Material specific to marketing automation such as needs, best practices, lessons learned, and benefits of marketing automation.

Mistakes with Marketing Automation – and How to Fix Them

Mistakes You May Be Making with Marketing Automation and How to Fix ThemWhile marketing automation has become an increasingly popular approach for generating quality leads and driving them through the sales funnel efficiently, it’s not uncommon for marketers to make mistakes in implementing marketing automation tools. The power of marketing automation cannot be denied, but it also is not a magic solution that will resolve all marketing problems. As is the case with any solution, marketing automation is only as effective as the team behind it and the time you invest in it. Failure to properly implement and make the most of marketing automation will almost always result in failure. In this post we’ll share common mistakes with marketing automation and how to fix them.

Failure to Develop a Documented Strategy

Without a documented marketing strategy, marketing automation tools cannot possibly hit your desired target. A proper marketing automation strategy should effectively tie together the goals of a company with the techniques used to reach those goals. Marketing automation tools serve as a means to execute a proper strategy; they are not an actual strategy on their own.

Only Using Marketing Automation Tools as Email Marketing Tools

Marketing automation tools provide far more than just email capabilities. While email is still an incredibly effective marketing automation tool, a successful marketing automation campaign requires harnessing all available features, which may include lead scoring, search engine optimization, landing pages, and metrics and reporting.

Focusing on Selling Instead of Nurturing

Lead nurturing is one of the most powerful benefits of a marketing automation tool. When used properly, it can help to move prospects through the sales funnel more quickly than when using traditional marketing tools. The problem is that many marketers focus on selling rather than nurturing leads at the top of the funnel. When a heavy sales pitch is used too early, it often drives leads away rather than moving them forward. Selling should be reserved for the bottom of the funnel leads, while the top of the funnel leads should receive useful content related to their specific interests.

Tracking the Wrong Metrics

It can be incredibly easy to get sucked into the vast array of data available from marketing automation tools. Placing too much emphasis on the wrong data, however, such as social shares and traffic, can prevent you from tracking metrics that really matter, such as lead conversion rates. Always keep in mind that the importance of certain metrics may change based on where a lead is in the sales funnel.

Taking the Next Step after Implementing Marketing Automation

Taking the Next Step after Implementing Marketing AutomationAs important as planning is to the success of marketing automation, it’s also important not to drop the ball after a marketing automation campaign is implemented. Unfortunately, marketers often tend to struggle with the next step after implementing marketing automation. Most often, these areas include starting small, sourcing quality content, and implementing steps for passing leads on to sales management as quickly as possible.

Begin with Micro-Campaigns

Many times, marketers are so excited at the prospect of launching a marketing automation campaign that they try to implement too much too soon. The key to success is to drive some valuable activity to your marketing automation system right away. Launching small campaigns by targeting great prospects, including existing customers, can generate high-value activity. Try offering valuable information and educational content to encourage leads and get them excited about what is to come.

Sourcing Good Content

Among the biggest bottlenecks many marketers face is trying to source good content while keeping it updated, fresh, and relevant. Planning ahead can help to eliminate many of the struggles associated with sourcing good content. It is vital to the success of an automated marketing campaign to always have a steady supply of quality content. Consider the different types of content available, and plan to include a mix of content genres to keep things interesting. For example, mix it up between articles and videos, blogs and infographics. Sources should be updated frequently. The ultimate goal is to deliver fresh content that will help target leads to move to the next stage of the sales funnel without delay.

Tips for creating good marketing content.

Pass It On

The results of an automated marketing campaign are only beneficial if they arrive in the hands of sales managers as quickly as possible. Establishing report subscriptions to deliver valuable data from the marketing automation system to the right people can ensure that leads are acted upon quickly, before they grow cold.

Following these easy steps can help in getting data flowing into an automated marketing campaign once it is implemented, and ensure the greatest degree of long-term success.

What You Need to Know to Make Your Marketing Automation More Effective

What You Need to Know to Make Your Marketing Automation More EffectiveThe benefits of marketing automation are well known, including improved lead management, staff efficiency, marketing ROI, and increased sales. Even so, not all marketing automation campaigns are as effective as they could be. The tips below are provided to make your marketing automation more effective.

Planning Is Primary

The first and most important step in developing an effective marketing automation campaign is identifying and fleshing out goals for connecting with leads. Whether that is through social media, email, website content, or a mix of methods, it is important to consider the best ways to communicate, as well as how frequently to communicate with leads, to obtain optimal results.

