomes for tasks and processes, which are then interpreted, stored and executed by software, which increases efficiency and reduces human error. Marketing Automation platforms are used as a hosted or web-based solution, and no software installation is required by a customer.

A key advantage of marketing automation platforms is that they can streamline sales and marketing processes by replacing high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated solutions. Marketing automation focuses on moving leads from the top of the marketing funnel through to becoming sales-ready leads at the bottom of the funnel. Prospects are scored, based on their activities, then presented with periodic campaign messages via email and social channels, thus nurturing them from first interest through to sale.

Engage Your Prospects in the Most Meaningful Ways… for Them

Adrienne Mansfield Straub, Director of Client Services, Traditional & Online Media at SageAge Strategies, says, “Today’s consumer won’t settle for generic content and repetitive brand messaging – they demand to be engaged with customized content. To successfully resonate messaging with their prospects, communities need a marketing firm that offers better understanding of their prospects’ specific needs and preferences in order to effectively tailor engaging content that highlights your community’s value proposition and ‘fit’ to where the prospect is on their journey.”

Marketing automation intelligence uses “user-preference codes” in social media, email and web pages to follow the behavior of individuals who express interest in a service in order to gain a measure of their intent. It can record which social media group or thread they followed, which link was clicked on in an email or which search term was used to access a website. This allows you to more accurately target your response and to develop of a nurturing program specifically targeted towards the person’s unique interests and needs. Also called “Remarketing,” this technology uses “personal interest” coding to send a package of relevant messages to people who have shown they are in the market for your services.

Alex Boyce, SageAge Strategies’ Director of Technology & Online Marketing, adds, “Remarketing identifies prospects you might not even be aware of and automatically sends them a series of pertinent messages to further inform and engage them on behalf of your community. It enables your website to function as a highly-informed, full-time employee of your sales department that is actively on the job, around the clock, to engage shoppers with precisely targeted information.”

Marketing Automation Boosts Your Marketing Effectiveness and Your Customer’s Loyalty

Communities using  integrated marketing automation are more likely than those with no marketing automation to have increased levels of efficiency, in addition to effectiveness. The combined total of marketers describing their marketing as ‘highly effective’ and ‘efficient or somewhat effective and efficient’ is much higher for users of integrated marketing automation. In addition to increasing qualified leads, marketing automations also boosts customer loyalty.

Chatterjee adds, “What marketers are beginning to discover is that marketing automation is just as good for upselling and customer retention as it is for lead generation and closing. A loyal customer has enormous value in both recurring revenue and advocacy (and even today it still costs six to seven times as much to acquire a new customer as to maintain an existing one). It’s wise to keep them engaged and informed with specialized programs—made easy with multi-channel, integrated marketing automation.”

In the article, “Automation: How Marketing Can Sync With Sales,” author You Mon Tsang concludes, “Companies that are mastering collecting, analyzing and sharing data from marketing automation and CRM systems, as well gathering offline insights, will become more efficient, more profitable and more likely to become leaders within their industry.”

Expert Help is Available

If you are a senior living community considering the need for assistance in increasing sales through an integrated marketing strategy using the latest in marketing automation techniques, we encourage you to contact us for more information. SageAge Strategies is an award-winning strategic growth and marketing organization that operates exclusively in the senior living industry and was recently named one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing private companies in America. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 202 / adrienne@sageagestrategies.com. You can also visit us on our website at https://www.sageage.com/.

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