Boost Your Content Marketing with Email Campaigns
A properly-implemented email marketing program is a tool that can improve the impact of your overall content marketing effort by keeping your audience engaged, driving traffic to all of your content, and helping build stronger relationships.
It’s also important to note that email marketing is not a successful marketing strategy on its own. Rather than using it as an isolated tool, your marketing efforts will be far more successful if you properly integrate email marketing into as many inbound campaign channels as you can.
In my latest blog over at Mediacurrent.com, I share 5 tips to help amplify your content marketing with email campaigns. I discuss:
1. The importance of building your lists
2. Tips on leveraging all your content…even the older stuff.
3. Tips of segmenting wisely
4. Tracking your email campaigns as part of your complete marketing analytics
5. Thinking mobile first
Read the entire post “5 Tips to Amplify Your Marketing with Email Campaigns” and share your thoughts. You can also follow me @adamwaid.
Strategy Tips to Make Gated Content Successful
A common challenge facing many organizations is determining what content should be generally available to all website visitors and, which content should be behind a form (aka gated content), requiring users to provide information about themselves before being able to access it.
Before you restrict access to your precious content, it is important to determine which assets should be gated. Blogs, webinar, pricing, and “about us” pages generally should be left without a gate to create traffic through SEO and assist with overall web conversions. However, content that underscores your organization’s thought leadership, such as whitepapers, webinars or eBooks, as well as free product trials and demos, should be gated.
Check out my post on Mediacurrent’s blog for tips on making gated content successful.
5 Ways Your Business Should Be Using Marketing Automation
Recently, I wrote a blog post, “5 Things You Should Consider Before Purchasing Marketing Automation”. Since then, I’ve had numerous follow-up conversations from customers, colleagues, and friends that were considering marketing automation but wanted to know why they should use it within their organization.
Reports of automation adoption is projected to hit 50% by the year 2015, which means that over the coming years many of you will begin using marketing automation.
In the past eight years, I’ve evaluated, purchased, implemented, and used over ten different email marketing and marketing automation platforms. Here are a few suggestions how your organization should be using marketing automation.
1. Predicting long-term value and identifying prime cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
A prerequisite to effective targeting is a more complete understanding of your customers, which can be obtained through techniques such as defining your buyer personas, customer profitability analysis, churn/retention analysis and behavior analysis.
With marketing automation you don’t have to limit yourself to simple demographics like age or job title. You can target leads according to how they responded to previous campaigns, or how they interacted with your web site.
Targeting helps answer questions like:
- Which customers are good candidates for cross-selling or up-selling?
- Are you recruiting high-value customers or low-value customers?
- How can I quantify shifts in behavior, predict long-term value and identify prime cross-sell and up-sell opportunities?
2. Sending specific messages to a mass database
No matter how large your target market, it is composed of individuals, with individual characteristics and preferences. Therefore, the key to effective mass marketing is not to treat your market like a mass. The more in-depth your intelligence about individual customers, the greater the effectiveness you will have with your marketing campaigns. You should be programmingspecific messages to be sent in response to visitor actions, such as purchase confirmation, key pages on your website, or shopping cart abandonment.
3. Nurture your leads until they are ready to buy.
Research says that 84% of qualified leads are not ready to buy. I’m sure from seeing your conversation rates, you know that most people who visit your web site are just browsing – they’re not ready to buy. But down the line, many will be.
Capturing their information, with a piece of gated content for example, you can set up a series of communications designed to take them through the buying process. Based on their behavior, you can score prospects from “cold” to “warm” so that your sales team can allocate their time to the leads ready to purchase.
4. Tracking the ROI of your social media reach.
In 2012, a Satmetrix study reported that 67% of companies do not measure or quantify social media engagement. For B2B companies, this figure rises to 75%.
Many of the marketing automation software providers solve this problem by providing integrateddashboards, which deliver analytics across all platforms including social media campaigns. I like to cross reference Google analytics with the marketing automation reports to see consistency and accuracy.
5. Deepen relationships with your current customers
Obtaining detailed customer knowledge is one thing; effectively integrating it into future marketing campaigns is another. With marketing automation you can measure the effectiveness of a campaign against the goals you established and then use that information to improve future campaigns.
