35 Sales and Marketing Professionals Reveal Their Top Marketing Automation Tips

 In All Things Productivity, Blog

Marketing automation is the name of the game in today’s complex, ever-expanding marketing and sales landscape. The marketing automation trend spans businesses of all sizes, from SMBs to the world’s major corporations. What business doesn’t want to reach tons more prospects with minimal effort and automate the lead nurturing process as much as possible?

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While the idea of marketing automation is certainly attractive in its own right, it’s not exactly a “set it and forget it” strategy, at least not entirely. Marketers must take care to strategically configure marketing automation campaigns, including creating buyer personas, segmenting lists, and configuring the sales funnel to most effectively nurture leads through the buying process. Naturally, many things can go wrong if your marketing automation campaign isn’t configured properly from the start, but there are also considerations to weigh even after your campaigns are up and running.

To help marketers avoid common pitfalls and implement highly effective marketing automation campaigns, we asked a panel of sales and marketing professionals to answer this question:

“What’s your #1 best practice or tip for implementing a successful marketing automation campaign?”

Find out what our experts had to say below.

Meet Our Panel of Sales and Marketing Professionals:


Matt QuinnMatt Quinn

@mqsley

Matt is the head of marketing at Sauce, a leading customer segmentation platform that helps stores understand their customers as people, segment groups of customers by behavior and other data, and target them personally through ads, emails, or unique versions of the store’s website.

“My #1 best practice for implementing a successful marketing automation campaign is to…”

Start with your customer personas in mind and work backwards. Make sure that you aren’t automating for automation’s sake. That way, while the messages will be automatically generated, they can be incredibly personal which will have a huge impact on open rates and click through rates.

When you start with your persona, you’ll be able to identify what makes them who they are (i.e., haven’t made a purchase in three months) and thus will direct the path of what you should actually be automating.


Travis BennettTravis Bennett

@travbennett

Travis Bennett is the founder and managing director of Studio Digita, a website development and online marketing agency based out of Bangkok, Thailand.

“My #1 best practice for companies wanting to implement a successful marketing automation campaign is…”

Don’t let your focus shift from the customer.

Too many campaigns scream self-promotion when marketers are let loose with email software and a database of names, because they slip back to these nasty old habits that no longer work. The goal behind every email you send needs to support the developing relationship between you and your reader, and the only way you can achieve this is to give them content they value. Think about the customer as you develop every single email, and ask yourself, “How does this benefit my customer?” If there’s not a clear answer, go back to the drawing board.


Natwar MaheshwariNatwar Maheshwari

@natwar86

Natwar Maheshwari is the founder of Around.io, a social media marketing and image management tool for online sellers. Maheshwari failed at his first startup, then got into Lean Startup methodologies and is now building Around.io being as Lean as possible and as a bootstrapped venture.

“My #1 tip for implementing a successful marketing automation campaign is…”

Vet your tools and run your first campaign on you and your family and/or your team. Let me explain what I mean: Vet your tools is pretty clear, but the next part of running your first campaign on you and your family and/or team sets a very different context. I suggest doing this because it’s the smallest of things that can piss people off in an automated campaign. So, what I recommend is to run your automated campaign on people you trust, and ask them to find faults and issues with it. I am not saying that you should heed all of their recommendations and change everything they suggest, but it’s necessary to hear a different perspective. At times we miss the smallest things that can be easily caught when you run a trial campaign with your team, and that can make a huge difference in how your campaign performs.


Ben LandersBen Landers

@BenLanders

Ben Landers is the president and CEO of Blue Corona, a four-time Inc. 5000 digital marketing company that helps small businesses use the web to generate more leads, sales, and raving fans.

“My top tip for implementing a successful marketing automation campaign is to…”

Budget more time than you think you need for list segmentation and content analysis. Marketing automation tools give businesses the power to reach a lot of prospects quickly and with little effort. However, with great power comes great responsibility. In the hands of poorly trained business owners or irresponsible marketers, these tools can easily be abused. Make sure you spend extra time viewing every single content asset for a particular campaign through the eyes of your target prospect.


Rob WatsonRob Watson

@clicktosale

Rob Watson is an experienced Digital Marketing Consultant. He helps businesses – mainly in the UK – to generate leads and sales from their websites through his company, Click to Sale.

