In my previous post, we discussed the basics of marketing automation, its benefits, how to make it work and how to personalise it to your advantage. We touched on the possible best practices, but that’s what this article will be all about.

Best practices may vary from one platform or tool to another. In the Guide to Marketing Automation we mentioned the top marketing automation providers like Marketo, Eloqua, Customer.io, HubSpot and Pardot. These practices will be for general use and will not be tool or software specific.

Best Practices

Choose the right tool/software

When choosing the right tool, the first few things to be considered are the features the organisation needs, the size of the organisation, budget and resources available and what part of a marketing program needs to be improved.

Above, we mentioned several marketing automation software vendors. Each vendors offer different types of packages. Some of the vendors are veered towards bigger organisations while some cater for smaller entrepreneurial ventures.

Nurture leads

One of the central parts of marketing automation is lead nurturing. This process helps leads that aren’t yet committed to become loyal consumers. After using automated marketing strategies like email, these leads can develop into more sales from more leads.

For lead nurturing, experts suggest keeping everything personal but not so far as a one-on-one email exchange. Once a lead is turned to sale, the strategies shouldn’t stop. The nurturing should continue and show more interest for follow up. Accelerating tracks and recycling campaigns are two major techniques in lead nurturing. Reconstituting campaigns for dead leads can also be possible.

Fix Lead Scoring

Lead scoring helps marketers determine the level of commitment from leads. This practice will also help you to align your prospects for ideal customer demographics. Marketers should understand that there are sales goals to be achieved, and this is one aspect that fix lead scoring may help with.

Sometimes, time is wasted in the figuring out phase of marketing strategies which leads marketers to the question, which scoring is most important to achieve specific goals? So you see scoring doesn’t just mean scoring the lead, rather the company score and product score need to be considered too. The score decay and recycling process will greatly contribute to the scoring mix.

Use forms effectively

Forms are important to the whole marketing campaign. However, forms shouldn’t be introduced right away since it may push away potential leads.

How do you use the forms effectively? It is advised that organisations should always start with building trust first before the form is introduced to capture leads. However, another consideration should be made; forms should be short. In a study, short forms outperformed long forms in effectiveness. Long forms can affect the cost per lead and total conversion rate of your organisation. But when it is unavoidable, making sure that each additional form field counts will do the job.

One innovative strategy in form use is the progressive profiling. This is a web form that asks consumers to answer questions over a series of offers, while the important questions come first.

Focus on Marketing

There is no more effective way to convert leads than to focus on the marketing campaign itself. Since online marketing has already covered what was previously personal interaction, it is very likely that for every dollar an organisation spends on marketing, it can return in the form of a thousand.

When focusing on marketing, a killer sales strategy should be well thought through. Of course before any sales, the consumers will have to get to see products and how passionate the promoters are. The marketing strategy, the good product and the people behind it are the three major aspects that can help lift the effects of marketing.

Measure impact

There are other things to consider than just your automated campaigns or their resuts. Choosing the right metrics will help. Go deeper in the infrastructure of your leads; explore conversion and sales. Don’t just focus on the vanity metrics that impress people.

It is recommended that the performance metrics and the KPIs, the diagnostics and the leading indicators be used to measure impact. But most of all, the goal and the designed programs should also be measurable. Build your programs and goals to withstand changes and shifts in case these things happen.

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Build your programs and goals to stand changes and shifts in case it happens.

No lead left behind

Pre-qualifying leads for sales has been an old practice. This can help when following up leads, generating better value and better data. To follow up leads, there are certain practice that must be abided by. This includes the building of service level agreement. There should be ground rules that make sure leads aren’t going to places they are not meant to go.

Guarantee a faster response by shortening response time and moving it up the chain of command.

Provide insights build profiles

Build profiles of prospects that engage with your content. The insights found here can be used to determine future content offerings. One thing to do is to put new content behind walls with additional questions as the prospect moves through your campaign. This will help build profile and qualify more prospects.

Content is King

Create great content and be the thought leader in your field and you’ll have more conversions from consumers. Make people learn from your website, from what you do.

So, why build moderate content when you can build great content that gets to be shared and re-shared all over the world? Content generates lead, that’s a well known fact.

Test, Retest

No matter how perfect the performance of automated marketing strategies you have is, there will always be changes in the field as well as other organizations that will get ahead. Constant testing and optimisation will help the performance of your marketing strategy.

The testing and retesting applies to the links, the subject lines, the time of day to best send the message, the days between messages and all other similar factors. Even if you determine which works best, remember to keep testing. After all, consumer and clients change over time, so campaigns should change with them.

Label

You can never be too organised. Never relax on maintenance and upkeep, always remember that you will need things from the system in one way or the other. Use a master labeling system and keep the clutter organised. This will help with faster searching and will help organisations to eliminate and avoid errors and the need for extra work.

Other Tips

Other best practices are also being used by different organisations. Another recommended practice is starting from a few key features and growing into a vast and sophisticated network later. As with all other things, starting small helps organisations gain their footing until they are already adept with the automation processes and best practices.

So, it is never recommended to adopt all marketing automation features at once. Start small and keep it simple, unless of course you have one key manager who has all the knowledge of this process and has all the prior understanding of your business and leads.

Another strategy is the use of one single funnel. Use this single funnel for sales and marketing instead two. This will ensure a continuous process and of course, focus on important goals.

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Marketing automation processes and strategies will continue to evolve. What is working now may lose effectiveness tomorrow. One thing organisations should remember is, there will always be leads. And once they are fostered and are understood through profiling, there will always be other means to keep the ball rolling. The marketing automation process will forever evolve, be ready for it, optimise your campaigns to be ready for changes.

featured image: anieto2k via flickr
woman in thumbs up: CollegeDegrees360 via flickr

About Author

Roelen researches, creates, tailors content for outreach and content promotion campaigns as well as social presence management. She likes poetry, blues, The Walking Dead and crime books.