Before jumping into marketing automation, it is imperative that you ask yourself a few questions concerning your business goals, needs, and your current state of marketing.
If you are new to marketing automation, it is important to stay focused on your goals. If you are looking for ways to improve your lead conversion, build a bigger brand presence, and cultivate a community full of engagement around your brand, then you are in the right spot.
Because marketing automation is a lead nurturing practice you should have a foundation of lead generation efforts in place before integrating a marketing automation platform/strategy into your mix. An excellent way to generate leads is to use content marketing efforts, particularly inbound marketing.
Once you have a successful inbound marketing strategy in place to generate leads, you can begin to nurture those leads with the help of marketing automation, or drip marketing. For more information on inbound marketing, best practices, and methodology, please read:
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is the process in which content and campaigns are managed in an automatic manner and triggered by visitors’ actions on your site. Marketing automation ensures reliable and timely delivery and allows for segmentation and proper content creation strategy.
The bottom line of marketing automation is scalability, ease in distribution, detailed analytics, CRM integration, and streamlined workflow development. The good news for you as a marketer is it allows you to develop, distribute, analyze, adjust, and improve your efforts each time a marketing action is taken.
Moreover, a well-developed content marketing strategy is imperative to the success of marketing automation. Without a strategy and process, you were maybe utilizing a glorified email platform.
Getting started with marketing automation.
There are a few action items that you must do to ensure success with marketing automation. The first should be segmenting and organize your contact database. With automation comes customer lifecycles. If your contact database is not properly segmented, it will be difficult to ensure your email campaigns are effectively reaching the intended recipient at the proper point in the buyer’s journey. Explore the Benefits of Customer Lifecycle Marketing Strategy here.
Buyer persona development is the next stop on the automation integration train. A well-segmented contact database starts with a clear picture of your target markets. Buyer personas allow you to apply your target market to a fictional representation of your ideal customer.
Segmenting your lists according to their buyer persona, lifecycle stage, and engagement with particular marketing actions is the goal of automation. Utilize your list segmentation in a way that will make it easy for any marketing or sales team member to jump in and have an immediate high-level picture of a particular contact from the lists to which they are segmented.
Set goals for each of your marketing actions. You are creating content to help move the needle on ROI. Your marketing automation tools should not dictate your marketing actions. Instead, your marketing actions should dictate the tools you will use.
Plan in-depth for each phase of the automation timeline according to the length of sales cycles, products or services, buyer personas, and lifecycle stages. Understand the ins-and-outs of your community. Provide information and content that will help move them down the sales funnel.
Be sure you have developed and distributed a clear and concise message attached to a quantifiable goal. Remember, when you are developing the content for your drip marketing campaigns, you have one story to tell. Each of your digital properties should be telling the same story with the same voice. Keeping your brand's voice consistent is crucial to automation. If you are not spreading the same message, your lead nurturing could quickly turn to brand fragility and inconsistent messaging.
To ensure you maintain a single voice and the proper tone for each of your buyer personas according to their product or service interests, you may want to think about establishing a detailed tone and voice style guideline.
And finally, get rid of old habits and legacy marketing tactics. You have an entirely functional marketing automation platform at your fingertips. Integration into a CRM will help bring together your marketing and sales efforts. Use it to its fullest capacity as long as it contributes to the overall success of your marketing initiatives.
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