What Happens Before Marketing Automation?

By Anthony Pollino| 4 Min Read | June 22, 2018
Automation in Marketing | Automation in Digital Marketing | Woman on Vacation

Imagine spending thousands of dollars on a new car to go on a trip without investing in any directions. You would probably end up driving in circles or even into the sea. That’s silly, right? Now imagine what would happen if you spent thousands on the same car but also invested in automation technology to drive it for you, but you failed to invest in a GPS. The result is the same. Your new car might end up in the water. That’s because automation without a strategy and plan is a waste of time and money.

Marketing automation is so hot right now. Everybody’s talking about it. However, like many aspects within marketing, marketing automation is a means to deliver messages to an audience more seamlessly and less cumbersomely. And yes, integrating marketing automation into your marketing mix can reap tremendous rewards, if done correctly. Here are some important steps to make sure you get started on the right foot.

Define Your Goals

Marketing automation is based on identified rules, targets, and outcomes. Marketing goals should be SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented, to keep the marketing team and anyone else involved with the project accountable.

A good place to start may be taking a look at past marketing stats. You can use these as a benchmark and to establish your goals from there. Aim to bring in more leads, attract a new segment of the market, increase your sales by a certain number, or another data-driven target. The more specific and measurable the better.

Understand Your Buyer

Knowing your buyer and knowing them well is the backbone of any successful marketing strategy and should also be taken into consideration when using marketing automation to deliver on that strategy. Identify the buyer’s persona, the questions they may ask, and their own goals. Use this information to set up your automated system to target your customers, where they are, in a way that works for them. You’ll answer their questions and provide the information they need before they ever ask for it.

The best way to do this? Delve into the stages of the buyer’s journey. Know what path your clients take and the ways in which they interact with your company until they make a purchase.

Align Your Content Strategy with the Buyer’s Journey

Most clients go through an awareness stage first, looking for insights and opinions about products and services. They move onto consideration with more in-depth research, then make a decision with help from closers like details, reviews and previews. Determine what messages will influence, or be beneficial to your buyers, as they complete that journey. Time your content appropriately, make contact when it is welcome, and don’t overdo it by getting in touch too frequently.

Tailor your calls to action to where your clients are in their journey. Knowing if this is the time to close the deal, or to offer more information is invaluable when setting up marketing automation. And monitor your key performance indicators (KPIs). They will show if you are in line with your clients and their needs. If not, you can always adjust and optimize your efforts.

Use Technology as an Enablement

Once you have aligned your content strategy with the buyers’ journey and your goals, you’re finally ready to set up your marketing automation program. This may include drip email campaigns, coupons and incentives, as well as invitations to participate in events, such as demos or conferences. Marketing automation platforms are the technology that serve as a vehicle to enable sales and generate leads, but only if the work is done up front to develop a good strategy and well-defined plan. Put these in place first and you’re sure to see long-term success.

If you’re interested in exploring marketing automation, C-leveled can help!

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