featured image: how to develop a successful marketing automation strategy

How to develop a successful marketing automation strategy

Finding the time to complete all important tasks is a challenge. To tackle this, smart business owners and marketers turn to marketing automation.

Automation is designed to reduce the time and effort required to complete a task by employees and instead have this task run automatically. Read on to find out how you can make marketing automation work for your business.

How to Develop a Marketing Automation Strategy

Let’s define a few key phrases that will come up throughout the article.

Strategy is the overall game plan a business uses to reach its goals. A marketing strategy usually focuses on brand messaging, value propositions, and data on the target market. 

Marketing automation is using technology to make tasks more effective and save time. This is achieved with platforms that manage all (or most) aspects of campaigns you have running. Marketers often use automation for: 

tasks carried out by marketing automation

A marketing automation strategy focuses on creating and reaching the goals of automated marketing campaigns. It may look at things like “what day of the week is the target market most likely to open/click/respond to an email?” or “how can the business have a consistent brand voice across all channels?”. 

Understand your buyer personas

buyer persona template example

A buyer persona is a research-based profile that depicts a target customer. They describe who a business’s target customers are and how they make decisions. Often, businesses have multiple personas, each with their own needs. Companies need to make sure they have different messages that speak to each persona and address their needs. 

Buyer personas are designed to help businesses understand their customers to effectively meet their needs. And create marketing campaigns that speak to that subsect of people. 

The first step towards developing a successful marketing automation strategy is to identify and understand your buyer persona. Having a deeper understanding of what your customers value will help you create a marketing automation strategy and messaging that appeals to that audience. 

Some tips for effectively creating  buyer personas are:

  • Look through the current customer database and categorize
  • Ask customers to fill out online forms to gather deeper insights
  • Use the information gathered to understand your customers’ motivations
  • Tailor marketing campaigns to the personas you have identified

Outline your customer journey for the personas

buyers journey stages

A buyer journey is the path someone takes before purchasing a product or service. It’s the process a buyer goes through to become aware of, consider, and decide to purchase a new product or service. 

Understanding the buyer journey for your personas helps you create a marketing automation strategy that will resonate with them and encourage them to purchase. 

There are 3 main stages of a buyer’s journey:

  • Awareness stage: This is where the buyer becomes aware that they have a need and are deciding if it’s worth finding a solution for. 
  • Consideration stage: This stage is when buyers have decided they wish to find a solution and are evaluating the different options. 
  • Decision stage: At this point, buyers are aware of their options and have narrowed them down. This is when they will choose a specific product and make a purchase. 

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to map out the full buyer journey if you’re just starting with automation. It’s better to start small with simpler automations, like a welcome workflow and birthday emails. These automations can create value and increase revenue while you map out the rest of the buyer journey and the automations you’d like to add.

Run a content audit

A content audit is the process of analyzing assets on a website. This includes landing pages and blog posts. 

While setting up a marketing automation plan, you should run a content audit. Use this as an opportunity to check which areas of your website are performing well and which need improvement. This will also allow you to consider which elements of your content strategy you could automate and how automating these elements will have a positive impact. 

The rules of running a content audit are:

  • Decide which content you will audit 
  • Categorize your content in a spreadsheet
  • Analyze the data collected 
  • Take actionable steps to improve your content

Set your marketing automation goals

Having some clearly defined goals will help to align your marketing strategy and make sure that you are getting as much out of it as possible. 

SMART goal setting framework

If you’re struggling to come up with goals, it’s good practice to use SMART goals. This system helps to make sure that goals are clear and attainable. Each goal should be: 

  • S — Specific

Goals should be clear and specific so your efforts are focused and you are motivated to work towards achieving them. 

  • M — Measurable

Assessing progress is important when running any campaign, so a key factor when setting goals is to make sure they are measurable. 

  • A — Achievable 

For a goal to be worthwhile, it needs to be achievable. The point here is to set goals that stretch your abilities, but are still attainable. 

