Marketing automation has finally reached its way to all marketers. Software tools that were for so long only available to the Fortune 100’s and top .com’s like Amazon are now available to all of us.
Marketing automation is software and tactics that allow you to provide thought-leading content and deliver it to the aggregators. Marketing automation is smart marketing.
It is the way to keep your prospects engaged during a long sales cycle, it is the way to keep your customers smart and informed, and it turns those customers into vocal brand ambassadors. Here’s our approach to ensuring marketing automation success.
It all begins with good strategy. Although Marketing Automation is about software and marketing tactics, you won’t find any value in your efforts if it does not lead off with good strategy. Meet with your team to define the objectives, talk about your target audiences, what channels those audiences are using, and discuss what type of content they would find valuable.
Where strategy meets tactics: Now that you’ve defined the strategy, it’s time to outline what type of content you’re going to be producing (emails, blog posts, videos), what channels they’ll be released to, and who is going to be producing that work, and when that work is going to be released. At this point, it’s a really good idea to break out the old calendar, get the color-coding pens, and write down the specific dates when content needs to be released. I cannot emphasize this enough, marketing automation will not work without content.
Select your marketing automation software. Once you have defined your strategies and what type of content and what channels you’re filling, it’s time to select your marketing automation platform(s), this can be one plaform like Hubspot, or a combination of tools like Constant Contact, Salesforce, and Vocus, each approach will be dictated based on the channels that you’re utilizing.
Whatever you select, keep these few tips in mind:
- Does this make my job easier? It’s automation, it’s supposed to.
- Will my internal team have the technical capabilities to manage the platform
- Are three tools better than one? Most of the time it’s better to find one tool that does everything for you, but sometimes, you need a couple of tools to pull off marketing automation.
Start producing smart, relevant content and get it out to your channels. There are a lot of tactics that can spill out of the strategy sessions. Commonly, but not always, blog posts and email marketing are components of marketing automation. The coolest part of marketing automation is producing your content in one place and pressing a button and sending your content out to all of your channels. For instance, when I press ‘Publish’ on this blog post, it is going to do many things for me:
- It’s going to go to the top of VI’s blog listing (naturally), then...
- It’s going to trigger Social Media posts to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, then...
- It will make it’s way into a queue that will monitor the post’s trend-worthiness and if it’s popular enough it will be seen in your inbox soon in VI’s Good Vibrations email monthly newsletter.
Analyze and optimize. Marketing automation is there to make your marketing job more efficient. Once a quarter, you should take a look back and ensure that your marketing automation is working for you, not against you!
Make sure that you’re hitting your goals, and that your strategy and tactics are still aligned. Make optimizations as needed. Marketing automation is a big commitment , but once you have done it for a few months, the efficiencies start working with you, and your leads get nurtured.
Lastly, don’t confuse marketing automation with blog posting, or email marketing, or video production, or white papers, or podcast. Marketing automation is simply the software that holds those tactics together to present the content you’ve worked so hard to produce to your prospects where they are, whether on your blog, on Social Media, or in email. It’s a powerful tool, and it takes work, but the rewards are quite worth it.
Hear from Technical Director Steve Donehue explain how simple Marketing Automation can make your job more effecient, leaving you with more time to plan your next campaign.