To automate your marketing strategy, two core facets need to be addressed. The first is capturing attention and acquiring leads, the second is the follow-up after you capture them. Before addressing any of the processes involved in automated marketing, you need a place for potential leads to land on the internet. The web presence of your business is crucial to potential customers contacting you. This includes your social media (i.e., Facebook and Instagram) your google business presence, and a strong website.
Social media can be addressed in a wide variety of ways, but it is good to post at least a couple times a week. These posts can be before and after pictures of job sites, “value add” posts that explain the benefits your service offers, or positive reviews of your business (NiceJob offers an excellent product that automatically turns your best reviews into social posts.) While not the cornerstone of your marketing strategy, social media is a great way to build trust with web-based leads.
Google’s business is centered around managing your reviews on google, which is critical to your business being found on the internet. Google functions as the modern phone book and is the first-place people will go when searching for a service. Google geolocates your business and will place it above normal websites if you have strong reviews and manage your presence through the google business suite. Your website is where you capture a lead.
When a potential customer finds your business, the website for your business is where they go to learn more about your company and book an appointment. On your website it is essential to have a lead capture form, where they enter their information for you to follow up with them. The information you collect from leads is essential to automating your marketing strategy.
Here is a hypothetical journey of a potential customer. First, they query google, for example they search “HVAC installation.” Google automatically finds their location, and matches them with results in their area, displaying a list of businesses in google maps at the top of the search results. These results include a phone number, links to social media, and a star-based rating. Most importantly they include a link to your website. This is where a potential lead will vet your business, checking your past reviews, social media presence, and the information on your website. From there, they can call you via the number you have listed on google or opt to book a call or appointment from your website. In a best-case scenario, they either call you directly from google, which you can track via the google business suite, or they navigate to your website where they book a call or appointment. This is where the magic happens.
If they are booking through your website, you can capture their information directly through a form. For example, you could have a form that asks “Interested in our services?” and provides a way for them to schedule a phone consultation. This form can ask for a variety of information, but their name, phone, and email are essential. If you want to go beyond this, we recommend asking for specifics about the type of work they are interested in so that you can address their needs as soon as you contact them.Once they enter information on your site, you need a system in place that notifies you and creates a customer record in a database. While you can use a tool like google sheets to log this data, it is best to create a record in a CRM (customer retention management) database. CRM products offer a suite of tools that let you track interactions with a potential customer and eventually convert them into a paying customer. A CRM also makes it easy to manually add a customer if they come to you organically, in other words through a source that is out of your control, like finding your phone number.
After you have started to build a database of leads, it’s time to market your service to them. It is incredibly important to operate a complete and accurate database, so that you are not wasting time and money marketing to customers that are not truly interested in the service you provide. A preemptive step you can take to help maintain a clean database is to ask more from your customers in the form where the lead is captured. While asking more of potential leads early on will result in some dropping off before submitting their information, it will result in only the most motivated clients making it into your database.
With your database built and cleaned, there are a plethora of ways that you can automate marketing to these leads, but before automating marketing it is critical that you make the initial contact directly. This can be a phone call to discuss their needs, or an email responding to the details they listed in your lead capture form. No matter how you directly follow up, it is important to do so quickly. When a customer reaches out, it is rare that they only reach out to one provider, with most opting to reach out to the top 2-5 companies they find in their initial search. A prompt response increases your chances of winning their business and is a near guarantee that you will beat a competitor that fails to respond within the first 24 hours.
After initially reaching out, it’s time for automation to take over. The most direct way to automate your marketing is through something called a drip campaign. A drip campaign is a series of emails that are scheduled to go out after a specified period elapses and begin when a customer is added to that email list. As an example, an initial email is sent that thanks the lead for reaching out, a week later an email is sent that outlines/clarifies the services your business offers, and two weeks later a final email promotes a deal or specific service. Through your CRM or customer database, you can automate updates to the drip campaign process. This will allow you to set a rule that removes a lead from the drip campaign if they book an appointment or move them to another drip campaign if they request a quote but do not book an appointment. This sort of automation ensures your marketing stays relevant to a given client and alters the messages you send them based on their interaction with your business.
Automated marketing can work wonders for past clients as well. In fact, you may have a longer list of past clients than new leads, especially if you are new to lead generation. A drip campaign that sends follow up emails after a job is completed can be a great way to leave a positive impression after you have completed work, oreven request that the customer leave a review on google.
Mass email campaigns, on the other hand, work differently than drip campaigns in that they send a single email to a large list all at the same time. Mass emails are a good way to seasonally remind clients of your services or promote specials. If you operate a cleaning business, it is easy to send a spring-cleaning reminder to all your past clients, or if you are struggling to book jobs during the off season you can offer a discount to all your past clients via email. Again, this is a place where a proper CRM has advantages over a simpler database system, because it can facilitate the generation of lists based on advanced qualifiers so that you can separate customers by the type of services they need, or their last date serviced, allowing you to tailor your mass emails to match the needs of customers more accurately. Past clients are some of the best customers to market to because they have already chosen to do business with you, making the sales process easier than if they are simply shopping around for a service.
Email marketing is the cornerstone of a marketing automation strategy, so make sure you're doing it right. ServiceMonster offers a suite of tools focused on marketing automation, including a full CRM capable of drip campaigns.