“My #1 best practice for successful marketing automation campaigns is to…”

Get the top of the funnel right before you work your way down to the later stages.

It may sound obvious, but if you don’t get people into the top of the funnel in the first place, you’re wasting time building the middle and bottom of the funnel. Too many businesses don’t fully understand the difference between the different stages of the funnel.

Top of the funnel activity shouldn’t be about your company, and it shouldn’t even be about your product or service. It should be a broad, helpful piece of content that covers the wider issues that prospects need to think about. So if you’re an event organizer, don’t pitch them on you, and don’t even pitch them on the benefits of live events yet. Start by writing about the challenges that their type of business faces in finding customers and what the many options are. Then, your mid-funnel content can talk about the benefits of live events as part of a wider marketing plan.

Once you have a content idea, ask yourself if a complete stranger who sees it off-site – such as on social media or an external site – would think it might be beneficial to them. People will know that you’re being helpful to drive sales in the long-term, but they must feel that the trade-off is worth it and that they won’t get a full-on sales pitch straight away.

One way to achieve this is to give away plenty of free content with no strings attached – no squeeze pages or signup forms. At the end of that asset, a link to a more in-depth piece of subscriber-only content is appropriate. By doing things this way, you appear less pushy upfront, and earn some trust by providing some valuable content before you ask them to sign up.


Andy BrantnerAndy Brantner

@startinvesting1

Andy Brantner runs a variety of sites, the most recent of which is Start Investing Online. The site is designed to clearly show millennials how they can start building wealth now.

“Managing social media is a tough job for me, especially during the holidays. My number one piece of advice for small business owners is to…”

Look into HootSuite. This is a free tool that allows you to view your Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and other accounts in the same window. You can then schedule out your updates across all connected platforms weeks in advance. I couldn’t live without it!


Chris BrantnerChris Brantner

@CutCableToday

Chris Brantner runs Cut Cable Today, a site designed to help people find ways to watch TV shows and movies without cable. The site has been featured on Fortune, Yahoo, USA Today, and more. Last month – in only our 7th month of existence – we had nearly 400K visitors.

“Effective marketing automation strategies require the right tools…”

The best tool I have recently fallen upon is CoSchedule. As my blog has grown, I’ve needed a way to manage multiple writers, editors, and social media platforms. CoSchedule allows you to put it all together. It starts with a content calendar that’s integrated with WordPress. You create assignments on the calendars and can assign them to writers and editors from the calendar. No need to go to a different program.

Then, and here’s the best part, you can connect your social media accounts and set it up so that the content is automatically shared once it is published. This streamlines the entire content marketing process, from the initial idea to creation to social sharing.

It looks like this is going to help me take my site to the next level!


Elizabeth ClorElizabeth Clor

@ClarabridgeClor

Elizabeth Clor is the Senior Director of Content Marketing at Clarabridge, a technology company that helps the world’s leading brands understand and improve the customer experience. In this role, she is responsible for content marketing, social media, public relations, and analyst relations.

“The most important best practice for implementing successful marketing automation campaigns is…”

Make sure you are properly aligning the content to the buyer’s journey and making the content as relevant as possible to their needs and wants. Demonstrate empathy, and do not be overly promotional. You must first earn the buyer’s trust by delivering interesting, useful content. Do not send them a request for a demo if they aren’t engaging with previous emails in the campaign.


Walter WiseWalter Wise

@BPIStrategy

Walter Wise is a Business and Marketing Strategist, Lead Generation Specialist, and Executive Coach at BPI Strategy Group, and the author of Getting Back to Basics, Effective Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business in Today’s Brutal Economy. He has been quoted on ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX as well as in several national publications such as SmallBizAmerica, Docurated, Examiner.com, and the B2B News Network.

“The most important thing you must do for a successful marketing automation campaign is…”

Get the message right. If the message isn’t compelling and does not resonate with your target market, it will not be opened, read, or understood. Using the Conversion Equation of Interrupt, Engage, Educate, and Offer will ensure you get off to a great start.


Steven MintzSteven Mintz

@CLMPrescript

Experienced in many verticals and across a range of marketing functions from digital and direct to planning, analytics, and research, Steve Mintz is a CRM expert diagnosing ailments impacting your marketing strategy and prescribing solutions to drive growth in revenue and retention. Put simply, Steve makes your marketing functional. Visit his website, CLM Prescriptives, to get in touch.

