Marketing automation is here to stay—it’s no longer an optional aspect of your company’s marketing campaign. Here are some best practices for marketing automation:
1. Map out lead stages and flow
Implementing a marketing automation campaign without mapping out lead stages and flow would be pointless. Creating this sort of “map” allows there to be stages in the prospect / lead development process and creates a simple way to cater your emails or ads to each specific client.
Actions you take with a lead in the decision making stage (who has been in contact with your company before) are going to be vastly different than actions you take with a brand new prospect who just signed up for your email list. It’s also important to know how to identify when a lead should be categorized as “disqualified,” meaning that you’ve exhausted your marketing efforts and they’ve still shown no interest in your company, so you can remove them from your email list.
2. Develop (generalized) buyer personas
Establish your groups of personas and work to understand each of them.
• How old are they?
• What do they value?
• How do they spend their time?
• How do they make decisions?
Brands and people love to do business with / buy products from companies with whom they share similar values and other central characteristics. Understanding those simple yet meaningful aspects of a prospect and acknowledging them helps to build strong relationships and streamline the process of turning a prospect into a lead, and a lead into a client.
3. Lead grading
You’ve likely heard of lead scoring before—lead scoring involves a ranking of where a prospect is in the lead flow process. Lead grading ranks prospects in terms of priority by recognizing the ideal client for your company. It’s a tool that allows you to optimize your resources. Lead grading is based off what products / services a prospect is looking for, budget, etc. You can run the best-developed and thought-out automated marketing campaign, but if you’re targeting prospects that aren’t right for your company, you’re wasting your time.
4. First impression is everything
Your welcome email should get the prospect’s attention, inform them about your company / brand, and engage with them. Ideally, your first impression would entice them to take some sort of action from your email, like go to your website, read your newsletter, etc.
If a prospect’s first impression of your email or ad is that it’s overwhelming or annoying, you can expect to never engage with that prospect again, let alone do business with them.
To avoid this, be sure that your campaign isn’t spamming prospects or being too pushy on a hard sell. Instead, focus on meeting prospects where they’re at in their decision process—maybe they’re just looking into something for further on down the line or gathering information at that time.
5. Multichannel marketing
Based off of the prospect’s categorized persona, identify multiple channels through which you have the opportunity to reach them, and take advantage of those channels to further develop your relationship with that lead.
Leverage the information you have about your leads and prospects to personalize the automation process. Your mapped out lead stages should be helpful in identifying where a prospect / lead is at in their decision process, and their buyer persona should further help to personalize the content they are receiving, when they are receiving it, etc.
6. Identify and pay close attention to important metrics
The metrics that are important to one marketing campaign may vary from another. In other words, for some companies it’s important to increase website visits. For others, it may be a priority just to increase open rates for their emails. Both are important metrics; ultimately, it’s up to you to set goals for your company in terms of what you want to get out of your marketing automation campaign. Focus on that important data and you can utilize it to improve your campaign. Data can provide feedback to help your company generate more content that prospects would like based off what has worked well in the past - and you can cater more information towards individual leads and assess where individual prospects fall in the lead flow process.
7. Implementing a lead scoring system is crucial
Points will be given based off the actions that your lead takes. For example, visiting your website may earn the lead 10 points, and watching a video attachment may earn them 20 points. In your lead stages and flow process, there should be point markers that push a lead to the next level. A lead scoring system essentially tells you how much interest a prospect has in your company, where they are in the lead process, etc.
Implemented and utilized correctly, marketing automation is a powerful tool. Creating a successful marketing automation campaign is time consuming and complex, but has amazing potential. There are plenty of tools and resources available to make this process a lot less painful. Pardot is a B2B marketing automation tool offered by Salesforce that does a fantastic job at making marketing automation easier. In fact, our blog previously outlined four game-changing features of Pardot that we would recommend taking advantage of.
For any questions related to marketing automation, contact us today!