People don’t use one or two channels when they buy. Instead, they hit several – bouncing around from device to blogs posts to Google to social to email to a review aggregator, back to Google again and then to your website.
It’s a mess; a chaotic, nonlinear path that’s hard to predict, and almost certainly hard to plan.
But you can almost always count on the use of several different channels along this wild ride. Which means one ad ain’t gonna cut it. One email neither. (Especially because that one’s getting more competitive than ever.)
Fortunately, viable channels are always available, as new ones replace old ones in adoption and preference.
There’s no better example than SMS. While it used to be relegated to the bench, reserved only for hokey one-off promotions, SMS is now being used as a broader messaging platform.
Here’s why, and how to connect with your Facebook Ads.
How Digital Marketing Works in a Multi-Channel World
Successfully advertising on Facebook typically requires a funnel; a multi-stage process that spends equal time on developing brand awareness, generating and nurturing leads, before slowly-but-surely converting sales.
This process plays out as a microcosm on one platform, however, it’s the perfect example of what’s happening at large.
Most of your customer interactions are now going to be multi-event, multi-device.
In a world where all impulse and commoditized purchases go to Amazon Prime (why would you shop anywhere else?!), the larger and more complex purchases have their own proactive research stage (christened the Zero Moment of Truth by those with skin in the game), that precedes the 6-8 minimum touches you’re going to need before converting someone.
These new ‘omnichannel shoppers’ might sound like a lot of work and particularly high maintenance (“Damn millennials!”), but they’re worth it – as the lifetime value can be 30% higher (than single-channel ones).
So instead of one and done – Wham ! Bam ! Thank You Ma’am ! – peeps are going to use each and every channel on their way to your website. You can see evidence of this by selecting your own industry in Google’s The Customer Journey to Online Purchase tool:
With so many plates in the air and so many messages across so many channels, things get tough to coordinate (let alone execute).
Enter marketing automation, which relies on a central database where contacts can be sliced and diced thousands of ways so that each is seeing their own unique messaging at the right time.
And it works!
Companies using marketing automation can see a 53% higher conversion rates vs. non-users, according to the Aberdeen Group.
For example, when you marry Facebook advertising and emails, good things unsurprisingly happen.
Using both in tandem (as opposed to both, isolated), can deliver customers who’re 22% more likely to purchase:
But marketing automation doesn’t just mean email. In fact, successful email marketing is getting so tough and competitive that you should be exploring other areas outside of email – like SMS.
Where are email open rates? 15%? Maybe mid-twenties if you’re lucky or exceptional? Try 99% with SMS.
Think that’s just those damn millennials again? Business people would never react the same?
In one study, executives replied that they “couldn’t go 10 minutes without responding to a text”. Ten. Minutes. And you wonder why nothing gets done anymore.
Texting used to be relegated to the backwaters of digital marketing, used exclusively by shysters and their pushy brethren. Today, though, it’s beginning to enter a renaissance and be welcomed to the forefront, as the broader trend of messaging is suddenly becoming a ‘thing’.
Let’s start with the basics first to see how it works.
Redbox – you know, the thing you used before Apple TV – once ran a mobile marketing campaign where customers had to text something to a specific shortcode to receive a limited time discount on their next DVD rental (remember those?!). To promote this campaign, Redbox promoted the campaign to their 3 million Facebook fans (along with sending out an email and notifications on point-of-sale units).
This is your standard Promoted Post and top-of-the-funnel display stuff. Simple, right? Earned, owned and paid.
The results would be as you’d expect from a huge company with a massive audience: “400,000 customers generating 1.5 million SMS messages in only 10 days”, according to Tatango.
Six Flags, the amusement park mecca, ran a similar ‘text-to-win’ promotion, generating promotion across in-park, radio, and social, opting-in 5,000 mobile subscribers along the way.
Again, the basics. This is how SMS campaigns have been run for some time now, where Facebook’s influence is mostly basic demand-gen.
So let’s kick things up a notch.
How to Combine Facebook Lead Ads and SMS Nurturing
Today, as consumer behavior has become more accepting to receiving SMS marketing, our tools have gotten a helluva lot better as well.
