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How to Develop a Successful Marketing Automation Strategy

Sep 18, 2021 | Articles

The growing number of Internet users and plenty of affordable marketing software encourages companies to continuously reconsider their lead gen activities. And coming to self-governing marketing funnels is a blue dream for loads of businesses. 

Companies wish for automated marketing and selling when prospects are being engaged and nurtured with minor efforts from the employees’ side, and AI-enhanced algorithms autonomously perform targeting, scheduling, content distribution, analysis, adjusting, and other marketers routines.

If you think about what the cutting edge marketing software can do, it may seem that the “Rise of the Machines” future has already happened. Nevertheless, establishing a powerful marketing automation strategy is still what lies squarely on the shoulders of humans.

What is a Marketing Automation Strategy?

A marketing automation strategy is a set of exact actions, processes, and programs that a company uses to improve its marketing funnel’s handling. The ultimate goal is to cut operational expenses and earn higher revenues through increasing ROIs from both Inbound and Outbound marketing. Tactical actions centered on targeting more leads, improving conversion ratio, increasing retention, and so on.

Marketing automation is mostly about choosing fitting tools for distinct purposes and integrating tools so that all marketing raw data becomes accessible business intelligence. To do so, a company has to work out marketing processes and establish KPIs upon which it can measure campaigns’ effectiveness.

“An autonomous marketing system adjusts tactics according to leads’ actions”, image source

The need for the automation strategy arises when companies get involved with digital marketing. Hypothetically, all promo undertakings can be managed using one’s hands – in Excel tables and documents. But this line of action is usually futile – it’s extremely time-consuming and clumsy. Small as your marketing activities may be, implement automation straight away. Compare these 2 different approaches that a company may stick to when building marketing processes, and assume which is more worthwhile and versatile:

#1. A SaaS provider chooses to manually handle digital marketing. Lead gen tactics may be as follows:

  • browse users’ profiles on LinkedIn and scrape contact details to Excel table by hands
  • create standard templates for engaging emails or direct messages
  • launch some number of new threads with prospects, say 10-50, daily
  • monitor “Inbox” and user responses on social networks
  • record responses into a table
  • nurture leads with email follow-ups
  • transfer “warm” leads and their profiles to Sales
  • track & record updates about further communications and results, e.g. offers or deals, etc.

#2. A SaaS provider decides to launch marketing automation. The acts:

  • launch lead gen campaign via LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  • integrate Navigator with CRM
  • integrate CRM with an email automation tool
  • share access rights to software among salespersons and marketers
  • launch outreach campaigns
  • see how data is autonomously collected and synchronized.

A thorough marketing automation strategy should paint a word picture of:

  1. Processes – exact activities that a company handles to acquire and work with clients.

These are certain behavioral patterns that company uses in different situations, e.g.:

  • building brand awareness
  • nurturing customer relationships
  • getting more conversions
  • retargeting
  • provide customer support, and so on.
  1. Programs – tools, techniques, and written policies that facilitate marketers’ efforts and align them with what other departments do.

These may include:

  • CRMs
  • licenses for email/sales/marketing automation tools
  • Kanban boards and other project management software
  • documents’ templates
  • brand books, visuals, and other promo materials
  • regular calls or meetings with Sales
  • the procedure of transferring leads to salespersons, etc.
  1. People

The strategy should also describe roles within the digital marketing team, e.g.: SEO, PPC, SMM, and email marketing managers, user acquisition specialists, targetologists, content producers, designers, and others.

Developing a successful marketing automation strategy

A good strategy starts with planning, so after you’ve coped with formulating brand identity and marketing mix, put together these 5 keystones of marketing automation strategy:

  1. Research – upon what information you launch marketing campaigns and how you score leads
  2. Management – how marketing campaigns and leads are supervised and by whom
  3. Operations – how marketing data is organized, edited, kept, and applied
  4. Integrations – how different POCs, e.g. social media and email, are aligned with one another
  5. Analytics – what indicators do you use to compare campaigns and esteem business results.

With detailed answers to these strategic points, the company can deepen into operations – develop a promotional pipeline, approximate the budget needed, and plan outcomes (the number of leads or deals, the amount of website traffic, etc). To help one figure out a marketing automation strategy, we’ve outlined 4 scopes of work.

