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slot-machine-multi-armed bandit testing

How to optimize your drip campaigns with multi-armed bandit testing?

slot-machine-multi-armed bandit testing

Experimenting with your contents is a must-have thing if you are a marketer. But there are some cases when the well-known split testing methodology doesn’t provide satisfying results. Therefore you need to utilize multi-armed bandit testing! Here you will know what it is, how it is different, when it is better and how can you use it in practice.

What is multi-armed bandit testing?

The multi-armed bandit problem has a famous analogy in probability theory: a gambler goes into a casino and sees a row of one-armed bandits (slot machines). The gambler naturally wants to play on the machines that have the biggest chance of winning.

So he needs to know in which order and how many times he should play on the machines. When he starts to play with them, every machine has a specific probability distribution that will give him a reward. The gambler’s goal is to maximize his overall reward in the end of the day.

The same problem applies when it comes to optimization in marketing: you have different assumptions that need to be tested at a time. So you just “pull the levers” (CTAs, images, copies, headlines, subject lines, etc.), experiment with them and try to maximize your “rewards” (conversion rate).

AB testing or multi-armed bandit testing?

The great debate

There is a debate between A/B test and multi-armed bandit believers. Some of them prove that A/B testing is better because XY… some of them try to do the same for multi-armed bandit algorithms.

Well, the funny thing is that both solutions come from academic methodologies, therefore, both of them require academic approach. Academicians want to disprove their own statements but when the debate got started in the marketing communities, they tried to disprove each others’ approaches.

They use academic language and arguments with not academic argumentation behaviour… Funny.

So just to be honest: both solutions are really good. Just for different use cases.

How does it work?

To understand how it works, you need to understand the simple A/B testing and then you’ll be able to differentiate the bandit testing. It’s a little bit mathematics and statistics but it can be easily understood without numbers and formulas.

AB testing

AB-test-exploration-and-exploitation

In split testing, you have an A and a B version of a landing page, a website, an email or ad.

You send 50% of your traffic to the A and 50% to the B variation. You run this test until you reach significant result: when the sample is high enough to prove that the higher conversion rate of a version is not accidental. For example, 97% significance means that one of the versions performs better with the probability of 97%.

In A/B testing you run the experiment until you have a winner version that is significant enough. This is the period where you assign 50% of your visitors randomly to A or B version. This what statisticians call “pure exploration”.

After you have a winner, the “pure exploitation” part starts. In this stage, you send the 100% of your visitors to the winning version.

So you have a sample, you learn from it then you implement the learnt things – this is the sequence.

But the problem with this is that the exploration and exploitation are two distrinct stages.

Multi-armed bandit testing

AB-test-exploration-and-exploitation-multiarmed

Multi-armed bandit testing is different from A/B/N testing because it says:

  • the transition between exploration and exploitation should be more smooth
  • and the data collection (exploration) phase wastes too much time and resources

While split testing uses the pure exploration and pure exploitation phases that are really distinct, multi-armed bandit testing tries to mix the two phases. It means that it adaptively changes and continuously mixes exploration and exploitation.

As a result, you will earn and learn. As Matt Gershoff said, during exploration phase you learn but it has a cost: you lose opportunities. But if you can decrease the cost of exploration by immediate implementation of your learnings into exploitation, you’ll have higher ROI.

So multi-armed bandit algorithms work for only one goal: to reduce the possibility of sending traffic to lower performing variations as fast as it is possible. This way the cost of experimentation will decrease.

What are the situations where bandit testing comes handy for marketers and why?

According to Matt Gershoff, if you don’t really want to spend time on understanding but only on running the optimization, this is the way to go. But it is just one approach, there are 2 different use cases when multi-armed bandit testing will perform better.

Short tests

If you have a campaign that lasts only for few days or just a week you can’t conduct A/B tests because by the time you’d reach significance, the campaign is already over.

Therefore you have to mix the exploration and exploitation periods to have higher conversion rate. This is why you have to use multi-armed bandit algorithms.

A very good example is when you have a promotion that is just 1 day long: Black Friday. If you would run A/B test, you wouldn’t have enough time to test. Although it could reach significance but you lost more than the half of the day by that time.

Therefore the multi-armed bandit algorithm will adaptively send more traffic to the better-performing variations. (Said, Stephen Pavlovich.)

Long tests

There are 3 main examples when multi-armed bandit testing will outperform split testing.

Scaling your drip campaigns

When you have a process that doesn’t need big changes and continuously runs over and over and over again, you need to use multi-armed bandit testing. This way you don’t even have to take a look at them it will continuously increase your conversion rate. It is an ongoing test.

Chains of conversion points

The best example again is when you have a drip campaign with 3 emails that have the same goal (that truly can be anything). Every touch point will have a chance to convert them but the best way to optimize the overall conversion rate of your drip campaign: send the best 3 versions of emails automatically.

Content and ad distribution

When you have two types of users, one has a common behaviour and one behaves a little bit differently, you can utilize multi-armed bandit testing to serve the common users correctly but still experiment with the other users.

