Marketing automation allows you to nurture leads through the entire buying process, delivering highly-targeted, personalized messages that address the prospect’s specific barriers to purchase.
But marketing automation is not a magic solution. It’s not something you purchase, install, and then walk away from.
In the same way that having a content management system doesn’t guarantee you a great website, having a marketing automation platform doesn’t guarantee you great lead generation results.
Marketing automation is only as good as the foundation upon which it is built.
Marketing automation is both a process and a set of tools. There are many different marketing automation platforms, each with its unique advantages and strengths.
Regardless of the platform, however, there are best practices that should be adhered to for successful marketing automation implementation.
1. Establish a strategy with clear goals
This seems obvious enough, but cannot be overlooked. Establish a strategy with clear goals for what you want marketing automation to achieve. Do you want more leads? Better leads? How many? By when?
2. Evaluate and refine current processes
As with many technology solutions, marketing automation cannot fix broken processes. The first step is to document your current marketing, sales processes and lead nurturing process to identify how they will be automated. Also look at your current content development processes, as well as your customer data acquisition and storage processes.
3. Analyze and clean your data
At its heart, marketing automation is the merging of data and content to create tailored messages that hit home with prospects and leads. The more you know about your leads and prospects, obviously, the more effective your marketing automation efforts will be. Companies that successfully implement marketing automation take the necessary time beforehand to review their customer and prospect lists to ensure they are accurate and robust and ready for marketing automation use.
4. Develop good content
Marketing automation needs good content in order to work. Companies that succeed know this and either already have content in place that they can utilize, or they commit to generating that content as part of their marketing automation implementation. If you lack compelling content that speaks to prospects at each stage of the sales journey, you’ll have a tough time succeeding with marketing automation.
5. Don’t just send general messages
This goes hand-in-hand with item number 4. If the messages you are going to send out via marketing automation are generic, plain vanilla, then you might as well save yourself the time, effort and cost of marketing automation deployment and just stick to your current methods.
6. Don’t forget about current customers
Those who implement marketing automation programs do so, rightfully, with the focus on attracting more and better new leads. But marketing automation is also a powerful tool for enhancing relationships with existing customers.
7. Measure, monitor and adjust
As with any technology solution, marketing automation processes will require regular monitoring and tweaking. You might have to refine the messages you send, the frequency or intervals at which they are sent, your lead scoring system, or all of the above.