Did the customers respond, and if so, how did they respond? Did you achieve your objectives? This information is critical to capture, monitor and incorporate back into future planning phases.
Through this ongoing process, you will gain an ever more accurate picture of your customers’ wants and needs, leading to more effective campaigns over time.
5 Things to Consider before Purchasing Marketing Automation
Marketing Automation is one of the most talked about technology in the B2B market. Estimates of automation adoption is projected to hit 50% by the year 2015, meaning that over the coming years, plenty of companies will be sifting through the various vendors to determine what solution fits best.
As more and more companies are looking to adopt automation to manage their leads and prospects, they are quickly realizing there is more to making the move to automation than just a technology purchase.
For many marketers, purchasing this type of technology is unchartered territory. So, it’s vital that they understand what they’ll need in order to make their technology investment successful.
Here are five things every organization should consider before investing in a marketing automation service.
1. Consider: Your Lead Management Process (is there one?)
Even with staggering statistics of the adoption and benefits of marketing automation, other research shows that many organizations have not achieved a level of process maturity and therefore are not getting the full value from their automation investments.
I’ve personally talked with numerous marketers that are currently paying for automation services, yet using the technology at a low capacity. It’s like having a smartphone yet only using it to make calls.
Organizations need to consider analyzing and developing a Lead Management Process. This alone will help you to get the maximum return from your investment. I encourage you to whiteboard your process out and then formally document it for all involved departments to review.
You should consider:
- Identifying your leads. Develop your personas and what their buying questions are.
- Creating a scoring/grading structure for your leads. What would make a prospect an “A” lead?
- Mapping out a nurture campaign for your different personas. (start small then grow it.)
- Identifying when marketing will pass leads to sales. A good place to start is if a prospect hits a certain score/grade.
Once these process areas are developed, automation will be easier to set up (and less overwhelming once you go live) Conversely, not having these processes in place before purchase leaves you to automate very little.
2. Consider: Your Team’s Skills
I’ve used numerous marketing automation platforms and let me be the first to tell you that many vendors will market their “ease of use.” While you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to learn them, it cannot be assumed that applying automation to the new way of B2B marketing is easy.
A study conducted in 2010 by Frost & Sullivan and Bulldog Solutions showed that of 250 respondents, 109 (44%) said that not having the right people was a roadblock to their automation success. Before you purchase automation, look to ensure your people have a strong understanding of your buyers, a willingness to collaborate with sales, a focus on revenue as an outcome, and that they know the place technology will play in reaching the buyer. In order to get the most from the technology, it takes people with the right skills.
3. Consider: Your Content Strategy
You can’t automate marketing if you don’t have anything to send to your leads, so it is imperative that you have relevant content that will foster dialogue along each stage of the buying cycle.
In a recent conversation with a fellow marketer I asked what type of content he was sending to his leads. His reply was “a quarterly newsletter is our biggest send.” The other extreme are companies are sending lots of emails but have no content strategy or framework. Consequently, their results are falling quite flat.
Developing your buyer personas (or ideal customer profiles), and documenting the typical buyer’s journey will help you develop a content map that corresponds to the journey and the personas.
4. Consider: Your Overall Goals & Objectives
One change that has occurred in this new era of B2B Marketing, that I love, has been a shift from art to science. Marketers are no longer looked to as the team that only provides fancy brochures, trade show swag, and powerpoint presentations, but organizations are looking to their marketing teams to help drive revenue. Yet, many marketing departments have not yet adopted this frame of mind when looking into marketing automation.
Before you purchase automation, be sure to determine the goals and objectives of marketing from a revenue perspective. Once the implementation occurs, use the solution along with your CRM reporting to track, benchmark and report on these metrics.
5. Consider: All of the Above
There are 100’s marketing automation solutions available on the market today. There’s an automation platform for every size organization.
As you consider an automation platform, take a look at the maturity of your marketing efforts. Buying an automation platform is only as good as the people, content, and processes you’ve put in place. Otherwise you’ll be paying for a service that you’re not using—but you should be! “Bells and whistles” do not mean much if they are not being used.
There are a lot of considerations when it comes to selecting the right marketing automation solution. However if you know your target leads, are collaborating with sales, producing content to educate your audience, and have a team that sees revenue generation as a key aspect of their job, you’re on the right track for successfully automating your marketing efforts.