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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Closed Loop Marketing in Action

    Posted by Bill Faeth

    Completing the Picture of Your Marketing Efforts

    Closed loop marketing refers simply to the process of connecting your marketing results and your sales results. When your marketing and sales teams are in communication with one another, you will find that you can make more informed business decisions that will strengthen your profits and your workplace.

    How does closed loop marketing work?

    Closed loop marketing enables you to track the progress of a sale from its first steps to its final result. What’s more, you can track individual marketing campaigns, and even, in some cases, individual website visitors. The secret to a solid closed loop marketing process is to start with an accurate and dynamic website. Don’t worry; it’s not as challenging as you might fear. Let’s walk through an example to see how you can use effective marketing techniques to help close the loop—and the sale.

    What are the secrets to an effective closed loop marketing process?

    • A dynamic and engaging website
    • Direct collection of data
    • Landing pages
    • Tracking URLs 
    • Browser cookies
    • A system for managing your leads and marketing efforts

    Such a list may look daunting to the business owner who just wants to increase sales, but let’s take a look at how each of these pieces can ultimately strengthen your revenue.

    Let’s say you have a brand new product arriving, and you want to get customers interested. The first action should be featuring the product on a dedicated page on your website. The website should be your central hub for marketing efforts, because it provides a consistent source of information about your potential leads. Therefore, you begin by thinking about all the ways you can engage future customers using digital marketing efforts. There are four primary sources:

    • Organic search
    • Paid search
    • Referral traffic
    • Direct traffic

    Consider customizing separate pages for each of these sources; these are your landing pages. If you have a list of past customers who you think would be perfect for the new product, set up an email campaign for those clients; a link in the email will lead to a landing page targeted to past customers. Create separate landing pages which speak to visitors from all sources—a visitor who follows a Facebook link is likely going to want information presented differently from a visitor who clicked on a paid search ad, for example.

    By optimizing pages for specific audiences, you are increasing the potential to connect strongly with visitors—everyone loves to feel special. Additionally, you can attach urchin tracking models (UTMs) to that email link; these are simply tracking markers that are added to a URL which specify parameters such as how and where the visitor found the link, and which marketing campaigns or paid ads are relevant.

    Here’s a more specific example. Let’s say you send an email to past customers on Tuesday at 8:00 am telling them about the incoming product; the link in that email takes them to a landing page on your website that is customized for a visitor who is familiar with your business and has purchased from you in the past. The UTM-tracked link also lets your marketing team know that the site visitors came to the site from a direct link in that specific email.

    Once your visitor is on your website, a tracking cookie is attached. This allows you to follow the visitors’ individual journeys through the site. This will help your marketing team to understand what information your visitors are looking for and find most relevant about your products and business. With this knowledge, they can better optimize the website and future marketing campaigns.

    On your landing pages and throughout your website, include a contact form. You want to make it easy for visitors to opt in to receiving a notification when the product is ready for sale. You can then automatically integrate the data from that form directly into your customer relationship management (CRM) system. This gives you the power to collect direct data about your site visitors and input it into your customer database records.

    What about the sales team? Closing the loop.

    Up to now we’ve focused on how these efforts impact your marketing team. Careful marketing has helped you to learn more about your leads and what they want from you. But the knowledge gathered is going to be most valuable when you break it out of the silo and get your marketing and sales teams communicating.

    If you’re integrating your marketing and sales software, then you may have a trigger set up to send a notification to the sales team when a site visitor fills out the contact form. If this is the case, then the sales representative already knows that the lead is interested in your product. With additional information provided by the marketing team, the representative can feel confident in contacting the lead and working to close the sale.

    Once the sale has come to a close, you can examine both the marketing and the sales data to determine valuable information. There are an unlimited number of ways to explore this information; some possible questions to investigate include the following:

    • Did you receive more conversions from leads generated by email A or email B?
    • Did the contact form collect enough data to help your sales representatives to approach leads with the right message?
    • How effective were your paid ads, and which of those ads led to more conversions?
    • Were past customers more or less likely than new customers to try a new product?
    • On which pages of the site were the most forms submitted?
    • How did lead generation compare across various social media channels?
    • Were leads more likely to make a purchase after viewing a video of the product in use?
    • What external sites were responsible for the most and least referrals?

    Answering questions like these will help your marketing team to craft effective messaging and target the right audiences for your product; in turn, your sales team will have an increased possibility of making sales—and satisfied customers.

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    Topics: Inbound Marketing