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Many of us know the disappointment that comes from investing in new “groundbreaking” technology only for that technology to fail to produce the results we want (or be able to measure our impact at all). While technology is sometimes the culprit, many times, the challenges we face are due to not being prepared or knowledgeable enough to make the most out of our new software. 

This statement definitely rings true in the world of marketing automation, where marketers are often disappointed when they don’t yield the return on investment they had anticipated from their investment. What many marketers fail to realize is that choosing the right platform is just part of the equation for digital marketing success. For marketers to reap all the possible benefits of marketing automation, they have to ensure that they have a strategy in place that is just as powerful as the software they are using. 

We know that the decision to invest in marketing automation is often spurred by the need to free up time and resources, and the thought of coming up with a plan of action in addition to everything else may seem overwhelming. At Act-On, we completely understand this pain point and are here to help. That is why we’ve gathered the following tips to help you easily craft a marketing automation strategy that will help you hit the ground running, transform your marketing, and realize your business goals. 

Identify Your Customer Personas and Segment Your Audience Accordingly 

In addition to saving your organization time and resources, one of the greatest benefits of investing in marketing automation is that it opens the door for more personalized communication with your customers. This means your messages and content recommendations will pack more of a punch with your recipients because they will resonate with their specific pain points and stage in the sales cycle. As a result of giving customers exactly what they need, you can expect better engagement and improved conversions.

Getting to this stage, however, requires more than just a powerful marketing automation platform. To fully leverage your new investment, you have to start by first identifying your customer personas and determining the criteria you’ll be using to segment your audience. Once you determine which actions and criteria you’ll use to manage your lists, you can then proceed to target them with the right messages at the right time. 

Map Out Your Content Based on Your Segments and Goals

When used correctly, marketing automation can help you better leverage content to capture user information, nurture leads, and drive conversions. The right platform gives you the opportunity to store, organize, and distribute all sorts of pieces efficiently — whether they be eBooks, videos, or infographics. 

Not all content will generate the same level of excitement or interest from every audience member. To capture their attention, you have to send them relevant pieces. Done manually, this process involves a lot of time and guesswork, but content mapping combined with segmentation makes it more efficient and accurate.

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Mapping out your content based on characteristics such as your recipient’s stage in the customer journey, industry, pain points, and interests helps you determine what kind of content your customers need and when. Therefore, as your prospective customers move through the sales cycle and perform actions that meet these rules, they’ll automatically receive the information they need when they need it. 

Aside from equipping you to deliver relevant content, content mapping also allows you to identify content gaps. This empowers your team to think ahead and be proactive by creating content you know you’ll need in the future. 

Consider How You Can Optimize the Customer Journey

Marketing automation enables you to dictate the customer journey from start to finish, ensuring that every marketing activity you execute moves your prospects one step closer to converting into customers. Unlike an ESP that only allows you to send emails (a limitation that often leads to random acts of marketing), marketing automation allows you to be more thoughtful and calculated about how your customers progress from one phase of the customer journey to the next. 

Before you get to that point, however, there are a few things that you need to consider. To start, you need to think about how each of the marketing activities you implement within your marketing automation platform relate and what actions trigger the platform to send an email or determine whether it’s time for a customer to enter a completely different email program. 

You should also take a moment to consider how you will score each customer action, which will help you determine when they’re ready to move to another list segment, automated program, and, eventually, talk to a member of your sales team. 

Make Marketing and Sales Alignment a Priority

According to our 2019 State of Marketing Automation report conducted in partnership with London Research, 34% of companies and 38% of agencies identify marketing/sales alignment as one of the greatest challenges keeping them from enhancing their digital marketing efforts. Organizations can’t successfully target, nurture, and convert customers if marketing and sales aren’t on the same page when it comes to messaging, insights, and proper handoff protocol. 

Thankfully, the right marketing automation platform can help ensure everybody at your organization is on the same page and able to work together toward a common goal. Act-On integrates with the leading CRMs on the market to facilitate better collaboration between marketing and sales. As a result, marketers know they are gathering the information they need to provide a personalized and targeted marketing experience. Meanwhile, sales gains insight into the information they need to have more powerful conversations that help seal the deal. 

Keep in mind that before you can develop a more seamless collaboration with your sales team, you’ll need to work together to determine how you’ll score customers and determine whether they are qualified, as well as the best way to handoff leads that are ready to talk to a representative. This will ensure you’re both following the same procedures and using your platform in a way that benefits everybody. 

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Determine How You’ll Track and Measure Success

Although automating your marketing frees up much of your time and resources, you still want to make sure that you’re focusing on the types of activities that get you results. Therefore, part of your marketing automation strategy should be to figure out how you’ll measure the success of your efforts so you can continuously optimize your marketing and abandon efforts that aren’t resonating with your audience. 

When choosing the key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to measure, think about which metrics can help you tell a story about the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and will help you improve your work and generate better results in the future. Furthermore, consider the types of information your leadership cares about so you can keep them updated on what they want to know. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Bring in Extra Help

The right marketing automation platform should be easy enough for your team to implement on their own. In addition to easy implementation, however, you should also ensure that your vendor is invested in your long-term success and is able to provide support and resources to help you leverage your investment over the long haul. 

At Act-On, we understand that the process of implementing and getting to know your new marketing automation platform can be full of hurdles. That is why we aim to serve our customers through top-notch customer support and services such as Act-On Accelerate, a marketing as a service option designed to help organizations create, implement, and launch strategies that will help them meet and exceed their goals. 

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