Marketing automation refers to the use of software and other technologies to automate repetitive tasks and improve the effectiveness of online marketing, including email, social media, websites and any content you publish.
The main goal of marketing automation is to nurture prospects and leads over the long-term. A well-designed automation workflow saves time, reduces errors, increases audience engagement and boosts the ROI of your law practice’s marketing efforts.
Commonly Automated Marketing Tasks
There are myriad ways to take advantage of marketing automation. Often, as one task is automated you’ll see a path that allows automation of another, and so on. Below are some of the most common tasks that marketers automate to map the customer journey and streamline lead generation and nurturing, segmentation, customer engagement and retention.
Social Media Posting
Many take advantage of automation tools to queue, schedule and repeat posts to the various social media platforms. These tools are often used to queue posts for days, weeks or even months at a time.
These tools allow marketers to set up hundreds of posts in just a few hours, freeing them from what would be the daily, or perhaps even hourly, task of maintaining a presence on social media. Some tools will even look for the content to post.
Another of the most commonly automated tasks is that of sending emails out to list subscribers. Again, marketers will often create a string of messages at one time and set them up to be sent to new subscribers at specific intervals. This is generally referred to as lead nurturing.
Responses and open rates for emails are carefully monitored. This allows your law firm to make adjustments, and, over time, maximize the efficiency of email campaigns. As you gain insight into what your audience responds to, your email marketing becomes increasingly effective.
Auto-Responders and Bots
Email auto-responders and chat bots often serve as interactive versions of the FAQ (frequently asked questions) pages that have become common on many websites. They can help to educate, answer questions, and guide prospects further along in their journey from anonymous contacts to bona fide client.
Every client is not created equal. Your clients and prospects are made up of segments with different interests. The marketing materials you send to each segment of prospects should be different.
Behind the scenes, automation software can sort these prospects and present them with relevant materials based on their responses to triggers. For example, you can send an initial email mentioning two different areas your law practice handles. If a reader clicks on one link, she becomes a part of segment A, if she clicks on the other, she is added to segment B. From there, she will be sent information that is most relevant to her expressed interest.
Putting It All Together
The examples above are extremely helpful on their own, but the real power of marketing automation can be seen when you start to put all of the pieces together. Let’s look at what can happen if we create a workflow involving everything we’ve mentioned.
- A social media post is scheduled to go out on Twitter.
- An interested viewer responds to the tweet, expressing his desire for more information.
- A chat bot responds telling the viewer that he can get a complete explanation of what he’s looking for sent right to his email.
- The anonymous viewer now becomes a known contact as he subscribes to your firm’s email list.
- An initial email is sent, explaining the topic this contact was interested in. The email directs the contact to your website for more detailed information.
- When the contact clicks the link to your website, he’s moved from the “contacts” email list to the “leads” email list. He’s now shown genuine interest in the services your law firm offers.
- Another more specialized and personalized email is sent to the lead. This email lets him know that you’re available for a free consultation, and he can even set an appointment by simply responding to the email.
- The lead responds, firing another trigger, and an appointment is added to your calendar. The date and time for the appointment is mailed to the prospective client, along with directions, telephone number and contact information.
All of this can be automated. The prospective client is guided through the process and receives specific information geared toward his interests.
The example above would, of course, take some time to set up, optimize and implement, but it is completely possible. Many marketers use automation tools to handle much more complex tasks.
Popular automation tools include Buffer and Hootsuite for social media, and HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo, and Infusionsoft. You can find additional options and reviews on Capterra’s directory of Top Marketing Automation Software Products.
If your online marketing has become complex and/or time consuming, automation could be the solution your law firm is looking for. When used correctly, it’s a great way to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing.