10 MARKETING AUTOMATION BEST PRACTICES
It’s normal to instantly think of ease when you hear automation. But what’s comfort without productivity and results? A floundering business, that’s what. If you are going to justify the funds spent on setting up your marketing automation software, you would have to adopt smart strategies. Wondering what some of these practices are? Dive right in and find out.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is the use of software to complete and manage repetitive marketing tasks. Think of it as getting computer programs to take over certain marketing operations based on set instructions. It’s like putting a car in auto-pilot. The aim is usually to improve efficiency and save time. By automating some tasks, you can get them done with more accuracy and free up hands to tackle more complex processes. Some functions that you can automate include:
Creation of landing pages
Up-sell and cross-sell
Tips on Maximizing Marketing Automation
With 87% of top firms already using some form of marketing automation platform, there’s no doubt that this technology matters to businesses. But like every other business-related component, it requires critical attention if you’ll get the best from it. Just ask 85% of B2B marketers who feel they aren’t maximizing their marketing automation platform.
The “automation” in the concept doesn’t mean you don’t get to do anything. It only means you can create a template and watch a program to replicate and manage the process of implementing your plans. So what do you get to do to create a winning template of operation?
Choose a Platform Wisely
While there are many automation platforms out there, not all might be a good fit for your business. So don’t be in a hurry to sign-up with the first platform you come across. Make a list of criteria or boxes your preferred option should tick. While these criteria would be based on your business needs and goals, general things to look out include:
- Level of support the platform provider offers
- Ease of use
- CRM Integration capabilities
- Platform scalability
Define Your Goals for Automation
Your end game should be to generate revenue and drive growth, but you have to map out a means to do that using the automation system. In essence, you would have to create smaller goals, which will be connected to your overall objective of growing revenue. Your objectives can include:
- Creating an improved customer experience
- Generating more quality leads
- Shortening the sale cycle
- Getting insights to develop more effective marketing strategies
Develop Buyer Personas
A large part of automation deals with sending the right message, to the right audience, at the right time. For this to be possible, you must have figured out exactly who you are trying to reach. This would require you to develop a template for every segment of your audience by considering each section’s features. Your considerations should include general demographics, pain points, interests, etc. These insights will help you tailor your automation process to your audience’s needs.
Create Workflows for each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
Remember how we talked about getting the right message to the right people at the right time? Well, here’s another process that will ensure that happens. Upon developing your buyer personas, map out each stage of the buyer’s journey. Follow this up by creating specific tasks that will engage all the personas you’ve created at every stage of their buyer’s journey. This way, you can craft more effective messages and nurture your leads well.
In reaching out to your audience, you have to provide value; otherwise, automation will amount to nothing. You’d only be screaming into a void. However, quality content will help draw attention to your business. And this has to be done based on the personas and buyer’s stages you have identified. Personas would be unique to your business, but different buyer’s stages include awareness, consideration, and decision phases.
For the awareness stage, sending out thought leadership articles and emails will prove relevant. While targeting those in the consideration stage, use content showing the value of your solution. And case studies can come handy in triggering purchase decisions.
Develop a Lead Scoring and Qualification System
A lead scoring system helps you to determine when a lead is likely ready to make a purchase. It involves you creating markers that would indicate which leads are worth chasing, which require nurturing, and which ones can be handed over to the sales team. You’d have a point scoring system, and the metrics could entail several factors. Demographics can serve as a metric class. Say, for example, your target audience is working-class citizens. A student slipping into your funnel will naturally have a low score than a professional.
You could also use specific activities to score your leads. For example, prospects could earn high cores from activities like downloading your lead magnet, opening individual emails, or visiting particular web pages.
Once you have your scoring system in place, create a qualification threshold. This is the point where you believe a lead is ready to be passed on to the sales team. Ideally, you would outline a minimum score a prospect needs to have to qualify for this transition. Your threshold should be subject to review as you can change the number of points specific actions are worth to get the best results.
Leverage Multi-Channel Campaigns
Multi-channel campaigns allow you to reach your audience on several platforms. You can target leads and customers through social media, email, and SMS text messaging. The goal is to consistently engage people on the channels they prefer so you can stay top of mind.
With automation, you will be getting loads of data about your leads, their activities, and preferences. Knowing what to do with this data can ensure you get more results from your marketing efforts.
Use the data you get to create lead segments. You can create broad audience segments based on location, industry, and other demographics. Your segments can also be based on other activities like time spent on some pages or products bought. Or you can focus on those who have taken certain actions like sign up for a free trial or webinar. Pull out a list of people in the categories you’ve selected and target them with personalized messages.
Such messages will likely be more effective since they will be better tailored to the audience’s interests or needs. When applied to an email campaign, for example, you should notice higher open and click-through rates.
Use Email Drip Campaigns
Drip email campaigns include automated pre-written messages sent out at specific times or certain actions taken by your audience. For example, they can serve as reminders to customers that their renewal date is close. Or you could use them as follow-up messages when a lead downloads one of your resources. Setting up this feature will reduce the probability that some leads would slip under your radar.
The only way you can know if you are hitting your marketing goals is by measuring your results. The good thing is a reliable automation system should make this easy with all the data it provides. Focus your attention on details like landing page visits, lead magnet downloads, and leads conversion rates. With specific campaigns like email outreaches, identify open and click-through rates and unsubscriptions.
The idea is to determine what’s working and what isn’t. Looking at your results can help you identify this. You can then make informed decisions on how to improve your methods or ditch them totally.
Automation introduces order and precision to your marketing efforts. But to reap its full benefits, you need to do some heavy lifting like creating a sound strategy and building relevant buyer personas. Ignoring such crucial steps will only undermine your efforts. Don’t forget that the software isn’t there to take over the entire work. It’s there as a support system.