Audience engagement is a fast game that’s only getting faster. Customers and companies are interacting on multiple channels nearly around the clock. Email, phone calls, text messaging, live chat, social media — it can be a lot to keep up with, and if you don’t do it effectively, you risk losing customers.
That’s where automation comes in. Technology today allows companies to implement automated marketing solutions that systematize customer interactions to increase engagement and maximize results, all while maintaining a unique brand voice and a personalized customer experience.
Here are 5 automated marketing tools guaranteed to increase your audience engagement.
Email Marketing Automation
Email marketing automation offers the best of both worlds: communication can be automated and you can still maintain the personal touch your customers look for when they interact with your brand.
That personalization is important, too. Users are 29% more likely to open an email when they see their first name in the subject line or greeting, and less formal attention-grabbers such as “Hey, Susie!” or “Tom, you’ll find this interesting…” are effective for increasing overall open and click rates.
Research shows personalization to be the most effective engagement strategy when compared to other tactics.
Automating email gives you the ability to set up automatic touch points with individual customers and also send mass-communications like product promotions to larger groups (and those can be targeted, too).
Although it has become a standard part of daily life in modern society, email messages still feel more personal than other kinds of digital marketing like Google or social media ads.
Email marketing programs like Constant Contact, Mailchimp, or Campaign Monitor have advanced capabilities that don’t require any special IT or coding experience; marketers can create well-designed, visually appealing campaigns using templates and brand them using easy-upload tools to add images and other unique content.
More than half of all online traffic is happening on mobile devices, and people are increasingly using them to interact with brands. Despite all of their user-friendly features, iPhones and Androids don’t interact all that well with websites not specifically designed for mobile viewing.
Mobile-optimized content takes mobile-friendly one step further; it means not just shrinking and rearranging content to make it accessible for mobile devices, but prioritizing the mobile experience throughout the entire content creation and design processes.
With typical online users spending twice as much time on mobile devices than they do on any desktop or laptop PC, mobile optimization is a strategy that aligns with customer behavior, too.
Example: more than 80% of users in 2021 are opening emails on mobile devices, compared with only 27% a decade ago.
Mobile-optimized content doesn’t have to be complicated. It mostly means avoiding the things that create the most frustration for mobile users trying to navigate websites made for PCs.
Things like difficulty scrolling, small text, long load times, and unclickable buttons and form fields too often lead to customers deciding to log off rather than stay around until they make a purchase or find the information they need.
Making all of your content mobile-optimized is a sure way to enhance the customer experience you provide and increase the likelihood that visitors will engage more frequently and for longer periods of time.
Most website CMS platforms will automatically help you publish mobile-friendly versions of your content, but to truly increase engagement, marketers should think one step ahead toward mobile optimization. WordPress and Squarespace are some of the most-used CMS platforms for mobile solutions (here’s a longer list of recommendations).
Social Media Integration
To truly maximize the engagement opportunities presented by social media, it should be used as more than an ad-hoc promotion platform for products, services, and company events. Fully integrating social media as an extension of your brand voice to your customers not only cultivates awareness of your company but gives customers a way to interface directly with the content you share by liking, commenting, and re-sharing it themselves.
With more than half of Gen-Zers and nearly half of millennials using social media to learn more about brands that interest them, social media integration is a worthwhile investment.
There are a few important simple first steps you can take to start the integration process. The first is to include social media handles and links on your website and somewhere in your email communications. Giving customers an easy route to click through and follow will drive traffic to your pages and ultimately grow your audience.
In the end, social media integration strategy is about utilizing your social media pages and website to create traffic loops with website traffic as the priority end goal.
Effective social media management by internal teams also plays a central role in how well your social media content is integrated and ultimately engages customers.
Tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social can help you streamline the creation and publishing of content across platforms, gain a more holistic understanding of social media engagement metrics, and maintain a high-level view of how the brand voice is being expressed on multiple platforms.
Social media management software also helps increase consistency of content, an important way to increase awareness and create more opportunities for interaction with your customer.
Chatbots are one of the most commonly used forms of AI-powered marketing automation, and they’re surging in prevalence as companies use them to better engage customers online. As customers seek faster and faster response times, chatbots enable immediate interaction at any time for customers who need assistance.
Last year, 74% of users indicated that they prefer to use chatbots to find answers to simple questions and 80% reported that their chatbox experiences have been positive.
While chatbots may not be able to totally replicate the nuanced interaction of human customer service providers, technology has advanced enough that companies can personalize chatbots to prove an effective first touchpoint (among other benefits) for answering frequently asked questions and pointing customers in the right direction (where they can talk more with a human representative) based on their inquiry.
Here are some creative ways to make chatbots unique to your brand.
Data is essential to customer engagement and CRM software can help you centralize all relevant data points in one place. Once it’s there, you can share it with team members, generate reports, analyze customer behavior by individual or group, and generate automatic communications like reminder messages, emails, text messages, surveys and more.
CRM-generated data also makes it possible to utilize predictive analytics to forecast future market trends and customer behavior. Data trends over time related to sales, engagement, and customer interactions can help you create strategies most likely to succeed during certain time periods and for certain customer groups.
CRM software can also streamline internal operations so marketing teams and customer-facing employees can interact regularly, share important information, collaborate in real time, and align strategies and actions.
Some of the most used CRM tools to help businesses centralize and optimize their data-driven operations are Salesforce and Hubspot. Here’s a more comprehensive list.
Making it Work
Automation makes things faster and more efficient, and it provides important data-driven insights that would be difficult and time-consuming to collect and analyze manually. But it isn’t a quick fix or turn-key solution that will yield magic results.
To get the most out of automation tools, marketing teams must consider which tools will work best with their strategy, operations, and organizational structure. Then, they must be willing to make the time commitment necessary to personalize automated content and train all relevant employees to do the same.