In the Rush to Jump On The Marketing Automation Bandwagon, Don’t Put the Cart before the Horse!

When used as intended, Marketing Automation platforms convert followers of e-channels into leads over a period of time that could be as long as weeks or months—a process otherwise known as lead nurturing. Marketing automation is the most successful in generating leads when a commitment of careful planning and preparation is made prior to starting a program.

Planning for a marketing automation program involves determining the goals of said program.

Is the intent to find new customers, develop business from existing accounts, or both?

The answer to this question is crucial to knowing how to build distribution lists for the email campaigns and defining the content for  social media posts and multimedia programs. However, the predecessor to building distribution lists is cleaning up the CRM database, which involves verifying contact names and email addresses of the recipients for accuracy and CanSpam compliance. One stage of the marketing automation process is scoring leads of email campaigns as well as other campaigns. These scores are factored into forecasting the success of said campaigns and the success of the digital marketing department. Faulty CRM data adversely affects email campaign scores.

Another component of preparing for a marketing automation program is loading the related website with content that is relevant to the reader, a large percentage of which will come from the marketing automation program. The farther down the funnel a prospect travels or the longer they remain in the distribution list, the more likely they are to visit the website—and several times. Furthermore, content relevancy is a major factor of SEO, which is a major aspect of good web design but and also a component of any marketing automation platform.

Finally, as an experienced digital marketing professional, I strongly recommend planning and creating a content library that will support the content marketing aspects of the program for the first three months. This will facilitate content continuity among the various e-channels involved and allow the marketing department an efficient amount of time to steadily create new content without getting backed up against a mailing or posting date without any content to publish. This content can be anything from excerpts of items found on the website to product landing pages and links to white paper downloads and video tutorials to special events and webinars.

Leigh March is a marketing professional with nearly 15 years of experience utilizing and promoting Internet technologies. With degrees in mass media and website architecture, she has used her unique combination of skills to work in several aspects of modern marketing, including web design, SEO, SEM, content and inbound marketing, social media, e-commerce, e-mail marketing and integrated marketing communications.

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