Three Steps Towards Better Marketing Automation


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When developing any new marketing program, you must always examine what your competitors or similar companies are doing. This can be a tricky thing to do for elements of internet marketing that are not directly viewable on the web though, such as lead nurturing emails or marketing automation email. Your peer organizations will rarely publish those types of emails on the web, and they might have implemented decision trees or campaign logic in those campaigns that make it difficult to receive all of the emails that you would want to examine.

As a result, it’s useful to look at the broader best practices, guidelines, and common uses of these tools across the marketing field and generate your takeaways from there. Today, let’s examine several lead nurturing and marketing automation examples to pick out the attributes that you should adopt or avoid in your own campaigns. All of the example emails that are below are actual marketing automation emails received by members of the HubSpot marketing team, with the names or identifying information removed to protect the senders.

1. Avoid Sounding Like A Spammer

This email was sent to a marketer at HubSpot, who recognized it as spam. But one person’s spam is often another person’s well-intentioned marketing message. There are a few factors about this email that caused the recipient to feel like it was spam. For example, the subject line and opening paragraph don’t actually introduce who the company is, what they are doing, or establish a connection with the reader. It goes immediately to the cold sales pitch and hopes for a response. There’s also no link to a website or way for us to learn more. Even if we were interested in buying lists, this cold email doesn’t invite a relationship, explain the company, or educate us on why we would want this or how it’s useful to us.

There are a few good tactics that you should apply to help you not sound like spam in your well-intentioned marketing messages. For example, reference your prior relationship with the person, in case they’ve forgotten who you are. Make sure you include your business name, and have the email come from a real person at your organization. The emails will feel much more human, natural, and inspire action at a much greater rate. This is especially true across B2B marketing, which thrives on personal relationships and trust.

2. Respond To Their Interests, Needs, And Questions

All of the major marketing automation platforms allow you to filter or target emails based on particular information about your leads and contacts. Make sure that as you develop emails, you incorporate the intelligence that you have available. There’s no sense in collecting all of that great information if you aren’t going to be using it. Include a statistic, piece of information, picture, or similar that helps tell the story.

Remember the movie, “Boiler Room”? Partway through the movie, Giovanni Ribsi gets a call from a call center operator in the same fashion, and is able to goad the operator into a real sales call: “It’s not about what I want. It’s about what you [the prospect] want.” While Karen isn’t in the market for an enterprise phone system, this email could have been much more successful if it did more to explain who they were, what their benefit was, and pull in a couple of interesting statistics to demonstrate why their guides are particularly useful.

In this example, instead of listing brands they cover, they could have explained the benefit, such as “Buyers who use our guides to make a purchase on average save 23% off of the list price and express greater satisfaction six months after purchase than the industry average.” This would be a much more powerful point to make to Karen about their offering. By making the value of their offer more concrete to Karen and positioned at her interests as a buyer, she would have been much more likely to come through. As a vendor who specializes in market research, they almost certainly have data like this, which they could be leveraging in their email marketing to encourage more people to check out their guides and offers.

3. Use A Multi-Channel Approach

Great marketing automation isn’t just about email. You can use social networks or other methods to engage with people as well. The same rules still apply there though – In order to maximize how successful and productive your social media presence is, you need to make sure that your actions on social media will inspire the right kind of activity. I don’t know what triggered this action or how I wound up in their automation, but a very real company (not a typical Twitter spammer) recently sent this tweet.

It’s unclear what their real goal was from this message, and the link that they supplied (removed to protect their identity) just went to their homepage. This is ineffective automation of social media – There no clear action for the reader to take, offer, or information about getting started with social media marketing. Compare that to this tweet.

It’s on a very similar topic to the first tweet, but leads people into a landing page and clear offer, and entices them. It isn’t hard to see how you can be effective while automating social media activity – Be human! Marketing automation and social media automation most often goes awry when marketers forget that their prospects are people with problems, looking for solutions and trying to learn more to develop their strategies and success.


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