When automating your marketing, we often assume that you will scale up the capacity of the marketing team. That can indeed be an advantage, but you should see automated marketing primarily as a tool to make the customer experience (even) better. By responding to your customers’ needs, it can be a tool that works day and night for you to strengthen your brand and organization. In this article, I’ll share 5 tips on how to best make the move from manual to automated marketing.
What is automating your marketing?
Automated marketing is a way to help you offer your customers and prospects a personalized journey through your sales funnel. The functionality is often offered by email marketing providers, but it can also include communication via SMS, social media or the internet.
In other words, automated marketing can consist of a focused series of 2 to 3 emails, with targeted content for a small audience. But it can also encompass a complex network of both internal and external actions. Don’t let that overwhelm you though – a simple structure can make all the difference and deliver great results.
Automated workflows are the common thread
Automating your marketing is essentially nothing more than a follow-up of triggers and actions. It’s a way to differentiate your audience and put them on different paths to personalize their experience. In addition, you can also make your internal workflows more efficient in one fell swoop. A few examples:
Triggers – Something happens, or a condition is met
- Someone signs up for a newsletter
- A customer downloads a catalog
- A lead is marked as qualified by marketing
- The support department closes a support request
- A recipient opened the welcome email, but did not confirm it
Actions – What happens as a result of the trigger
- A new subscriber receives a welcome message
- Sales get an email about the warm lead
- The customer receives an email asking how their support was
There are many more examples, but hopefully these will give you an idea. As you may notice, automation isn’t purely for customer interaction. It is precisely the connection between different departments where the real added value can be achieved.
The Five Foundations of Automated Marketing Workflows
1. Start inventorying customer contacts
As always with trendy technologies, you have to start with the main question. Far too often we allow our strategy to be determined by features and capabilities, rather than looking from the customer’s perspective. If you’re starting out with automated marketing, I recommend starting with an inventory of the customer contacts you can point to right now.
Don’t just focus on external communication. By including internal processes before and after the interaction with the customer, you lay the foundation for effective automation strategies.
2. Qualify your content
Marketing is great, but if your setup doesn’t include quality content, you’re not going to get anywhere. Whether it is automated or not. Categorizing your audience based on their previous actions and interactions is a must for setting up an automated workflow. Of course it’s hard to know exactly what material in a group will spark genuine interest, but hopefully you know enough to come up with a theory. After that, as always in the world of digital marketing, all you have to do is test it.
3. Start small
The idea of automation in itself can feel like an easy solution. The more of your workflows you can automate, the more time you save, right? Wrong. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, automation with the goal of reducing the time you spend on certain tasks is a short-term strategy at best.
Instead, try to think of some of your customer touch points that could benefit from the trigger-action logic to improve the experience. Starting small gives you the opportunity to continue to evaluate and build from there.
4. Don’t Make Your Automated Campaigns Look Automated
With personalization you can distinguish your marketing activities from the standard information flow. This cannot be emphasized enough, especially now that more and more interactions with customers are being automated.
Customers should still feel that they are interacting with people and not with a robot. Otherwise, your campaigns will end up in the trash unread, damaging your brand. Every interaction in an automated workflow must therefore be well-considered.
5. Integrate your automated workflows with your customer data
To successfully categorize your audience and track where they are in the process, you need to integrate your automation assets with your customer data. If you try to use two or more datasets from different sources separately, for example your sales process and your email marketing, you lose control in no time.
Fortunately, many CRM solutions offer some form of automated marketing, or at least an integration with a third party that does that. Put in some effort and research your options before investing your time in building an automated flow.
Automation of your marketing is powerful
Marketing automation is a powerful tool to increase business, increase engagement and increase your sales. However, don’t think of it as the off-the-shelf solution. Start on a small scale with a focus on your customer’s experience. And don’t just look at external communication when you investigate where automation can be achieved.
Then you find out through trial and error what really works for you. Fortunately, the technical part of automating your marketing is easier than ever. Intuitive environments and visual steps ensure that anyone can become an automated marketing programmer in no time.
Source: Frankwatching by www.frankwatching.com.
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