4 Steps to Guide Your Marketing Automation Strategy
According to The Ultimate Marketing Automation Statistics, on average 51% of companies are currently using marketing automation, and more than half of B2B companies (58%) plan to adopt the technology.
We’ve fallen head over heels for marketing automation, and we love sharing the feeling. With marketing automation technology, like Pardot and Marketing Cloud, companies can better understand and use their data to have more personalized, data-driven interactions with their current and potential customers, and accurately measure marketing’s success and impact on revenue down to the tactic.
How do I love thee, marketing automation? Let me count the ways…
By definition, marketing automation is technology that manages marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns across multiple channels… automatically. We love marketing automation for so many reasons, but marketers agree that some of the key benefits of marketing automation are:
- Time savings
- Increased customer engagement
- More timely communications
- Increased opportunities, including up-selling
- Streamlined lead generation and lead nurture efforts
Roses are red, violets are blue; Marketing automation strategy? Allow us to show you…
Even with so many marketers using and adopting marketing automation, 58% of marketers polled said that they were having trouble finding success with these tools due to “lack of an effective strategy.” Just like in every other sector, automation isn’t the future – automation is now. So, we’re all building the plane while we’re flying it. And it’s ok! This is the fun part.
Here are our 4 steps to guide your marketing automation strategy:
1. Audience Segmentation
When building a marketing automation strategy, the first thing to do is segment your audience. It is typical to segment audiences based on new or potential vs. existing customers, but it doesn’t stop there.
When segmenting audiences based on new or potential customers, it’s important to understand your buyer personas. Buyer personas are semi-fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you understand your prospects better, and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different types of buyers.
Researching your prospects through interviews and external sources, provides all the details you need to know: exactly what information prospects want and how they want to receive it. Once you’ve done the research, use personas to bring it to life and better illustrate your target audience, and use these personas to segment your new or potential customers.
When segmenting audiences based on existing customers, you may want to consider attributes such as services or products purchased, and other data that separates your customers into groups.
Segmenting your audience allows for more personalized messaging and results in higher opens, click through rates, and conversions – as your targeted audience receives more relevant information specific to their interests.
2. Targeted Messaging
According to The Benefits and Challenges of Marketing Automation, almost 70% of the respondents find improved targeting of messages is the most important benefit of marketing automation.
After you’ve built buyer personas and segmented your audience, the next step is to create a strategy around how to communicate with them. Knowing your buyer personas and the buyer’s journey allows you to send the right messaging at the right time. When your messaging resonates with your audience, they are more inclined to take action (e.g. subscribing to your newsletter, purchasing a product, signing up for a demo, etc.).
To send highly targeted, data-driven marketing emails, say hello to dynamic content. Also known as adaptive content, dynamic content is content in a landing page or email that can change based on a person’s behavior. For example, if my customer has a specific interest in women’s running shoes and another in stilettos, I could create one email and designate a space for dynamic content – either content for running shoes or stilettos. This dynamic email interchanges the content based on my customer’s preference: running shoes or stilettos.
This type of marketing automation, which can be done with technology like Pardot and Marketing Cloud, saves time and results in better email open rates, clicks and conversions, through truly personalized content.
3. Lead Nurture Programs
Lead nurture programs allow marketing to support sales and/or drive customer conversions with targeted messaging that speaks to audience segmentation and buyer’s journey mapping. Marketing automation platforms provide automation solutions that can help with the lead nurture process.
Lead nurture programs help deliver the right messages at the right time as well as inform internal sales and/or customer service teams about leads and customers moving through the program.
For example, with Pardot’s Engagement Studio, you can set triggers, rules and actions to guide an email marketing program. You can send a targeted message to a segment of your audience and create actions like notifying a user if a prospect takes action, or add to a prospect’s score if they engaged with your email. Lead nurture programs help ensure the right messages are sent to and seen by the right people when the data shows they’re ready for them.
Of course, most importantly – reporting to track overall performance of your marketing automation program. Most marketing automation platforms provide some level of detailed reporting to show email performance, lead generation attributed to campaigns and sources, and prospect engagement. Just some of the key metrics to track in most lead generation / lead nurture marketing automation programs include:
- An increase in email open and click through rates (CTR)
- Website visitors from specific tactics
- New leads generated from specific campaigns and tactics
- Leads (MQLs) converted into sales leads (SQLs or opportunities) attributed to each campaign and/or tactic
- Campaign spend and return
- Marketing generated pipeline attributed to each campaign and/or tactic
See what we did there? One of the most important reasons to track marketing success is to tie each tactic back to how it contributes to overall ROI. Your reporting should tell a story about tactical success as well as overall marketing contribution to revenue. With marketing automation, you can more easily track the success of your efforts as it relates to leads and/or revenue generated.
We hope this blog post has you head over heels excited to start your marketing automation strategy. It really can transform your business by delivering the personalized, data-driven content your audience wants when they want it. By providing highly targeted and personalized messaging, your audience will sure love you for it.