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5 questions and answers: this is how you get started with marketing automation (without any grey hair)

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5 questions and answers: this is how you get started with marketing automation (without any grey hair) Advance one department at a time instead of putting all the processes through a complete makeover.

If you've ever wondered:

"How to use marketing automation?"

"Why to use marketing automation?"

"How to get started with marketing automation?"

In this article, you'll find the answers and learn marketing automation best practices.

Getting started with marketing automation can be a long, distressing and expensive project – or not. We gathered five questions and answers from marketing automation professionals. 

Question 1: Why do you want to use marketing automation?

If you haven't automated (or planning to automate) at least some of your marketing processes in the year 2017, you know that somewhere resources are being wasted and someone is receiving irrelevant content. A successful introduction to marketing automation yet always requires a clearly defined need.

Done right:

I want to use marketing automation because my goal is to:

  • increase sales
  • do cross-selling and upselling
  • introduce our services to new customers
  • make more targeted offers
  • offer more targeted content
  • decrease manual work
  • activate freemium users as paying customers
  • make the cooperation between sales and marketing more efficient by nurturing leads
  • ...or anything other clearly defined.

Done wrong:

It's time to start using marketing automation because...

  • in the year 2017 it's a must
  • everybody else is doing it.

Professional tip: Nowadays it's not a question of whether marketing automation should be done or not, but a question of what for. Almost every organization benefits from marketing automation ­– only the ways differ.

The right solution can be found easily when you ask yourself, your team or your employees, what the most time-consuming or difficult element of their job is. Automation helps to weed out the tedious tasks that require a lot of manual work, which quickly brings visible results and often covers the cost of automation many times over.

Question 2: What can you do with marketing automation?

Most of the successful marketing automation projects share a thing in common. The processes of the company are not all put through major changes at once, but changes are being made bit by bit, say a couple of areas at a time. Good starting points are, for example:

  • offers on compatible items for people who bought certain products
  • offers to activate customers who haven't bought anything in a while
  • welcoming campaign for new customers
  • introductory campaign for new employees
  • reminder about using bonus points
  • rewards for loyal customers
  • forwarding hot leads to the sales team.

Professional tip: In addition to your marketing team, have only one other team involved in the very first stages of marketing automation. Advance one department at a time instead of putting all the processes through a complete makeover. The natural starting point is the combination of either sales + marketing or HR + marketing or customer service + marketing. In many cases the marketing team alone can manage in the beginning and after that it's easy to spread out the operations inside the company.

Question 3: Where to get the needed data?

Marketing automation needs data and data sources vary according to what is actually done. You can get started with marketing automation by following website behavior or newsletter clicks. The most comprehensive form of a marketing automation system combines all the core systems of the company.

Basically any system can be the source of data but typically data is gathered from:

  • booking system
  • CRM system
  • online store or ERP system
  • loyal customer system
  • websites
  • email marketing tool

However, there isn't always existing data available and in that case you need to start collecting it. Think of how you can get website visitors or customers to identify themselves, so that you can start providing targeted content to them.

Typically the customer that gives their contact details, in most cases during registration, wants something in return. You can identify these, for example:

  • newsletter subscribers
  • those that fill out a contact information form
  • those that download a whitepaper
  • users of the chat service
  • those that download a mobile application
  • those that use a Wi-fi network that requires login
  • webinar participants
  • those that write on a discussion forum
  • those that comment on a blog

Professional tip: Don't try to use all data from all sources at once but instead start from a few. However, make sure from the very beginning that the system you have chosen can be scaled to future needs as well. This way you can avoid going back to square one when you find out that the system you got a year ago doesn't integrate with your CRM system.

Question 4: What channels do you want to use for marketing automation?

With marketing automation you can use practically any channel to connect with customers. The most common – and often most effective – channels are:

  • email marketing
  • SMS marketing

Other useful options are:

  • push notifications on mobile applications
  • customized content on websites
  • display advertising on social media
  • push notifications on browsers.

Professional tip: Before you get started with marketing automation, think of which channels you want to use now and which possibly in the future. Ask from the marketing automation service provider whether cooperation with mobile and other partner applications will work. 

Question 5: How to measure success?

Getting started in marketing automation is an investment and you should measure its profit. Different goals have different meters. These can be, for example: 

  • increase in sales
  • increase in cross-selling
  • the amount of leads to the sales team
  • customer satisfaction
  • the activity of customers
  • the conversion of test users into paying customers
  • passive customers becoming active.

Good luck! Marketing automation doesn't have to be a difficult or complex project – unless you make it one.

Related articles and more marketing automation tips:

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