That means you can now run more sophisticated campaigns where SMS is folded in, augmenting your traditional email-based approach to nurture and convert new leads.
Facebook introduced Lead Ads a little over a year ago, in an effort to make the process of filling out forms online a lot less painful.
The advertiser can ask for and select different criteria, while all the mobile user has to do is hit a button and they’re opted-in.
AdEspresso’s own early tests at the time showed great results (look at that freaking Cost Per Lead!).
Then around the beginning of the year, AdEspresso released the excellent Data Sync feature that would allow you to sync database information in real time with your favorite CRMs.
This handy little tool will automatically pull in new leads generated and add them to you an email list, which can then power custom audiences and be combined with the power of marketing automation. (Read Ana’s great guide on setting up your lead generation ads sync for details).
The important part here, is that once you get people into a HubSpot list, the possibilities are truly endless.
Most good, reputable email service providers have basic automation features today. We’re going to zero-in on HubSpot’s though because it gives you a combination of power and flexibility.
HubSpot’s workflows feature allows you to create multi-part automation sequences, getting triggered by one action (like when someone joins a list) and removing those people when a goal is hit (like completing a purchase).
Triggering emails is the basic step, however, you can also create more complex IF/THEN paths depending on if people DO or DON’T complete a certain action you’re looking for.
Recently my company was doing some competitive research for a prospect. Specifically, we were going through a competitor’s initial lead generation flow to see what they were doing well (or not so well).
We went through an ad’s landing page (don’t worry, we didn’t click on the ad – that would be mean!) and completed a form on their site to record what happened next.
Instead of being met with the traditional email-based follow up, we were met with these text messages:
First up, a confirmation message letting us know they were going to be in touch soon. Next, a follow-up message based on the action we did not take.
Look familiar? Exactly like an IF/THEN path in HubSpot. Hmmmmmm…
But how would you do such a thing you ask? How do you get a marketing automation or CRM to kick off a SMS notification? Zapier.
This amazing little app will allow you to hack marketing automation for pennies on the dollar; performing and delivering complex marketing campaigns that would literally cost tens-to-hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Look at all the possibilities:
So you go from Facebook Lead Gen Ads, sync those contacts with AdEspresso to your favorite CRM that will control who’s contacted, when, and why.
Next, you connect Zapier to said CRM so that you can send those over to one of MANY SMS providers (like TextMagic for example).
Now you’re in business. This isn’t just a one-way sync, though. Remember, the funnel!
So people look around. Interact with a few of your messages, and eventually fill out a form or complete another action that moves them to a new stage in your funnel.
Not really. You can still create-and-power custom audiences to retarget these people on Facebook; sending them targeted messages (again, in multiple channels) in order to get them to complete your next desired action (like additional purchases or referrals).
If you’re just looking to dip your toe into the proverbial waters, you can also use Zapier to bypass a CRM, instead connecting Facebook Lead Ads with Burst SMS directly.
First, you create a Trigger (New Facebook Lead), and then select the desired Action (send SMS to an individual number).
This approach is a little more static. More like a follow-up notification as opposed to the more powerful (and effective) results of using a fully-featured CRM that can fire off dynamic, personalized SMS messages.
But on the other hand, you can set this up in like an hour or two. So a new test awaits you this afternoon – with no excuses or barriers to slow you down anymore.
One ad campaign doesn’t cut it anymore. One email blast doesn’t either.
Today’s consumers are more sophisticated, and more leery of empty marketing messages. They research and jump around to different channels to make sure that the product or service they’re about to try out is the right one.
That means our approach (as marketers) and the strategies or messaging we’re sending out needs to be way more nuanced, nimble and informed than ever before.
The good news is that we can tap more recent developments like the deadly combination of Facebook Lead Ads, marketing automation, and SMS notifications to literally blow the competition out of the water.
Our messages will be more targeted, more personal, better timed, with more opens and higher response rates than anything else they’re going to see.
It will mimic exactly what consumers are already doing (or trying to do), and it will deliver a much better experience for both of us as a result.