“My #1 best practice for implementing a successful marketing automation campaign is…”

Be able to answer the question, “What does success look like?” You can have the best processes and enabling technology, but it must be grounded in solid strategy. Set your goals and objectives for the campaign, have a thorough understanding of what you are trying to accomplish, and then understand the impact your campaign has on the bottom line. This sets you up for success on many levels.

First, you will be able to compare campaigns against one another from a priority standpoint. If I am proposing and/or developing many different campaigns, I make it easy to prioritize so limited resources will be applied only to those campaigns that are going to provide the better returns. Communicating implementation of the campaign to senior managers, the sales team, developers, creative staff, and other stakeholders becomes easier. Attribution, analytics, and reporting becomes easier as you know what the campaign is trying to accomplish and you will be able to anticipate unusual needs and prepare for them in advance. And at the end of the day, you will be able to know if you met your criteria for success, which makes it simpler to determine your next steps, whether it be maintaining the campaign, optimizing components of the campaign, expanding the campaign, or eliminating it altogether..

Everything else is much easier to accomplish when you have a solid starting point for your campaign and know where you want to go.


Rachel ChapdelaineRachel Chapdelaine

@Rchapdel

Rachel recently moved to Charlottesville, VA, but is originally from Fairview, TN, a small town on the outskirts of Nashville. Rachel graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) in 2010 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications, Public Relations.

As it turns out, Rachel was much more interested in marketing than she was PR, so she started working in the marketing industry. Although this was her second time working for a marketing agency, her duties at Marketing Mojo and the company services have a different focus than her previous agency. Each day, she has the opportunity to improve her writing skills, learn how to develop better media relationships for clients, and make informed decisions based on data and, in a lot of ways, psychology.

“My number one tip for creating a successful automated lead nurturing campaign is to…”

Segment so that each lead is entered into a custom email workflow that matches their current stage of the buyer’s journey. You don’t want to immediately pitch your services to someone who has converted for the first time, especially if it was on a top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) offer.

Once you have the lead entered into relevant workflows based on their most recent conversion – while suppressing any leads that were previously in that workflow or are further down the funnel – you can tailor your follow-up emails to your leads based on information you have about their demographics, interests, or behavior on your website. If you happen to know the lead is interested in a specific topic, you can send them relevant blog articles, infographics, or other gated content as your automated TOFU emails. Then, provide content that is relevant to their problems and references your solutions as your MOFU emails and slowly work into any appropriate offers you may have for your solutions in your BOFU emails.


Aron EzraAron Ezra

@offercraft

Aron Ezra is CEO of OfferCraft. The company’s software uses behavioral economic ideas to make offers and employee incentives far more effective. He was previously the CEO of MacroView Labs (acquired by Bally Technologies) and a senior executive at several consulting firms. He’s been named one of the Most Intriguing People in Las Vegas and one of the Top 10 Rising Business Leaders in the city. Aron is a graduate of Princeton University.

“The #1 best practice for successful marketing automation campaigns is to…”

Make it a game. Too often marketing incentives are boring. Buy two get one free. Sift through this magazine, cut out this square of paper, cart it around the store and we’ll give you a buck. Many are downright annoying. Take this card, carry it around in your wallet, remember to get a stamp every time you visit, and in six months we’ll give you a free something.

Why not have more fun with your offers? Why not turn marketing into a game?

Again and again, games have been shown to dramatically increase the chances of someone remembering an offer and feeling more positively toward it. That’s a big part of the reason we built our company: to make it easy for marketers to use ideas from game psychology to create more enjoyable, memorable, and ultimately more profitable marketing campaigns. We often double or triple redemption rates by creating marketing experiences that customers genuinely enjoy.

So next time you’re thinking about how to market to your customers, my tip is to make it a game. You’ll win every time.


Brian SparkerBrian Sparker

@ReviewTrackers

Brian Sparker is a content marketer, web developer, and entrepreneur. He’s helped companies like Microsoft and Procter & Gamble communicate and convert, either as an employee or in a consulting role. Sparker has been published in marketing, tech, and lifestyle magazines, usually in a content marketing capacity. His content has appeared on a wide variety of digital publications, including Marketing Profs, Marketing Agency Insider, Social Media Today, Built In Chicago, Lifehacker, and many more. Visit his website, ReviewTrackers.

