30-second summary:

  • Even though marketing automation has grown businesses and revolutionized industries, it is not for everyone.
  • First, you need to understand your audience to create highly targeted email drip campaigns.
  • Then, you need to review your sales process to see how your company can benefit from marketing automation.
  • While marketing automation sounds great, it is not for everyone. So, email marketing may be the solution for your company. It does not do you any good if you are going to buy robust software and not have the right people and processes in place to fully utilize it.
  • Personalization and fast responses can provide tremendous value. But, everyone needs to work together, and broken processes need to discussed before buying marketing technology that cannot be fully beneficial.

Email marketing is becoming more and more viable as marketers incorporate it into campaigns. But, while email is not slipping in popularity, most businesses have just scratched the surface of what they can accomplish with it.

Both require audience understanding

It can be difficult to get the necessary information about audience segments to properly grab the attention of those receiving emails.

Therefore, developing personas can help with understanding what your audience cares to receive. A persona addresses the needs, challenges and motivations of your audience.

When creating personas, it is important to understand your audience demographics, such as their age, gender, family situation and location. This type of information will provide you more insight about what is important to them.

Once you have these details, understand what each type wants when approaching your business.

This information can be hard to gather initially, especially if your website does not have lots of keyword-rich content. If there is not comprehensive insight into your website traffic, you can always survey the audience to find out more.

Once you see how your customers may use your products or services, group those together who have common objectives or concerns. This will help you to create lists.

When you create lists by the types of content that would be interesting to read, it will help you to create an impactful marketing automation campaign.

Review the sales process

Your sales process is unique to your company’s customers and operations. When a company has a dedicated sales team, marketing automation can provide the highest reward because those persona-driven emails help with lead nurturing.

With sales and marketing integration, leads can be scored as they go through the funnel. Business to business (B2B) commonly uses lead nurturing tactics since the sales cycle is a lot longer.

However, there are companies who successfully utilize automation to market themselves from a business to consumer (B2C) standpoint. Here are two example drip campaigns for a B2B and B2C company:

B2B company: National manufacturer

The goal of this drip campaign is to educate so the contacts on the lists view the company has a thought leader in their field.

Email 1 – A how-to guide for finding pain points.

Email 2 – A white paper on the types of solutions available to solve a pain point.

Email 3 – A webinar on how to get the most out of a certain solution.

B2C company: Local dry cleaner

The goal of this drip campaign is re-engagement so the contacts on the lists become loyal brand advocates.

Email 1 – A reminder to current customers about dry cleaning.

Email 2 – A coupon on dry cleaning based on what customers bought in the past.

Email 3 – A thank you for coming in while explaining the type of care that went into cleaning.

Your current marketing needs

Marketing automation can get pricey when it is fully integrated with the sales process.

Therefore, smaller companies do not always have the budget to get products like Salesforce and Pardot. Some of the free or less expensive software options may seem more attractive, such as Mailchimp or HubSpot.

When deciding what platform to use, you should ask yourselves these questions:

  1. Do I have enough in the budget to buy the software and the support needed to fully utilize it?
  2. What all do I need in my marketing automation software – segmentation, social media management, search engine optimization, reporting, customer relationship management and email marketing?
  3. Am I able to integrate this marketing automation software with my business operations and other online systems?
  4. How many contacts will need supported within in the software?
  5. How many members of the team will need training?

While marketing automation sounds great, it is not for everyone. So, email marketing may be the solution for your company.

It does not do you any good if you are going to buy robust software and not have the right people and processes in place to fully utilize it. This is where companies run into problems. It is common to see the shiny ball and lose focus on what matters.

At the end of the day, technology should help with increasing efficiency. The initial setup can be painful as broken processes will stick out.

Also, individuals will have more of a microscope on their responses to marketing initiatives. If your teams are not working together, it is important to work on cross-collaboration and processes before buying robust marketing automation software.

How to move forward

Since this is a world of instant gratification, automated emails and responses can really help a company stay in front of an audience. And with technology trends changing so quickly, it can be difficult to keep up.

Therefore, you need to really focus on your current processes when looking to buy new marketing technology.

Some marketing software will help you to find the gaps. But, if key members within your organization are not ready for change, you will have a hard time making necessary changes to fully taking advantage of the new technology.

Ashley Schweigert is the owner of Marcom Content by Ashley, LLC.

The post Email marketing or marketing automation? appeared first on ClickZ.

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