Gathering Data

The process of building an effective marketing automation plan relies heavily on understanding as much about a target audience as possible. Taking the time to gather and analyze data for the purposes of determining a lead’s choices is well worth investing the effort and time.

Tell Prospects What to Do

Including a clear call to action is vital to help prospects uncover the information they want while also driving follow through. By linking a call to action with an offer, a marketing automation campaign gives prospects greater incentive to take the next step. This is particularly important for prospects at the top of the sales funnel.

Scoring Leads

Among the greatest benefits of marketing automation is the ability to score leads. While marketing automation tools are great for driving leads, it should be recognized that not all leads are the same. Some leads are hot, while others are simply should be passed by. Lead scoring helps to discern the difference between the two, and ensures that valuable time and effort is not wasted on leads destined to generate little return, while simultaneously focusing more effort on leads with the most potential to convert to paying customers.

The process of building a new marketing automation plan can at first seem overwhelming. If you approach the process in a step-by-step manner, however, the process becomes simpler and sets the stage for greater success.

 

What You Need to Know Before Implementing Marketing Automation

What You Need to Know Before Implementing Marketing AutomationSo, you’re thinking of giving marketing automation a try. There are certainly many excellent reasons to do so. Marketing automation can help to make your workload much more efficient while also delivering a positive return on investment. On the flip side, marketing automation can also increase your workload and be a drain on your budget, if it is not handled properly. The difference lies in how well you plan the implementation of marketing automation.

Develop a Plan for Implementation

The most important step you can take before adding marketing automation to your current projects is to ensure you have a plan for implementing it. While this might sound simple enough, this is a step that is too frequently ignored. Far too often, business owners get carried away with all of the many benefits that marketing automation can provide. That may be true, but in order to take advantage of those many benefits you must make sure you have a high-level plan in place.

Begin by ensuring expectations are established. In the past, marketing and sales were often completely different functions. Today, the line between marketing and sales has become blurred thanks to marketing automation. More and more, tasks that were previously handled by sales is now being moved to marketing. This also means that marketing and sales divisions must understand and agree on how their responsibilities will be handled. Try using a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to align sales and marketing.

Start Off Small

Additionally, it is important to make sure you start small. There can be a lot of excitement surrounding the implementation of marketing automation. It can be tempting to want to go big and take advantage of everything marketing automation provides at once. Even so, trying to implement all of the features provided by marketing automation as soon as you get started will usually only result in failure. It is much better to start slow and small by choosing one specific audience and working to build your first marketing project around that audience. Testing is a common practice in the world of marketing and it maintains its importance in marketing automation. The information you glean from your first trial run with marketing automation can prove to be invaluable to the success of later campaigns.

Remember that organization is the key to succeeding with marketing automation. If your operation is already inefficient, marketing automation is not going to change that.

Know What You’re Going to Do with Leads

It is also imperative to ensure you have a system in place for handling the leads that will inevitable result from your marketing automation efforts. This is the ideal time for Marketing and Sales to work together to determine priorities and goals. If your company already has an effective sales team in place, they probably already know how to handle new leads. If not, this may be an area you need to address.

While the prospect of implementing marketing automation might be overwhelming, the right help can make all the difference. Find out more about how you can effectively implement marketing automation today.

Tips for Succeeding with Marketing Automation

Tips for Succeeding with Marketing AutomationThe benefits provided by marketing automation can be truly phenomenal. Allowing you to create successful marketing campaigns and then automate the process, marketing automation provides virtually unlimited capabilities. Among the most important factors involved in determining exactly how successful marketing automation can be for your business is the set-up process. These tips for succeeding with marketing automation will help you ensure the best possible outcome when implementing marketing automation.

Pay Attention to Your Customer Relationship Management

Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is of vital importance for the success of your marketing automation campaign. When your marketing automation software synchs with your CRM, it is imperative that your list be as clean as possible, otherwise you are likely to end up with duplicate lists that you will need to untangle. Take the time to delete any duplicate records and ensure all account names are correct. This may mean merging, deleting, and purging, but it will be time well spent in terms of ensuring optimal success for your marketing automation program.

Are All Email Addresses Correct?

