May 20 2018

Planning Backwards – Marketing Automation Done Right

marketing automation planningMarketing automation has been a buzzword in the marketing space for a while now. Businesses of all sizes are talking about how they can use it to better attract and convert customers. The problem lies when an organization starts by choosing the marketing automation technology first. A better approach may be to start backward: think of the business objectives and goals and how to achieve them before anything else. Otherwise, the preparation work involved is often underestimated. Knowing what marketing automation is, how to set up automation without becoming totally overwhelmed, and planning this all from a strategy point of view is the key to marketing automation success.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation started primarily as technology to enhance the effectiveness of email marketing. It enabled the ability for companies to target their lists by pulling segments out of a main group and adding the capacity to nurture customers at various stages in their purchase journey - all without an actual person staying on top of it.

As the technology has grown, so has the ability to use automation in other channels, for example, social media marketing and website points of contact, especially in the e-commerce space. Most content marketing systems (CMS) even have some level of marketing automation built in (see our review of the new marketing capabilities in Kentico 11). A CMS with marketing tools can supplement or replace third-party automation tools. Often the best solution for a company is a combination of software and technology to achieve their business goals.

The problem comes in when a company invests in the automation software but chooses just to have it send generic messages to mass audiences at specific time intervals. This “spray and pray” method sees higher unsubscribe or page unlikes, rather than targeting customers who purchase, because the frequency of targeting big groups outweighs the benefits of the personalization and automation.

Start with Strategy First 

So, how do you make automation work for you? Well, before you ever choose a software or program, you want to think out your strategy first.

  • Define Goals – Yes, a good marketing automation program should allow more people to see the content that you are putting out. But having more tangible goals will allow you to tailor content to get it exactly to the right people. Goals could include: 
    • Increase in website views 
    • Increase in click through to specific pages or services
    • Increase in sign-ups for a promotion, service, etc.
    • More sales 
    • Fewer sales drop off points 
  • Create Relevant Content – By knowing exactly who you are hoping to attract, you can speak directly to them. For example, when a client signs up for a savings account on a bank or credit union website or even offline, you can start a welcome email funnel. At the end of that funnel, you can pull out whether they signed up for online banking from the second email. If they did, send them targeted videos on how to use it. If they did not, another note on the importance of online banking and to get in touch if they need help. In this case the goal is to get them to sign up for online banking, to feel engaged and in line with the brand. Having a clear path of why this email sequence was triggered and what the hope for the outcome is after certain time intervals will help the content to be very specific.
sample marketing automation flow
  • Increase Engagement – Now we just said to have more specific goals rather than just “increase engagement”; but that doesn’t mean that you should ever send out content that doesn’t also carry the secondary goal of increasing engagement. That can be engagement online and in-person (if applicable). The use of well-strategized content personalization can be invaluable to make the recipients feel like this is being sent only to them. Another take away is to include links to other avenues – a blog link, how to sign up for an email list, Facebook, Twitter, etc.– so that an engaged customer can receive information on their own if they choose. Follow those clicks as part of your analytics tracking and refining procedure, and it may be able influence your strategy down the line. 

Marketing Automation Statistics

Need more proof? We’ve compiled some statistics on the benefits of a well-thought out marketing automation plan.

  • 77% of ROI comes from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns. –  DMA
  • 3/4 of marketers say the biggest benefit of automation is saving time. – Adestra
  • 80% of users increased their leads by using marketing automation software, and almost as many (77%) saw an increase in conversions. – VB Insight
  • Companies using marketing automation generate twice as many leads as those using just email software. – Autopilot
  • Only 8% of business are using marketing automation to nurture existing customers. –SiriusDecisions

If marketing automation is well strategized and set it up correctly in the beginning, it can give you back time, allowing for more strategy based on the data gathered from the campaigns that are running.
Do you have the software and are ready to set it up to work for you, instead of the other way around? Or are you at the beginning of your journey to setting up marketing automation? Either way, reach out to chat with one of our experienced strategists today.

  • Content
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.
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