Marketing Automation isn’t exactly a new topic.  However, thanks to a variety of excellent Marketing Automation platforms now available as a Software as a Service (SaaS), it has been gaining much more traction.  One might say that Marketing Automation has finally become available to the masses.

What is Marketing Automation?  I appreciate Hubspot’s definition:

“Marketing automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier. “

So, the question many businesses and executives are asking themselves is “do I need to be doing marketing automation, and where do I even begin?”  The following ten “things to know” will help you make that decision, and give you a launch pad for taking the plunge.

  1. Define why you are doing marketing automation.

One of the greatest areas of impact that marketing automation can have on any business is to increase the number of quality sales leads.  There are two key parts to that statement – increasing leads, as well as increasing quality.  Marketing automation can certainly increase your sales touch points; however, more importantly it can help you to properly score the temperature of those leads.  When set up properly, marketing automation can build a process that follows the journey of a sales lead as it changes (and hopefully) increases in “temperature” – thus allowing you to reach out to a potential customer at the right time.

  1. Do your research.

Even at this relatively early stage, there is a wealth of incredible marketing automation SaaS platforms.  While many are very similar, you will be surprised at not only how different some of the offerings are, but also the range in pricing.  Find what fits your objective, resources, content creation ability, and your budget.  If you’re not sure, see point #3!

  1. If you need it, get help!

Marketing automation can be a very daunting subject.  For most people, it’s like drinking from a fire hose from day one.  For many people, this is one of those areas that make sense to get help.  Even if you are able to and planning to handle all of your marketing automation efforts internally, getting help from a professional to help define your strategy and jump start the process makes a ton of sense.  It can be the difference between starting to generate and improve the quality of your leads in a matter of days or weeks, instead of months.

  1. It all begins with the first step.

The workflow processes and content creation requirements for marketing automation can be overwhelming.  It can become a very complex ecosystem.  However, it starts with one small step.  Moving forward and being consistent is just as important as filling up your white board with a marketing automation flowchart!

  1. It’s not just about email.

Sending automated emails is what people frequently think of when discussing marketing automation.  Remember that in today’s connected world, email is only ONE method through which individuals communicate.  Don’t miss out on the myriad of other places people connect (yes, even Snapchat for us older generations).

  1. Always focus on providing value.

How do you avoid becoming an impersonal marketing engine that alienates prospects and customers?  By always remaining focused on adding value.  If you evaluate every piece of content you create with a critical eye focused on always providing something of value, you will always be relevant.

  1. Remember that not all of your customers are the same.

Don’t blast the same content for everyone in a sequence/schedule.  Have the prospect or customer journey determine the content.  And always remember #6 above!

  1. Don’t forget your existing customers!

It’s frequently said that one of the easiest and fastest ways to grow your business is through your existing customer base.  So, don’t forget to leverage the data you already have about your customers (renewals, birthdays, anniversaries, product sales history, cross sells, etc.).  Leverage this data as touch points!

  1. Continuously re-evaluate.

One of the strengths of today’s platforms is flexibility.  Use that flexibility to constantly monitor and evaluate what is working, and what is not.  Be agile.

  1. Stay focused on the original reason you’re doing marketing automation.

Always remember to go back and read #1 above.  Why did you begin marketing automation in the first place?  Keep your strategy focused and on track, and most of all, be consistent.

In conclusion, marketing automation can deliver tremendous benefits, connecting you with more, and better suited leads.  It can be daunting, but it all begins with the first step.  And last, remember to always add value!

Scott Capistrano, CPA, MBA

President, Status Not Quo

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