4 steps to aligning your marketing automation software and strategy

The report by Smart Insights on managing B2B marketing automation in 2016 shared that most marketers that have invested in marketing automation are using it – mainly – as a lead nurturing tool. It explains why 65% marketers are able to identify better quality leads with marketing automation.

However, lead nurturing is no longer just about sending a newsletter email every week. If you want to make the most of your marketing automation software, you need to branch beyond the ‘batch and blast’ send. You need to look at workflows, triggered sends, personalised campaigns.

Sound too much? Don’t worry. Let us talk you through the first 4 steps.

Step 1: Review your personas

If you are having a face to face conversation with someone, it’s easy to tell when they become bored of listening to your voice. Their eyes wonder, their body language changes and they simply stop the conversation. You don’t have that luxury with digital marketing. So you need to know who you are talking to. Review your current customer base, their top target data and how their customer journeys went in order to know who you should be talking to and HOW to talk to them through your content.

The more personal you are with them, and the more targeted you make your email campaigns around these personas, the more effective your marketing will be. Failing to personalise your emails with details such as their first name and what they’ve interacted with in the past will see your conversion rates be lower and your sales slower. USE these tools. They have been included in the marketing automation platform for a reason!

Step 2: Create a content structure that matches your funnel

We all know the sales funnel. Your lead nurturing technique should match this funnel. So, for example, we use four levels:

  1. Intrigue (blogs, infographics, hints and tips, videos)
  2. Discover (whitepapers, guides, best practices)
  3. Consider (feature pages, solutions, case studies)
  4. Decide (offers, prices, demonstrations)

Each topic that we focus on (lead generation or marketing automation for example) will have all the content around it split into these four tiers. If you don’t have that much content, you can simply focus on one topic stream at a time.

Do a content audit. See which content pieces fit into which level under which topic stream. (Use a table to help you get started). This will help you pinpoint areas that you need more content and what level you need. This way, you’re not creating content for the sake of it all the time.

With the average content production costing around £3-5K, you should be squeezing every last opportunity out of your content as you can. Don’t be afraid to reuse it in any number of campaigns. If it draws the leads in, keep repurposing it.

Step 3: Put your content into lead nurture streams

At least 40% of UK B2B marketers have adopted triggered workflow campaigns in 2016 within your marketing automation, which is great. This content strategy works WITH that. Align your email rules as per the four levels. For example, a lead goes into a new campaign at the intrigue level. They read your blog posts for a couple of weeks and once they establish a certain lead score within your platform, they are moved onto the next level of the campaign ‘discover’. On it goes until they are at the decide stage and ready for a sales call or message.

This is all achievable within your marketing automation platform. You just need to include these rules in order to optimise your marketing performance.

Now this could be implemented for any number of campaigns. Perhaps you want to target all of your contacts that have a particular CRM and want to work on their lead generation for example. Or you could run this automation for a large scale, quarterly campaign.

Experiment!

Start off with a small campaign (perhaps an event promotion campaign) and see for yourself how it works within your marketing automation. Once you see it performing, you’ll be able to implement it across your marketing – becoming that proactive marketer we talked about earlier. We have seen CTR’s in email streams go from sub 1% to an average of 11% (in some tiers 50% plus!) with this strategy.

Step 4: Create a content treasure box

As we mentioned, there is no point creating constant content that will go to waste. Instead, focus on the topic streams your audiences are interested in and the levels you need to convince them throughout their buyer journey. The brilliance of a content box is that it can help you align your entire marketing strategy, no matter how many channels you use.

Not sure what I mean? Ok, here’s another example for you.

You have a report on marketing automation for 2016. This is the backbone of your treasure box. You then create an opinionated link bait piece to entice readers in, (such as this article). You create a number of blogs and soundbites to support it, social media posts, case studies, a stream of email messages. Eventually, you have what we call a content treasure box that can be implemented into any campaign.

With this strategy in place, you don’t have to run around like a headless chicken planning a campaign that doesn’t align across each channel. Instead, you build one around your content boxes, with a TARGET AUDIENCE in mind and run as much of it through your marketing automation platform as you can.

If you’re interested in finding out what other B2B marketers are doing with their marketing automation platforms in 2016, you can read the report from Smart Insights here. 


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