B-to-B Insights: Au-to-mate!
The greatest danger of implementing a marketing automation system is over-communicating with prospects; being a pest instead of a help. For email marketing sequences, McIntosh finds the optimal frequency is every two weeks. If you increase the frequency to weekly, or reduce it to monthly or quarterly, your opt-out rates will increase and your clicks and conversions will decline, as counterintuitive as that may sound.
Today, some marketing automation systems can include social media in the marketing communications mix. For instance, if a prospect makes an inquiry through LinkedIn, the system can respond with a LinkedIn message.
Some commercial marketing automation software packages are limited to email marketing automation, while others cover all online and offline marketing communications. For one of McIntosh's clients, when a prospect is qualified and becomes an accepted sales lead, the marketing automation system triggers the sending of a 3D direct mail package. It consists of a box containing a sheaf of testimonials held together by a paper clip in the shape of an ear that says, "Hear what our customers are saying …"
McIntosh has a formula he calls the "four rights" for marketing automation success: Use marketing automation to send the right offer and content to the right people at the right time, using the right media. Of course, the software can only automate what the marketer tells it to automate. The marketer must create the content, offers, copy, graphics and timing of the campaign to be automated.
According to Pardot, key steps in planning and implementing a marketing automation system include: determining important data to collect on forms, outlining targeted lead nurturing tracks, developing email designs, brainstorming rules and actions that can be automated, and determining your success metrics.
"Marketing automation helps you get more productivity out of your marketing department and allows SMBs to execute marketing programs that once only the big guys could do," says McIntosh, citing a marketer he knows who has 150 different campaigns running on marketing software.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.