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Marketing Automation

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Return on investment

In a study by the Lenskold Group, 78% of successful marketers cited marketing automation systems as most responsible for contributing to revenue. This is a very significant statistic because it shows you that despite the time, and effort, and challenges it can take to set a complete system up, the money you will get back from it is 5, 10, 20 fold. This is the full marketing automation suites rather than the single tools. It’s quite difficult to measure exactly how using multiple single tools contributes to ROI in a large team.

So, with the marketing automation platform complete, such as HubSpot, you’re going to be able to execute campaigns, target leads, qualify leads, and proportion them at a very, very, very fast pace compared to what you could do without it.

Saving time on repetitive tasks

Marketing automation primarily exists to facilitate lead gen and lead qualification, but it’s also effective for customer evangelism, and up-selling and cross-selling. One of the most useful features of marketing automation is the clone feature. Clone means copy. It means making a duplicate of a marketing asset.

Landing page

This can be a landing page. A landing page, in case you didn’t know, is a single webpage where you have one offer available. It’s a focal point. It is not the same as your homepage or any other part of your website. It is singular, it should not have a menu or a footer. It serves a single purpose.

Call to action

Another thing you can clone is a CTA button; CTA means call-to-action. You could have “Buy now” in multiple places across your website. An email, also a very easy to duplicate item, this is something you’re going to want to duplicate for different reasons and for different parts. You can have a welcome email for example, that you’d like to send to different segments. There’s no need to completely rewrite it, just clone and tweak and so on and so forth. One of the easiest examples to think about for cloning is a weekly email newsletter. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time, you just need to copy that template, change the offers, change the copy, and send.

Site page

It’s the same with a site page. Your website pages should be consistently branded, so you’re not going to want create a new one every single time. You’re going to clone your core designed one and just make versions of that across the rest of your website. Cloning just means you do not have to start from scratch every single time. So with brand consistency, with template consistency, in all those things, you’re going to want that feature.

Testing and optimization

Another great feature of marketing automation is the ability to test and optimize. Testing and optimization is only done by roughly 20% of online marketers at the moment. It is extremely valuable practice; you have created a lot of marketing assets, many marketing campaigns, you have a large and complex website. Why not continuously improve it through testing?

A/B testing means having a core version and another version that has singular change on it, and seeing which one performs better. You can use your marketing automation software to surface one or the other 50/50 over a period of time and then choosing which one is the winner. You might be surprised by what you’ll learn. Instead of using assumptions to drive your choice of copy, or choice of image, or choice of coloring, use testing to really answer those questions for you.

One thing to remember about testing and optimization is that 9 out 10 tests will have inconclusive results. It can take a while to get up and running, and understanding what really needs to be tested and what doesn’t. So don’t get discouraged when you begin. Stay agile by testing.

IFTTT

IFTTT logic means, “If this then that.” The importance of IFTTT is that, when you’re using marketing automation you want certain things to happen when your leads take a particular action. For example, if someone goes to your website and clicks “Get a free trial,” what you want to happen then is that they get their free trial and they get messaging that helps them to get through to free trial such as a free trial guide. That is an action resulting in a logic response. You don’t want them to click on that button and end up getting a completely irrelevant piece of content or not even ending up in the free trial they asked for. You want them to have a consistent experience.

Critical communications

Using IFTTT logic is a great way to get started with marketing automation. Think about the critical communications that need to happen with your website visitors and also with the sales team. For example, if someone clicked on a “Call me back” button, you want a notification to go to the correct sales representative in order to call this person. You want that to happen instantaneously. These are all the little communications that you can set up with marketing automation. It is a logic-based system. You need to put a lot of thought into what happens after an action, so that you are not over complicating it and that you are not sending them down the wrong pathway as well. You need to make sure that whatever you decide to set up with IFTTT make sense, it doesn’t overlap, and doesn’t confuse the website visitor. Focus on the triggers that directly lead to lead generation and lead qualification when you’re starting off.

Reporting and dashboards

Marketing automation is also extremely useful for reporting and creating dashboards. Every day, you’re going to want to login and check the dashboard you have for traffic leads gen and possibly other matrix such as churn or customers; it all depends on what your goals are. Having dashboards at your fingertips that are constantly updating means that every day and throughout the day, the week, the month, and the year, you will know how you are performing against your previous month, your previous year, and so on and so forth.

Goal setting

The dashboard not only helps you to understand how you’re performing against the goals you’ve set; it also helps you to set the goals in the first place.

