How to Build a Successful Marketing Automation Strategy

Want to build a great marketing automation strategy? Our 7 steps walk you through knowing the buyer, content mapping, amplification, testing and more.

Marketing automation is a game changer for many companies, but it can definitely seem like a daunting task. Building an effective marketing automation strategy requires a deep understanding of your target audience, your product, and your buyer’s journey before a single element of the strategy is set into action.

7 Steps to Build a Marketing Automation Strategy

If marketing automation success is what you’re looking for, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when creating your marketing automation strategy.

1. Understand the Buyer Journey

Familiarize yourself with every stage of the buyer journey; top, middle, and bottom. What kind of information would draw your buyer in? What are the stages that they would or should typically go through and what should each stage accomplish? What are you doing to push them along from one stage to the next?

Think about:

  • Where your buyer is most likely to find you and begin the journey
  • What pain points the buyer is experiencing and how you can help solve them
  • How your buyer prefers to communicate based on industry, demographics and technological capabilities

2. Map Out Production

Plan your campaign from start to finish, including timelines for the creation of content and execution of delivery. Make sure your deadlines are realistic and then stick to them.

Think about:

  • The number and type of content pieces you will need to complete the buyer journey and address their pain points and objections
  • When and how each piece will be delivered, which can influence their length and format
  • What kind of resources each piece will require. Writers, graphic designers, web designers and so on

3. Set Goals

Before you start planning your marketing automation strategy, you’ll want to determine exactly what the goal of the campaign is. Are you looking for sign-ups? Purchases? Further Communication? Keep this goal in mind while planning and make sure each step is designed to push prospects further toward that goal. It’s important to keep this big goal in mind so that you can define little goals for each stage of the journey. All of those little goals should move prospects further down the funnel.

Think about:

  • The ultimate goal of the campaign
  • The timeline of the campaign
  • How many steps/small goals it should take to reach the ultimate goal

4. Map Stages of the Funnel to Content

Think through the prospect journey so you can customize content based on what they have already consumed. Marketing automation software means that you don’t have to run a “one-size-fits-all” kind of campaign, so take advantage of the ability to customize. Set parameters to segment your leads based on their content preferences and position within the campaign.

Think about:

  • What your prospects are looking for at what stage of their journey
  • What information or incentives you can provide to address those needs at each stage

5. Amplify Your Reach

Ensure that you are leveraging all possible points of contact and maximizing your reach. Don’t limit yourself to only visitors to your site and existing contacts. Don’t forget about PPC, social media, press releases, blog posts, and even your email signature. The more eyeballs that see your content, the bigger the top of your funnel will be.

Think about:

  • Where your ideal buyer is likely to spend their time
  • How much information and advertising they are exposed to, when and where
  • What methods you think will be most likely to get you noticed

6. Application Integration

By now you’ll have your campaign elements chosen. Landing pages, blog posts, emails, PPC, etc. Your marketing automation software brings your strategy together, but you may want to integrate other apps into it.

Think about:

  • CRM platforms that allow you to easily transfer leads from marketing to sales, with the optimum amount of buyer information attached
  • Event management platforms that facilitate the planning and execution of webinars, demos, and workshops that can be used to strengthen your campaign
  • Apps that will help you reach other business goals, integrate with call centers and other communications providers, and customer service platforms

7. Test and Improve Constantly

When you create your first campaign you are working off of research and hunches, but once you’ve run a campaign or two you have data in hand that will help you build a better campaign. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel with every campaign. Instead, learn from each one and take that knowledge forward into the next.

Think about:

  • Whether your campaign is reaching the big goal you set
  • If it’s not, is there a specific element that’s holding it back
  • Which content pieces were really successful, and which fell a little flat
  • Whether your buyer persona turned out to be a little different than you predicted

Get Started on Your Marketing Automation Strategy

If you’re new to marketing automation, you’ve now got a lot of questions to answer and a plenty of fuel for getting started. (Also check out our previous posts on the topic The Benefits of Marketing Automation and Why You Need It and The Best Marketing Automation Tools Make Life Easy.) Try not to get discouraged when looking at your list of to-dos and just check off one at a time.

Before your know it, you’ll be on your way to a successful marketing automation strategy.

This article was originally published at Channelfutures.com, by author Dean Ara.

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