“I’ve used a multitude of automation tactics to move the needle for my clients, but my best tip is…”

Leveraging customer feedback in every aspect of automation. The earlier, the better. There is plenty of feedback available on third-party review websites, an important staple on every search engine results page. The feedback provided can be used for rapid iteration and adaption in marketing campaigns, allowing savvy marketers the ability to alter the target demographic, timing, message, or content. Most review websites even provide user-generated photos, elevating content and connecting your message to your audience on a personal level. If you’re automating without understanding your audience, you are setting yourself up for failure.


Erika HealdErika Heald

@SFerika

Erika Heald is the VP and Head of Content for Highwire PR. Erika has spent the past 15+ years helping technology startups and Fortune 500 organizations define content processes to drive lead generation and customer loyalty by leveraging compelling, shareable, targeted content. Erika led and grew high-performance content marketing teams at Anaplan and Achievers.

“The most important element for creating a successful marketing automation campaign is…”

Clearly defining your objective for the campaign upfront and ensuring your content and calls to action (CTAs) all reinforce that one, specific objective. Too often, you’ll see campaigns that try to cram too many conflicting goals and CTAs into a campaign, leading to poor results.


Marc ProsserMarc Prosser

@FitSmallBiz

Marc Prosser is the co-founder and managing partner of Marc Waring Ventures, a firm which develops specialty internet properties for high value audiences. The company’s portfolio of websites includes Fit Small Business, which provides product and service reviews for small business owners. Started in 2013, Fit Small Business serves as the “Consumer Reports” for small business owners. Prior to starting Fit Small Business, Marc was the CMO of FXCM for ten years. He joined as FXCM’s first employee and grew the company to more than 700 employees.

“One of the most common marketing automation mistakes people make is…”

Assuming that every customer is looking for the same thing. As much as we want our automation to make connecting with customers easy, it’s never going to be that simple. Just like in all marketing, you have to understand your customers in order to connect with them.

That means you have to identify where they are in the sales process. This could take the form of asking them direct questions, such as what they want to learn about or what kind of product they’re looking for, or analyzing less direct factors such as what ad or lead capture page hooked them in. You can also assess this once they’re already hooked into your marketing: if they’re not opening emails on basic topics but are interested in more advanced or niche subjects, they’re likely to be further along in the buying process and you should tailor your marketing accordingly.

The key is not to treat every customer the same. As tempting as that may be with marketing automation, you’ll find your efforts will be far more effective when you tailor them to the individual customer.


Joe HowardJoe Howard

@WeeklyPique

Joe is the Founder of The Weekly Pique. He lives in Washington, DC, loves digital marketing, and is always bringing more business to his clients through their online presence.

“In terms of implementing a successful marketing automation campaign, my top best practice is…”

Email is still the best way to reach your audience. When someone subscribes to your email newsletter, make sure you have some sort of automation in place. Send them a welcome email when they sign up to set expectations and offer them something actionable. After they’ve received three emails from you, ask them to share your content on social media. After six, ask them for a review. By automating these emails, you can make your business better without manually attacking people’s inboxes.


Douglas Lee MillerDouglas Lee Miller

@videoin

As WSOL‘s Senior Marketing Strategist, Doug provides strategic assistance to the company’s business clients, working with them to implement inbound marketing methodologies. He is passionate about digital social objects and their ecosystems, storytelling, and crafting good user experiences. He believes it is important to treat human attention sustainably, as an exhaustible resource. When he’s not working, Doug likes photography, science fiction, making music, hiking, and being a dad of two awesome kids.

“My number one best practice for implementing successful marketing automation campaign is…”

Do not hurry through the persona building process. Really take the time to round out the personal stories of those individuals. Find out what communities they are a part of, online and offline. This will tie into your content promotion strategies in ways that are amazingly powerful. Build out histories and add context into them. Don’t shy away from creating a larger number of examples rather than trying to fit all your personas into fewer broad categories. It may take more time and effort on the front end, but the long term results and success will far outweigh that investment of resources in the beginning.


