Marketing automation (MA) can seem quite a complicated, misunderstood, multi-faceted beast to some organizations because it is more than a centralized platform to handle all online communication – with its many moving parts and strategic decisions, it’s hard for many to get started.
The media would have us believe that MA is all about choosing the right technology and voila, you have MA! Well, sorry to break it to you, but buying the technology is a small part of the story; it’s really all about creating a framework and a strategy.
Knowing your MA strategy will require you to do all of the thinking upfront BEFORE you invest in the software, I have outlined a few key aspects you should consider to kick-start your MA program:
- Conduct some research up front, including outlining what you want to get out of this program, and making sure to put your audience at the centre of your MA
- Build an MA team comprised of key stakeholders from customer service, marketing, sales, and product development. You may want to include an agency representative or MA consultant at this point.
- Conduct a situation analysis outlining where you are now, what systems are in place, what content, and what data do you have today and what is planned for the full rollout of the program
- Set business objectives to be clear as to why you are doing this, including ROI, reducing overhead, KPIs, communicating better with a target audience, or improving the customer experience
- Develop strategies for scoring, nurturing, website, and content marketing framework
- Set tactics with a 12-month view but look at a 3-month window with tactics and clear goals
- Set responsibilities to be clear who is going to do what when, and if a controller is needed (externally or internally) to help measure success, and create and measure the program to a project plan
- Review the various MA platforms available to decide which is the right one for your business e.g. Hubspot, Infusionsoft, Pardoc, Marketto are a few leaders
- Begin implementing by adding a tracking code on your website, landing pages, etc.
- Assess your reach including how much traffic, social media engagement, email contacts
- Document audience personas and then create segments to better understand who these personas are (company size, level of person in company, etc.)
- Processing leads from initial engagement to opportunity enables you to build and nurture workflows in line with the objectives laid out in your tailored strategy.
- Align segments with your CRM campaigns (e.g. SalesForce opportunities)
- Building content framework is key to this type of program so keep building on it depending on your objectives. The content could be awareness content like whitepapers and webinars, or inbound-focused with downloads.
- Leads will not be created by this software, but rather will be created by your ability to provide or repurpose amazing content which the software then serves up
- You will target, segment and personalize on relevancy, which turns sales into customer service. Nurturing your customers from cold to warm enables you to give them what they are looking for.
- Analytics will score each visitor interaction on the basis of profile and behaviour, resulting in a prioritized marketing database.
MA allows us to imagine a world where machines and not your staff perform the majority of your marketing activities including reviewing analytics, creating performance reports and data visualizations, writing and scheduling social media updates, determining blog post topics, copywriting, curating content, building strategy, and allocating resources. The result of implementing a solid MA program is that the marketer’s primary role will be to collect and enhance algorithm-based recommendations and content, rather than to devise them.
Are you armed with the knowledge to launch your automated marketing strategy or do you need some help? What help would you need to get started? I look forward to an active discussion!