Imagine uploading contacts only to discover you have a high bounce rate due to wrong email addresses. This could be a very real possibility, if you do not run your email addresses through an email verification service. AccuWebHosting.com provides a good article here on email validation services, comparing multiple providers. Here’s another good resource from the Marketing Tech Blog on email validation. There is no need to run the risk of experiencing deliverability issues and potentially having your IP blacklisted, which could happen if you fail to clean up your database and verify emails prior to importing. Take the time to ensure your email addresses are correct before you get started.

Work with Your Sales Team So They Know What to Expect

Marketing automation may provide many benefits, but it also dramatically changes the processes you already have in place. This includes processes utilized by your sales team, so it is important to work with your team to let them know what to expect and answer any questions they may have about marketing automation. For instance, marketing automation could change the way in which leads are assigned to your team. You also need to work with your team to ensure there is a process in place for handling leads as they arrive. Make sure you conduct ample research and work one-on-one with your sales team prior to rolling out your marketing automation campaign. Here’s a good reference for achieving sales and marketing alignment.

Be Committed to Ongoing Education

Do not make the mistake of underestimating how much time it may take to learn everything you need to make the most of marketing automation. This may mean making a commitment to continually educating yourself about marketing automation integration, best practices, usage, etc. Although this does mean committing to additional time on top of a schedule that is likely already packed, it is well worth it.

Marketing automation can be incredibly powerful for your business, but you must learn how to make the most of it. Following the tips above can help you get off to a great start. Find out more about how you can operate a successful marketing automationcampaign.

Mistakes to Avoid with Marketing Automation

Mistakes to Avoid with Marketing AutomationWhen handled properly, marketing automation can turn around even the most ineffective marketing programs. Unfortunately, as is the case with anything else related to marketing, it can be easy to make mistakes with marketing automation. The power of marketing automation cannot be denied, but it is only as good as the effort you put into it. If you have noticed that you are not getting everything from marketing automation that you would like, you may be making one of the following mistakes. Here are some helpful tips on mistakes to avoid with marketing automation.

No Strategy in Place

One of the most common mistakes made by many companies when implementing marketing automation is not having a documented strategy in place. This is rather akin to trying to hit a target in the dark. The goal of your strategy should be to link the goals of your company with the activities and techniques you will be using. With a solid strategy in place, you will be able to ensure you are headed in the right direction. Start by creating a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between sales and marketing.

Not Using the Full Potential of Marketing Automation

Failing to harness the full power of marketing automation tools is another common mistake. Marketing automation has an incredible amount to offer, including the potential for lead scoring, search engine optimization, landing pages, reporting, and more. Unfortunately, many brands make the mistake of using their marketing automation tools solely for email marketing. While marketing automation tools can help you make the most of your email database, it is important to recognize that you can do much more with them.

Not Generating Enough Quality Content

Content always has been a vital part of all online marketing efforts. That does not change with marketing automation. Despite the many benefits offered by marketing automation, if you are not producing enough high-quality, targeted content, your marketing efforts are likely to suffer.

Tracking the Wrong Metrics

Are you sure you are tracking the right metrics? Today, we have the opportunity to take advantage of a dizzying array of data, particularly from marketing automation tools. The problem is that it can be easy to become overwhelmed by all of that data. Eventually, you may fall into the trap of tracking the wrong metrics and even overemphasizing certain metrics, such as social shares and traffic when you should be focusing on customer conversion rates. In order to ensure you are leveraging the full power of your marketing automation tool, it is important to identify the metrics that matter the most for meeting your company’s goals.

Thinking You Can Put It on Autopilot

Marketing automation can provide your company with a great number of benefits while also making your marketing campaigns easier to manage. With that said, you cannot put marketing automation on autopilot and simply forget about it while hoping for the best. You must continue to make the most of everything that marketing automation gives you.

Find out more about how you can make the most of marketing automation and avoid some of the most common mistakes.

How Marketing Automation Levels the Playing Field for Startups – Marketing Automation for Startups

How Marketing Automation Levels the Playing Field for StartupsAll companies can be vulnerable, but startups can be particularly vulnerable as they experience the pains of the growth stage. In the past, there were relatively few ways to level the playing field, giving startups the ability to compete with the big boys in business. Technology; however, has changed all of that and is now making it possible to minimize growth pains while providing even startups with the ability to compete with much larger companies. Introducing marketing automation for startups.

Marketing automation, in particular, is proving to be incredibly beneficial for startups. By giving startups the ability to operate much in the same manner as established businesses, marketing automation provides the opportunity to target audiences with accurate messaging with only a minimal amount of effort. When handled correctly, marketing automation provides entrepreneurs with the chance to make the sales process far more consistent and ultimately more successful.

