Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate on marketing automation with some great companies. As we began the work with our partners — whether small tech startups or industry-leading enterprises — we’ve heard some pretty similar concerns:
“Marketing automation is what we need to be doing and it seems like it would be easy, but we really have no idea where to begin.”Joe Client
If you can relate to the sentiment above, or if you just need a little reassurance you’re on the right path, this one’s for you.
Just as you would develop a strategy for a Google AdWords, acquisition, or content marketing campaign, your marketing automation efforts require a plan for success. If you’re having trouble, start by answering these questions:
1. Why do I want to automate?
- Do you want to help customers who aren’t purchasing items in their carts?
- Are you trying to help your sales team nurture leads by providing content at each stage in the buyer’s journey?
- Are you manually following up with prospects every time they fill out a contact form and then drowning in the upkeep?
These are all good reasons to automate! Here’s your opportunity to start small and scale up. Remember, marketing automation is an iterative process that grows as you create more content: Review your performance, tune up your workflows, and do it all over again.
Here are some reasons why you should be leveraging marketing automation. You can:
- Increase your team’s efficiency — 60% of marketing teams have five or fewer people. Your team needs to maximize its time focusing on content and strategy that aligns with your user segments and get off the merry-go-round of sending follow-up emails and doing routine tasks.
- Generate more revenue — Marketing automation can help recommend new products and services, or reengage customers who have items left in their cart. Automating follow-up emails based on triggers can save time and help generate revenue that could otherwise have been missed.
- Nurture leads — Marketing automation provides leads and unengaged customers with relevant content. Automating content based on a specified time schedule or an activity trigger can keep these audiences engaged, freeing up salespeople for other revenue-generating activities.
2. What are my desired outcomes?
- Do you want to decrease your time to close in the sales process?
- Do you want to grow upsells and cross-sells to existing customers?
- Do you want to increase your subscriber base 5x in the next year?
Setting measurable goals helps you assess your successes and failures along the way, and sets a baseline for improvement in the future. Additionally, goals let you monitor your total ROI after the campaign or time period is over.
Example goals and objectives:
- Increase sales by 15% in Q3 through email marketing
- Decrease time to close by 5% through automated follow-ups and nurture campaigns
- Have 50 marketing-qualified leads come through email marketing in Q3 and Q4
- Increase CTR in all email efforts by 2% in Q1 YOY
3. Where can automation help before, during, and after the sale?
Without thinking strategically about where automation best fits, you’re likely to miss crucial points of engagement with prospects and customers in their respective phase of the buyer’s journey.
- Before the sale — In the awareness phase of the buyer’s journey, you’re focused on getting as many targeted eyes on your site as possible, so prospects consider you as a potential provider. Using automation, you can push out messaging to call attention to new products and services, as well as entice prospects to subscribe to your blog or newsletter, staying top of mind.
- During the sale -— You’ve now reached the consideration and decision phases of the buyer’s journey. It’s now your sales and marketing team’s jobs to keep prospects excited and provide the content needed for a smart purchasing decision. By combining activity triggers (eg. website activity) with sales reps’ notes, marketing automation helps you deliver relevant content to your targets right when they need it!
- After the sale — You closed the deal and now you have a happy client. Let’s keep it that way! Using automation, you can check in on your customer’s experience, send updates on the existing products they own, provide detailed data sheets or use guides, and encourage add-on purchases.