How can you implement bandit testing for your drip campaigns?

If you have a drip campaign that needs continuos improvement, unfortunately, there is no solution to do that right now. But Automizy will be the first one which implements machine learning to make marketers life easier in its upcoming feature.

The closed beta will be released this year September-October, if you want to be among the first few hundred people who can find it out, you subscribe here now.
In addition, you can check a quick overview how it will work in practice. Check the video below!

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User acquisition is like porn

Copy these 14 easy tips to improve your user acquisition process

 

User acquisition is like porn

User acquisition can always be improved. Especially with little, smart tricks. It can easily happen that you make just one little tweak and you will win a lot. Therefore I collected 14 smart tips on how you can improve your user acquisition process.

Short wins of user acquisition

Short wins can be gained by little changes that can be implemented rapidly.

1.    Positioning with pricing the right way

Experimenting with your pricing will have an immediate impact on your user acquisition and on your income too.

If you start with low price, you automatically position your brand for little companies or for people with a lower salary. In addition, you will probably have a higher rate of user acquisition.

But keep in mind that user acquisition is not only defined by the price itself. You can experiment with it: say that you increase your prices after every X amount of new users. Why is it important? Because it is possible that you leave a lot of money on the table.

‘…if you start out at say $100 and increase that by 5% each time, after 34 customers you’ll be at $500 (or if you start at $1000, you’ll be at $5000 by your 34th customer). That’s a big increase, but if you’re still not getting 20% pushback, keep raising the price until you do. Or you might run into that pushback at $105.” – says Lincloln Murphy in his article about Pricing Strategy Framework for SaaS Startups.

But always communicate the change of pricing to your existing customers, promise them that you won’t raise their fee. Later on, you can try to make them upgrade by releasing new features to your higher pricing package.

2.   Hide “frightening” contents

I’m sure you have contents that are unavoidable if a user wants to use your solution. Generally, these are small snippets of code, that make your user frightened.

I’m sure you met at least once Google Analytics tracking code. What did you feel when you were requested to insert it into the right place?

I know that for a techie it is not a difficulty at all. But if you want more people to insert that code, there is a great solution: Hide it!

For example, you can offer 3 CTA buttons:

  • Copy the code (I’m inserting it myself)
  • Use some kind of integration (like WordPress)
  • Send the instructions and the code to the programmer guy

With this approach, you successfully hid the code that was so frightening while offered 3 solutions that could make the user life easier.

3.   Follow-up subscribers who don’t log in

Usually, SaaS products have a two-step process for the first login:

  1. User gives email address and name (or logs in with social media)
  2. User goes into his inbox and confirms the registration process

Believe it or not, not just the first step is a conversion point: you can lose users when it comes to confirmation too. I’m sure you noticed it already if not, I promise you will.

For this reason, you can set up a short drip campaign that’s goal to make the user login for the first time.

How can you do that?

  1. Attach a tag e.g. “notconfirmed_user” with an API-call to users who registers
  2. Change the “notconfirmed_user” tag to e.g. “confirmed_user” with the other API-call for users who confirms
  3. Wait 1 day for the first login
  4. If user doesn’t have the “confirmed_user” tag after 1 day (that means he hasn’t clicked the confirmation link in the email), send a follow-up email automatically
  5. You can continue until you make user login

These emails should follow the thumb rule of BUS (Benefit-, Urgency-, Scarcity focused emails).

In Automizy it looks like this:

Login nurture

4.   Build email list with pre-launch campaigns

If you want to release a new feature (or a whole new product) it is very important to run pre-launch campaigns. Why?

  • You can see how your actual customers and new prospects react to your upcoming feature
  • You can collect feedback and suggestions even before the official launch
  • You will have users from day one
  • You can leverage their network for higher reach
  • It may bring in new customers

We wrote a case study that shows how we collected 100+ subscribers to our closed beta in 6 hours even before it existed.

5.  Next-gen split testing

One of the most important things marketers do is creating assumptions, testing, evaluating and starting it over and over again.

But what are the problems with it?

  • You need to perform a high volume of experiments at a time. (For example testing email subject lines, CTAs or copies of every newsletter or drip campaign you send out on a daily or weekly basis.)
  • You need a high volume of traffic to make sure your result is significant.

The solution for that challenge is implementing multi-armed bandit algorithms that will continuously play around with the weights of your email variations as more and more leads go through your drip campaigns.

6.  Notify influencers that you mentioned them

Influencer Marketing is one of your biggest weapons. Write a blog post and mention influencers’ articles in it. But it is not enough: tell them in a tweet or/and in an email that you mentioned them. Don’t ask for sharing, they will if they like your content.

7.  PR with HARO

Do you know HARO?

It means “Help a Reporter Out”. It is basically a database for journalists – so they can easily access information.

In addition, it connects business experts with journalists on specific topics. After signing up, you can tell what fields you are interested in.

