The days are flying by, and time seems to be slipping through your fingers when you’re trying to market your company as a one-member marketing team. While keeping up with the competition is your bread and butter, the idea of introducing more software, technology, and systems to keep up just seems like too much to handle, right? Wrong.
Marketing Automation is your solution to managing the chaos of growing your company. Once marketing automation tools, platforms, and technology are established and tested, you can market your business while you sleep, attend your kid’s little league game, and walk the dog. You'll basically be an all-star Marketing Manager 24/7 without even breaking a sweat. Through automation, you have the assisted capability of reaching the right people at the right time, every time.
Your company might be small, or one that is rapidly growing and flourishing into new territory. Either way, marketing automation can be scaled to fit your unique needs at the level you’re currently at, and it can easily transform and grow as you do. To figure out if your business is ready for marketing automation, you can ask yourself these questions:
Are your marketing and sales strategies in agreement?
Is your strategy connected to your buyer’s journey?
Are you looking to track leads across all channels and platforms consistently?
Do you have an existing lead nurturing strategy that you want to scale to multiple platforms?
If you’ve answered yes to most of these questions, then you are ready to say hello to marketing automation and goodbye to being extremely stressed out. The four simple steps below can help you get started in your marketing automation journey.
1. Evaluate Your Goals and Needs
If marketing automation was an equation, it would be [Strategy + Software = MA]. What are your goals? What is your marketing budget? What are your needs? These may seem like very simple questions, but they are essential to figuring out not only your starting point, but your long-term plan and strategy. Start by asking yourself these questions – they will guide you to what programs and software are needed for the beginning of the implementation process.
2. Identify Your Software
Your chosen software to implement marketing automation is incredibly important. You’ll have to choose a software that fits best for you personally, because this is how you’ll be conversing with your contacts, creating and retaining a relationship with your prospects, and eventually turning them to leads through the buyer’s journey.
A great place to start is identifying CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. With a CRM, you’re able to house a succinct list of all your clients, client information, notes, forecasts, sales, proposals, and so much more. Many CRMs also can automate your email marketing and social media campaigns. Marketing CRMs include but are not limited to HubSpot, ZoHo, Freshsales, Salesforce, Creatio, and Insightly.
If a CRM seems like overkill for your company’s marketing efforts to start, consider looking into individual software platforms that can cater to your specific marketing automation needs. For example, if you have social media channels, consider using scheduling platforms like Sendible, Hootsuite, or ContentCal to schedule out your posts so you can work in advance and know that content is always being distributed to your consumers.
Another great way to implement marketing automation software is through email marketing. With email marketing automation, you can target different segments of your target audience and buyers with just a few clicks. Software like MailChimp and Constant Contact are user-friendly, store your contact list, and can even do reporting and contact segmentation for you.
3. Merge Your Lead Nurturing Strategy with Your Content
Your marketing automation efforts are only effective in your long-term plan if your sales and marketing teams are speaking the same language. That language is lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with your prospects with the goal of earning their business. In order to have successful marketing campaigns, your leads need to be nurtured from all sides of the process. This is your opportunity to provide value to your prospects through your content and create long-term relationships with them.
Each piece of your content needs to address your specific buyers' stages and lead your target audience down the buying funnel. MA doesn’t just begin and end with a social media paid advertisement or a promotional brand email to your entire contact list. In a proper marketing automation strategy, you want to deliver the right content to the right contacts to encourage them to keep taking continuous steps.
An example of a multi-level automated campaign would start with having a social media advertisement linked with a landing page containing gated content. This gated content would only be accessible through filling out a contact form with important information such as full name, email, and job information. You then have an email address for an interested customer in your contact database that can now be used in your email marketing efforts. This is an example of how marketing automation technology can develop nurturing campaigns to trigger events after your prospect has made a simple action such as clicking a link.
4. Analyze Your Data
With any effective campaign, analyzing and revising your strategy is an essential step. What are you accomplishing with your marketing efforts if you don’t take a step back to collect data, retarget, and optimize your strategy? Find the appropriate time in your content schedule, whether that be quarterly, every six months, or every year to gather the data from your MA campaigns and analyze it.
Key metrics for your analysis might include visits to a webpage, visits-to-customer conversion rate, and ROI. Are your current efforts making an impact on your lead conversion, creating engagements, and increasing your profit? If not, it’s time to go back to step three and re-evaluate your lead nurturing strategy and content.
Ultimately, marketing automation is the key to successfully and productively generating leads in the digital age. If you have the right software, generate content focused on lead nurturing, and consistently re-evaluate your goals and analyze your data, you’re bound for growth.
If you have more questions about marketing automation and would like a further in-depth explanation of MA, take a look at our previous blog. Additionally, we've compiled a free checklist to help you manage your inbound marketing campaigns in 2020: