Recently, there have been some marketing specialists that have besmirched the reputation of marketing automation (MA). They have said marketing automation does not work or that MA is not cost-effective. But we are here to tell you that evidence shows B2B marketing automation can make many companies more effective in their marketing practices. The key to making an MA system work effectively is the strategy that is developed before the system is deployed. Here are a few ideas to consider when you’re developing an automated B2B marketing strategy to get the most from marketing automation.
Keep email lists up to date
B2B marketing automation relies heavily on email transmissions. Unfortunately, email addresses often change and job tenure is not as extended as it used to be. Therefore, it’s critical to maintain a current email database with active accounts. Email records decay at a rate of 25% per year so stay on top of your email list: plan to review database records annually and review deliverability reports monthly or quarterly.
Provide timely information
According to a Gartner Research “customers will manage 85% of their relationship with (an) enterprise without interacting with a human.” This means that automated marketing messages had better be relevant and timely. Inbound marketing relies on connecting digitally with leads at the right time, but it’s just as important that auto-response messages connect mentally when prospects are searching for solutions.
Match messaging to lead source
Prospects can connect with your brand from a number of sources. Make sure that the automated messages that follow a lead’s action support the lead source that “sent” the lead. For instance, a lead that connects with you through a Facebook share should receive a message that references the share link that was used to find your brand. This way you recognize your prospects as unique and provide personalized messaging.
Set a reasonable pace for message delivery
With so much email – both wanted and unwanted – filling up mailboxes, it’s a challenge to grab attention and generate enough interest to get read. To get opened you must approach your leads cautiously but consistently. Avoid sending messages too frequently, you may become an irritant. Send messages too infrequently and you risk losing a customer to another more timely message. There is no magical formula for setting delivery schedules but a good rule of thumb is to schedule messages for delivery between three and seven days from the previous contact event.
Tailor messaging to lead behaviors
Don’t simply send a broad message to market segments, acknowledge the path that has brought a prospect to your brand by addressing previous online activities. You can’t rely on your messaging to be simply relevant to your markets’ objectives (i.e. seeking a solution); messages should also remind leads of the digital journey they have taken to get to your brand. Blog reads, website visits, purchase history, and search activity should all be considered when designing automated marketing messages.
Change with customer evolution
Automated marketing should not remain static. Ten years ago there was no Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. The channels that B2B buyers use to find solutions will likely change over the next 10 years. B2B prospects use search engines 93% of the time to find solutions and 37% post questions on social networking sites for information. Your automated marketing strategy should be flexible in order to adapt to changing digital marketing channels.
Don’t rely on email alone
Marketing automation systems are evolving. Use automated article delivery or set landing pages to deliver messaging. In the era of full mailboxes, consider other assets to drive lead engagement.
Automated marketing practices are relatively new, and some claim that the verdict is still out on their efficacy. However, the Lead Liaison sales team has found that customers have seen improved response rates and higher conversion rates through the use of our automated marketing solutions. This means more revenue is being generated. The key takeaway here is that, in order for your marketing automation system to be effective, your automated marketing strategy should be solid. To find out more about setting up an effective marketing automation strategy, talk with one of our knowledgeable Lead Liaison sales agents today!