Marketing automation best practices to put into place
We’ve talked before about the many benefits of marketing automation for businesses that employ this tool. However, blindly implementing marketing automation tactics helps no one – in fact it may actually do more harm than the good intended.
If you read our blogs you know how often we remind you that marketing is not a set it and forget process. So how does this work? To gain the benefits of marketing automation, keep reading to see what marketing automation best practices you should keep in mind and how you can use them.
Clearly define your marketing and sales processes.
A clearly defined process identifies where you are and where you want to go. For marketing automation, defining your processes highlights where you can automate steps and how. So it makes sense that this is the first step you need to take out of all the marketing automation best practices.
The goal is to uncover the intent behind your automated actions. These are few of the questions you may want to ask your sales and marketing teams:
- When is a contact an MQL (marketing qualified lead) or SQL (sales qualified lead)?
- Is reading a blog post more valuable or opening an email?
- How many touch points are needed before a lead is ready to talk to sales?
- What are the common questions and challenges buyers have?
From marketing’s perspective, start by defining your buyer personas and identifying the common challenges buyers have before making a purchase decision. Gaining these insights will help identify what information is critical prior to talking with sales. Automate email workflows to make sure leads have the information they need at each stage in their journey.
For sales, outlining what actions are needed to close a sale with a qualified lead means becoming a helpful resource vs. a pushy salesperson. Automate the progression through deal stages based on confirmed activities and touch points.
Know your buyer.
This means not only clearly defining your buyer personas, but also understanding their buying process. If you implement only one of our marketing automation best practices, this is it!
No matter how well your content is crafted or timed, it won’t be effective if it’s not created with a specific target buyer in mind. Marketing automation can do a lot of things, but it can’t help if it’s not structured around your buyer. You can learn more about to do this in our free guide.
Capture the right information.
Based on the processes you want to automate, what information is required to put them in place?
- If the automated task is to share a qualified lead with sales, think about what information will be most useful to sales before they make that personal connection.
- If you are automating your lead scoring, consider the value of prospects reading blog posts vs. downloading a piece of gated content vs. connecting with your company on social media.
Before setting your automated task in motion, take a moment to think about who is using the information, how it will be used, and what data will be most impactful.
Craft your content with clear intention.
These marketing automation best practices apply to any task or process you are automating. However, most often automation is used for sending emails so this best practice is critical for that application.
Regardless of what type of email you are automating – from welcome messages to lead nurturing, consider what content is important for which contact:
- When should someone receive what piece of content?
- What next step do you want them to take?
- How will this help them make a decision to purchase from you?
As this point, you will be thinking beyond your marketing automation tactics, and more about your larger marketing strategies.
Remember the human touch.
Even though marketing automation uses a hands-off approach for many of your routine steps, there still needs to be regular review by a real person to see where steps can be improved, if content can be added/replaced, and what results you are getting from your automated actions.
This is where we remind you not to set it and forget it. You are still connecting with and acting on behalf of real people. So plan, react and adjust accordingly.
Allow for flexibility.
You may have heard the saying, for every rule there is an exception. That applies to marketing automation as well. Plan for the exceptions.
- There will be times when a contact downloads content out of order from your prescribed flow or decides they want to talk to sales before they have researched all their questions. Create spaces and opportunities for contacts enrolled in a workflow to deviate from the set path.
- If you automate your social media accounts, allow space for spontaneous social posts to be added when the opportunity arises.
With all the benefits of marketing automation, there still needs to be room and the ability to take things offline and go “old school.” Let common sense prevail. The good news is that those moments generally mean a contact is engaging more than expected and you have an opportunity to gain a new loyal customer.
Take advantage of these marketing automation best practices to help your business grow. It’s a tool you won’t regret investing in.
Need help setting up your marketing automation processes? We can help and would love to talk with you about your goals.