Where To Start With Marketing Automation

by · May 9, 201414 comments

You’ve finally decided to add marketing automation to your digital marketing strategy. Good decision. If you’re at this point and find yourself scratching your head wondering where to start, this post is for you.

Here at SME Digital, we’re all about proving marketing effectiveness, and marketing automation is a great way to scale sales and marketing, tying efforts back to revenue.

Below are the first three steps to get you on the road to success.

Step 1: Audit your current website for points of conversion

Take a close look at each page of your website to compile a list of potential points of conversion.  These conversion points are any point in which you request a response to your call-to-action.

Some examples include:

-        Contact Us prompts

-        Content to download (ebooks, white papers, case studies, etc.)

-        Content subscriptions (blog, e-newsletter, etc.)

-        Requests to set up an appointment or demo

Once you’ve identified these points, make a note by each that details what each response says about the lead’s interest when they respond to your request.

For example, a lead who wants to contact you during their visit to your consultancy’s website is interested in the services you have to offer. A lead who wants to download an ebook from your website is showing interest in the topic that ebook covers.

Tip: Some of these calls to action may already live on your site, which would mean you’ve already completed step 1 & 2 and would only require tying them to a landing page to capture information within a marketing automation platform.

Let’s pretend our Social Media Explorer | SME Digital site did not already use marketing automation tactics. Our list would look like this:

Sticky Note

(Yes, we’ve already completed this exercise, so you will see all of these on our current site.)

When considering which conversion points to include on your site, be sure to tailor it specifically to your needs. A few offerings to consider as conversion points include:

  • Free trials
  • Customized demos
  • Database access or networking opportunities
  • In-person events
  • Webinars or training
  • Industry resources such as checklists and industry guideline updates

Step 2: Identify the goal of each conversion point

Once you’ve identified your points of conversion and understand where the leads’ interests lie, it’s important to tie a desired outcome(s) to each one that aligns with your business goals. In other words, what do you want this lead to become, or to do next?

If someone is subscribing to your daily blog, you may want them to download additional content for more information and/or schedule an appointment to speak with a  new business representative.

If someone fills out a “contact us” form, chances are you have the right idea if you want the next step they take to be purchasing your product or service.

If someone requests an industry resource, the outcome you want is for them to want more resources and/or purchase your product or service.

Here’s what Social Media Explorer | SME Digital’s Step 2 would look like:

Sticky Note 2

Step 3: Create a Framework

Step 1 & 2 have helped you identify where your conversions are and where you want the leads to go next. Think of marketing automation as the bridge to get from point A to point B. Once these are established,  it’s time to develop a framework for each, also known as a lead flow. When creating frameworks or lead flows for SME Digital, I use these questions as guidance:

How warm are the conversions?

The warmer the conversion, the less messaging you need to get the lead to convert. A very warm conversion would be someone who responds to the “Hire SME” call-to-action. We know they are very interested and would not want to risk losing this lead by offering them a variety of additional content. This conversion calls for direct messaging  that requests the information needed (name, email address, etc.) and communicates we will be in touch shortly to schedule a 30-minute consultation.

What materials do I need to get in from of them?

The content that you provide at specific conversion points should align with where the lead is in the buying process. The secret to turning leads into customers is to make yourself valuable to them at all stages on the path to purchase by sending them the right information at the right time. Refer back to my previous post for a closer look at how to align content to the sales cycle.

When and how often should I be messaging them?

 The frequency of your messaging should align with your sales cycle. If you are an ecommerce company with a fast sales cycle, your messaging may be a few times a week to ensure you make a sale, whereas if you are a software company with a longer sales cycle, it may be bi-weekly or even monthly.

Striking a balance between conversions and unsubscribes takes finesse and a bit of testing to find what works best for your business. A good rule of thumb when deciding frequency of messaging is to ask “what do I have to say?” If you have valuable content to share on a frequent basis, you can send messages once or twice a week. But, don’t send messages for the sake of sending messages unless you want your unsubscribe list to skyrocket. Your email reputation affects your deliverability, so finding a good balance is imperative to effectiveness.

Now that your framework is established, it’s time to start building your campaigns within a marketing automation platform such as Marketo, Infusionsoft, HubspotOracle Eloqua or Pardot.

Need help getting your marketing automation initiatives started? We can help! Click here to set up a free consultation.

Did we miss anything in the first 3 steps of our Marketing Automation plan? Have something to add to the conversation? Please comment below: 

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About Danielle Terreri

Danielle Terreri

Danielle Terreri specializes in helping brands deliver powerful, creative, and most importantly, effective, messages in the best way. Her passion for strategic communication and branding from ideation through execution aligns with her role as Content Marketing Manager at SME Digital, the digital consultancy behind Social Media Explorer. Danielle has results-driven experience in the social, digital and traditional marketing fields. She’s also the proud mother of Lola, a 12 pound Maltese-Shih Tzu, and is a world traveler always ready for the next adventure.

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • Jaime Izaks

    I find the warmer conversations to be rather pleasing and informative as well. It’s worked pretty well for my franchise PR firm . Thanks for the post, Danielle.

    • DanielleSME

      Glad to hear you found the article to be valuable, Jaime!

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  • Curt Franke

    Because I otherwise liked the article, I must comment that I was surprised (and a little disappointed) that Oracle Eloqua (www.eloqua.com) was not listed in the marketing automation examples. Eloqua is consistently listed as a marketing automation leader, based on the quality of the product/strategy and the likelihood of client success. Yes, I am an employee, but this is validated by well-known and highly respected companies that use Eloqua, as well as numerous third party analysts who provide assessments of the marketing automation space.

    • DanielleSME

      Hi, Curt-

      Leaving Eloqua off was an oversight that has been corrected. Glad you enjoyed the article otherwise!

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  • Ann07

    It’s a good idea to include marketing automation to your digital marketing strategies. However, people who are just new to this might ask where to start.

    Well, if you’re one of them, then I agree that this article best fits for you. These three steps shared above are all valuable. I suggest that you should follow these in order to get on the road of success.

    Thanks for sharing! :)

    Best,
    Ann07

    By the way, I found this post shared on Kingged.com

    • DanielleSME

      Thanks, Ann!

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