Marci HansenMarci Hansen

@SheerID

Marci Hansen is a co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at SheerID, the leading eligibility verification service provider. Marci has over 15 years of marketing experience in the B2C, B2B, and non-profit worlds, and in 2006, she was awarded the Guerilla Marketer of the Year award by Brandweek magazine.

“When you’re setting up your first marketing automation campaign, it can be helpful to…”

Take an old school approach to planning. We grabbed markers and index cards, wrote content ideas and exit triggers on the cards, and then mapped out the entire workflow on a wall or conference table. Having a visual made it easy to envision the entire campaign, identify any missing pieces, and move things around before committing by inputting it into the automated program.


Leon JayLeon Jay

@fusionhqnews

Leon Jay is founder of FusionHQ.com (an marketing automation platform) and SendFish.net (a free autoresponder and email funnel system) as well as author of ‘Create, Automate, Accelerate’ (available on Amazon).

“I have a few best practices for implementing successful marketing automation campaigns, including…”

1) Always consider the prospect’s or customer’s flow. Where are they coming from? Why are they there? What are they expecting? Where do you want them to go next? Remember, too, what have they seen, done, or bought before. By doing this you can craft your emails and your sales pages to match for far better results.

2) Filter and target. As a follow up on the first tip, always filter your lists within any automation process. For example, you don’t want to be sending offers to people who have already bought, especially those who paid
full price. You can also filter offers that may be region specific or only apply to certain customers (e.g., an upgrade), or specific demographics. Targeting increases conversions and reduces unsubscribes.

3) Use professional tools that link together and are designed for the job. Many people build their business by looking for free or cheap tools that often get the job done on day one, but do not allow them to run a highly profitable business on day two. Think ahead and make sure you choose tools that will allow you to automate your marketing easily, efficiently, and effectively.

4) Deliver valuable content again and again. Way too many automated marketing processes focus on the offers, not the relationship building. People hate being flooded with offer after offer. Give them a a reason to stay on your lists or they will ignore you, report you as a spammer, or simply unsubscribe. Typically at least three to four communications should be giving something of value.

5) Make it easy for people to leave your process if they want. Do not trap people or make it difficult to refuse an upsell or leave a list. You won’t make more sales; you will just annoy a potential customer. This causes them to either close the web page if an upsell, or report you for spam if an email. Whatever your process, have an easy out when people have decided your offer is not for them.


Jenny KnizerJenny Knizner

@JennyKnizner

Jenny is the Director of Marketing and Creative Services at Marketing Mojo. Jenny brings a creative eye and an analytical mind to her optimization and marketing approach, leveraging her expertise in design strategy, project management, and conversion optimization to develop well-crafted, intuitive user experiences that lead to improved demand generation.

“The most important approach you should take to ensure a successful marketing automation campaign is to…”

Utilize the targeting and personalization available to you through your tool. Sometimes your user doesn’t know how to tell you what they need (or the form they fill out doesn’t ask the right questions). You can get a much better idea of their interests by analyzing their activity on your site. Leverage this data to implicitly and explicitly personalize your campaigns and nurturing emails. Personalization should always go beyond just adding your lead’s first name to an email. That is no longer an approach that is impressive or special. Instead, target specific segments with content, offers, and language that provide solutions and speak to your leads’ exact pain points.


Michael RooneyMichael Rooney

@bpmonline

Michael Rooney is Senior Vice President and General Manager at bpm’online, a premium vendor of process-driven CRM software for marketing, sales, and service automation.

“To create a successful marketing automation campaign, the most important best practice to remember is…”

Go back to basics. Start small by automating basic steps (such as email) rather than trying to tackle a complicated, multi-level campaign. At the same time, collect as much information as you can about the lead, what they choose and don’t, offers to which they respond, social or other contact preferences, and anything you can as they move from lead, to prospect, to customer, to customer-service contact. Use analytics, but more importantly, use your software to build a strong process so you can have a 360-degree view of the customer.


Morgan O'MaraMorgan O’Mara

@morganromara

Morgan O’Mara is the content coordinator at Record Nations, where she focuses on social media and email marketing.

“The #1 best practice or tip for implementing a successful marketing automation campaign is to…”

Try and make it personal. Even though it is automated, try to put something in the messaging to appeal to the individual. This can be tricky, but beneficial in getting more results from the campaign.


