Marketing automation is one of the most talked about technology trends in the digital marketing field. And it’s worth the talk. Why? Let’s find out!
Marketing automation (the tool and the strategy) is, indeed, a highly valuable instrument for marketing departments. It simplifies the lead nurturing process, provides real-time data of your campaigns and helps you automate the most time-consuming processes.
As good as it sounds, this is not a plug and place solution. It’s not something you can install in your online store, sit back and watch the sales roll in. Before jumping into marketing automation there are a few things you should know first.
Marketing Automation Is not For Every Business
The success of your marketing automation campaign depends on a number of factors, including your business objectives, the sales cycle, the size of your average sale, your strongest advertising channels and so forth.
Marketing automation programs aren’t cheap, so it’s important you understand exactly how you expect them to impact your business before signing up for this. We encourage you to research different programs, view online demos and read case studies from companies that have successfully launched MA programs. This can help you decide if these systems are a good fit for your company.
It’s a Long-Term Commitment
Getting started with marketing automation is a long-term commitment and investment. You need patience, time (at least 6 months, for full-scale implementation), a clear marketing plan and hard work.
One of the most important benefits of marketing automation comes from the ability to engage your audience, as well as the ability to better understand them. The marketing automation platforms tell you where your audience is coming from, how they interact with your website, which forms or calls-to-action interest them and what emails or type of content provide the most value.
If you do not use this information to adjust workflows, lead scoring and campaigns, you might end up with a large database of inactive leads. So, be prepared to spend at least a few hours a week in the platform, making changes, maintaining existing features and assessing your leads. But it’s so worth it!
Content is Everything
Just like a car cannot function without gas, a marketing automation strategy cannot work without a great content strategy.
Marketing automation is not a tool that creates content. Its role lies in engaging with customers, assessing conversion points on your site, managing email campaigns, creating landing pages, providing personalized content and nurturing leads through the sales funnel. But you won’t be able to see the true value of the tool if you don’t have content.
In order to succeed in marketing automation, your content should support the top, middle, and bottom levels of the sales funnel. Interesting and easily found content can help the customer in their decision-making process, giving them a reason to convert from a visitor to a lead.
Adapt Your Entire Marketing Ecosystem
Before using a marketing automation software there are a few questions you need to ask yourself. Do sales and marketing have to have common targets, as well as common processes? Are your sales and marketing strategies really aligned? Does the sales team fully understand the benefits of marketing? Have the sales and marketing teams agreed on what kind of leads are good leads?
To maximize the tool (and investment), you need to get both the marketing and the sales teams in the same room, to discuss about what constitutes an ideal client and a sales-ready lead and set the criteria together.
You don’t want to end up putting more into an already broken system, you need to start by redesigning some marketing and sales processes first!
Pilot & Test
There are many marketing automation software options on the market, so it’s crucial to choose a solution that aligns with your organization’s specific needs and it’s easy to use.
We’ve tested some and we would like to share with you some tips and tricks:
- When looking for a vendor, pay more attention to the features page. What looks like an automation tool might be just a CRM or Email Marketing module.
- Find the vendor that provides an easy to set up software. Go for the most simple and accessible approach.
- A lot of vendors offer free trials. We do encourage you to try the platform beforehand. You won’t know if it works for you until you try it.
- Pay attention to the monthly fees. They might hide some feature cut-downs (no automation, no reporting).
- Don’t underestimate the value of trainings. Search for a pricing plan with trainings included. It might cost more but it will help you save time and energy.
If all of the above sounds overwhelming, contact us and let us drive the process to deliver results in a shorter timeframe!
Digital Team Leader