Marketing automation platforms are vital to your organization’s success. They aid your marketing efforts in a multitude of ways. For example, when contacts take pre-determined actions, you can trigger certain events to occur. This can be used when a prospect downloads a gated offer, and they’re automatically sent a follow-up email showcasing additional content.
Marketing automation software can also aid in your creation of marketing materials to engage your contacts and guide them down your funnel. For example, some pieces of software allow you to build templates for blogs or landing pages, so all of your posts maintain a consistent style.
Ultimately, the impact of marketing automation platforms can be summarized in helping you accomplish four crucial tasks:
- Getting found online
- Converting leads
- Nurturing leads
- Measuring revenue
Let’s dive into a closer look at each of these tasks.
4 Ways Marketing Automation Platforms Help You Drive Growth
Getting found online
If you’re trying to make people aware of who your company is, what you do and how you can help them, the best way to start is to meet them where they are. Many of the people you want to target will live on various channels.
For example, you can target individuals through social media by posting regularly or promoting content through ads. Alternatively, you can reach people browsing Google and other search engines with paid ads or by offering blog content and refining it for SEO.
Ultimately, you need to ensure you are facilitating your website’s discovery. Your marketing automation can help by offering different features relating to each of the channels you use:
- Blog: With a blog, you can tie concepts that people are talking about and searching for online back to your company. Then, you can talk about yourself and what you do at a high level, positioning your offering as a solution to their problems. Your marketing automation platform can help you schedule your blogs and add elements like calls-to-action (CTAs) to your material.
- Content: Content strategy goes beyond just your blog. It’s a way for you to build your online presence and the conversion paths that people could take to close with your company. You can also develop topic cluster and pillar page strategies to create networks of content — certain marketing automation platforms have tools that help you build and strategize this network.
- SEO: While your content strategy concentrates on your site’s topics and how they relate to one another, your SEO strategy is about optimizing individual pieces of content and making sure that the material is in the best possible position to be found online. Marketing automation platforms can help improve this process by providing relevant metrics to consider. They also provide other tools such as ways to monitor your keywords or content organization features to help you optimize and connect your entire library.
- Social media: You can use each platform on this channel differently to target people. For instance, your LinkedIn strategy should be different from your Facebook strategy. From there, you can engage visitors with frequent posting and thought-provoking content. Some automation software allows you to create and schedule your posts, managing numerous accounts from one common location. You can also boost certain posts or offers with ads.
- Ads: You can promote your offers directly. Instead of creating a journey through your site from high-level content (like blogs) to content offers (like guides), ads provide a way for you to target certain search terms and position your offers to fill consumers’ needs. Certain marketing tools provide ad managers, so you can monitor your accounts and determine the ultimate impact of your offers.
- Promotional videos: These are posted on social media, on blogs or via ads to promote your company and engage your audience. You can post videos and monitor their performance with the relevant marketing automation tools.
Once you are found online, you need to make sure you’re converting contacts. Your marketing automation tool should provide tools to facilitate this process, helping leads move down your funnel.
Ideally, you want to create an easy path so you provide visitors with value in exchange for their information. If they come to your site and you fail to convert them, you must get them to your website again, which is difficult. Once they are there, you’ve accomplished the hard part, so you need to optimize your conversion process, ensuring they don’t slip away anonymously.
Your marketing automation tool should include tools that focus on:
- CTAs: These should be placed throughout your website, including on your blogs, at the end of videos and on landing pages just to name a few locations. They should suggest a next step for your visitors. Marketing software allows you to design these elements and post them in relevant locations with ease.
- Chatbots: Chatbots can be used in multiple ways on your website. One application is as a substitute for CTAs, directing site visitors to the next action you want them to take. Certain automation tools include native chatbot features.
- Teaser videos: Including short video clips on landing pages can help to engage visitors and encourage them to take the next step. Like promotional videos, your software should be able to host these videos and help you report on their effectiveness.
