What is Marketing Automation?

What is Marketing Automation? The Top 3 Reasons You Should Be Using This Technology

Here is a scenario you may be up against if you are doing things right:

You have been working hard over the recent past to create content such as videos, blog posts, infographics, and white papers that are interesting and valuable to your future customers. You have a fan base on social media that is engaged with your posts and sharing them. You have created regular traffic to your blog posts and your email list is growing.

Further, some of these users may even be demonstrating buying cues such as looking at your pricing page and checking out your testimonials - but how would you know when that occurs and follow up at the right time? More importantly, the question remains - how do you nurture these leads into buying customers?

The answer:

Marketing Automation: a means to drive more leads, convert leads into sales, and measure ROI of individual campaigns.

1. Generate More Leads

With marketing automation software, we are able to identify anonymous visitors to our site. That means we can prospect more accurately because we know which companies are interested. We can also capture information in forms from users that are interested in staying up to date with our video content, requesting a demo, or in exchange for an infographic or white paper.

2. Drive Sales

Once that user is in our system, his use can be tracked at each subsequent visit to our website - we know when our prospects visit. Based on his visits and actions on our site, the user will be segmented into a campaign with personalized follow-up information to nurture the relationship. For example, if he shows interest in our Video Marketing for eCommerce videos, we can automatically send him information that pertains to our eCommerce content creation services.

Even more interesting is the way the system scores leads based on a number of parameters that we can set based on a client's unique business.  An example of a high profile lead in the system would be a user that visits frequently, fills out a form, clicks-through on our emails, and downloads a white paper. Once a lead meets certain parameters and is moving through the sales funnel, the follow-up approach changes to be sure to make the most of the opportunity. There is even an option for the system to alert a salesperson to make a direct call when a prospect is on the site.

3. Measure ROI

The automation software provides comprehensive analytics for each individual campaign so marketers can measure what is working best and where to allocate marketing resources. There are extensive reporting features with exportable graphs to share with your teams, allowing for firms to make better, data-driven decisions, which in turn reduces costs.


Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2016

The Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2016

As you close out your books, finalize your goals, and add finishing touches to your marketing strategy for 2016 and beyond, HARNESS presents the marketing trends you should be considering as we move into the new year.

  1. Video & Video advertising - We have been talking about video's potential for years as we develop strategies with our clients, and it appears that many marketers have started to come around to the idea of its overwhelming importance. A media-rich customer experience is now critical for differentiating and delivering a message in the digital world. More importantly, advertising venues such as Google and Facebook are giving more weight and priority to video advertising yielding 80% higher engagement than other ad media. Finally, Google now includes video in its search algorithm meaning that in order to stay relevant in results you must be using video.
  2. Moving to Mobile - We have already seen this trend in our clients' analytics for the past two years. At the lowest level, we have witnessed 60% of website traffic coming from mobile users with upwards of 80% for some clients. That is going to continue as Google is including mobile-friendliness as a metric in its search algorithm which dictates where you place in search results.
  3. Bigger Budgets for Digital Ads - Advertising spending has been increasing for the past few years, and it is projected that companies will spend $10 Billion more in 2016 than in 2015. Based on simple economics, increased demand dictates that advertising online will become more expensive so marketers will need to work even harder to optimize their keyword strategies. How much budget have you allocated for your digital ads?
  4. Digital Assistants - "Siri, find me a coffee shop nearby." As digital assistants become more and more reliable, business owners and marketers are realizing the importance of not only optimizing their websites for SEO, but also making their business details searchable by Siri and Cortana.
  5. Virtual Reality VR Video - This is no longer the realm of futurist novels and science fiction. VR video is very real and ready to be implemented for marketing purposes. Think about using virtual reality in your next video marketing project - how can you use it to better demonstrate your value propositions? HARNESS is very excited to offer VR 360 degree video as part of our video marketing services to our clients! To give you an idea of what is possible, check out this climbing video shot in VR 360:

Here is the major take-home point for 2016 marketing trends: if you are not prioritizing digital marketing, you will be left behind by your competitors. So what is the next for you in 2015? Are you going to improve your mobile experience or create an app? Have you increased your digital ad spend? Let us know in the comments.


Facebook Reactions Launch Worldwide

Facebook Reactions Launch Worldwide

Have you started noticing an abundance of emoticons today in your newsfeed? That is because Facebook has launched its "Reactions" worldwide. Adding to its Like button, Facebook now allows you to express more emotion in your quick reactions to content via Android, iOS, desktop, and mobile Web browser.

This feature has been tested since October when Zuckerberg revealed that he wanted to allow users to express more. By holding the like button, users can now add emoticons such as laughing, sad, or angry.

What does the launch of Reactions mean to marketers?

Users now have the conversation opened more broadly even with quick responses. What this implies is that we can infer more from a reaction than with a simple like. Prior to this launch, we were left with empty middle ground between a 'like' and a comment.  Many users may not take the time to comment, but a 'like' did not fully capture their sentiments toward a piece of content.

With a Reaction, we can infer that a user may want to see more of a type of post. We can, therefore, create more dynamic conversations even on content that may not warrant the energy to comment.

Product Manager Sammi Krug said, "We see this as an opportunity for businesses and publishers to better understand how people are responding to their content on Facebook. Page owners will be able to see Reactions of all kinds on their post page insights."

Time will tell if this is a passing phase or something we users actually adopt, but for now, we have cool smileys and such. Yay!