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The Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Marketing Automation Campaign

All you need is a clear framework and dedication to the plan. Once you have that, you can get started. The perfection process comes after you launch the campaign.

The Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Marketing Automation Campaign

You’re not alone.

The hardest part of marketing automation is getting that initial campaign started. Seriously! It’s much easier to manage once you have everything setup and rolling.

Creative entrepreneurs and business owners often avoid the idea of automation. It seems like more of a luxury than a necessity. And, let’s be honest, it’s a pretty structured, logical activity for those of us that prefer more right-brained, creative activities.

Thankfully, at the end of the day, it doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. You may believe that you need to make a large, complicated system with intricate complexities.

Trust me, you don’t.

All you need is a clear framework and dedication to the plan. Once you have that, you can get started. The perfection process comes after you launch the campaign.

It’s important to understand that things might not go right this first time. That’s just part of the journey. You’ll constantly learn and tweak the machine.

But you can’t do any of that if you don’t launch the first campaign.

So let’s do it...

An Overview of Marketing Automation

I like how Techopedia defines marketing automation:

Essentially, a proper system can save you tons of hours each month. I don’t know about you, but I value my time. As entrepreneurs, we have to automate as much as possible. It’s the only efficient way to accomplish all the various tasks on our plate month after month.

Who Uses Marketing Automation?

All businesses can benefit from the power of marketing automation to systemize their efforts. When it comes to the adoption of this tactic, large companies lead the way:

  • 76% – larger businesses (> 100 employees)

  • 26% – mid-sized businesses (10-100 employees)

  • 18% – small businesses (< 10 employees)

But ultimately, B2B marketers who implement marketing automation can increase their sales-pipeline by 10%, regardless of company size.

So, who uses it? Anyone that wants more sales. That’s who.

What Marketing Automation is NOT

It’s important to understand that marketing automation is not a:

  • Solution that only benefits the marketing department.

  • Fancy name for your email marketing system.

  • Solution that brings value without any effort.

  • Way to send unsolicited, salesy spam.

These points will become abundantly clear as we dive deeper into this guide on launching a marketing automation campaign.

Step 1: Align Your Internal Teams

Before you can do anything, you must align two key components of your strategy: internal departments and measurement. Everything hinges on your ability to synchronize these areas.

Sales and Marketing Alignment

Automation drives the best results when it’s used to align your marketing and sales departments. To get on track, ask these questions:

  • At what point does marketing turn a lead over to the sales department?

  • What percentage of time should we spend qualifying leads?

  • If a lead isn’t ready to buy, how will we use nurturing to hold their attention?

Align these two teams and you’ll be well on your way to a highly-functioning revenue machine.

Measurement and Metrics

If you don’t measure success and failure, then you can’t know where to improve. Ask these questions to help define your metrics:

  • Which metrics will we report on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis?

  • How will we measure the ROI of our campaign?

  • What key performance indicators (KPIs) will we use to measure success?

I’d like to challenge you to look beyond standard measurements like opens and clicks. Marketing automation gives you the power to measure the things that really matter: revenue and profits.

Step 2: Plan Content Marketing & Lead Generation

You’ll notice we haven’t even chosen a marketing automation software program yet. And there’s a reason for that. You can invest hundreds of dollars in automation software, but if you aren’t invested in these two things first, you’ll fail.

Content Marketing

Create a content marketing strategy that addresses your marketing automation goals. Blog articles, eBooks, white papers, and webinars are just a few of the ways content can support your sales and marketing objectives.

Put your ideas into an editorial calendar and stick to it.

Remember, content marketing is an investment that fuels your automation. If you’re not investing in attracting new leads, then it’s futile to automate your marketing process.

Lead Generation

Lead generation goes beyond content marketing and encompasses the various efforts you’ll employ to attract leads.

For this, you’ll need to do more than just creating content. There are all kinds of promotions, tactics, and strategies that go into a well-rounded marketing automation campaign.

Each of these strategies takes time to develop, manage and succeed, and your business must make a firm investment in the campaign to see results. Despite what you may believe, automation doesn’t mean that your team can work less. It simply means that they have to do a different kind of work.

Step 3: Choose the Right Software

I don’t want to spend too much time on this section because each company will require something a little different. However, when you choose your automation software, there are a few things you should do and keep in mind.

  • Write down your objectives: What do you want to accomplish with your new software program?

  • Create a timeline: How long until you want the software up and running?

  • Identify necessary functionality: What types of functionalities do you need from the software?

  • Assemble your team: What does your team think about the software options available?

  • Make a decision: Which software program will work best for your business?

Sales teams will be more than happy to walk you through the functionalities and benefits of their software. Ultimately, you need to choose the one that works best for your team and your overall business goals.

Step 4: Set Up the Campaign

Once you have the buy-in, dedication, and software, it’s time to set everything up. Again, this specific activities you’ll undertake in this section will vary based on your goals. But there are some basic things that you’ll need to do, regardless of what kind of campaign you run.

Sync Your Platform

If you have an existing CRM system, you need to sync it to your automation platform. This can take some time, but don’t rush the process. Doing it right will save you time and hassle, and can serve as a springboard to targeted automation efforts down the road.

Create Landing Page and Email Templates

Because you already have a good content marketing and lead generation strategy in place, this step shouldn’t take too much time to complete. As you build your templates, focus on keeping things simple so that your team can use them to quickly create new content throughout your campaigns.

Set Up Your Website

Your software provider and/or implementation team will go into more detail about the process for connecting your website to your automation software, but a few of the things you’ll want to check include:

  • DNS mapping for the subdomain of your landing pages.

  • Tracking codes to measure your content management system.

Step 5: Make the Launch!

You’ve got everything in place and you’re ready to go. Congratulations! It’s been a long process to get here, but you’ve made it. Just to recap, here are the things you need to have in place before you launch:

  • Align the teams in your business. This includes understanding how the marketing and sales departments communicate with each other, as well as the metrics you’ll use to measure success.

  • Prepare to attract leads. Make sure you know how you’ll use content marketing techniques and lead generation strategies to attract leads for your marketing automation system.

  • Choose the right software. Look through the variety of options available and choose the one that’s right for your business.

  • Set up the campaign. Make sure you have all the technical aspects of the campaign squared away. The last thing you want is to hit technical difficulties right out of the gate.

If your first marketing automation campaign isn’t a complete success, don’t worry. It’s common for businesses and entrepreneurs to need a few rounds of launches to really get the hang of what a marketing automation program can do.

Just don’t let a few small mishaps deter you from moving forward. Review the data you’ve accumulated and draw conclusions that’ll help you do a better job next time. Keep iterating, testing and tracking until your new system is running at peak efficiency.

How will you use marketing automation to grow your business? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!


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