Marketing automation is a powerful tool, but it’s not a ‘quick fix’. It requires strategic planning and careful involvement from your team. For automation to work, expectations must be managed, solutions should be scalable, and the customer needs to feel like everything is personal.
Here are five steps to help make marketing automation work for you.
1. Align your investment with business goals
Marketing automation isn’t something you can just jump into and hope the technology works its magic. You need to start by creating a plan that’s closely aligned with your key marketing objectives and suits your overall vision for the business. If there’s any misalignment from the outset, you risk wasting money on a solution that won’t drive increased sales or create an effective, personalised experience for your customers.
You should also outline your objectives so that you can keep track of your successes. For example, does success mean a completed sale? If so, how can you use your marketing technology to trace a lead all the way through to the checkout?
2. Adopt a scalable solution
If your business is set to grow rapidly, or is a startup, then you want a scalable solution that can grow with your business. This way, you won’t waste time migrating to new marketing automation platforms as your business grows. Many platforms are subscription-based, so you can simply upgrade to a larger or different plan as your scale and activities change.
Understand your team's capabilities. Take the time to trial a couple of systems and get a sense of how they work before you invest in a high-end platform of which you may only use a fraction. Finding the solution that's the best fit for your team will make the extra time spent testing a range of options worthwhile.
3. Prioritise your weak spots
Could your customer emails be rolled out more quickly? Perhaps your social media management is struggling. Or maybe you’re not offering your customers a memorable, personalised experience. When creating a marketing automation strategy, identify your company’s weak spots, then prioritise your automation spend to target the areas that will deliver results quickly.
4. Provide an omnichannel experience
With the proliferation of mobile and social media, the pressure is on marketers to provide a seamless, end-to-end customer experience and engagement strategy, regardless of channel or device. Marketers who are serious about delivering a great user experience – whether in-store, online, on a mobile app, or through social media – need to ensure that they invest in a marketing automation solution that delivers on all channels.
How do your existing systems work together? Will the new platform integrate easily, or should you look elsewhere to find a more suitable fit? If stubborn legacy systems are holding back your ability to automate, it might be worth looking at upgrading those processes before investing in cutting-edge tech.
5. Keep it customer-centric
An effective marketing automation strategy puts the customer first, gives you deeper customer insights, helps boost engagement, and drives sales. Powerful lifecycle marketing automation should be tailored to your specific campaign objectives and business needs, while offering customers a seamless and personalised experience. Importantly, the right automation tool needs to integrate easily within your business’s existing tech mix, so you can access, analyse, and act on customer data without any time-consuming implementation barriers.
Seek out contacts at other businesses that use the platform and learn about their experiences. If you can, take an existing user out for coffee and get their perspective on using the tool. Reading case studies gives you one side of the story, but nothing beats real-life experience.
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