- A/B testing: A/B testing can be used to experiment with different versions of the same content. For instance, if you want to optimize your CTA clicks, it’s wise to test whether one CTA design works better than another. A/B testing allows you to alternate which version (A or B) you show to customers and then monitor which one produces better results over time. Marketing automation platforms should allow you to conduct such tests with ease.
- Landing pages: These pages are used to showcase offers. Ultimately, CTAs and chatbots should direct consumers to these pages, so they can detail what visitors will be receiving and prompt them to proceed with a specific action. Your marketing platform should provide a means for you to design and edit these pages.
- Forms: Forms are included on landing pages to capture consumer information. They are vital because they are the medium where visitors convert, and they facilitate information-capture, commencing the nurture phase. Form design and hosting is another essential element of marketing automation platform performance.
After your visitors convert and become leads, you need to continue establishing your relationship with them. It’s vital you keep the conversation going and continue building momentum at this point in the process. There are a number of ways you and your marketing automation platform can directly impact this process. Your marketing automation platform should enable you to leverage:
- Promotional emails: Once you acquire your visitors’ contact information, you can begin to target them with specific materials. Emailing them relevant offers connecting to their initial conversion point is wise at this point in the process. Normally, these offers are specific, relating to a certain content offer or timeframe
- Workflows: Marketing automation also utilizes email to reach out to leads, but it does so in a different way. Once a visitor converts, they are enrolled in a lead nurture that presents the next most-logical offer, attempting to guide leads further down the funnel.
- Smart content: Consider a scenario where an individual reads a blog that has a CTA to a content offer that they already converted on. Smart content tools can be used to replace the existing CTA with a different, relevant offer, so you don’t promote the exact same content again.
- Progressive profiling: Progressive profiling recognizes when individuals have converted on specific forms and which information already exists in your database on a given customer. Similar to smart content, instead of serving the exact same form to customers again, progressive profiling substitutes a different form in its place so new information is collected.
- Chatbots: Besides initially converting visitors, chatbots can prime leads to convert on their next offer as well, continuing to direct individuals down the funnel.
- Guides and case studies: Long-form more comprehensive content offers are invaluable during the nurture stage because they provide leads with the depth of information they are looking for and signal value for potential customers. Also, these offers should be gated with landing pages and forms to enable information collection.
- Educational video: Similar to guides and case studies, educational video provides engaging content through a different medium.
- Webinars: Webinars are similar to guides and case studies as well, but they offer content in an interactive format. They also are like digital events and prompt potential attendees to sign-up because they are time-bound.
One of your responsibilities on the marketing team is reporting on the results your efforts are generating. This process helps inform where and how you need to improve moving forward. It’s very rare that you’re going to completely optimize your output the first time around, so taking another look and developing an understanding of how everything could be enhanced is vital. To do this effectively, it’s best to look at three different types of reports. It’s best if your marketing automation features:
- Campaign reporting: When you report on campaigns, you need to examine the different materials associated with each campaign you run and how they each help contribute to an individual’s conversion path. For instance, we normally create our campaigns around certain content offers, so we would analyze every blog, CTA and landing page associated with that offer to evaluate a campaign’s overall performance.
- Website traffic analytics: Website traffic analytics are an important indicator of how your website is performing as a whole. For instance, it’s important you consider the overall traffic you are creating and how that traffic is moving throughout your funnel.
- Attribution reporting: Attribution reporting can help you pinpoint how different pieces of content are performing and ultimately contributing to revenue. If you measure your marketing team’s success by their contribution to revenue like we do here at New Breed, this is also a vital component in that regard.
In today’s digital age, having a marketing automation platform is table stakes. It isn’t a question of whether you should have one anymore; it’s about choosing the right one.
If you are in the process of investing in a marketing automation tool or are evaluating your existing platform, you should consider the tools and features marketing automation platforms can provide.
Here at New Breed, we use HubSpot. It offers a full breadth of features, relating to the tasks and tools we discussed above. Compared to other marketing automation platforms it provides the best bang for your buck because it has the widest range of capabilities. It’s also the most user-friendly. In our experience, we’ve recognized that HubSpot is making the most improvements over time — only extending their lead in the category.
Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.