After that, you will get emails with a big list of questions and topics. These topics come from journalists – what they are interested in, what they want to write about. If you notice a topic that is related to your product you can respond to it – and win PR coverage for your business as easy as never before.

Long run wins of user acquisition

Long run wins take time to implement but totally worth the time and effort you invest in it.

1. Identify “AHA” moment

Identifying success milestones are one of the most important parts of your user acquisition. And it is not the process of logs in, uses the product, gives credit card, pays, buys upsell and becomes a promoter.

As Lincoln Murphy says, this is your process:

“Those are phases of the customer lifecycle and – if they should even be considered milestones – they’re YOUR milestones as the vendor… they’re based around your success.”

Mapping out the desired outcome and the steps your users take is very important but takes time.

2. Send upsell offer when success milestone is reached

But after you managed to identify the success milestones, the “aha” moments of your users, you’ll have superpowers. Well, at least your product.

You just have to send upsell emails or calls and make your users upgrade. You will be surprised how effective these offers will be.

Do you like this tip? Try it out for yourself!

3. Have the right marketing software pack

But you can’t build your growth engine without the right software stack. As you reach product-market fit, you will need software for scaling up.

This is why we collected the must-have tools for you. Or just visit saas.community’s software stash.

4. Write content that is 10X better

You can read on different blogs that you need to create 10X better articles than your competitors. Speaking about this is much easier than doing it in practice.

But you can have help: try AtomicReach that will give your content a score with the help of machine learning.

Based on data you will get hints on how to write a content that truly works for different types of audiences like Specialists, Experts or Academic people.

5. Curate contents that are really good

Curating great contents and sharing them with your audience is always a great thing when it comes to user acquisition. It will help you build trust and it will help you improve your user acquisition process.

But it is very tiring. Monitoring the media and blogs is annoying because you have to read lots of trash contents. This is why Vestorly is a great choice.

This smart tool is an A.I. driven content curation solution that automatically identifies the best contents and shares it for you. Basically, it does everything you would do.

No more manual intervention and reading trash contents.

Unfortunately, it is for only financial services…

6. Build partnerships on social media

If you see other companies sharing complementary contents to your product, you need to check their service. If they don’t in your market but offers a solution that helps your business, share, retweet their content.

Send them a PM that they can update you if they have a new piece of content on their blog and you will share it with your network.

They will be pleased and probably will do the same for your contents.

In addition, it can develop into a long-lasting relationship where you help each other not only with tweets but maybe with affiliate marketing. Win-win situation. User acquisition made easy.

7. Helpful free and low-cost products

Break your SaaS product into pieces!

If you can split your solution or build new free and low-cost products, your user acquisition will be much better.

Indispensable offers will make your prospects make an impulse buy and will grant you high user acquisition.

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Automatic client onboarding emails

6 smart steps To Start with automatic client onboarding emails

Automatic client onboarding emails

As you may know, autoresponders are dead for user onboarding. You need to send targeted messages to your users according to their behaviour in your software. In this article, I show you the 6 steps of automating your onboarding emails from planning to execution: how to use success milestones as event triggers, how to use API calls for that purpose, how to build your client onboarding emails on it and more. And I show it on an imagined, example software. Just for fun, I called this company “Imaginatory”. I hope there aren’t any company with this name – don’t have money for lawyers.

Step 1: Identify success milestones for your client onboarding emails

As you certainly know, the buyer journey of your users can be divided into steps, those steps could be grouped into functional categories. This is a must-have to send the right client onboarding emails. Every category is a success milestone: the steps that were taken by the user, while he started to feel the benefit if your product. (Lincoln Murphy – my customer success idol – speaks a lot about this and shows you how to think about the desired outcome).

Your users have desired end results, and they hope that they will achieve it using your software. Every success milestone is a proof that the product is able to help them reach it. So the more success milestone is accomplished by your user, the higher the chance that he’ll be a client and later on a promoter.

But your users can take various steps to reach milestones and have various sequences of success milestones. This is why behavior-based communication is so powerful: it supports personalization and timing.

So you have to identify these milestones and organize your communication around these events.

Below you can see the UI of an example, not existing software (it is a free bootstrap template that is downloaded). I’ll show the whole process on this software (I call it “Imaginatory”).

UI of example software

Let’s say, that the guys at “Imaginatory” found this: if a user accomplishes 2 specific tasks, it is a success milestone. It’s because they started to realize the benefit they can have with it. (I think you know that story with Twitter: if you have at least X number of people to connect with, you have much higher probability of sticking to it).

So in our example company, we have 3 milestones:

The first milestone is someone registers to the service, receives a confirmation email and then logs in the first time.

First time login

The second milestone is when a user creates his first “General Form” in the system. See below the activity:

Creates first General Form

The third milestone is when someone segments the graph on the dashboard according to a new time period. Let’s see below:

Segmenting graph according to new time period

At “Imaginatory”, the imagined guys think that if a user from a specific buyer persona does these things, they will have much higher chance to convert him from user to paying client. So it doesn’t matter how fast he reaches this point, they will try to sell the product.