Goal setting is a critical part of a successful online strategy. On the reporting side of things, it’s very important to know how has each campaign performed, and also to really identify what a campaign is. A campaign can be a single project that you work on to create a piece of content that people access and become leads through. Or a campaign can be something that’s ongoing, such as how many leads does your weekly newsletter generate, or how many customers buy additional products due to your newsletter being successful.

Channels

A campaign definition can be quite vague, but within reports, you will be able to take that campaign and break it out into its different sources and channels and understand how each one performed. This way you will understand which one performs best for you, where you should focus your efforts on, and where you should perhaps dial down the money.

Email might be your worst or best channel; social media, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, which ones are the ones you should be focusing on? These reports will help you, after you’ve decided what they involve, to make these decisions. Because you can do so much in online marketing, finding what to focus on and scaling it is really where these reports and dashboards are powerful. You need to be able to interpret what’s on those dashboards in order to understand where your weak points are, and where your strengths are, and develop things around that.

Reducing manual data entry

As you get to know your marketing automation software better, you can get more creative with what it can do for you and your team. When using marketing automation software, you don’t have to spend so much time in spreadsheets anymore, downloading numbers, and trying to make sense of them. You can automatically update contact profiles. You don’t need to fill in people’s email addresses anymore. You don’t need to scrape their information by going to their company website, that’s all done for you. You can use API data to backfill other pieces of information about these contacts, and you can also have single updates across the system. If you decide that this entire group of people need to have this particular piece of information attached to them, you can use marketing automation to do that. It’s extremely powerful in that respect.

In addition to the information you collect through the form system, which is basically when someone comes to your website, they have to complete a box in order to continue to the stuff they want to get to. You can also explore social media APIs such as Twitter and also services like Datanyze to enrich your existing contact data. Sometimes you will not be able to get everything you need from a form, so you need to think of other ways to do this.

Finally, with marketing automation you can not only just identify parts of contact properties that you want to update across the board but you can also apply changes across all the pages of your website with a single fix. So it is fantastic for updating and reducing the amount of manual labor required.

Maximizing opportunities

Generating leads

You will be able to generate leads in larger quantities than you ever have before by using marketing motivation software. This is through your ability to be able to clone and re-promote stuff that you’ve already done, or also to grow what you already have. You can use CTAs that encourage spreading a message rather than just lead generation. You have so much flexibility and options in what you’re doing here.

Nurturing leads

Marketing automation helps you strike the balance between generating new leads and also nurturing your current leads better. Your sales team will never be able to manually chase up every single lead. You will also have to be able to fill in those places where they’re unable to get to and try and find ways for them to go ahead and become a customer when they are unable to reach out in person.

Following up

Forbes states that 71% of leads generated online are wasted due to ineffectual marketing. This could be as simple as a follow-up email to ask someone to complete the purchase on the basket that they never paid for. You’ve done it yourself. Why not plug this very big hole with a simple triggered action? This is a quick and easy win for you to do. Make sure that you close the loop on your marketing campaigns by noticing through your marketing automation software where these opportunities are falling away. I’ll get into more detail on that later.

Less time prospecting

Another way marketing automation software makes your company more efficient is by reducing the amount of time, the sales team spends prospecting. Prospecting can take a huge amount of a sales team’s time. If you already know what the sales team are looking for, and you can create a contact property based off of that list of information, you can focus your marketing campaigns through the marketing automation software on gathering those specific pieces of data. You’ll be able to understand where you need to go to find that data and then develop ways to encourage people to transfer that data to you explicitly, as in actively giving it to you, or implicitly, as in observing them behave on your website, or observing them behave through analyzing their actions on Twitter, or analyzing their followers on another social media platform. And being able to fill in that profile of what the sales team need. You can then hand over a completed profile of who they need and they can just immediately call them up and start working on them.

This approach, aligning marketing and sales, helps both teams use their time more wisely. What’s the point generating leads the sales team can’t or won’t go to, and why not focus in on the ones that they need the most?

Improving sales pipeline

This leads up to improving the sales pipeline. A great sales pipeline requires two things for marketing: quality of leads and quantity of leads. Marketing automation will solve both of these issues.

Quality of leads

The quality of leads really depends on how well you’re communicating with your sales team, and also how well you are doing your market research via all the online data sources available to you. You need to have a checklist beyond demographic data. You also need to include behavioral and social data.

You can gather behavioral data not only externally on websites they’re visiting, but also by having things called heat maps on your website. You can understand how a person interacts with your website and discover ways to encourage them to move along in your sales funnel. You need to know what behaviors precisely determine a good quality lead.

