Planning for Successful Automated Marketing Campaigns

You can’t grow a juicy strawberry plant by drowning it in all the water it needs at once. And you can’t get a customer ready to buy from you by giving them all the information in one sitting. That’s where marketing automation comes in. Automated marketing lets you carefully grow your customer relationships until they are ripe for that sale. Before you send that first email, answer these four key questions.

What Do I Want To Say?

To make automated marketing work for you, plan out what you want to say. Each campaign should have a specific aim in mind, whether that is:

  • To increase brand awareness
  • To sell a new product
  • To get sign ups for a new program
  • To establish yourself as a market leader

Figure out your aim first, then build your campaign around it. The result will be clearer and more concise than if you don’t plan.

Who Do I Want To Say It To?

Each campaign is going to have its own set of recipients. While each one is an individual, they will still have some common ground, such as:

  • They’re new prospects who are still learning about your company
  • They’re established customers who you think will like your new product
  • They’re long time subscribers who need to renew

Build up a persona to send your automated marketing campaign to – talk directly to them and their needs to make your campaign personal.

Why Should They Listen?

Your customers get a lot of marketing messages every day. Don’t assume they want to listen to you – show respect for their time by giving them a good reason to. Use your drip campaign to give them information they can’t live without or show how you can make their lives better.

How Do I Know When To Say It?

When planning your campaign, plan out when the best time to send your messages is. You can use metrics to help you with this. Perhaps start sending out information emails once a customer fills out an interest form. Or send relevant messages after a purchase. Keep an eye on how your customers are behaving, and plan your campaign to tap into that for maximum effect.

An automated marketing campaign can have a good yield for your business, so long as you plan it well and nurture your customers with carefully crafted content and plenty of care for your growing relationship.

Knowing When to Automate Your Marketing Efforts

For busy businesses, marketing automation is comparable to the difference between a state of the art washer and an old fashioned washboard. It gets everything done quicker, cleaner and with less effort. What’s not to love? But take note not to automate the life out of your campaign. A good automated campaign needs to strike a balance between knowing when to automate – and when not to.

Automate Repetitive Tasks

To make the most of marketing automation, use it to automate those repetitive tasks that tie up your time:

  • Tracking leads and prospects
  • Follow up emails after a purchase or subscription
  • Reminder messages if a warranty or subscription is due
  • Scheduling social media or blog posts
  • Sending triggered messages, such as after a download or information request
  • Collating information based on website activity or information forms

By automating these tasks, you’re building up a more personal experience for the customer. Sound backwards? Think about it – once you’ve freed up all those repetitive tasks, you have time free to focus on the bits that marketing automation can’t reach.

But Don’t Automate Everything

Knowing what to automate is half of a great automated marketing campaign – knowing when not to is the other half. There are some tasks that shouldn’t be automated:

  • Content – whether it’s a tweet or a blog post, never automate your content. Create each piece carefully, give it some pizzazz, then let your automated system send it at the right time.
  • Scheduling – when it comes to that right time, you have to give your system that input. Plan out your campaign carefully and decide on your timings first, then let your automation software know when to send.
  • Responding to feedback – if a customer takes the time to give you feedback, good or bad, take time to reply.
  • Customer service – if you want to keep your customers, keep them feeling valued. Never fob them off with automated replies.

Marketing automation offers you a solution that can track your leads, keep all the data you need about your customers’ relationships with you, and take care of time consuming tasks. Use the time you saved to focus on your product and your customers – your business will thank you.

Marketing Automation Definition

Marketing automation is exactly how it sounds. It’s all about making the steps in marketing automatic, as opposed to manual in nature. And it’s accomplished by using software that can execute automated marketing steps.

Imagine harnessing the power of technology to engage your prospects. Via email. Via text messages. Via social networking sites. And then setting up the relationship building process to work completely automated. You still have personalized messages. You still make that connection with your prospects. But it’s all done with an automated system – making technology working for you!!

Moving Parts

When you build a marketing campaign, there are a lot of moving parts. Yes, you need to get the message out there to your prospects, but you also need to ensure that the message stays consistent. Using software that helps you do this saves time, money and allows you to do things within your marketing campaign that perhaps wouldn’t be efficient if you conducting the various aspects manually.

Marketing Automation in Action

You build your marketing campaign. You develop the marketing messages and you will get them to your target market through the following: text messaging, direct mail, email, Facebook and MySpace ads and banner ads. Each message sent through each of these methods will have a call to action and will allow for a response from your prospects.

