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Get more from your marketing automation

Marketing automation might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these tips and tricks to ‘deliver more with less’ with your automated content campaigns.

It’s not easy to be a B2B marketer right now. The marketing plans we worked so hard on have been ripped up, our budgets are in jeopardy and we have to contend with all of this while working remotely. It’s safe to say that 2020 isn’t turning out the way that we wanted it to. 

But our businesses need marketing right now. They need it possibly more than ever before. So, it’s our job to work out how we can engage our target audience in new ways, both in the short and long term, so that we can impact sales, revenue and help our businesses survive this crisis.

A lot of marketers are, quite rightly, pivoting to fully digital campaigns in order to capture the attention of professionals who are now working from home. It’s a unique opportunity for digital marketing — professionals now have more time on their hands and more desire than ever to read high quality, insightful content about their industry. 

However, we all know it’s not as simple as ‘move all the budget to digital’. While we all may be settled into remote working life now, there is still a lot of uncertainty over this situation and that has a knock-on effect on company resources. In short, B2B marketers need to deliver more with less. 

I’m going to put forward a simple solution to this: marketing automation. It’s not a new or exciting concept, but automation is something that B2B marketers are still struggling with. Something I hear from our clients at Raconteur quite often is that they are yet to ‘switch on’ their automation software despite having invested an (often very significant) amount into purchasing these systems. 

The reasons? They range from lacking the expertise in-house, to taking years to agree on the correct strategy. And then there is just plain fear — fear that pressing the ‘button’, so to speak, will risk creating a lot of costly mistakes. 

I understand this sentiment — marketing automation isn’t easy — but at this point these are just excuses. If there was ever a time to get your sh** together with marketing automation, it’s now.

After years of working with marketing automation systems, such as Pardot, for both Raconteur and our clients, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to get your money’s worth from your automation software.

So, if you are one of those marketers who is still not getting what they need from their marketing automation software — here are my top 3 tips on how to make it work harder for you, and the common mistakes to avoid.

1. Don’t overcomplicate things

The whole purpose of marketing automation is to make things easier for marketers, so that we are not doing all of the manual work ourselves. However, one of the most common mistakes I come across is marketers creating overly complicated automation campaigns that are near impossible to keep up with (and don’t even deliver the results to make it worth the effort). 

Simplicity is key with marketing automation. Just because you can set up hundreds of different automated journeys for prospects to go through, doesn’t mean you should. 

The best way to keep automations simple, but effective, is to always think of what the end goal is. Every automated journey you create should be leading to a final action that you want your prospect to take — for example viewing a specific piece of content, achieving an ideal lead ‘score’ or getting in contact with a salesperson. 

Focusing on this end goal will stop you from creating any automations just for the sake of it — if it doesn’t influence a prospect to take some form of action, it’s not worth doing! 

The next step on from here is to make sure that every step in your automations is there to influence prospects to take that final action. It is vital to make sure that the content you send to your audience is relevant to what that end goal is.

2. Content comes first

This brings me onto my next piece of advice — the content must always come first.

You could have the best, most expensive marketing automation software on the market. But if you don’t have good content to send out, it’s basically useless. 

Marketing automation is fuelled by content — you can’t expect your audience to engage with your emails, social media posts or ads if the content within them is sub-par. 

Quality and consistency are key: you need relevant, engaging content that your audience will actually want to see but you also need enough of it to keep your automations going. Whether it is a simple newsletter, lead nurture program or just scheduling your social media posts, you need enough content to keep your audience engaged. 

Now, I’m not saying you need to create a whole new suite of content just for automation purposes — there are a multitude of ways to repurpose content so that it can fuel your campaigns. 

When you plan your next content campaign, consider how you could distribute it through your automation software and what assets you would need to do this. By repurposing larger pieces of content into different formats, you’ll make your campaigns go a lot further.

3. Connect the dots

If you are just starting out with implementing marketing automation, I understand that it can be daunting. There are so many possibilities, so many tools out there that it can be difficult to know where to start. 

But as I said in my first point, simplicity is key. And one of the most simple ways to get value from your marketing automation software is to integrate your campaigns that you already have running. 

I’ll use an example of a whitepaper. You are hosting a whitepaper on your website behind a data capture page, where prospects can input their data and get their copy. In many cases, that will be the end of that interaction. 

But with automation, there are various ways you could add more touchpoints to this. You could send more relevant content, send an invitation to a webinar or encourage them to sign up to your newsletter. 

These are simple automations, but can be very effective. Instead of just whitepaper downloads, you could have webinar sign-ups, increased traffic and more newsletter subscribers. All from just one campaign that you already had running!

You could take this a step further by integrating sales messaging into your campaigns, for example when a prospect reaches a certain ‘score’ or if they view certain pages on your website like pricing or case studies. Following up with sales enablement content or an email coming from a sales rep can be effective — and could be a huge help to your sales teams at a time like this. 

However, this has to be done carefully. Remember to always think of the user journey — at what point will a prospect likely be receptive to sales messaging? Avoid sending obvious automated sales messages as soon as a prospect views a piece of content or downloads a whitepaper. We’ve all experienced those unsolicited sales emails and calls at completely the wrong time — so think of that before you set any of these automated messages!

We are all under a lot of pressure at the moment — to deliver more, to stretch our budgets as far as they can go and to support our businesses as much as we can. But hopefully the advice I’ve shared today will show that marketing automation is a great way to get more out of your campaigns and that it isn’t as complicated as it seems. 

But if you do need some support with marketing automation — whether you are just starting out, or wanting to take things to the next level — get in touch with me either through LinkedIn or through our contact page and I’ll be happy to help.

Key takeaways

  • Simplicity is key. The best automations are the most simple ones — focus on the ‘end goal’ and what you need to include to reach it. 
  • Content is king. Without great content, automation is rendered useless. You need a good amount of quality content to fuel your automation campaigns. 
  • Keep it connected. You don’t need to set up brand new, complicated campaigns to get value from automation. Connect the campaigns you already have running with automation to get the most out of them.

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