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Whether you’re completing an email service provider (ESP) or wanting to reach your customers holistically, growth marketing automation is a powerful brand awareness technology and should be at the heart of your martech stack.
For businesses looking to scale responsibly, marketing automation enables massive growth by both building the funnel and providing the kind of branding experience required to be successful.
Businesses and consumers alike have stepped up their digital engagement during the pandemic. Global marketing automation spending will reach $ 25 billion by 2023, according to Forrester, and many practitioners are considering adopting a marketing automation solution to meet the moment.
If you get into the bucket of people racing towards automation, you might be staring at a shiny new platform wondering how to use its powers effectively. Read on for a handy guide to help you get the most out of automation technology and grow your business in your own way.
Perform a data hygiene peel and content audit
It is tempting to jump right into using your new marketing automation platform, but before you dive headfirst, it’s important to do some basic cleaning.
As a modern day marketer, you likely have a ton of data and content lying around. Start by indexing your contact lists to ensure proper segmentation. Double check that the contacts you are adding to your new platform have chosen to receive communications from you. That translates into more accuracy when tracking engagement and deliverability.
Next, organize your content library. EBooks, webinars, blog posts, white papers, and product guides are great resources to have on hand when starting a growth marketing automation strategy.
To deliver real value to your customers, you should take the time to think about when and where content is best throughout the customer lifecycle. It also makes their ascent to evangelism convenient and natural. Use guided blog posts during onboarding and granular white papers for long-term maintenance.
Coordinate with your sales team and start a pilot email campaign
If you want to add the complexity of marketing automation to your stack, you need to open a communication channel with your sales team. While understanding the pros and cons of your new platform is not important for sales, it is important that you schedule the right time for sales to engage with your leads.
A great marketing automation platform will help you create a methodology for your approach to customer experience through lead scoring. Lead scoring helps develop a mutually beneficial system that increases marketing’s ability to pass qualified leads to sales, and it helps sales focus time and effort on the most likely buyers.
Why are these things important? They convey the operational organization of the buyer journey and support a seamless customer experience.
While the relationship between your marketing and sales teams will likely evolve as you hone your marketing automation expertise, it’s good to start strategizing, communicating, and executing a flexible plan early on.
Once you’ve aligned marketing and sales, start small by launching an automated pilot email campaign. Why email? Because most marketers are familiar with and comfortable creating content for the channel – especially those who rely solely on ESPs.
By just starting out and leading with the mindset that every automated campaign you deploy – from your pilot to your best – is a learning experience, you can assess the kinks in each one and find out what works best for your company as a whole .
Nibble before you gobble to avoid biting off more than you can chew. An approach that will pay off later.
Think beyond email
Once you master the channels that you are most comfortable with (email, social media, website, etc.), you can start exploring new avenues for experiential engagement.
For example, automated SMS marketing is an emerging channel that you simply can no longer ignore. In today’s highly mobile market, reaching customers right on their phone when a message needs to get through is perfect. Most marketing automation platforms have some form of SMS functionality, whether it’s “bolted on” by a third party or included in the platform itself.
The automated SMS channel really took off during the pandemic as people explored new ways of interacting with brands. According to McKinsey’s recent US Consumer Sentiment study, 77% of consumers have tried new shopper behaviors in the past year and were primarily driven by the need for value, convenience, and availability.
The key word there is value. As you move forward with your marketing automation platform, you will understand that not every channel is created equal.
For types of communication with a longer lead time, such as For example, sharing a white paper to expand your customers’ expertise, email is still a great channel. But for time-sensitive communications, such as hotel check-in information or payment reminders, SMS can provide your customers with instant information that will improve their daily work and life.
It is important to note that, unlike email, SMS is very personal and should only be used to enhance the buying or customer experience. If you enter this new frontier of engagement, do so easily and with the attitude that SMS is not a medium for “batch and blasts”.
Remember, this is growth marketing automation, not autopilot
The first time you use growth marketing automation, you may feel like a kid in a candy store. The ability to automate minor and tedious tasks can be addicting.
A common misconception, however, is that automation allows you to work with autopilot. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
The less time you spend manually segmenting goals and creating trial-and-error campaigns, the more time you can devote to getting to know your customers. That means you’ll have more bandwidth to work with clients and evangelists in person, filter your reviews to see where you can improve your offerings and communications, and experiment with new and emerging channels.
Automation is the robin for your Batman. It creates the conditions for you to be more effective on your messages, not more robotic. Letting your platform do the work gives you more time to be creative and increase your ability to deliver more effective campaigns.
Additional resources on growth marketing automation
The (many) advantages of marketing automation [Infographic]
Marketing Automation 101: Start Learning with Content, Expert, and Training
Seven Marketing Automation Campaigns That Should Get You Promoted