It can happen on the first day or on the last of the 2-week trial. Client onboarding emails can sell your product much earlier than you would expect it, especially if you offer some kind of advantage: for instance, if a user upgrades to the paid version during the first 3-4 days, you give him a discount.

Step 2: Plan communication and manage tags

As a marketer, you probably know that personalized buyer journeys have much higher potential of conversion. In our example, we chose marketing automation for that purpose as a tool and email as a channel.

So after you chose the right events, you have to plan the right messages too. I guess you already have a working, established messaging system – if don’t, you don’t have anything to automate and you should postpone MA implementation.

The only thing you need to discover for yourself is the structure of your messages and how they support each other. It always has to point at the logical next step for the user. It can be really anything but needs to support the most important goal. To be honest, your goal is not to make them pay for your service. That is a business goal, not the user’s intention. You need to make you users see the benefits they can gain from your software.

Based on the behavior of the users, they’ll receive your messages that are relevant, personalized and helps them achieve their desired end result. But from our POV it is very important to understand as much as we can our users – no question we need to track their actions.

In Automizy system, you can use “tags” for that purpose. You can easily add tags to people manually or automatically in our workflow editor. But before you start the execution, you need to think through which event should “trigger” a tag and what those tags should be.

In this example, I used 4 tags:

  • firstlogin: when someone logs in the first time
  • successmilestone1: in this example, it shows people who created a “General Form”
  • successmilestone2: when somebody changes the time period on the dashboard
  • payingclient: people who are converted to paying customer from trial user

In reality, you can have over 100 tags in your system and you’ll always know where to intervene manually and which tags should trigger an email sending. Without a good “tag strategy”, you’ll have big difficulties later on so pay attention to it!

Tag management for onboarding

Step 3: Setup events for milestones

After choosing the user actions as triggers, now the time has come to ask the help of a programmer (if you don’t have the skill for that). The process below shows how I set up the API call for the login success milestone. The same process applies for the rest of the success milestones.

The first step is to create a new workflow in Automizy system and choose API calls as a trigger. In the pop-up window, you’ll see a snippet of code that should be copied:

Copying API call code from automatism

Next, you have to enter the source code of your own software. In the video below you can see a source code of the example software. You just have to paste the copied snippet of code to the desired places (in this case to the login code). In addition, you have to do some customization and the process is finished: every time someone clicks on the login button the first time, an API call will be sent to your Automizy account. If you don’t use Automizy, no prob, other systems may support it as well and the process is pretty much the same.

Insert API code into software

In our system, you can have another way to implement API calls that are already combined with tags. This second solution is when you insert the tags in the triggered events themselves. In this case, Automizy automatically adds it to your existing tag group. This way you don’t have to build your workflow in the editor and always add or remove a tag from a contact person after an API call happens. You can simply choose a tag as a trigger to send your client onboarding emails. Therefore your automatic drip campaign will launch if a contact gets one specific or more tags from API calls. The same happens if manual tagging or just from simple automatic tagging has happened.

The first solution is good for companies that don’t want a complicated messaging system. The second one is for companies that have software with lots of available actions that could be used as triggers.

Step 4: Write your emails and setup your drip emails

Now that you have all your events setup as triggers, build your emails on it. Write your emails and attach them to the right workflow.

Write client onboarding emails

In our example, the process and emails will be in this “sequence”:

  • if a user logs in the first time, receives a “welcome aboard” email, gets the “firstlogin” tag
  • if a user creates his first “General Form”, he gets a “You’re awesome” email with a CTA in it. The button shows the next logical step. But always make sure that the CTA button straightly links to the subpage in the software where we want the user to accomplish the next stage), receives the “successmilestone1” tag
  • if a user changes the time period on the dashboard, he gets a sales email, that asks for a credit card as the next logical step, the contact gets the ““successmilestone2” tag
  • if the contact person pays for the service, gets the “payingclient” tag

This flow doesn’t have to stop here. Educational materials, upsell offers at the right time can be sent out to your clients. In addition, it is ONE buyer journey. There are probably much more than this on your own system. You can create paths like this for every buyer persona you have.

The more buyer personas you have, the more stages and bottlenecks you identify, the more complex your automated messaging system will become. In this example, I wanted to share with you a simple user and customer onboarding process and email series.

Step 5 (optional): Setup follow-up autoresponders

If your messages work well enough, you will see that there will be users who simply won’t open your client onboarding emails, only a few of them. This is a very bad thing because this way you won’t be able to guide them.

Therefore you can setup drip campaigns on your basic, behavior based emails. For example, after a user creates his “General Form” in our example, he gets the “You’re awesome” email but doesn’t open it. Therefore he won’t know his next logical step.