Avoiding Potential Downfalls in Marketing Automation

If there is a potential downside to marketing automation it is that too many entrepreneurs look at it as a get rich quick strategy that doesn’t require any work at all. While marketing automation can help to level the playing field, it is important to separate fact from fiction.

First, it is important to understand that marketing automation is not some type of magic ATM that will deliver qualified sales leads without any effort. Marketing automation can be effective, but it will only automate what you tell it to do. If you have not already taken the time to target your audience or completed your content mapping strategies, there is not much that marketing automation can do for your business.

Another common misconception when it comes to marketing automation is that it will generate results overnight. Marketing automation works by compiling information based on lead scores, buyer behavior, and sales feedback. This is not a process that takes place overnight. Meaning, you cannot expect rapid results. Marketing automation should be viewed as a long-term investment.

It is also important to understand that while marketing automation is effective in terms of process management and lead nurturing, it does not actually generate leads on its own. Basically, it warms up the leads you give it.

Marketing Automation Strategy Tips

In order to make the most of everything offered by marketing automation, including the ability to compete with larger companies with more resources, you must make certain you have a plan in place. Furthermore, this plan should be scalable and capable of growing with your business as it matures. When planning your strategy for marketing automation, keep these tips in mind:

  • Always think ahead and ensure everything is scalable.
  • Ensure you have enough resources to avoid becoming bogged down.
  • Commit to a documented process strategy.
  • Create a long-term strategy calendar.

Strongly consider marketing automation for startups if your buisness is in this category. Developing a plan for how your startup can benefit from it can help you leverage the power of marketing automation regardless of the size of your business. Find out more about how your startup can benefit from marketing automation.

Bridging the Gap Between Content and ROI with Marketing Automation

Bridging the Gap Between Content and ROI with Marketing AutomationIt’s well known in the world of marketing that content provides the fuel necessary for successful marketing. That is no less true with marketing automation. Ultimately, you cannot expect a positive ROI, if you do not have a solid content strategy. Even the best marketing automation program in the world cannot resolve a lack of quality content. Determine ROI with marketing automation.

Despite the importance of content, many businesses continue to struggle with implementing quality content for their marketing automation needs, with their ROIs suffering as a result. Below, we go through several critical steps you can take to bridge the gap between your content and your return on investment.

1. Analyze your Content Plans

Quality content does not develop on its own and it does not happen by accident. In order to feed your marketing automation program quality content, you must first stop and analyze your content plans as well as what it is that your target audience actually wants to see. Of particular importance in terms of marketing automation, is mapping the customer journey and ensuring that your content plan aligns with that journey.

2. Think More in the Long Term than the Short Term

Far too often, many marketers focus more on the short term than the long term when it comes to their content development goals. In order to ensure you are making the most of content within the context of marketing automation, you need to pay attention to any gaps that might exist in the various stages of the buyer journey and ensure you create highly targeted content to address those gaps. This means you must stop thinking in the short term and think in the long term.

3. Develop a Content Development Calendar

Do you create content as it is needed or do you have content on reserve based on your objectives? The problem that many business owners encounter is that they create content only when they need it. In order to succeed with your marketing automation strategy, you need to have a solid plan in place. Creating a 12-month content plan can help you to do that.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate

Marketing automation can help to automate many of the processes related to your marketing campaign, but it cannot do everything for you. The same is also true for your content plan. You must take the time to analyze how you are utilizing your marketing automation system and how well your content is working for you. Make a commitment to evaluating your current systems at least once per quarter.

5. Make Improvements

Analyzing only works if you take the information from your evaluations and put it to work for you. After evaluating the data generated by your marketing automation system, determine what is working, what is not working and make changes to generate necessary improvements to boost your ROI.

Want a copy of our Marketing Content Map (MCM) document? Contact us with a brief note requesting the MCM and we’ll send it to you.

Marketing automation can drive a higher ROI. By implementing the steps listed above, you can bridge the gap between your content and your ROI. Learn more about how you can benefit from marketing automation today.

Great Strategies to Improve Efficiency of your Marketing Automation System

Great Strategies to Improve Your Marketing Automation’s EfficiencyMarketing automation is one of the most important new technologies to influence modern marketing in recent years, and if your company has already adopted it, then you are already ahead of the competition. However, marketing automation is a system with a lot of different tools, and if one tool is used incorrectly, it can be damaging to the entire system, ultimately making your software inefficient and costing you conversions. Take a look at some of these best practices described below and compare them to how your company is using its marketing automation software. Don’t be surprised if you see some significant improvements to your marketing automation’s efficiency after implementing these practices!

