Automating your marketing does not have to be intimidating or difficult to do. Here are a few simple dos and don’ts to guide you through the process of acquiring and implementing marketing automation.
DO keep it simple. Pick a simple marketing automation system, one that you would actually end up using. Bells and whistles may seem great, but the last thing you need is to invest in an expensive, complex system, then end up not using it.
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DON’T be fooled into thinking that the more you pay, and the more complex the system, the better it will be. Countless expensive marketing automation systems are collecting dust on shelves while companies are adopting user-friendly, intuitive ones, because the complex systems were simply too difficult to use or required dedicated staff.
DO set realistic goals, such as increasing revenue, generating more/better leads, improving marketing measurements and improving marketing-sales alignment. Remember that it will be some time before you see actual results.
DON’T expect the system to create content for you. A marketing automation system can do lots of things for you, but it won’t create content. Make sure you have high quality content to feed into your marketing automation system, whether by repurposing existing content, or by outsourcing your content creation.
DO use marketing automation for customer retention. Customer turnover is costly. One of the most effective ways to retain important existing customers is to use marketing automation to identify and segment customers and determine which customers are the most valuable. Once you’ve identified your most valuable customers, and the ones most at risk of leaving, you should create and measure customer retention campaigns.
DO downsize your campaigns. Take advantage of the rich data that your marketing automation system offers you, and focus on creating tight, focused campaigns instead of broad, generic ones. Send more targeted emails focused on specific pain points, and you will likely see significantly higher response rates.
DON’T assume that you can’t afford marketing automation. It’s more affordable than you think. Yes, there are impossibly-expensive systems out there that require more resources than you can afford, but you can also find low-cost, highly effective marketing automation solutions that are so easy to operate, you won’t need dedicated staff to do it.
DO cast a wide net. In the B2B space, the buying process often includes several decision makers. Marketing automation allows you to appropriately target each decision maker based on their particular concerns.
DO follow up promptly. Use your marketing automation system to track who is on your website, and follow up immediately. The prospect’s web activity, captured by your marketing automation tool, tells you a lot about what they’re looking for. Tailor your message accordingly.
DON’T give up on marketing/sales alignment. It may have seemed impossible to achieve up until now, but marketing automation solutions make a real difference by providing sales with better leads and by encouraging sales and marketing to work together.
DO approach your boss armed with a detailed ROI analysis when you ask her to approve a marketing automation purchase. By making a few simple changes to your pitch, and highlighting the business value that a marketing automation system creates, you can get the boss’ approval for this important investment.