In this case, you can create your drip campaigns: if someone doesn’t open this email, he’ll get the email with other subject lines. You can repeat it 2-3 times with other subject lines. Because the goal here is to make him open your email. And if you can hit him with a subject line that fits his taste, you will be on track again. Just don’t be too pushy.

Drip campaign on user onboarding email

Step 6 (compulsory): Test your client onboarding emails

After you started your journey with behaviour based, client onboarding emails, you must not stop. As traffic goes through your workflows, you will always have the chance to continuously improve the conversion rate of your emails.

This where AB testing can be good. But it is pretty difficult to conduct these experiments for your emails with the current solutions out there.

And you know what? AB testing is a bad choice for continuous, ongoing optimization purposes. It is great for short experiments… But if you want better results, you should utilize a brand new approach that was used by Google Experiments.

The multi-armed bandit testing. This is the solution, where machine learning algorithms substitute your repetitive work. You will only have to pay attention to the results. In the upcoming articles, I will explain what the multi-armed bandit testing is and explain why it is better than AB testing in the case of drip campaign optimization.

Until that, check our explainer video that shows how it can be performed easily, automatically.

14-marketing-experts on AI in MA

14 Marketing Experts’ opinions on how Artificial Intelligence could be used in Marketing Automation

14-marketing-experts on AI in MA

While Artificial Intelligence is conquering the chatbot world, something similar is happening in the Marketing Automation industry too. Innovative, new technologies are appearing day by day that reinvents the way we – marketers – do our daily routine. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence fundamentally change our job description: solves different pain points we and our company face and help us move to a more strategic position. We need to know what type of skills we have to learn before it is too late. Therefore I asked 14 seasoned experts about their opinion: how could Artificial Intelligence be used in Marketing Automation? 

1. Automatic optimization

Conversion rate optimization is one of the tool sets that can radically improve our campaigns’ performance. The most important procedure is AB and multivariate testing. The problem is that we have to perform high volume of little experiments, pay attention continuously, send enough volume of traffic to make our results significant, interpret the data the right way… And everything is performed manually. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence could save a lot of time when it comes to optimizing our messages and emails.

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Most marketers test manually… imagine several iterations automatically populating and optimizing in real-time. Exciting stuff!
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Marketing Technology Entrepreneur, Consultant, Author, Speaker and Blogger

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One opportunity I see for artificial intelligence, in regards to marketing automation, is the ability to optimize the marketing and sales funnels automatically. It could help form the top paths for a successful conversion down to the close of a customer. This could also allow for easier multi variate testing and knowing that the best version of your test will automatically be used when verified as the winner. Then through the knowledge gained in the tests other suggestions could be made for you that are furthering your funnel’s clarity and optimizing it further.
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I love the principle of Artificial Intelligence in marketing and I think currently there is not enough investment of time and resource placed on this by SME’s, I believe this may be down to a lack of understanding by business owners/marketers as to what Artificial Intelligence actually is? e.g. The Terminator.If the uses of Artificial Intelligence in popular websites such as Facebook, airbnb & Amazon was better explained, I think a greater number of people would pay attention to it. PPC campaigns would benefit from Artificial Intelligence, being able to split test your headlines whilst optimizing you bid amount automatically would be a massive time saver and may even provide better results. I also think being able to understand exit intent from users would be a massive success using Artificial Intelligence, being able to predetermine if someone intends to your leave your website and generic a specific offer would help increase conversions no end.
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Marketing Manager

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I believe that Google may already be doing this, but using AI to drive the best marketing medium for the stage the customer is at in the sales funnel. I believe this also utilizes a cost function to determine if the increase in conversion rate of a certain more expensive medium, such as direct mail, would ultimately lead to an increase in profits and not just revenues.
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Business Intelligence Analyst & Consultant

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+Bonus info: Click here to Check out our video that shows how A.I. optimizes your drip campaigns automatically!

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2. Do the dirty work

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” Who said it? (LMGTFY) Well, you know, marketers should be lazy. Work smarter… and focus on the more important things.

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[trx_quote title=”Tim Chard”]
So much of what marketers do in automation workflows is a slight step up from manual labor – it’s “clicking”. And this “clicking” could save us all a ton of time if it was replaced by smarter AI. Clicking the “winner” in an A/B test. Clicking on a set of dates to test. Clicking on a “pop up” or a “slide in”. I want AI to take away all my clicking for me, and handle all the testing that goes along with it. Just don’t take away my job ENTIRELY.
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Marketing Director

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3. Highly personalized buyer journeys

Personalization is one of the most effective ways to imitate one to one communication. Doesn’t matter whether you are a B2C or B2B company, in fact, you have to perform H2H (human to human) communication. At least this is taught by the science of persuasion and the experts. But in the era of social isolation, it has to be more and more targeted and specific. We need to understand our prospects and clients as deeply as never before. In addition, we need to understand their success milestones that are unique to every person! Therefore no surprise: setting up buyer journeys are becoming more and more complex and we are failing at it. A brand new, A.I. supported technology is needed to perform what humans simply can’t.

