Table of Contents
- But where do we start?
- Make it evergreen…
- Basic Automation
- Tiered Automation
- Behavioural Automation
- Personalised Automation
If your business sells products or services with longer buying cycles, you’ve probably already explored automation as a way to keep potential buyers warm.
In fact, automation is one of the most cost effective, meaningful tactics at any digital marketing team’s disposal for improving campaign return-on-investment
To get us all on the same page, here are a few reasons why we love it so much:
- The more relevant and timely your messaging, the more likely you’ll receive a conversion – automation turns your leads into sales faster.
- Automation comes in all shapes and sizes – use it for remarketing, email marketing, social media messaging, sales alerts, CRM updates – make it work for you.
- Your automated campaigns can be fed from all kinds of sources – outbound channel responses on social media or email, inbound engagement such as organic site visits, or CRM updates such as sales calls or a change in job title) – it’s the greatest way to use data to your full advantage
- Automation does a great job of smoothing out the peaks and troughs of marketing campaigns when your outbound tactics start drying up – make your content evergreen with marketing automation (more on this later).
But where do we start?
The biggest problem with marketing automation is it can be overwhelming to know where to begin.
Usually automation projects fail to get off the ground because the infinite paths ahead of you can lead to analysis paralysis.
But fear not! This article will walk you through the many tiers of automation campaigns and their uses, as well as giving you a good jumping off point to build your first campaign and then return to once you’re ready to take the next step.
Make it evergreen…
(Will Young said it best) Evergreen content is a must if you’re going to build an automation campaign worth it’s salt.
You’ve all heard the phrase ‘build it and they will come’ but let’s follow that up with ‘automate it and they will return’ – your automated content needs to stand the test of time so 6 months from now any new visitors it generates don’t feel like they’ve been served yesterday’s dinner for lunch.
The easiest way to build evergreen content is to create something that answers a specific question about your product or industry, so start there.
For instance, if you own a car rental business you might write about the main differences between traditional, hybrid and electric cars.
Alternatively, you may opt to write content that asks a question of your audience, and invites them to compare themselves with other customers.
A mobile network might ask you to compare how much data you spend with other people your age, or in your area – this leads nicely on to talking about your products without ever worrying about the age of your content.
With your content in place, we’re ready to begin.
Your first campaign will probably follow a standard format. It gets your content in front of potential customers and gives you a foundation to build from.
Create a simple trigger in your marketing automation system – most email marketing tools provide this feature too – that take new leads and start sending them evergreen content intermittently.
Space out your messages on a cadence that suits your business, but once in the program, let the messages keep flowing until the contact has received them all, or responds to one of them.
The same tactic can be used for remarketing – set up your content to target new leads with and follow them around the web.
Once you’re off the ground with your first automated nurture campaign it’s time to start staggering your messaging.
Contacts exploring your product for the first time will almost certainly have different questions to someone ready to make a buying decision. Make sure the content you share with people reflects their readiness to buy from you.
Now there are more stages in the buying cycle than Interest – Consideration – Decision, but there is beauty in simplicity and these three stages give us clear categories of content to create.
What is your product/service about? Explain how it works, show people how it is different, cool, exciting and why you (and your customers love it). Give people an overview of features, or contextualize the product in the real world. Give it a platform to sell itself.
Discuss alternatives to your product/service. Show people why it is preferred over alternatives and describe the value behind it to the customer in the short and long term. Lists, comparisions tools, calculators and demonstrations fit into this category.
Show happy people using your product/service. Remove purchase anxiety and demonstrate the value of the purchase in the real world. Really use this step to remove barriers, answer questions you expect people may be asking, write with an understanding that people are making a decision and you want to help that decision be as informed as possible.
Once your tiered automation is in place, is it important to start funneling leads into each campaign from multiple sources.
If your marketing system allows it, a lead scoring model is a perfect way to use implicit interest as a trigger to send ready-to-buy contacts your killer content. By using website visits to instigate your automated marketing it allows your message to arrive exactly when the person is already thinking about you – how serendipitous.
The same can be said for internal responses. A personal favourite of mine is to use a sales visit, or completed sales call to trigger a marketing campaign start. From the outside looking in it makes your sales and marketing teams look synchronized and it keeps the momentum of the call going in the contact’s inbox. Bonus points if you can make the automate message relate to the topic of the meeting/call (more on this in another blog).
Now you’re speaking my language.
With the content, campaign feeders and segments in place you have the fundamentals of a successful automation campaign.
The channels you use to distribute your messages can vary but the methodology stays the same – pick a trigger, distribute a timely message, use the content to encourage your lead further down the buying cycle.
The one additional way you can improve your methodology is to personalize the message based on the person you’re speaking to.
At any point in time you can be building a relationship up with the primary user of your product or service, the purchasing decision maker, the budget holder, and any number of influencers and gatekeepers responsible for putting your content in front of the right person.
It seems obvious, but isn’t each role listed above looking at your product or service from a different perspective?
Shouldn’t your messaging, no matter how brilliantly worded it may be, speak to each person with slightly different language?
Let’s say you have a list of benefits to consider when choosing your company over the competition, there is a functional benefit, a value-adding benefit, an operational benefit and maybe additional support and resources for when your product or service is introduced.
Without creating 5 different types of content, you can personalize the title and call to action – pairing the benefit with the reader to have a much more attention-grabbing opportunity to resonate with your potential customer.
Personas are a whole topic of their own, but it is important to think about who your reader is and what angle they’re coming from when they are weighing up their options.
If you are using automation today, or are new to marketing automation and want to discuss your current situation, get in touch and we’ll provide a complimentary review of your existing performance.