It’s one of the hottest buzzwords in the online marketing world: Automation!
Marketing automation sounds ideal. The term itself leads you to believe that you can set up a system and then sit back and relax while leads pour onto the desks of your sales team.
But what does reality look like? Could it really be that easy?
If your company is considering an investment in this effective online strategy, there are a few marketing automation requirements you must know before you spend your hard earned cash.
1. Choose a Solid Partner
There isn’t a shortage of marketing automation vendors in the market. You have your pick of companies that perform a full spectrum of services. From automated social media posts (think: Hootsuite) to automated sales funnels (think: Infusionsoft) you have a big decision ahead of you.
The first thing you must do when investing in marketing automation is find the right partner.
There are a few things to consider when narrowing the pool of potential candidates:
- What are your end goals?
- What type of messaging does your audience need to get to the next step in the sales cycle?
- How does the tool integrate with your CRM?
Look through your sales process and start envisioning what aspects you can automate. Are there certain areas that don’t require a human’s touch each and every time? Chances are; there’s a solution out there that you can use to automate that step.
2. Create Your Metrics Roadmap
Marketing is a creative function in your business. But without solid facts and numbers to back up your efforts and investment, marketing fails.
Before you begin your marketing strategy, create a roadmap of metrics that determine success or failure. Some of the most important metrics to include on your roadmap are:
- Volume of new leads
- Quality of leads (this can be seen from the close rate)
- Time and costs associated with each close
- Profits per new customer
It’s not enough to just track the number of new leads. If none of those leads turn into a sale, your marketing automation isn’t working. Likewise, if each lead takes months to close, costing your business time and money, you might be doing something wrong.
Keep a pulse on these metrics as you set up and analyze your automated funnels to gauge what’s working and where you can improve.
3. Get Social
You’ve probably heard marketers preach the importance of “humanizing your business.”
People do business with people.
Humans buy based on emotion.
Building relationships makes it easier to sell.
While all of that is true, the system you’re setting up is a robot marketing to a human. It’s tough to add the human connection through an automated funnel – unless you use a little finesse.
Optimize each of your target audience’s journeys individually. What might work for your marketing to CEO’s, won’t work when you are marketing to sales teams.
Segment your lists. That way, your marketing will sound like you’re speaking more mono-a-mono instead of a corporation to an individual. You’re still able to use technology and automate your efforts without stealing away from the personal touch.
4. Beyond Implementation
You’ve set up your funnel – now what? Now, the real work begins!
Marketers often make the critical (and costly) mistake of setting up an automated cycle and forgetting it. This approach will cause you to miss some serious opportunity.
Regularly track your metrics to see what’s working and what isn’t. Then, rinse and repeat. Make adjustments, test some more, and hone your strategy.
Make sure that you go deeper than just clicks and shares — take a look at your cost per click, cost per opportunity, and other metrics to see which channels are giving you the best return on your investment. – Jenna Hanington, Pardot.com
Marketing automation is only a piece of the puzzle. There are many new online marketing strategies that companies are finding increasingly effective. To learn more about how your business can stay ahead of the game, check out our free report, “8 Ways to Leverage New Online Marketing to Attract Customers.” In it, you’ll get ideas that’ll keep you competitive and make your marketing pay off faster.
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