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[trx_quote title=”David Raab”]
Artificial intelligence has many applications throughout marketing automation. The most common today are helping to select personalized messages for individual customers and prospects. We are seeing AI used to select the best timing for messages and the best channels, again on an individual basis. This points to a movement away from conventional campaigns, where the marketer decides at the start to select a group of people who meet specified criteria, to a journey management approach where the system will assess the current stage of each customer and automatically send messages appropriate to that stage. This will free the marketer from much laborious campaign design and instead allow her to focus on creating better offers and products to optimize long-term customer value.
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Marketing Technology and Analytics expert

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[trx_quote title=”Matt Heinz”]
We’re already seeing a significant acceleration in the use of big data and predictive analytics to drive personalized marketing and performance. I expect artificial intelligence will advance that further, making it easier to customize conversations with a wide and unlimited number of prospects moving forward.
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Sales acceleration, demand generation, pipeline management, customer lifetime value

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” It will revolutionize the user experience in e-commerce stores! For example, there is a trend to use AI in loyalty marketing. It will be soon a big hit among the features that loyalty programs, like Antavo, offer to marketers. The concept here is that based on certain loyalty members’ behavior, for example, if your loyalty member is on level 4th, and you know when they have their pay day, then during those weeks, the members automatically can double their points by purchasing products from your store. BUT! And here is coming the smartest thing: the AI will create different cohorts from your loyalty members, and each of them will be notified via emails with different kind of offers (not just double points days, but an invitation to Twitter contests or about the fact that a limited reward available in your store). The AI will measure which offers mobilize your loyalty members the most, and smartly send out those incentives to larger groups that drive more results for you. And this very same technology can be used other fields of ecomm marketing, like email marketing (Automizy), personalized product recommendations based on search results (Findify.io).

— Zsuzsa Kecsmar
Co-founder & CMO

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[trx_quote title=”Milena Mitova”]
Artificial Intelligence in Marketing automation can certainly help marketers drive more sales by optimizing click-through and response rates via improved personalisation that truly caters to the needs of the customer. Using AI to understand individual-level preferences will remove numerous conversion barriers and will definitely improve customer satisfaction – which is the ultimate sustainable differentiator for growth.
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Digital Marketing visibility, acquisition, & automation expert, blogger, affiliate marketer

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[trx_quote title=”Janos Feher”]
In classic marketing automation, you create the state machine upfront. No chance to reflect to personal circumstances, e.g. the usual time the user most engaged with the software, social preferences, feedbacks about the message (it was boring, annoying, irrelevant – users more active in telling their feelings when they are pissed off). AI can help make the campaign be more personal, therefore more valuable for both party.
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Lead Developer

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FYI: Only the first 100 people will get access to the closed beta as soon as we release it! Click here to become our awesome beta tester now!

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4. Supporting all levels of marketers

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is a high-end solution, isn’t it? No, it isn’t. Just think about your car: you can drive it without being a F1 racer. You just sit in your car, push the pedals and control the wheel without knowing anything about the digital signals and software that make your car move in the direction you want. It’s the same with Artificial Intelligence in Marketing Automation too.

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[trx_quote title=”Kelly J. Waffle”]
It’s just a matter of time before artificial intelligence (AI) will be used commonly in marketing automation. AI, with its science, data, machine learning, and algorithms, will take all the behaviorial, transactional, and demographic data in marketing automation to create better interactions with prospects and customers. AI and marketing automation will make marketing more targeted, predictable, and actionable for all levels of marketers.
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EVP – Help Sales & Marketing generate more revenue via technology, processes, content, strategy & data

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5. Merging data

We all experienced at least once in our life how important is to find answers to our questions at one place. For example: how frequently should I send emails to my clients? It would be even better if we could have one answer that is true and based on actual data. Not lots of suggestions, results of not representative research and similar unreliable or even contradictory information.

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How artificial intelligence can be used, there’s a lot of judgment calls in marketing. What keywords to target, how to design a landing page for conversions, what time to schedule tweets, and so on. The marketing technology space is producing more and more software companies focused on these specific problems. What could be really cool is these companies leveraging their data from all their customers to run machine learning to solve each of these problems. For instance, Unbounce announced at their Call to Action Conference that they were exploring machine learning with their landing page creators. This is both an astute business move (try competing with Unbounce “who designs winning pages for you”) and great for marketers – you can merge your insights with existing data to get better campaign results.

— Ed Fry
General Manager

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6. Content creation

Writing your messages is a very tiring task. And it is even more difficult, if you want to personalize every message. Artificial Intelligence is not very far away from solving this problem for you.

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I’m awaiting the day when an AI will actually draft emails and landing pages. There’s some nascent tech for that advanced natural language generation, but it’s only used to generate reports at the moment. The follow-up step would of course be to individualize the messages based on augmented data collected on its reader.
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Head of Marketing

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7. Proactivity

Do you know why startups are disrupting industries? They are agile and able to react to the market much faster than bigger companies. Therefore lots of multinational companies started to support their intrapreneurs, created spin-off projects and more. It seems that the faster you react, the better your situation is. But imagine what happens when you are not just reacting fast but able to anticipate your future? This is what we call “proactive”.

