While marketing automation can be a useful tool, it can be easy to focus on the “automation” aspect and forget about the “marketing” part. To be successful, marketing automation requires more than setting up the system to automate actions. While marketing automation helps to automate the process, you will still have to make the decisions as to the best steps to take, based on the marketing knowledge you already have. Specifically, there are four marketing fundamentals that must be remembered during a marketing automation implementation.
In order for people to respond to your sales messages, you need to offer them something of value. Compelling, relevant content, as opposed to traditional, “salesy” materials, helps to build a sense of trust with your brand, puts prospects at ease and increases the likelihood that they will pay attention to your messages.
For content to be successful, it is important to make sure that it is highly targeted to your prospects’ interests. By targeting your content to prospects’ industry, job function or other factors, you increase the likelihood that they will find value from it. According to research firm MarketingSherpa 82% of prospects say content targeted to their specific industry is more valuable and 67% say content targeted to their job function is more valuable.
It is essential to ensure that the timing of your touches are at the optimal frequency, reaching prospects enough to stay top-of-mind but not annoying or overwhelming them by reaching them too often. This balance varies, and it is up to you to determine if you need to make adjustments based on key metrics such as bounce and unsubscribe rates.
Determining the best day and time of day to reach your specific audience is also important. Some segments may be more apt to read your emails first thing in the morning, while other may do so around lunchtime. Uncovering the optimal day and time of day can improve the results of your marketing significantly.
Much like you (hopefully) segment your audience for other marketing tactics, segmenting your audience is vital for success using marketing automation. As discussed previously, most prospects agree that they want to receive content that is targeted to their interests. In order to do so, it is important that you are segmenting your audience into enough groups that you are able to reach them with relevant messages.
Just like all other marketing campaigns, in order to continue to improve the results of a marketing automation campaign, it is important to continually test aspects of the campaign. The three fundamentals discussed above are all aspects of a campaign that can (and should) be tested.
Every audience will have their own nuances and preferences. While it is important to go into an implementation while keeping in mind best practices, you never know if you may be able to achieve greater results unless you are testing.
A Final Thought on Marketing Automation
As you can see, marketing automation is not as different from traditional marketing as you may think. You still have to continually analyze the results you see and remain involved in the overall strategy of an implementation. By integrating your existing marketing knowledge, it is possible to improve the results of a marketing automation implementation drastically.