Jackie BurgoaJacqueline Burgoa

@JackieBiz

Jackie Burgoa has a degree in Architecture from U.C. Berkeley, an MBA from Nova University, and an MSF from FIU. She eats, breathes, and sleeps business growth. After 18 years of owning an insurance agency, she decided to sell it and dedicate all her knowledge and experience to Growth Hacking. Her Digital Marketing Agency, Marques.so, specializes in Marketing Automation and Mobile Marketing.

“The honest truth? There is not ONE #1 tip. People that follow the ONE tip, I assure you, will NOT have a successful marketing automation campaign. Instead, I recommend THREE top tips for successful marketing automation…”

1. Data
2. Sales Funnels
3. Traffic

If you miss one of these components – and by the way, they have to implemented in that order – you will NEVER have a successful marketing automation campaign. You may have a one-hit wonder. But, it’s very difficult to run campaign after campaign with a high degree of certainty that you have eliminated as much risk as possible prior to launching your campaign.


Nicholas ScaliceNicholas Scalice

@nscalice

Nicholas is an inbound marketing consultant and the founder of Earnworthy. He focuses on helping brands get attention, gain trust, and generate sales using powerful inbound marketing tools and technology.

“The best marketing automation campaigns start by…”

Focusing on the people behind the pixels. In other words, automation is a fantastic tool, but if used to an extreme, it can come off as inauthentic and spammy. So, it is important to add a personal touch to marketing automation campaigns whenever possible. Maybe this means segmenting your lists in extremely specific ways so the messages really resonate with the recipient. Or, maybe it means following up manually with the highest value contacts, even it if takes more time. Whatever the case may be, I always try to build out an automation campaign by humanizing it and putting myself on the receiving end. If I were the one getting these messages, would I actually respond or take action? Such questions can save you a lot of wasted effort down the line.


Jesse TillJesse Till

@ChatterBuzz

Born In Tegucigalpa, Honduras and raised in Managua, Nicaragua, Jesse Till has had his multicultural background influence him in his marketing
efforts. From learning more languages and living in developing nations, his growth came from a nurturing childhood and a profound interest in connecting with people from all backgrounds.

Since moving to the United States, he’s managed to continue to pursue his creative dreams and push through the noise as a social media strategist for Chatter Buzz Media.

“My #1 best practice for an automated marketing campaign is to…”

Create various content sheets when doing a bulk upload for social media.

Whether you’re using HootSuite, Buffer, or any other scheduler, it’s important to have consistent messaging without repeating yourself, or you’ll sound boring to your audience.

Here’s an example: Say you run an auto repair shop and have a special going on. You want to get the message out there about your discount, so you go to your social media accounts and post an image of your deal with the same messaging.

Though this strategy requires a minimal time investment and can prove to be successful, you’re going to want to change the way you say it depending on what platform you use. For instance, Facebook allows you to write paragraphs while Twitter limits you to only 140 characters.

It’s not to say you shouldn’t be promoting or sending the same content. It’s more about tailoring your messaging depending on which social media outlet you’re on and then bulk uploading it to every platform.

It may take a little longer but it can pay dividends in the long run, and you’ll still be able to save time as opposed to just scheduling everything one at a time or doing it on the fly.


Carrie Ann WilliamsCarrie Ann Williams

@AndanaConsult
@77CarrieAnn

As principal of Andana Consulting, Carrie Ann Williams, CPSM works with professional service organizations to build brands and create realistic marketing plans that get results. As a marketing expert, she focuses on helping professional services firms define their brand and marketing efforts to connect with and inspire their audience. She advises firms on market research, industry intelligence, overall strategy, and marketing tactics. She has successfully developed publicity and marketing campaigns that include distinctively packaged marketing materials, media placements, website design, content strategy, and social media outreach that sets clients apart from the outset and enhances visibility opportunities.

“My best practice for implementing successful marketing automation campaigns is to…”

Really know your audience by having well thought-out personas. The goal of automation is to initiate and maintain relationships with your audience. By having clear personas, you have a better understanding of the content that will be valuable to them, the way that they buy your product or services, and how to best automate your marketing to bring them real information they can use. Make sure that you have content your audience is interested in available on all your channels – from email, to your blog, to your premium content. A detailed buyer persona will help you get inside your client’s mind and deliver meaningful information to them. Through marketing automation, you’ll nurture your clients through your buying process.


