The Basics Of Marketing Automation

Implementing a marketing automation platform is a big deal, and it can be a little overwhelming at first. However, everything always runs smoother when you have a plan in place, and this situation is no different. Start by taking a look at your manual marketing processes – primarily related to digital customer engagement and customer emails – and determine what can be automated. Some activities simply don’t lend themselves to being automated, and it is helpful to identify them early in the process.

It’s also important to decide who at the company will be responsible for managing the contact list (segmenting, etc.) and creating the automated programs. Too many cooks in the kitchen can make marketing automation significantly less effective. If you have a team that will work in the platform, be sure to have one team leader who will help keep the team on track.

When creating automated programs, it’s important to split activities up using the sales funnel.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this idea, here’s a short primer:

  1. Top of funnel is all about building awareness for your company and the problems/challenges your customers are trying to overcome. People in this funnel may browse your website. They are just getting to know your company. Once these anonymous visitors are turned into contacts (perhaps by filling out an online form), you can start sending them messages. However, it’s important not to come in too strong at this stage.
  2. Middle of funnel is all about educating the customer. Help the customer understand what criteria they should evaluate. Send them white papers, webinars and more. You can talk about your company, but again don’t look to close the sale quite yet.
  3. Bottom of funnel is all about explaining why your company is the right choice. In this part of the funnel you may send messages regarding demos, pricing, case studies, etc. This is where the sales team begins to make more direct contact, and where the sale itself can be closed.

You should typically aim to have three pieces of content to share in each part of the funnel. Remember, you need to offer people something useful during the decision making process. In other words, if you don’t have content created, that’s your first step before creating an automated program. Content may be anything from an informational white paper to an educational success story, from a helpful on-demand webinar to an interesting eBook. It can include blog articles and even product/service pricing.

Here’s an example of how marketing automation can guide a customer through the sales funnel toward a deal with your company:

  1. First, they fill out a form to download your white paper entitled, “The Benefits Of Updating Your Control System From ABC To XYZ.”
  2. When they do, they are added to your Introduction To Control System XYZ automated program.
  3. As a result, the system automatically sends the customer your pre-made email blast that provides additional information on XYZ compared to ABC.
  4. The next step is a “wait week,” giving the prospect a week off. It’s important to include wait steps in an automated program to give people a chance to open your first email.
  5. Now a bit of automated logic takes place: If the initial email was opened, the prospect will advance to the next step of your Introduction To Control System XYZ automated program. However, if the initial email wasn’t opened, the system will send it again with a different subject line.
  6. The system waits another week.
  7. If the prospect still hasn’t opened the first email, they will be dropped from the program.
  8. Prospective customers who did open the email will be sent another email inviting them to register for a webinar on the topic.

Of course, your marketing automation programs can be as simple or complex as you need them to be. Continue to build your program, and learn as you go. Marketing automation platforms provide support articles, on-demand webinars and more to help you build your skills.

Need assistance with marketing automation? Contact the Anchor team today.