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Marketing automation in practice, part 2: how to identify a visitor

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Marketing automation in practice, part 2: how to identify a visitor Did your potential customer leave a contact request on Saturday night? Don't leave the customer's interest unnoticed just because it's past office hours.

In the second part of our marketing automation article series we cover automated messages that are related to identifying a customer. First you can take a look at part one: from small streams to customer experience – important everyday automation.

Marketing automation has a growing role in the buyer's journey. But how to transform an anonymous website visitor into a customer? And when does marketing automation step into the picture?

Once upon a time there was a potential customer...

whose interest towards a company rose. This potential customer saw an ad, clicked a banner, or perhaps found the company with a Google search. This anonymous person arrives on the company website. Moves from one page to another, watches a video, skims a blog.

At this point the potential customer is just a number on the website analytics from the company's point of view. We know which browser they use, where they came from. We know what they do on the site and which device they are using. But what we do not know, is who they are.

After exploring for a moment, the customer leaves the site. They will make a purchase – maybe later, maybe from your company, maybe from a competitor. And that's all folks? Potential customer may never be heard from again.

Meanwhile elsewhere...

potential customer arrives on the website. In the background of this site marketing automation is ready to react as soon as the person is identified.

And what do you know – the site has a fresh publication of a topic that interests the potential customer. As this person starts to download the guide, he or she notices that downloading it requires giving out one's contact information. The potential customer stops to think for a moment but decides the trade-off is wortwhile. When this person gives out his or her contact information, a faceless website visitor becomes a known potential customer. A personal profile is created and information starts to gather there – from newsletter, social media, webstore or CRM system, for example.

Simultaneously the downloaded guide appears in this person's inbox. When he or she leaves the website, a remarketing campaign is activated. During the following week the company's name will be imprinted on the potential customer's memory as advertisements offer this person products that he or she was interested in. In two weeks the potential customer will remember the company again when an email appears in his or her inbox. Unlike the customer in the first story, this person will probably be heard of.

Give to receive – identifying the customer is one of the most critical stages of marketing automation

How to get the customer to identify? Simply offering something interesting, whether it be information, entertainment, discounts, an opportunity to express oneself or be part of a community.

For example:

  • newsletter
  • opportunity to participate in an event or a training
  • competition
  • high-quality whitepaper or guide
  • opportunity to test new products
  • free WiFi
  • opportunity to participate in product development and brainstorming
  • discount coupon
  • opportunity to get a product among the first ones
  • automatic notification when certain products are available
  • opportunity to read and write product reviews
  • loyal customer club membership
  • membership of an interesting web community.

The customer can be identified in other ways as well. These all have the one thing in common that the customer's interest has been risen, for example:

  • filling out a contact information form
  • clicking a link to a website from a newsletter that has been sent through a B2B register
  • purchase or reservation from a webstore
  • abandoned shopping cart (when contact information has already been filled out)
  • sharing content that is related to the company on social media.

The customer has been identified – then what?

In planning automation, it is important to think about all the different ways the customer can be in contact with the company for the first time, and how the customer can be assisted in this situation and directed forward. The most important thing is, that something happens.

Often it's all about realizing the small things that matter. Did your potential customer leave a contact request on Saturday night? Don't leave the customer's interest unnoticed just because it's past office hours, instead send an automated message containing additional information that the customer can access right away. Did the customer subscribe your newsletter? Wish them welcome and share your offers.

Brave experimenting and creativity can be used when designing automation – you know your customer best. It is important to get from ideas into action quickly and test automation in practice. This way it becomes clear what works and data about the customers is gathered at the same time.

After the initial contact, the possibilities are endless. We continue our article series next month by taking a closer look at automated message chains containing many messages, also called drip campaigns. 

Do you want to test out marketing automation? Ask for a demo on agile LianaCEM tool! You can also download some extra reading on the subject by getting aqcuainted with 8 steps to Agile Marketing Automation whitepaper.

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