Understanding where to use automation

Automation may be implemented on different layers of the marketing funnel. Companies can launch it to fill in TOFU, MOFU, BOFU, or – all these at once. Unless the business is ambitionless, it’s better to strive for exhaustive automation. However, its magnitude depends heavily on industry, business goals, and available resources.

Say, you have to implement marketing automation for a small startup and a multinational. The 2 companies contrast concerning scales and capabilities. Let’s assume key differences:

Big corporationStartup
The number of clients can be in the thousandsHas a few clients
Can afford to hire a team of marketersCan do with 1-2 full-time marketers
Has resources to reach out to wide audiencesHas to target prospects more precisely
Marketing objectives include brand building, customers’ acquiring and retainingThe prior marketing objective is to acquire as many as possible leads
May has loyal customersDoesn’t have loyal clients or have a few
Repeat purchasing is important but doesn’t question the company’s existence.Repeat purchasing may be critical.

With an eye on marketing goals and means, you will cover different marketing processes with automation. For a startup, these will be leads outreach and conversions’ management, while for a well-established company – leads outreach, building brand’s presence, managing customers relationships, and providing client support.

We’ve created the checklist of possible ongoing tasks your marketers can face and respective tools that you can use – to partially or fully automate their work:

  • analyzing the behavior of your website or App users

Software to use:

  • Google Analytics – records information about site visitors and displays aggregated data from the perspective of dimensions.
  • Google Search Console – shows how well your website performs within the Google search engine (positions, queries, CTR, etc).
  • Hotjar – records website users’ actions and builds heatmaps.
  • AppsFlyer – allows to track user acquisition attributes.
  • running advertising and lead gen campaigns

Software to use:

  • Google Ads – to set up advertising on Google search results pages.
  • YouTube Ads – to run video advertising.
  • Facebook lead ads – to acquire customers via Facebook.
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator – to acquire customers via LinkedIn.
  • ad networks, like AdsCompass – to buy impressions through the RTB system.
  • managing omnichannel advertising campaigns

Software to use:

  • HubSpot – a universal tool for managing websites and ad campaigns.
  • ActiveCampaign – a close analog to the above software; allows aligning different promotional activities.
  • EngageBay – with this you can automate not only marketing but also customer support.
  • JotUrl – use it to track and compare the performance of different marketing channels.
  • managing several social media

Software to use:

  • Brand24 – useful for monitoring social networks trends, e.g. hashtags, mentions, reviews, etc.
  • SmarterQueue – with this you can schedule publications and have information from social inboxes in one place.
  • Zoho Social – provides scheduling options, as well as real-time social media monitoring.
  • doing email outreach

Software to use:

  • Snov.io – good for email search and scheduling; allows building drip campaigns and personalizing headlines and email copies.
  • MailChimp – has many email templates and a drag‑and‑drop sequence builder.
  • MailerLite – allows creating mailing scenarios and is proper for e-commerce companies, because it allows integration with WooCommerce, Shopify, and others.

Establish benchmarks

If you have no expertise in marketing automation, refer to some good examples or common best practices. Here’re just a few:

“You can find different-purpose drip campaign examples on the Internet”, image source

The most effective email sequence is the one developed upon behavioral triggers. These are certain recipient’s actions that influence what exact content will be emailed to him or her next. Say, if a customer hasn’t finished a purchase in your online store, you may treat an “uncompleted checkout” as a trigger and automatically send a reminder.

You can build several drip campaigns for various purposes, and each will have a distinct scenario for email delivery.

  • email templates

“Instead of designing emails from scratch, pick up some good templates and adjust them to your mailing purpose”, image source

To automate outreach, you need adjustable templates for different occasions:

  • cold email – for broad reach out to prospects
  • verification email – to perform double opt-in verification for new subscribers
  • welcome email – to greet newcomers and explain what they can expect to receive from you
  • newsletter email – to send daily/weekly/monthly updates
  • promotional email – to send special offers, personalized shopping collections, etc
  • greeting email – to congratulate with public or personal holidays, e.g. birthdays 
  • unsubscription email – according to GDPR requirements, users have the right to refuse to receive newsletters at any time, thus, you must have a template for the occasion.

You can pick up free email templates on Snov.io, Sendinblue, 99Designs, and many more websites. 