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Artificial Intelligence suddenly became a big part of our everyday life. It’s not just an interesting approach that will work in the far future and only can be read in books. Because machine learning algorithms are allowing us a 24/7 market research. From the programmatic buying POV, robots help advertisers continuously improve the performance of their campaigns and widen the scope of ads by recognizing patterns that are hidden from the human mind. So adaptation to the fast changing market has never been easier. And it is not only about fast adaptation but also about proactive actions. You take action even before something happens on the market. Predictive analytics is the solution for that and this is where A.I. could be used more and more!
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Founder and CEO

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If you have anything in mind about the question, please share it with us in a comment or on social media!

Artificial Intelligence for Marketing Automation

Optimize your email follow-ups automatically: introducing Artificial Intelligence for Marketing Automation

As we discussed before, it is difficult to test how frequently you should send your follow-up emails. In addition, it is nearly impossible to AB test your drip campaigns and your emails in it. Now – as we promised – we share an easy solution. Introducing artificial intelligence for marketing automation that is an automatic solution for drip campaign optimization. This is the last article of our 3 part blog post series.

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What is the problem with drip campaign optimization?

It is a challenging task for marketers to optimize their drip campaigns because current solutions out there don’t really support it.

A/B testing a drip campaign was a time-consuming process: you not only needed to plan the process, the execution was a real nightmare. The current marketing automation software’s don’t have the right solution for you: therefore you needed to create (at least) 2 versions of the drip campaign, pay attention to send enough traffic to both of them, evaluate the results and continuously pay attention to the significance to make a real decision yourself. In addition, A/B testing your emails in your drip campaign was nearly impossible… Performing tests like this are really challenging because of the time it requires from you.

And what if you want to play with the sending frequency of your drip campaigns? Lots of questions are arising on this topic: for example, how often you should send emails to your leads and clients. There are different answers, best practices, and usually, you get hints such as take your offer’s price and the length of your sales cycle in consideration.

An A.I. driven solution that optimizes everything automatically for you

In the chatbot world, artificial intelligence changes the whole industry right now. The same is happening in the world of artificial intelligence for marketing automation too – although it’s not that noisy yet.

Reinventing marketing automation is actually happening. The first step of this process is helping you optimize your drip campaigns for higher conversion rate to increase your ROI.

You need to do only 4 things:

  • Setup your drip campaign
  • Create your A/B/N versions of your emails
  • Choose the time period you want your emails to be sent
  • Choose a conversion goal (such as you would do in Google Analytics for events)

And that’s all!

Thereafter everything is handled by the artificial intelligence. It will test your drip campaign as more and more leads are going through it. On top of it, it continuously optimize to have higher conversion rate for the goal you picked previously. Yes, without any need of manual intervention from you.

  • Conversion goals can be really anything:
  • open rates, clicks
  • form submissions on a landing page
  • started trial
  • payments
  • and so on.

In addition, the A.I. will automatically stop your drip campaign if your lead or customer reaches the defined goal. (Only if the conversion goal is not repeatable in a drip campaign, such as payment or starting trial.)

Basically, the A.I. will handle everything on autopilot: sending time frequency, AB testing your workflows and your emails in your drip campaign.

Artificial Intelligence for Marketing Automation: just the first step 

Automatic drip campaign optimization makes marketers’ life easier but it is just really the first step. Big brands don’t have the chance to break up with the traditional Marketing Automation solutions. It’s because radical changes would increase their churn rate. They simply can’t afford to do that.

That is why big companies are afraid of startups, that can change the fundamental, basic approaches on the market – no clients, no business constraints. Disruptive companies are able to change the market by reinventing the industry with their innovative, new approaches.

Marketing automation is going through the same transformation nowadays. After automated optimization the next steps can easily be with the help of Artificial Intelligence:

  • Optimizing the whole messaging system of a company (not only email campaigns but multi-platform communication)
  • Writing email copies
  • Providing predictive analytics (this is actually existing right now)
  • Smart lead scoring
  • Automated segments
  • Controlling your software with speech recognition
  • …and more.

Moving marketers to a more strategic position

Technology not only helps you gain more clients but fundamentally changes how you use a tool… and what is your job as a marketer. The same applies here too – Artificial Intelligence for Marketing Automation is nothing more than a tool that makes your life easier.

It helps you focus on the most important things: like understanding your market, have a more informed decision on changes or save cost by smarter budget planning.

Therefore it will empower you to move to a more strategic position. Instead of wasting your time on the daily routine with tons of repetitive and boring todos, you will be able to have a higher influence on the whole business you are in.

Artificial Intelligence for Marketing Automation: The journey is just about to start…

Reinventing marketing automation is a challenging task but lots of companies understand the importance for marketers and for businesses. So it is happening and will change the way we use MA systems fundamentally.

