This is part of the marketing automation guide. This section is intended to get your thought processes flowing. Read the following to pick some areas for your list of decisions or tasks related to your own programme. 

Marketing automation is about making repetitive tasks happen automatically, but smarter. Most marketers focus on the obvious marketing automation benefits of doing more in less time and with less money. But some find that the nurturing and preference building capabilities of automation is the greatest benefit. Here are some thoughts to consider for your own marketing automation plans.

Have you ever considered automating your marketing processes? Have you ever wondered how you can ensure a better and more compelling dialogue with your email newsletter recipients – or targeted audiences receiving your email marketing promotions?

I think you have. However, if you have not, I bet you could think of relevant marketing activities, which you could easily automate.

Over the years I have spoken to many marketers who intend to automate certain marketing processes. Typically processes that focus at qualifying and nurturing leads.

Many never get started because they are the type of people who are always in “quick fix mode”. Some marketers do manage to get started, but sadly most never get beyond the very basic levels of marketing automation. They lack proper commitment and an understanding of the keystones that make up successful marketing automation.

Marketing automation guide – keystones to a good start

Marketing Automation GuideHere are just some of the keystones to success with marketing automation:

  1. Data and control of data; good clean data and solid data management procedures is a prerequisite for successful marketing automation.
  2. A solid master plan; marketing Automation requires planning and dedication to succeed.  Similar to other direct marketing disciplines you have to expect that things take time – and most often much longer than you anticipated.
  3. Acquire new marketing skills: to be successful with your marketing automation activities, you need people with specific skill sets. If you do not have them aboard, you would do well to hire additional staff or work with external specialists

In my experience you need a good master plan to become successful and effective with marketing automation. The plan should start with a random thought process outlining anything and everything you could potentially do to benefit from marketing automation.

Marketing automation guide – Get your thought process flowing

To get your own marketing automation thought process going here are a few random thoughts to consider before taking the next steps. If you want an alert when the guide is available for download, go here to subscribe to The Mind-Box newsletter today. 

1) Outline your typical customer buying process
There are several different stages that a customer goes through before making a buying decision. Outlining the typical buying process is a crucial component of your marketing automation efforts.
Once you have staged the process, you need to understand what type of information a potential customer need in each stage of the buying process. Setup your marketing automation to address each of these steps with relevant information served through the most appropriate channel.

2) Prioritize marketing automation based on highest needs.
Assess the areas of the revenue cycle needing the most improvement, such as lead generation, lead nurturing or sales and marketing alignment. Focus on those areas first to get quick wins that can help you get support internally.

3) Create marketing content to generate interest during every stage of the buying process
For example, instead of creating solution-oriented content, produce educational content for the beginning of the process. Outline the areas that potential customers typically find difficult to understand and then educate them. A lot of prospects never buy from you because they fail to understand exactly how you add value to them.

4) Improve auto-response emails and welcoming flows
Say someone sign up for your email communication. What is the first thing you do? Send an auto-response email, right?
But you can improve the standard auto-response by turning it into a welcoming flow – perhaps a series of 2, 5, 7 emails to introduce your prospect to what you do. It is really important that you leverage that first contact to be meaningful and relevant to the recipient. Ideally you want the recipient to be excited about what’s to come.

Great marketers focus on some degree of differentiation or customization in the welcome message. And that usually improves response quite a bit. Chapters of the marketing automation guide will include specific information on how to create winning welcome flows.

5) Focus on differentiation
You know it, but do you act on the knowledge you have about treating people (customers and prospects) differently? As a minimum ensure that you set up one flow for customers and a different flow for prospects.

Sure there is quite a bit of extra work involved in differentiating your messages. But usually that extra works pays off. Because differentiated messages often increase the relevance of your messages. And an increase of relevance is highly likely to improve results.

When the complete marketing automation guide is ready for you to download, you will get many examples of how others have implemented differentiated messages with success. Until then, you can find more resources about customization and personalization over at Sitecore’s website. 

6) Develop simple, automated workflows and triggers in the beginning
Save the advanced techniques for later. Instead, create simple workflows such as following up on form submissions with a series of emails. But be careful how you do it. If you cannot track actions and reactions in real-time, there are limits to what you can safely implement.

When the full marketing automation guide is ready for download, you will be able to get many examples of simple triggers.

marketing automation mobile7) Consider your communication channels carefully
Many marketers find that the email channel need to be supplemented with the mobile marketing channel. Others are looking to integrate all channels as part of their multi-channel marketing communication setup – some even want to integrate their IVR (Interactive Voice Response) into their communication flow.

And the most ambitious organizations want to allow their customers to respond to an email through their mobile phone, or respond to a mobile message via the IVR. The opportunities are endless, but you do need a master plan to take advantage.

In my experience choosing the right marketing automation vendor is essential. Many only support the email channel. If you are a true multi-channel marketer, you’ll want to make sure that your vendor is able to service all of the channels relevant to you.

If you want an alert when the automation guide is available for download, go here to subscribe to The Mind-Box newsletter today. 

8) Triggered communication is a big part of marketing automation
If you are a seasoned email marketer, you might also consider triggers as part of your setup. With the right software in place, triggers are easy to setup and often provide good value. A good trigger to start with is one that communicates to customers whom haven’t purchased in a while.

This part of the quick marketing automation guide intended to get your thought processes going. Successful implementation of a marketing automation programme doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a solid plan, concrete objectives and a lot of trial and error.

More resources for marketing automation

> Get The Mind-Box Marketing Newsletter for more stories like this one
> Follow Michael Leander on Twitter
> Check HTK Horizon – platform for marketing automation

If you want to talk more about marketing automation or need a speaker or trainer get in touch with me here