  • Facebook ad creatives examples

“To make a commercial creative, check out what you competitors do or refer to good examples”, image source

Creatives are pictures, photos, 360° panoramas or VR media, videos, or audio that are aimed to showcase a brand and intensify the ad campaign’s messages. Besides going along with specifications, the creative shall distinguish your brand from others and look trendy. It’s better to:

  • combine static and video creatives
  • place them in both feed and story
  • customize creatives for different audiences
  • use big bold fonts, instead of calligraphy.

For benchmarks, you can refer to the Facebook Ads Inspiration resource.

  • lead gen forms examples

“If you’ve never launched lead generation campaigns, find out what forms’ templates exist first”, image source

Forms are small questionnaires that you use to collect information about a person. These usually contain “First name”, “Last name”, and “Email” fields, however, a company may choose to also ask about:

  • phone number
  • occupation
  • industry
  • estimated annual revenue (relevant on B2B)
  • website address.

There’s one simple rule regarding lead gen forms: if you want customers to fill them in, don’t ask for too much personal information at once.

Research and Development

If you ignore trends, like the growing popularity of TikTok or chatbots, the automation strategy will someday turn out to be useless. To keep an eye on consumers’ behavior and opportunities, perform market research from time to time. You can use some of these techniques or combine several:

  • monitor consumer & market reports issued by trusted organizations, like PwC or McKinsey
  • perform social media research – trending networks, topics, influencers, and so on
  • skim through Google Trends
  • launch own surveys, e.g. via email, WhatsApp, Twitter, or Facebook
  • track competitors’ actions – what ads do they purchase, what landing pages do they create, what newsletters do they email, etc.

Lead nurturing

The deal needs to be earned – you have to remind your product or service via different channels during some time before a lead will purchase it. Moreover, the company should sound louder than competitors do.

Building relationships with clients increase LTV and allows getting brand advocates and loyal buyers. To nurture leads, the company has to:

  • implement lead scoring strategy – use relevant demographics, firmographics, and other qualifying criteria 
  • implement content strategy – produce valuable information that will be used for emails, direct messages, blog posts, and so on
  • manage leads’ data – use CRMs and marketing automation tools.

Make your job easier: use the Integrations and Automations on JotURL

Marketing Automation Strategy

One of the best ways to generate Marketing Automation flows is knowing how to take advantage of the integrations present within the tools. JotURL in addition to being a platform for the creation of tracking links and for off-site content analysis has also evolved to host a large number of integrations with other digital tools.

This allows you to improve your workflow, facilitate operations and have easy access to every tool used daily for your digital makreting operations.

To give just a few examples, JotURL has an integration with many Newsletter systems, so it is possible to set up automations that allow you to collect qualified leads through the forms and social optins created with JotURL and then send this data directly to newsletter services such as Mailchimp, Sendinblue, etc.

All this avoids having to transfer data manually and creating an excellent Marketing Automation Strategy in case you need to maximize and optimize the results within your newsletters.

You can find more detailed information in this article!

In addition to this, it is possible to really indulge yourself with automations, especially considering that Zapier is one of the most accredited tools.

With a service of this type, it may be possible for you to create all the tracking links you want on JotURL and then automatically send them to your social networks through the automatic posts you have previously programmed.

Using automations not only helps to save time that you can then invest to improve your business even more, but it can optimize and make more effective your level of communication or data collection across the web.

Benefits of using an effective marketing automation strategy

Marketing automation leads to a company starting to earn more while keeping the same level of promotional costs. This is achieved due to:

  • employees’ spend less of their paid time performing repetitive tasks
  • acquisition quality increases – the company can address more prospects, qualify them better, and nurture with relevant content
  • better control over marketing campaigns and the opportunity to align them
  • faster data transfer between Sales and Marketing
  • higher conversion and retention ratios.

The success of the automation strategy depends on how well thought out the company’s marketing processes are. Connecting marketing strategy with long-term business goals is the first step on the way to build a self-regulatory system for generating and nurturing leads. The next step is to obtain befitting marketing automation tools, and the final – to draw on benchmarks, like drip campaign examples or email templates. Remember, marketing automation strategy isn’t something once and for all. To keep it credible, you have to monitor digital marketing tendencies regularly.

By Yulia Zubova

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