However, there is no “man behind the green curtain” choosing when to unleash each message. The delivery of the messages are already pre-determined and set up on a fine-tuned schedule. Banner ads are in place on day one. Social media ads (Facebook and Twitter) are also ready to go. Emails will be sent 3 days later. Text messages will go out 4 days after that. And then the direct mail will hit the streets a few days later. Each message is completely scheduled and each message invites response from prospects.

And the moment your prospects begin to respond and utilize those response mechanisms, your automated marketing system continues to plug away at the campaign, kicking into high gear. Whether the prospect responds via a web form after clicking on a banner ad, or a personalized URL, that prospect is sent information that directly corresponds to the prospect’s interest.

Relationship building via an automated system saves resources in regards to both money and time. And by providing relevant information to the prospect in a timely manner, a company is more likely to foster that relationship and turn it into a sale.

3 Trends that will Affect Your Email Marketing in 2014

Are you looking to improve the effectiveness of your email marketing program in 2014?

If so, there are always different things that we can look at — this might include content, deliverability rates, Subject Line testing, and more. Along with those items, I wanted to share three trends that may help companies to experience more success in their email efforts.

P.S. These trends are not necessarily new. But even though people may have been aware of them for a little while, many of us have still not taken any action.

Mobile Devices and Reading

As the number of smartphone owners continues to rise, more and more people will become quite acquainted (and addicted) to having the ability to check their email at any time, wherever they may go.

This will mean that marketers will need to invest time and effort in doing the following:

  • Testing how their current emails appear on various mobile devices
  • Finding ways to tinker with their content, layout, and underlying HTML/CSS to ensure their email looks good across as many devices as possible

Of course, many will acknowledge that designing emails for typical desktop and laptop viewing was already a challenge, due to the fact that various email clients render the code differently!

However, there are various resources popping up that do provide some help on how you can design your emails for mobile devices. Here’s a great one from Smashing Magazine.

Social Networks and Sharing

We all know the power of word-of-mouth marketing. We want our content to go viral. But do we make it easy for people to start sharing and spreading our messages?

When it comes to creating and designing emails, we often spend most of our time worrying about the content and layout. And while that is important, we certainly do not want to overlook adding features that might encourage people to share our content. This may include:

  • Adding a “Tell-a-Friend” link or button
  • Displaying icons and links for sharing specific articles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Dropping subtle hints that might remind someone to pass along an article to someone else


Technology has made it easier than ever before for marketers to build & manage databases. It has also made it easier for people to create emails that will have variable content based on the data that you may have.

However, this is an option that is often ignored. Many marketers feel the pressure to simply “get the email out the door”. Thus, taking the time to plan and create multiple versions that will offer up unique content might seem like a tactic that could stall a project.

But it may be worth investing the time to try and test out some form of personalization in your next email. Whether it’s simply serving up an article that might appear to specific industry that is represented in your list, or customizing your wording based on the types of products & services that your subscribers may offer, you may be able to increase the effectiveness of your emails.


Drive Sales with Marketing Automation

A sales department can only sell to the prospects that the marketing department leads to their doorstep. Think about it…if the marketing department falls short and fails to deliver the marketing message to the target market, then the whole sales process crumbles. The marketing department finds the prospects and lures them in and the sales department seals the deal. With marketing automation, a sales department can rest assured that a campaign is working like clockwork to bring the target market to the doorstep. For sales, lead generation is essential.

With marketing automation, everything is tracked and managed from one central spot. Instead of the right arm (sales) not knowing what the left arm (marketing) is doing, the two arms are working in conjunction, as a team. And with an automated marketing system, tasks and contacts are managed, and prospects can be touched multiple times without feeling overwhelmed and turned off by a pushy company.

For example, your sales team exhibits at the local home expo. Several people fill out the form requesting more information on your products. Day one after the expo, each are emailed links to the online brochures regarding the products the prospects were interested in. The sales team receives the information on which emails were opened, when they were opened and whether the link within the email was clicked. 2 days later, an automated email is sent to each of the prospects asking them if they would like a trial of the company’s product. A couple days after that, thank you notes are sent out via snail mail to each of the prospects thanking them for stopping by the booth during the expo. On Day 7, the sales team is notified of which prospects have clicked on the link requesting the product trial, and are assigned phone calls to follow-up. On Day 9, those prospects who did not request a free product trial are emailed a survey about their expo experience and about their thoughts on the company’s products. On Day 12, the sales team learns of the survey results and are assigned follow-up calls to any prospects who have indicated they still need more information about the products.

Can you see where the marketing automation leads the prospects by the hand and directly into the sales team’s waiting arms? It’s automated but still personalized every step of the way. Everything is tracked so no lead will fall between the cracks. Prospects receive the information they need according to their responses. And by the time the sales team contacts them, they are already interested in what they have to offer. Automated marketing making life easier. For everyone.