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8 Marketing Automation Best Practices

Managing your leads can be a full-time job. That’s why marketing automation exists. It’s an easy way to create a personalized approach that brings leads through a sales funnel so that you can close on the deal. An optimized process saves time, saves money, but still enhances the experiences of those prospects who want what you’ve got. These marketing automation best practices will give you the potential to find more success on your next project.

1. You Need To Create Checkpoints.

Let’s say that you are visiting New York City for the first time. Your friends told you to hop onto the subway because that’s the easiest way to get around. You leave the airport, get onto the subway, and then what? If you don’t have a map with checkpoints that show you where you need to go, you might find yourself somewhere like Eastchester instead of on 5th Avenue.

You can start marketing automation without having a lead process. You must show people where they need to go as they proceed through your sales funnel. It is impossible to create automation for a process that has not been created, yet this is exactly what most folks do. Map your flow, capture your checkpoints, and have a routing process that everyone uses for the best results.

2. Understand The Buying Cycle.

“You need to deliver targeted marketing content at precise times to create the desire to buy. Make sure that content is relevant and solves problems.”

That’s great advice, but it is also incomplete advice. How can you know what time is the “precise” time to deliver targeted content? And how can you know what problems your marketing automation process can solve if you don’t know what message resonates with those who are thinking about going through the gates to your sales funnel?

This is why it is vitally important to understand the buying cycle of your prospects. Your content delivery should be intended to be that final push, the last call-to-action, that causes a prospect to think, “Maybe I should purchase that…” When you know why people take another step forward through the sales funnel, then you can create checkpoints where content can encourage another step until a conversion is achieved.

3. Become Your Own Prospect.

One of the easiest ways to know why someone thinks or feels the way they do in your marketing automation efforts is to become your own prospect. Encounter your own checkpoints and follow your flow as if you were the prospect yourself. You can even create different personas to test how the automation that has been developed will work.

This gives you three key bits of information: customer segment identification, interaction understanding, and the definition of value.

4. It’s Not About The Data.

There is a time and place for everything. Unfortunately in this information age, we all tend to emphasize the data of a product or service before anything else. To the prospect going through a marketing automation campaign, this leaves a bad taste in their mouth. Why? Because the information is placed above the relationship.

Think about it like this. You go to a shoe store to purchase a new pair of sneakers. The salesperson comes up to you, greets you, and then hands you a 6 inch thick pile of spreadsheets that prove how awesome the shoes you want happen to be. Then the salesperson goes behind the counter to the cash register to ring you up when you’re ready to make a purchase?

Would you buy shoes that way? Some people might, but most people won’t. Relationships are still more important than data. Prospects need to feel like you care about them before they’ll pledge any loyalty to you. If you can’t establish the initial foundation of a relationship before you start sharing data, you’ll lose more conversions than you’ll gain.

5. Reputation Matters.

We often think of the online reputation as the various reviews people leave about our business, services, or products. We’ll get feedback about the marketing automation experience, pat ourselves on the back, and move on. Meanwhile, without ever realizing it, more than half of the emails being sent out to addresses are being rejected or sent to spam folders because of a poor reputation.

Everyone is able to control their reputation when it comes to email deliverability. It starts with choosing the right audience. It continues through the use of compelling content that is interesting and worthy of their time. Leads are then generated. When leads aren’t generated, clean out your database so that only viable prospects are contacted.

6. Stop The Clutter.

It’s often recommended that you save your tax information for a minimum of 7 years. At first you’re very proactive about this, right? You save everything, place items into specific sub-folders, and are tightly organized. By Year 3, instead of putting paperwork into sub-folders, you’ve just got a file that represents the entire year.

By Year 5, you’re just jamming stuff into a drawer so you can deal with it later.

Marketing automation operates the same way. At the start of it, we’re very concerned about the processes and keep everything tightly organized. Then we start adding more data to the process and clutter begins to develop. Pretty soon work is getting lost because it hasn’t been properly categorized. Stop the clutter by creating master labeling system right now so that your marketing automation stays consistent whether it’s Day 1 or Year 5.

7. Time Is Still Money.

People who are confused or distracted are not going to become conversions. This is why marketing automation best practices are so concerned with simple, easy methods of helping people become prospects. Make your forms easy to fill out. Don’t assume that filling out a form means that someone wants to actually purchase something.

Don’t assume they won’t buy something either.

A single call-to-action is often the most effective approach to take here. The goal is to nurture the interested party so they’ll be encouraged to take another step toward the next checkpoint. You value your time, as do your potential prospects. If you cost them time, then you’re costing them money and that’s just not acceptable.

8. Keep The Human Element Intact.

Marketing automation makes the sales process a lot easier, but it isn’t a magic pill that will instantly create sales. Behavior always has to be verified and the only way to do that is by adding a human element to your process.

These marketing automation best practices will help keep people moving through your sales funnel so that closing is easier than ever. If it is time to take a second look at your conversion rates, then use these practices to improve your results starting today.

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