Quantity of leads

With the duplication of campaigns, with the ease of creating branded assets, with the ease of creating calls-to-action across your website, with using lists segmentation and persona-based marketing, you will definitely be able to increase the quantity of your leads as well as focusing in on the quality more.

Service Level Agreements

When you are focusing in on quality leads, you should base all of your strategies around achieving them on KPIs and SLAs, Key Performance Indicators and Service Level Agreements. The Service Level Agreement is your agreement with the sales team on how many qualified leads they require in order to hit the annual company goals, month-on-month. The KPIs are what you in the marketing team know directly result in satisfying that sales level agreement. This is how you will build your strategy. By using KPI and SLAs as your driving force you will most definitely improve your sales pipeline with a higher volume of leads and a good quality of leads.

Let’s get into more detail about the Service Level Agreement or the SLA. The successful implementation of marketing automation software and strategy relies on a transparent relationship with the sales team. The marketing team needs to constantly be in conversation with the team in order to understand what is working and what is not. I’ve often seen places where the teams are very, very separated and that lack of communication results in very slow lead gen, and a very bad quality of lead at the other side. As long as there are conversations happening together and realistic goals set, the amount of benefit that will happen for the company is enormous.

The marketing team can become quite distanced from the leads and customers generated simply because they are looked at as a group of numbers on a dashboard. The sales team will have more one-to-one conversations. In this way, both teams can offer information to the other. Marketing can talk about the traits, behaviors, and personas they’re delivering to sales to give them context. Whereas, the sales team can give real-life examples so the marketing team can add a human face to the campaigns they are running. Matching up quantitative and qualitative data from the marketing and the sales team is the best way to go about making the most efficient sales and marketing pipeline that you can get.

Increasing up-selling and cross-selling potential

You’ll be able to figure out behavioral triggers that can result in more sales from your already existing customers and users. You can track them as they are dealing with your website and understand what the triggers are that cause them to move on and buy more. What you want to do is identify these experiences and try to cause to them happen again and again. In this way, you’re optimizing your sales funnel.

Customizing and personalizing

One of the hot topics in online marketing at the moment is customizing and personalizing your website to your different visitors.

  • Using names: This can be as simple as using first name and last name in your emails and on your pages, to using the website name or the company name they come from across other communications.
  • Identifying location: This can also be identifying their location and serving up content or information relevant to where they are.
  • Identifying browser language: It can be identifying the browser language they’re using, if it’s German or Spanish, and serving up content in that language.
  • Identifying lifecycle stage: It can also be about the lifecycle stage they were at, and serving up something appropriate for them. If the person has already done a free trial, already done a demo, already requested a sample, then it’s time to remove those calls-to-action and focus on more buyer-centric CTAs such as ready-to-buy, and so on and so forth. Lifecycle stage means, are they a lead, a qualified lead, an opportunity, or a customer?
  • Identifying "already read": You can also have the “Has already read this content” criteria. For example, if you’re on a blog, you might want to surface up a post they have not read before, rather than showing them one they already have read. This gives them a positive experience.

All of these are just suggestions rather than things you must to do. It is actually infinite what you can personalize when it comes to marketing automation software depending on the data you have gathered.

Remember those form fields, the API data and other background data you’ve gathered? That is what will determine how much you can personalize. So when you’re thinking about a customization and personalization strategy, not only do you need to think about the relevant content surfaced, but can you even do it in the first place?

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Andrea Francis

Inbound marketing manager @ Poppulo

  • Inbound marketing manager in employee communications technology 
  • Worked at Relayr as a senior marketing manager, creating and implementing a global inbound marketing strategy
  • Worked with Hubspot as a marketing manager and funnel optimization specialist focusing on converting leads to qualified leads for the EMEA region
  • Content marketing and blogging with various SaaS startups at Startupbootcamp Amsterdam
Andrea Francis

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

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ABOUT THIS DIGITAL MARKETING MODULE

Marketing Automation
Andrea Francis Andrea Francis
Skills Expert

This module begins with the fundamentals of marketing automation and looks at how businesses are using marketing automation tools with CRM software to create significant sales enablement, lead nurturing, and customer relationship management opportunities. It provides in-depth coverage on generating, managing, and nurturing leads, including topics on importing and managing contact lists, lead scoring and tracking, segmentation, retargeting, and using marketing automation data and social media automation tools to drive campaigns and to detect new business opportunities.

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