Our Take On Marketing Automation
There’s no shortage of marketing automation systems on the market right now. Some are very good… others, not so much but they all have one thing in common; they will only work if you understand the principle behind marketing automation.
So how do you choose the right one for you? That’s the question you’re probably expecting us to answer here, but that’s not what we’re going to do. Oh, we could give you a review of the various solutions, their strengths and weaknesses but there are plenty of sites that already do that, so we thought we’d offer you some insight into how to use marketing automation effectively regardless of which flavour you decide upon.
Top Tip 1: Data!
OK data is dull I get it, but it is soooooooooo important. it’s the foundation of everything you do in marketing and yes it’s pain to keep it up to date, yes it’s a pain to make sure it’s formatted correctly and yes, GDPR is hanging over our heads like the mythical sword of Damocles.
Anyone who tells you they are happy with the state of their prospect data is lying to either themselves or to you, so the first tip here is accept that your data probably needs work. Grasp the nettle and spend some time going through and cleaning it in preparation for uploading it into your marketing automation solution of choice.
- Standardise your fields and make the naming convention clear and above all unambiguous. A good test is to ask 10 people to enter data into a test schema and see how many records would have been created as a result. BT is a good example.. is it BT, B.T, B T, British Telecom? All are correct but would result in 4 separate records being created.
- Separate first name and last name fields. This make things easier when merging data fields into marketing materials.
- Check email addresses. If first name is John and your email is firstname.lastname@example.org then there’s a pretty good chance your data is incorrect.
- Be prepared to lose a lot of data to the cull. It is FAR better to have 1,000 accurate records than 5,000 where the quality is questionable.
Top Tip 2: Time
Yes, time is the most precious of all resources and we all know that the pressure to deliver is unrelenting, but taking your time to set up a marketing automation campaign at the start will pay dividends overall.
- Profile your audience well. Knowing who they are and what their pain points are will enable you to create engaging content far more likely to convert the “casual browser” into a “transacting client.” There will always be the temptation to create cookie cutter campaigns that will initially feel like you are saving time, however chances are that lack of response will force you re-look and amend the campaign on the fly.
- Take your time when creating your workflow. Be mindful of what your audience is likely to want to see at the next step of your campaign and do your best to deliver. Map out your workflow to check for dead ends.
- Make sure the assets on offer are worthy of engagement. Don’t be satisfied with a simple white paper or download, offer something worth while and your audience will be more likely to correspond with you.
All of these things take time, and rushing will only end up with a campaign that under-performs or fails to deliver at all. Allow plenty of time to plan, plan and plan again and the time you invest will deliver the results you want in the end.
Top Tip 3: Be the Client
This is harder than it sounds as most companies will create the content they want the client to read rather than the content the client wants to read. This is where the time invested in profiling will bear fruit and enable you to create the assets most likely to progress the customer journey.
- Zero Point: Brand agnostic information that addresses specific issues or pain points. Be clear and concise whilst avoiding any overtly sales focussed content. This will establish you as a trusted resource and enable you to offer a logical next step in the sales cycle.
- Building on the trust: Having delivered content that identifies and breaks down an issue or pain point the next step is to suggest a solution that fits in with the service you are offering. Again, this content should be brand agnostic and avoid any sales focussed messaging, with the call to action being more information on the resolution.
- The Pitch: Having established a basis of both expertise and trust you can now deliver a pitch that will be far more effective that it would have been if delivered too early. Make sure you include case studies and customer testimonials along with any technical details of your solution.
Marketing automation excels at progressing a customer journey so long as that journey is adequately mapped from the outset. Link these stages into leads scoring, follow up and nurturing workflows and you have possibly the most powerful and cost-effective marketing and business development tool ever.
In short I suppose the most important thing to take from these tips is that the process is at least as important as the tool. Most will only scratch the surface of what marketing automation can actually deliver on their own and that’s why engaging with an agency capable of leveraging the full power of this tool is vital.
Contact Clever Marketing to have a chat about what marketing automation can do for your business.