There has been a lot of talk about marketing automation in recent years, and with Microsoft Dynamics Marketing now integrated to the Dynamics CRM system, both the marketing and the sales team can now benefit from this powerful tool.
So why are firms hesitant about implementing this feature? When you first start looking at setting up marketing automation within your organization, it can definitely seem daunting. There are many moving parts to this process, but we have broken it down into 5 main steps. This will help align your organization on where to start when implementing a marketing automation practice in your company:
1. Make a list of all your marketing-ready collateral and offers
The most important component to a marketing automation practice is content. This is what can seem the most daunting part and, in my personal opinion, why most companies abandon the process before they really even start. However, once you start making a list of what you have, you’ll probably be surprised with how much you actually have to work with.
Remember: Not every piece has be a big flashy eBook (although one in the group would be nice to have), but you can also link to blog articles and short videos or other content that you have posted in the past that can be repurposed for this specific audience.
2. Start small with only one campaign
Now that you have an inventory of everything that you have, gather what you think could work well together and only focus on one segment or trigger. There is nothing wrong with starting small, in fact, it is actually probably preferable since it will also make it less overwhelming and will shorten the amount of time it will take to get you started.
3. Build your nurture path
Now that you know what content as well as the segment you would like to target, start creating one scenario with all touch points from start to finish. This is the part where you should probably invest the most amount of time because this is what will make the difference in people taking an action from your campaign. Ideally, you should not only be thinking about what to offer them, but also how it will be presented to them and how frequently. This is also the phase where you should take the time to create a well thought out landing page as well as specific calls to action on these touch points. By having a well thought out campaign, this is where the time that has been invested into this campaign will really pay off.
As a general rule: Start with 7 touch points in your original nurture campaign. Once this campaign has been completed, I would suggest putting them on a more generic newsletter list so that your prospects will continue to receive information from you, but you won’t feel the pressure of perpetually trying to generate new content for this one group of prospects.
4. Fill in the gaps
Now that you have built out your nurture campaign and have defined your goal for this particular group, it is only normal to find gaps in the content that you are looking to provide throughout this campaign. As a first step, I would start by going back to your inventory list to see if there is anything that you can tweak or update to meet the specific needs of your first target group. Another way to add content to your campaign is to research existing material that was not created internally but that you can use to position you or your organization as a subject matter expert. I wouldn’t suggest doing this for every piece you send out, but if you are only missing 1 or 2 touch points, this is definitely something you should consider exploring.
Remember: This shouldn’t be so big a task that you need to create all new material for a campaign. If this is the case, return to step 2 and see if you have another group for which you have more material out of the starting gate. This will ensure you move forward, without putting the brakes on the entire process.
5. Monitor, test and repeat
Now that you have created your campaign and put it into action, you shouldn’t just set it and forget it, at least not yet. In the beginning, you need to pay close attention to your prospects’ reactions (mostly unsubscribes and opt-outs) as these actions will be a key indicator of whether you are sending them information that isn’t relevant or if you are sending too much too quickly. This is why it will be important to continuously tweak your campaign to see what works and what doesn’t.
Important to note: Automating your marketing cannot be done overnight. It is a slow process, but once you have the right recipe, you can start on your next campaign with a little more insight into what works and what doesn’t.
When setting up of these types of nurture campaigns, there is a lot of work that goes into launching one, and the question I get asked often is: “Marketing automation: does it really make us more efficient?”. I would have to say yes, but not in the short-term. If you are going to implement this type of practice, it is because you have the long-term version of growing this practice into other segments or groups. It is then that you will see the efficiency of such a process since you will have the capability of managing multiple campaigns running at the same time.
Eventually, these campaigns will truly be an automated marketing machine, which in turn will allow your marketing department to spend their energies on new campaigns while these ones will require minimal maintenance. But, please don’t forget: to achieve this, you must invest the time to build it properly from the start and hang in there, it will be worth it in the end.
By JOVACO Solutions,