Automizy’s first step on this path is announcing the A.I. driven, automatic drip campaign optimization feature. It’s in alpha stage yet, but very soon we’ll release our closed beta.

So, we would be really pleased if you could tell us your opinion, feedback in the comment section about our upcoming feature.

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My favourite free and effective tools for lead generation -Part 2

You might remember from my previous post that quality leads are the basis of lead management. However, one often feels that lead generation is the most daunting task ever. Let me reassure you, it’s just the opposite. In the first part of the series I introduced various tools that, while being efficient in lead generation, are also free and quite intuitive.

In the second part of the series I’ll show you the remainder of the must-have tools in your marketing arsenal, as the tools in the previous post and the ones listed here are intertwined.

Let’s get down to business, then.

We left off by saying you’ll need a landing page during the lead generation phase (please click here for further information). If you have a landing page, however, you’ll also need a Thank you page.

6,Thank you page: If you give something, but ask for something in return, you may want to say thank you. This is also true for downloading hooks. If the lead trusted you enough to share their data in exchange for the download, remember to say thank you. This is what the Thank you page is for, forgotten by many, or used inappropriately all too often. Say thank you for the download on your Thank you page, but take it to the next level. Provide another opportunity for your lead to download the hook, or, if applicable, embed the video.

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Create a Thank you page using Instapage.

Don’t forget! A Thank you page is not a Good-bye page! It has to have multiple functions, offering new hooks. Display your social icons which enable the lead to share their latest download. Remember to share your contact info. If they have any question or concern, they can contact you immediately via e-mail or phone. The key thing is not to lose touch with your lead. You can use Instapage or the majority of landing page creator apps to create a Thank you page.

7, A/B tester: “I do like this landing page. I’m sure the users will all love it.” Alas, this is not the right approach. It’s not right because your landing page or creative may look really nice, it’s still subjective. And, anyway, it’s not you to whom it should be appealing, but to leads.

That’s why it’s crucial to have a landing page, or a creative, or a CTA that generates the highest number of leads, and the highest number of conversions as well.

What is the A/B test? A/B, i.e. the split test is a comparison of two versions. In the context of lead generation this means that you create two almost identical landing pages, but one of them has a slight difference. Say, buttons have a different hue, or the product image is slightly altered. You’ll then have a version A and B of your landing page, to where you can generate leads. So far so good, but how does one test them?

The best solution for this is Optimizely. Using Optimizely enables you to create landing pages and start testing them in an instant. Give it a try, let the figures speak for themselves.

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8, Generate using social media

You might remember from my previous blog post that inbound marketing is largely built on content. Which is nice, but you’ll need to get this content through to the leads.

How would you go about it? But of course, using social media. I believe I don’t need to elaborate on the importance of social media presence. What many of you don’t know, however, is how to use these platforms effectively and automatically. You can completely automate these processes, avoiding the need to stay alert all day, trying to find the perfect timing for your post. Let me introduce Buffer, your autopilot.

Buffer enables you to schedule multiple posts yourself, but the application can even automatically update your social accounts when your followers are the most active. An added benefit is that you can actually manage several platforms at the same time.

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Make sure not to automate the whole process, though, and take a look at your accounts to make sure your posts have a current feel to them.

 

9, Marketing automation: Once, after a presentation I was approached by a participant who asked if I can suggest an application that covers all aspects of the marketing process. And by all aspects they meant not having to bother to upload data in the system. Why is this question crucial? Because having to perform multiple tasks single-handedly is a growing trend around the globe. This is especially true for online marketing and lead generation within.

However, automating processes not only enables you to increase your productivity, but also to save a lot of time and effort. This is why we need marketing automation software.

The power of marketing automation software lies in the fact that they cover the inbound marketing process from A-Z. From step 1, lead generation right to the very end of the sales process.

They help you generate automatic activities that enable you to maintain contact with your leads while not having to sit in the office in front of the screen all day.

An added bonus is that these systems align to the guiding principle of lead scoring, i.e. you can monitor leads based on their behaviour, then state which specific stage of the sales cycle they are in, revealing when the marketing dept. can hand over the lead to sales.

To refer back to the previous conversation, I could not suggest a system like this at the time. Today, however, there is one, designed especially for SMBP purposes. It also has a free version. This is Automizy.

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10, Offline events: And, finally, the odd one out: offline events. Why? Because they can be integrated with online campaigns and you have the chance to meet your target group face to face, who can be converted into leads immediately. There’s no need for fancy red-carpet events, a well structured and designed Meetup will also do the trick.

(Let me tell you a secret. You might want to join these events even if you’re not a presenter because you will then get the chance to introduce yourself or ask questions at the Q&A session that put you in the centre of attention.)

 

In a nutshell, these are the tools I use on a daily basis to generate leads. I tried to show you tools that are intuitive, efficient and require hardly any resource. It’s all up to you now, start using them!