Marketing Automation is now commonplace for many businesses, however, implementations have not always been successful. Why? Because many do not employ these powerful tools correctly. So, as a spin off of my last 10 Commandments of CRM article, here are my 10 Commandments of Marketing Automation.
1. Choose a platform that meets the needs of your team and your business.
Just like CRM, marketing automation is not a one size fits all sort of deal. For example, if you are not already using a CRM, select a fully integrated platform for seamless flow between the two. Figure out the features that are most important to you and ensure the platforms you are looking at, match those. Do not just go for what you think is the best in show, as this might not be the platform for you.
2. Always plan and strategize before implementation.
As with any initiative, you’ve got to plan. Don’t just jump into your marketing automation platform and start setting stuff up. You want to understand your flow. What is your process? Are you using it for email campaigns, lead nurturing, hot and cold lead follow ups and workflows? Setting up your marketing automation takes time, so get it right the first time.
3. Crown a Marketing Automation Champion to spearhead your efforts.
Too many chefs in the kitchen means meals are prepared inconsistently. The same goes for marketing automation. Appoint a leader to get everyone using the system, trained properly, and on board with their roles in the overall process.
4. Have well thought out Buyer Personas in place.
Your buyer personas are your guiding light. These are your customers and the people you are creating content for. In order to even start creating content you must understand what your leads and customers want to read. Click here for a guide to developing your buyer personas.
5. Map out your content according the buyer’s journey.
Even though you have a great image of who your customers are with your buyer personas, you will now have to think about what each persona wants through the funnel. The information they get in the awareness stage is going to be different than what they get in the consideration or purchase phases. The content you deliver to your leads should be appropriate for where they are at in the buying cycle. For example, if they are further down the funnel, you should be generating content that is more specific than just simply who you are, features, and benefits.
6. Ensure your Marketing Automation is seamlessly integrated with your CRM.
CRM and marketing automation should go hand-in-hand. Your CRM houses a lot of the data that your marketing automation platform will use to personalize, target, and segment your messages. Not to mention, it significantly helps sales understand the level of engagement for their leads and customers.
7. Always include sales in discussions about content & collaborate with sales to determine the best lead nurturing strategy.
Sales and marketing are not different departments. In fact, they should be working collaboratively to come up with the best strategy to convert leads into paying customers. Sales knows a whole different side to your leads, and marketing needs that information to help create solid buyer personas, content maps, and lead nurturing campaigns. Get everyone in the same room before you start creating your content and implementing your marketing automation.
8. Do A/B testing to gauge what your audience responds to.
A/B testing exists for a reason. What we, as marketers, may think resonates with our audience, might actually not be the best approach. This is where A/B testing comes in. Test your content, your ads, your landing pages, and your calls-to-action. Why? Because you will find out which versions are actually converting, and higher conversion equals better ROI and more kudos in your well-done bank.
9. Constantly track and review your campaigns to maximize engagement and ROI.
How do you know if your campaigns are successful if you do not measure your results? You need to be tracking every landing page, every inbound link, any conversions, opens, clicks, etc. For example, you may be getting a lot of opens on one email, but not a ton of clicks. Having this information allows you to effectively review and makes changes to your campaigns for maximum CRO (conversion rate optimization.)
10. Love thy Marketing Automation platform.
Last, but certainly not least, love and use the platform you invest in everyday. Technology is only effective if you use it for its intended purpose. Marketing automation can and will propel your business forward if you stick these 10 commandments. Put time and effort into making it work for you and your team. Marketing automation doesn’t happen overnight, it is a process, but once you get it moving, it runs like a well oiled machine.
Now, get going and let thy marketing soar.