Improve efficiency of your marketing automation system using these three tips:

Lead Qualification

Marketing automation can generate a great number of new leads for your company in a short amount of time. It can generate so many new leads, in fact, that it can become overwhelming for your sales team to attempt to pursue them all. One of the most important things to implement in your marketing automation program is lead qualification. Lead qualification analyzes a leads behavior and any available data about the lead’s profile and assigns a lead score to each prospect. Using this system, you can ensure that your sales team is focusing on the leads most likely to be converted – not wasting their time pursuing leads that are uninterested.

Lead Nurturing

One of the most important ways to turn cold leads into qualified leads is through a successful lead nurturing program. You need to make sure your marketing team can craft a program that engages your leads, educating and informing them while not being too pushy and scaring them away through overselling. The key is to focus on educating, not selling. A successful lead nurturing program should be consistent with your company’s brand, and should be tailored to a lead’s interest level, as assessed by the lead score assigned to the lead. And likewise, your sales team should be in tune with how leads are progressing through a lead nurturing program, so they know when a lead has become qualified and is ready to be contacted by a sales rep.

A/B Testing

Another vital way to improve your marketing automation’s efficiency is by implementing effective A/B email testing. You may think you have a great lead nurturing program in place, but it doesn’t take very much effort to test it against a different strategy. The results may surprise you and your marketing team, and even if you don’t find a strategy that is entirely more effective than your current tactics, you may find one element of it that you can incorporate into other marketing materials. Marketing automation software such as Lead Liaison has built in tools that will let you see exactly how your leads are responding to your marketing materials so you can construct the best, most effective content possible.

These are just a couple of the many different important strategies you can use to improve efficiency of your marketing automation system. Visit Lead Liaison’s marketing automation blog online to learn more.

How to Reach Out to a Lost Lead Using Marketing Automation

How to Reach Out to a Lost Lead Using Marketing AutomationIt can be disappointing when a lead officially moves over to the lost pile. Considering how the internet and marketing automation has increased sales and marketing teams’ ability to quickly acquire large amounts of new leads, it can be tempting to simply forget about lost leads and move on to the next set. However, those leads were once considered possibilities, and marketing automation software makes it an easy thing to casually contact leads without wasting any of your employees’ efforts. Keep reading to learn how you can reach out to a lost lead using marketing automation without costing you any time or money.

How a Lead is Lost

Leads become inactive and effectively lost for various reasons, although those reasons can generally be grouped into two broad categories, which happen at two distinct spots in the lead funnel. The first is distraction, which usually occurs at the top of your lead funnel. It simply means the lead didn’t have an opportunity to engage with your marketing materials and wasn’t hooked by your product. They may know who you are, but they aren’t interested enough to pay attention.

The second, and more difficult to overcome, is when a customer knows about your company and your services, but does not think you are the correct provider of a solution to their problem. This typically occurs much further down the sales funnel, and can be more difficult to overcome.

How to Regain a Lead’s Interest

If you have lost a lead due to distraction, then attention grabbing marketing automation solutions can yield great results. Social selling is a great way to get a lead’s attention, and a quick follow up with a limited time offer can create urgency and inspire a lead to renew their interest in your products or services.

If you lost a lead further down the lead funnel, the process can be a little more involved, but you still have some great options to reach out to that lost lead using marketing automation. Educational lead nurturing can help you regain a lead’s interest. Nurturing helps deliver unobtrusive, well-timed, direct communication that focuses more on educating a lead about different problems and their potential solutions as opposed to simply selling. An annual follow-up is another great way to remind a lead that you’re out there because people can get new titles, budgets can shift and problems can change over time.

If you opt for one of these routes, remember that a multi-channel, multi-touch solution such as what marketing automation providers like Lead Liaison can implement can be incredibly effective. Spreading communications across email, direct mail, text messages and promotional material ensures prospects don’t feel spammed by repeated and unrequested emails. And different people respond to different mediums – someone who isn’t on top of answering every email that comes their way may be much more receptive to a text message.

All in all, you should never truly give up on a lead, and with marketing automation, you don’t have to. Learn about more lead acquisition and marketing automation strategies on Lead Liaison’s marketing automation resource blog.