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“Engaging with consumers across every conceivable medium – be it phone, email, chat, web, or social platforms – is the new norm. Real-time discussions about a brand and its offerings are commonplace. It's essential for businesses to be part of these conversations.”
~ Mark Benioff, SalesForce
Yes – what he said! Benioff succinctly sheds light on the urgency to adapt to the changing communication landscape, which is steadily tilting towards real-time, tailored, and all-encompassing interactions.
Veteran marketers feel this urgency and seek the compelling benefits of marketing automation, including:
- Improved efficiency and productivity
- Enhanced customer engagement and loyalty
- Reduced costs
- Increased leads and sales
That last bullet, increased leads and sales, is the reason many marketing automation purchases are approved by leadership. Lead generation is clearly becoming more successful with the support of an automation tool. Per Salesmate.io, marketers are driving 451% more leads with automation. Wow!
So, what separates those companies excelling with marketing automation and those struggling to realize ROI? There is no one simple answer, as your recipe for success is specific to the outcomes your company needs to achieve. However, we believe effective planning has a substantial impact on ROI.
Slow Down to Go Fast
If you find yourself struggling to show significant impact on lead generation plus efficiencies, reduced costs, and enhanced engagement, you’re definitely not the only one struggling to navigate this intricate labyrinth. Like many companies utilizing marketing automation, you may have rushed through the implementation of your platform without considering the short AND long-term strategies—for example, how you’d use the platform to find efficiencies and improve results over the next 6, 12, and 18 months.
However, the silver lining lies in the undeniable opportunities for you to recalibrate and up your marketing automation game to achieve significant ROI. And if you’re embarrassed to admit you may need to go back to the basics, you’re in good company because that’s actually a great place to start!
Here are some tips to supercharge your efforts in this endeavor based on our experience building marketing automation strategies for our clients.
Take Stock of Your Current State
- Audit Your Processes: Begin by assessing your current marketing automation processes. Which ones are working? Which ones aren't? Also, assess if you are missing any processes that could be improved with automation. This will give you a clear understanding of areas that need improvement.
- Define Your Goals: Outline both your immediate and long-term goals. What do you aim to achieve in the next 6, 12, and 18 months? This will serve as a roadmap for your automation strategy.
- Evaluate Your Resources: Do you have the necessary tools, talent, and budget to meet these goals? This will help you identify potential roadblocks and address them proactively.
Leverage Platform Strengths and Acknowledge Weaknesses
- Play to Your Platform’s Strengths: Dive deep into your platform's capabilities. Harness its full potential by aligning its features with your specific goals. For example, if it excels in email automation, strategize your email campaigns to be more personalized and effective.
- Keep a Log of Weaknesses: It's essential to be aware of areas where your platform may fall short. Document these vulnerabilities. Not only will it help you make informed decisions when considering future upgrades, but it also arms you with concrete reasons when making a case to your leadership for a necessary change.
The Three-Phased Approach to Marketing Automation: Crawl, Walk, Run
"Is your content guiding readers on a transformative journey or just categorizing them as mere leads?" - Ann Handley
Ann's words capture the essence of why a structured approach to marketing automation is so critical. It's not just about categorizing potential customers; it's about guiding them, nurturing them, and evolving with them.
With this philosophy in mind, we are big believers in the three-phased approach to marketing automation, starting with laying a strong foundation and gradually elevating your strategies. Leverage a crawl, walk, run approach.
Crawl: Laying the Foundation
- Sending Automated Emails: Promote thought leadership, events, and inquiries. Ask visitors to subscribe to your content.
- Landing Pages: Design specific pages for campaigns. They should be clear, appealing, and aligned with the campaign message.
- Personalize Your Emails: Use recipient names and segment lists for tailored content.
- Lead Capture Forms: Create simple forms for vital information. Place on high-traffic pages.
- Budgeting: Allocate resources to key tools and campaigns. Adjust based on metrics.
- Goal Setting: Define measurable goals like engagement or conversions.
- Testing and Optimizing: Review campaigns; A/B test elements like email subjects.
Walk: Enhancing Engagement & Personalization
- Test Email Elements: Experiment with subject lines, images, and calls to action.
- Optimize Send Times: Identify when your audience is most active and adjust send times.
- Customize Landing Pages: Tailor pages to specific audience segments.
- Lead Scoring: Rank leads based on actions like site visits or content interactions.
Run: Mastery & Integration
- Lead Nurturing Campaigns: Guide leads using targeted content based on their journey.
- Integrate with Other Tools: Connect your automation platform with tools like CRM or social media software.
- Drip Campaigns: Design email sequences to educate and nurture leads over time.
- A/B Testing: Experiment with advanced elements to optimize results.
- Leverage progressive profiling to collect information from prospects step-by-step rather than requiring them to fill in long forms.
- Analytics Reporting: Review reports on campaign performance and adjust strategies.
Measuring the success of your marketing automation campaigns
Here are the KPIs to track at each stage of crawl, walk, and run.
Email Open Rate
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
Sales Accepted Leads (SALs)
Lead Scoring Accuracy
Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate
Customer Retention Rate
Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Marketing Contribution to Revenue
Customer Satisfaction (NPS or CSAT)
A/B Testing Effectiveness
Marketing Channel Performance
In essence, mastering marketing automation is a journey of continuous learning, tweaking, and adapting. By taking a step back, evaluating your current status, and building a solid plan forward, you'll be better positioned to harness the full power of marketing automation and achieve remarkable ROI.
Seek External Expertise
Sometimes, an external perspective can provide invaluable insights. Consider consulting with marketing automation experts or agencies that can share best practices and tips and perhaps even highlight features of your platform you weren't previously aware of.
Navigating the dynamic landscape of marketing automation can be like mastering a complex dance. There's an art to synchronizing every step and every sequence for a flawless performance. If you're feeling the beat but could use a dance partner to lead with confidence and grace through the intricate moves of marketing automation, get in touch!