Mark EspinolaMark Espinola

@mespi
@gradehub

Mark Espinola is the CEO and Founder of GradeHub, an effortless grading and reporting tool for educators.

“My #1 tip for implementing a successful marketing automation campaign is to…”

Resist, at all costs, to unload on your prospect more than one value proposition in each email. I think we all tend to think AND my product does this AND my product does that. Before you know it, your email looks like a short essay. You get far more traction by dripping multiple product benefits in separate, personal-looking emails in a brief,
conversational tone.


Ben ScandlenBen Scandlen

@thewaycompany

Ben Scandlen is an innovative marketing executive with The Way Company who has driven growth and created exceptional customer experiences in the airline, financial services, and education sectors. He has led major re-branding efforts, creation of world-class digital properties, and major strategy changes through the adoption of marketing innovation.

“The key to a successful marketing automation campaign is to…”

Set the first one up successfully before adding complexity. When you factor in the number of variables available within a marketing automation campaign, the stages of the buying cycle, different types of personas, contact options, testing etc., it is easy to become overwhelmed by attempting to address too many scenarios. It is much better to take the time to address your most common use case first – and correctly – and then iterate and optimize from that first campaign. In my experience this is easier said than done, because all of the options that are available to you look like revenue opportunities that should be taken advantage of as soon as possible. It is better, though, to have one campaign actually in place, generating revenue and delivering results to learn from than having a complex strategy that is always in development.


Andrew SilcoxAndrew Silcox

@LeadAgencyAU

Andrew Silcox has over 15 years experience in B2B marketing strategies and lead generation campaigns. He knows that the best results are based on building great marketing conversations. The more you engage and communicate with your customers and prospects, the more likely they will understand, need, and value what you offer. Andrew serves as Director at The Lead Agency.

“At the heart of any decision to implement marketing automation should be…”

The aim to more closely align sales and marketing efforts. Many companies suffer from these departments focusing their efforts and resources on different approaches, which means wasted leads and budgets. Working together makes it much easier to identify prospects, generate opportunities, and build a steady stream of qualified, active leads.

There are almost infinite actions to be considered, planned, and agreed upon to implement successful marketing automation. However, in my experience every successful marketing automation execution includes one critical element: a comprehensive lead scoring system. If sales and marketing work together to identify the elements of a quality lead, it provides two excellent outcomes:

1. It focuses their own activities to provide better outcomes for each department, and

2. It ensures that they fully consider the needs and requirements of both departments, their challenges, and how the marketing automation campaign can achieve the right results for both departments to succeed.


Lisa ChuLisa Chu

@BlackNBianco

Lisa Chu owns Black N Bianco, a company in the apparel clothing business. She believes offering great quality products are affordable prices. Her company was started back in 2012 when the economy took a nose dive and she lost her job.

“There are a lot of pieces that have to come together in order to establish a successful marketing automation campaign. The most vital piece is…”

Outlining and creating a lead nurturing program. A lead nurturing program can make or break your marketing budget. I recommend creating a flowchart of your lead nurturing programs to help define the triggers and identity the content gaps of your market. By reviewing this flowchart, you can produce an effective campaign and troubleshoot the potential conflicts that may occur. The deeper you can track your lead activity, the more tools you will have to respond to your demographic audience.


Tamar GarfunkelTamar Garfunkel

@Yotpo

Tamar Garfunkel is the Head of Marketing Automation for Yotpo, a customer content marketing platform.

“My #1 tip for a successful marketing automation campaign is…”

Let your goals drive your campaign.

Often when running marketing automation campaigns, it’s easy to get distracted by open and click-through rates. You work hard on your subject line and copy, edit it, scrutinize it, edit again, and finally after launching the campaign, you refresh your screen every 10 seconds to see those clicks go up.

But in fact, unless your campaign goal was purely engagement, a single email or multiple email flow that had a lot of engagement may not even get you closer to achieving your personal, team, or company goal.

Are you trying to convert those blog subscribers to leads? To get signups for a webinar? To get your leads on a call with your sales reps? Or to re-engage old lost deals? Your goal should really be what guides you in building and optimizing your campaign.