  • R — Relevant 

It’s important to set goals that matter and align with the overarching strategy and what the team wants to achieve. 

  • T — Time-based

Deadlines give a target and something to work towards. They also create a sense of urgency. For people to work hard to reach their goals, it’s important for goals to be time-based. 

Some of the most common goals businesses might be aiming for include:

  • Increased signups 
  • Getting more information about customers
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Increase retention

Select the best marketing automation software

There are many different marketing automation tools. So it’s important to understand the main tasks you want your software to complete and choose one that specializes in those tasks. Base your software choices on what you specifically want to automate and your goals.

setting up the actions in a marketing automation flow

Some of the most popular marketing automation tools on the market include:

Start up simple and extend it

The possibilities marketing automation has are almost endless. But it’s best to start small and build on that. Setting up a welcome workflow and automated birthday emails is a good place to start.  And later you can create more advanced automation based on your needs.

It’s also worth noting that just because you can automate something, it doesn’t mean you should. 

Tasks that automation tools are perfect for include:

  • Welcome email sequences
  • Social media scheduling
  • Abandoned cart emails

As a general rule, anything predictable and repeatable is suitable to be completed by an automation tool. 

Automation might not be the best option for tasks, like:

  • Writing copy without human proofreading and editing
  • Parts of customer service, like a very specific technical issue

If you’re just getting started with marketing automation, it’s best to start with simple tasks and evaluate their success before automating more complicated processes.

Your own Marketing Automation Strategy

Automation can be really helpful for businesses, and there are lots of benefits to implementing a marketing automation strategy.

To get the most out of automation, make sure you understand your buyer personas, outline the buyer journey, run a content audit, set goals, and choose the right software for the tasks you need to automate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Some marketing automation examples are:

  • Welcome email sequence — New subscribers and customers are engaged and interested. That’s why they signed up or bought your product. A welcome workflow is the best way to make a great first impression based on this interest. 
  • Customer quizzes — Quizzes are a great way to engage customers and learn more about what they like. This is also an ideal process to automate because you can gather information from lots of customers, without having to invest too much time and resources. 
  • Social media automation — Social media is part of any business’s marketing strategy. Simply because customers are on social media. But managing social media is time-consuming and the more consistent you are with posting – the better.

Marketing automation strategies provide businesses with a clear plan for what they want to achieve and how they can achieve it through automation. 

A marketing automation tool can be used to automate repetitive tasks. This increases efficiency and reduces human error, freeing up time for more complex tasks. For example, an email marketing automation strategy involves automatically sending personalized emails to customers based on their behavior, such as abandoned cart reminders. Another strategy could be social media automation, where posts are scheduled and published automatically, ensuring a consistent online presence.

To create a marketing automation strategy you need to:

  • Define your goals. Before starting any campaign, you must know what your goals are and what you want to achieve.
  • Understand your customers and target market. To make the strategy as effective as possible, gain a deeper understanding of who your target market is before kicking off your automated campaigns. 
  • Know what to automate and what not to automate. Automation is helpful for many things, but some tasks require a human touch. As part of creating an effective strategy, it’s important to have an understanding of what should and shouldn’t be automated. 
  • Test and optimize regularly. You are going to get the best results in the long term if you are making a point of testing what you are doing, and using the results to improve.

The main purpose of marketing automation is to save time and make the lives of marketers easier without compromising on results. The goal is to provide a better customer experience by reducing time spent on repetitive tasks.

In the simplest words, marketing automation is when a business uses technology to automate marketing tasks.

This can include sending emails, posting on social media, and tracking customer interactions. By automating these tasks, businesses can save time, ensure consistency, and focus on more strategic activities that require a human touch.

Alli Mariam

Alli Mariam is a content marketer at EmailVendorSelection. She has 2+ years of experience in email and content marketing. When she's not rocking the marketing world, you'll catch her jamming on her guitar or keeping up with the latest AI trends.