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    What Is Marketing Automation and Do Your Programs Need It?

    Posted by TeenLife


    Maybe you’re looking to close more leads. Or perhaps you need to figure out how to nurture your leads more effectively. Whatever your reason for seeking marketing automation information for your enrichment opportunities, the answer to whether you need marketing automation is a resounding yes. Here’s why.

    Today’s teens and even their parents are used to immediacy. So when they send an inquiry through your website, they’re expecting to know that you received the message and that you’ll get back to them quickly. 

    And in the meantime, they expect to get the same service from you as they do from their favorite food delivery app or latest gaming craze – a regular connection with information related specifically to them.

    Learn all about marketing automation and what you need to do to enable it on your website.

    What Is Marketing Automation?

    Marketing automation involves using technology to manage campaigns and marketing processes across multiple channels. Some features marketing automation provides include:

    • Customer targeting
    • Automated messaging
    • Workflows to keep your team informed about customers and their interactions
    • Sales enablement tools
    • Automating repetitive tasks
    • Lead generation, nurturing and scoring
    • Analytics and ROI for your marketing initiatives

    When done well, marketing automation helps you send interested parties the right message at the right time to help them decide whether your program is right for them.

    Marketing Automation Example

    Think back on an outstanding customer experience you recently had. Perhaps it was completing something as simple as routine maintenance on your vehicle. As you filled out a form with information about your vehicle, the form might have alerted you that your vehicle had a recall, and while the shop was changing your oil, they could update your vehicle in line with that recall.

    Once you've input your mileage, the form could automate suggested maintenance for your specific vehicle based on what you've told the maintenance shop.

    And then the form closes with an opportunity for you to ask questions for your mechanic and they’ll get back to you accordingly. On the backend, your mechanic will see your questions and be able to formulate a follow-up email by pulling in FAQs to avoid retyping answers to common questions and streamline the process of responding. But they’ll also see customer inquiries based on how soon the customer’s appointment is scheduled for, to help them prioritize responses accordingly.

    If the vehicle is a certain age or mileage, the dealership might start sending you emails about your trade-in value and tips for selecting a new vehicle. When you don’t respond, they might pause the campaign and restart in six months or so when you might be ready to consider a new vehicle again.

    This is an extremely simple example of marketing automation and how it can help customers interact with you.

    Instead of your website forms updating with suggested maintenance, it might customize based on the student’s graduation year. And the emails that you send to follow-up might be specialized to guide a student about the various aspects of college or career planning they could or should consider based on where they are at.

    Marketing Automation Benefits

    Marketing automation provides many benefits for organizations of all types. But for enrichment programs specifically, here’s what you can expect to experience.

    1. Efficiency Especially for Small Teams

    Your program likely has a small team that operates the day-to-day functions. As such, you have to do as much as you can with your limited resources. Marketing automation can increase your efficiency by sending automated follow-up information and sharing crucial, personalized data with a potential student or their parents to reduce the number of phone calls, chat messages or emails you receive.

    With options for tools that help you manage social media, send out email nurture campaigns or create intuitive website forms that help you capture crucial information about prospects, marketing automation can make a small team feel much bigger.

    2. Higher Conversion Rate

    When prospects can easily find answers to their questions or learn more about your value proposition through an email drip campaign, they’re more likely to convert.

    Companies that employ marketing automation see an average of a 53 percent increase in their conversion rates. And the good news is, you’ll know more about your conversion rates because all your interactions will be tracked through the marketing automation software. Then you can generate reports to tell you how things are going.

    3. Better Reporting and Marketing Insights

    Speaking of helpful reporting, marketing automation can provide greater insights into how well your marketing campaigns are performing. You should be able to create reports and analyze your marketing strategy to update various aspects of your programs.

    For example, you might learn that customers exit your marketing funnel shortly after inquiring. Digging deeper, you learn that it’s because there isn’t enough information about the next steps of getting started in your program or what they need to provide you with to get started.

    4. Personalized Marketing

    The more you know about your prospects, the more you can speak to their specific needs. Marketing automation software helps you segment customers based on what you know about them. For example, once a student completes your program, you might ask their parent if they have any other children. If they do, you can move them to a future leads list to begin nurturing them again once that child reaches an appropriate age for your offering.

    Or if a student has completed one of your programs, you can speak to ways that they can build on their skills or knowledge base with another program.

    You can then customize social media content, search ads and email campaigns to match the specific needs that the prospect or customer has.

    5. Lead Nurturing

    Without marketing automation, lead nurturing probably falls on a team member that already has many other tasks on their plate. And while they are doing their best to respond quickly, automated messages will always be faster and timely interactions can make all the difference in closing a lead.

    That’s why marketing automation is so powerful. Lead nurturing starts the moment a prospect completes a form or shows interest in your program. You can create email drip campaigns to offer additional information and guide students in the best next steps to interact with you.

    As you go through more interactions, you can learn more about what's working with your drip campaigns and what needs to be revised by tapping into reports and analytics.

    How Enrichment Programs Can Use Marketing Automation

    If you're just getting started with marketing automation, it's best to start small and look for easy wins. Once you've completed the onboarding process with your marketing automation software, get started with these steps.

    1. Implement forms on your website that integrate seamlessly with your marketing automation platform. Make sure you’re asking helpful questions to segment your audience, such as creating lists of parents and teens or asking the form-filler what program they are most interested in.
    2. Get started with one lead nurturing campaign of 3-5 emails. This can be general information about your organization and what teens learn from the program or how it aids in their success. Focus on your target audience and less on yourself. So make sure these emails tell student stories and lead with their point of view instead of yours.
    3. Monitor how your lead nurturing campaign is doing and make adjustments accordingly. For example, you might learn the best days of the week and times of day to send emails based on your audience. Or you might discover that one of the emails in the series is not resonating with your audience like the rest. If that’s the case, brainstorm ways you can improve that email.
    4. Continue to build out lead nurturing series based on each program or audience segment to make them more personalized to your audience’s interests and needs. This process could take several months or even a year. That’s why setting up a general lead nurture series to get started can be beneficial.
    5. Expand your marketing automation use to additional channels, such as SMS, social media, search ads, etc.

    Closing More Leads with Marketing Automation

    One of the largest struggles that teen enrichment programs face is closing more leads. Once they’ve met a prospective student at a fair or through their website, they aren’t sure what to do next other than calling the student or parent to learn more. But people are busy and connecting over the phone or through back-and-forth email interactions simply isn’t as effective as it used to be.

    Effective marketing automation helps you make the most of every lead by increasing conversion rates through targeted messaging and interactions.

    Looking for ways to bring in more leads? TeenLife Media has many advertising opportunities to put your program in front of your target audience. Learn more and reach out to us with questions.

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    For more information on this and other great programs for high school students, go to www.teenlife.com.