For example, a lead that has downloaded an eBook may be more engaged in a slow, gentle, content-based approach, but if your campaign goal is to get as many leads possible to show interest in a demo, you might want to try and be more aggressive much earlier in the campaign. Then, even if your results show you’re scaring off those leads, you can always tone it down a bit and add in a few fun and easy content/engagement emails. And of course, make sure to set up your tracking in a way that you can always assess where you are in terms of your goals.


Ian WynneIan Wynne

@Ian_Wynne

Ian is a serial entrepreneur, having sold his first marketing company. He loves marketing, exploring human potential, neuroscience, and food experiments. You can find Ian at Chasing Limitless.

“Heads and shoulders above everything else when it comes to marketing automation is…”

Consistency. Your one great piece of content may be just thatŠ great. However if people are not used to seeing, reading, and engaging with you, your chances of fully leveraging your great piece of content become significantly diminished.

Consistently, when practiced and implemented within your plan for marketing, becomes the foundation upon which you are able to build a responsive community. So how does this work? Simply put, when you’re communicating with your audience regularly there becomes an expectation of communication and your audience is eagerly looking for your content. When you have this, your great piece of content will become more fully leveraged.

Tip 1: Get started, even though it may seem daunting to post every day, multiple times a day, or even a few times a week. The suggestion and planning we most often use is to get our clients started off by communicating weekly. An easy way to do this is by taking these steps:

  • Write a blog and post it to your website at on the same day and time each week.
  • Email a notification to your list with a snippet of your blog and direct them, with links in the email, back to the blog.
  • Set up and automate posts to your social media platforms. There are a number of very cheap or free tools out there to let you connect and automate your social communication. We use BuferApp, which is great. (We have no affiliation with them.)

Rinse and repeat each week and you’ll have the foundation upon which you’re able to build a fully fledged marketing automation system for your business.


Jessica KornfeindJessica Kornfeind

@JesKorn

Jessica Kornfeind is the Senior Marketing Manager at PrimePay, a payroll and HR solutions provider with industry-leading customer service. Beginning her career in journalism and sales, Jessica found her heart really belongs to marketing. She’s a social media (and social selling) advocate to the core!

“My number one tip for someone just implementing a marketing automation campaign would be to…”

Have a game plan for testing. One mistake most marketers make is not testing their campaigns. To know what’s truly received successfully by your target audience, you must test elements of the campaign (typically one at a time) and track the results. Whether it’s something as simple as testing the initial caps of your subject line or the color of a button, trust me, it’s worth it. Personally, I’ve seen conversions rise by 300% just by a simple color change, something I wouldn’t have known without adding a testing element into my marketing automation campaign.


Austin PaleyAustin Paley

@BFMweb

Austin Paley is the Director of Marketing at Blue Fountain Media, a digital agency that specializes in results-driven solutions for brands online.

“When it comes to marketing automation, in order for your efforts to garner results, you need to…”

Prove value and show that you understand the users you’re marketing to. The best way to do that is to personalize as many elements of the campaign as you can. Whether it’s their name, company they work at, their phone number, or their behavioral trends – the more data you have, the better.


Kent LewisKent Lewis

@anvilmedia

As President and Founder of Anvil Media, Inc., Kent Lewis is responsible for ensuring the company is living its mission and vision by managing overall corporate strategy including operations, business development, sales, and marketing. Specializing in analytics, search engine, and social media marketing services, Anvil is an integrated marketing consultancy which provides measurable marketing that moves clients’ businesses forward.

“My #1 tip for implementing a successful marketing automation platform is to…”

Focus on the people. Ignore the platform (which is a commodity). The process and content are relatively easy to develop, but the people are key. If your organization does not have an inbound marketing culture, where sales and marketing teams collaborate, then marketing automation will not work no matter how much amazing content, robust platform capabilities, or efficient processes you have in place. Hire or empower evangelists that can rally the organization to embrace marketing automation and the rest will fall into place. I recently wrote an article on this subject, The 4 Ps of a Successful Marketing Automation Program.

Related Resources


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MONEYBALL FOR SALES AND MARKETING
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MARKETING CONTENT MANAGEMENT BUYER’S GUIDE
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HOW TO BUILD A SALES PORTAL

 
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