Marketing is like being in a relationship. And as a marketer, there are several stages you go through with your prospects: from the first date (or communication) where you spend time getting to know them, to learning and adapting to their interests and needs, and then the subsequent dates (or emails, messages, and communication) where you continue to build the relationship with hopes that it’ll flourish and become long-term.

There was a time when sending out single channel emails manually could garner success, but like every new channel that starts out successfully, as the number of adopters rises, the channel’s effectiveness decreases—in the case of email, this means that your emails may have historically been successful for you, but their success may diminish as your prospects are flooded with emails from every business. But don’t be discouraged by this, because single channel marketing is a thing of the past.

Fortunately, there are technologies like marketing automation platforms that support integrated, multi-channel campaigns (both online and offline) that are automated and trigger-based. You can personalize your emails with data-driven insights and then expand your reach by empowering your audience to become brand advocates for a happy, long-term relationship, let’s look at how this works:

Email + Data= A match made in heaven

Insight is no longer an option, but a necessity when trying to generate and nurture your potential customers to fruition. If the email you’re sending doesn’t relate to a prospect or contact personally, it’s not going to be effective. But there is a solution, and it’s one that marketers will approve of. A romance has blossomed and bloomed between email and data in the form of marketing automation. Marketing automation helps marketers address their need to employ personalization at scale by using data gathered from prospective customers to send the right message, to the right customer, at the right time in the purchase cycle.

When considering your approach to emails, think about how you would act on a first date. On a first date (at least a successful one), you wouldn’t just blab about all the things you want out of a relationship without having any idea of what the other person desires and requires. While this example is a generalization, it highlights that you wouldn’t get you the response you want. Instead, when you’re trying to develop a new relationship, you need to approach it as a learning experience. Just like a great date, you need to listen to the behavior of your prospects and use this insight to shape a personalized nurture strategy (next text message, email, or date).

A Whirlwind Romance

Marketing automation provides you with powerful insight to develop the personalized nurture strategy that’s required when cultivating a successful email campaign. Through marketing automation, you can successfully court your contacts by:

  • Implementing triggered cross-channel behavior emails when a prospect digitally interacts with your brand to show your prospect that you understand their needs and can satisfy them
  • Creating automated workflows that start by sending welcome emails to make your prospects feel appreciated and continue to nurture them to conversion
  • Sending personalized emails at scale so that the recipients feel a more individualized connection to your brand
  • Implementing scoring to listen to what your prospect’s actions are saying and respond accordingly

In fact, out of those who successfully nurtured their contacts with personalized emails via a marketing automation platform, 77% got through those “first dates” (first emails) and saw an increase in their conversions, according to VB Insight. So there’s no need to keep sending emails blindly when there are such promising alternatives.

Successful relationships are about trust

Like any relationship, getting through the initial stages is just the start. Without trust, you have nothing. To be successful, you need to build trust by staying true to your words and being reliable and reputable. With marketing automation, you can keep track of your contact’s preferences in terms of frequency of communication, interest and more, in addition to listening to their behavior across channels to deliver a personal and relevant message. Showing your potential customer and customers that you listen and understand them as well as respect their preferences is the first step in building trust and establishing a strong relationship. Once you’ve established this, the next step is to gain their loyalty and encourage them to become brand advocates.

A complementary technology to marketing automation that’s ripe and ready to do this is referral marketing software. Referral marketing software taps into the trust of your current customers, employees, and partners to empower them to break through the noise of your competitors and refer their family, friends and professional network to your business.

When you give your customers, employees, and partners the tools and technology to advocate for your brand, with just a push of a button, they can send personalized email template from themselves, to their family, friends and professional network in referral of your business. This process expands the circle of trust that was previously built between your customer, employee, and partner and their referral to include your business.

In fact, a study showed that customers are 400% more likely to buy when a product or service is recommended by someone they know according to  Nielsen.

Start exploring the channels that will empower your emails to reach maturity and build successful relationships. Learn more about marketing automation and referrals today. And discover how they can work together to drastically increase your quantity of quality leads.

cta referral quiz

Originally published on Marketo

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