So many marketing automation tools are making promises like these:
- Marketing automation can accelerate demand generation
- Free marketing tools you can use to convert visitors into leads
- Send emails fast and easy
- Get more sales with less effort
It is no wonder sales of these tools are seeing positive growth and a very bright future. The research firm Forrester predicts spending on marketing automation will more than double by 2023, reaching $25.1 billion annually.
Are you one of many who have succumbed to such a purchase and have yet to see the results you were expecting? If so, it is probably because you prioritized the choice of the tool over defining your goals and planning your strategy.
Keep reading to learn why you need to prioritize marketing automation strategy, and how to get started.
Marketing automation: it’s a great tool, but it’s just a tool
Just like any other system you may use to manage your business more effectively (such as accounting, inventory or project management software), it is the data you put into the tool that truly provides the outcome.
There is no doubt that the right marketing automation platform can make a huge impact for an organization. Some of the benefits include:
- Saving time
- Better coordinated marketing & sales efforts
- Consistent targeted messaging
- A way to track, monitor and test for continuous improvement
- A way to measure results
- Improved customer experience & retention
However, just adopting the use of the technology is not enough to bring you results, and usually ends with frustration and wasted resources.
Ideally, a data-driven marketing automation strategy should be developed before you implement the technology.
Technology tempts us to forget the human element
Marketing’s job is to communicate (in a meaningful way) with those who need and want what you offer throughout their entire purchase process – from trigger event to final decision to customer satisfaction.
Your marketing automation plan should be based on an in-depth understanding of all that happens in your buyer’s world before, during and after the sale.
Don’t fall prey to the temptation of mass marketing automation tactics and messaging. Oftentimes, messages that are too frequent and targeted to the wrong people will not only annoy your audience but can drive them away.
Instead, take the time to discover and map out what happens for your buyers as it relates to purchasing your product or service. When you know what they need, when they need it, and why they need it, you can craft messages they want to read and respond to.
Marketing automation strategy: the secret sauce for successful marketing automation campaigns
One of the key benefits of marketing automation is the ability to capture and nurture an interested contact.
The problem is… how can the system do that if you can’t define who your ideal prospects are? Or what information they want and need throughout their buyer’s journey?
That’s why you need a marketing automation strategy that’s based on buyer intelligence.
Buyer personas are the secret to getting this right and converting interested parties into qualified leads.
For most buyers, there are “stages” they go through as they realize they need a solution, research the options, and come to a decision. Uncovering as much as you can about each stage will help you develop the most effective marketing automation strategy. The best personas include answers to the following:
- What’s behind their interest in your product or service? What problems are the looking to solve?
- What results or outcomes are they looking for (both professionally and personally)?
- Why might they think that your solution is not a good option?
- What features or aspects of the product or service are most important to them?
- How will they compare options and make a final decision? What resources will they turn to for help? Will others be involved?
- What does a successful relationship look like after the sale?
Equipped with in-depth persona information, you can map out a content development plan that relates to each stage of the buyer’s purchase process. The marketing automation software provides you with the ability to deliver the right content at the right time, building credibility and trust even before anyone speaks to your sales team.
Learn more: Buyer Personas: The Secret to Marketing Success