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New Year’s Resolutions All Marketers Should Be Making

New Year’s Resolutions All Marketers Should Be Making

Even if you haven’t been able to start getting in shape by the end of January or achieving some other personal New Year’s resolution, there’s a higher chance of doing better with your professional goals, thanks to marketing automation.

Even if you haven’t been able to start getting in shape by the end of January or achieving some other personal New Year’s resolution, there’s a higher chance of doing better with your professional goals, thanks to marketing automation.

In fact, marketing automation ties in well to some commonly known (but seldom followed) wisdom about setting goals in the first place. This is the notion of making your objectives specific, measurable, actionable, results-oriented and time-based, or SMART. Although 2015 was the year when many small and medium-sized businesses first started learning about the benefits marketing automation could bring, the next 12 months is when we’ll see the tools really put to the test. SMART goals are a good way to do that.

If you think about your organization and the SMART marketing goals that make the most sense, what would they be? Use the following examples to start tailoring your actions to the specifics of your business environment and what you need to achieve in 2016.

I Will . . . Identify At Least Three KPIs Before Starting A Marketing Automation Project

Lead scoring can become a source of considerable debate between marketing and sales departments. There’s no point in creating campaigns or programs if sales teams reject the majority of the leads generated, for example. Marketing departments can avoid this kind of conflict by taking a good, hard look at key performance indicators that suggest customers are at the right stage of the buyer journey to be contacted. These KPIs could include at least three visits to your web site or a specific landing page, a download of a white paper or other asset, or even some Q&A activity on social media. These conversion metrics should be agreed upon with sales before marketing automation work begins, so the results can be assessed more practically later on.

I Will . . . Build Trust Before Pushing For Hard Conversions

When quarterly deadlines loom, it’s easy to fall into panic mode and start targeting prospects and even long-term customers with aggressive, hard-sell e-mail campaigns practically begging them to make a purchase. Marketing automation is really about taking the opposite approach: of using what you know about our audience to create relevant, focused content that engages them and shows them you care. Then, once trust is established, introduce products and services in a way that obviously ties to their pain points. Here’s a simple example of how this could work:

  1. A series of blog posts outlining the top industry challenges in 2016
  2. A Twitter chat with experts talking about their customers really want
  3. An eBook capturing the key points from the blogs and Twitter chat, and weaving in some case studies
  4. A Webinar summing up the issues and demonstrating your product

Those last two items in particular could be “gated” content requiring name, title and other business contact information. If the initial pieces of content were truly compelling and really focused on the customer’s interests, they will be far more willing to give those details and even consider a phone call or appointment to learn more.

I Will . . . Make CTAs Specific To Each Marketing Opportunity

Most web pages or email messages now include some kind of call to action (CTA), but they often look and sound generic. “Request a quote” may be too pushy when you’re still educating prospects at the top of the funnel, for example, while “learn more” may not be specific enough to customers nurtured through blog posts, email blasts and a Webinar.

Look at the digital elements you’ll be tracking through marketing automation tools and check against the following criteria:

Benefits: Does the CTA emphasize clearly and succinctly why clicking through will same them time, money or increase revenue?

Urgency: Is there an incentive tied to clicking on the CTA now rather than filing it away later? If not, you can count on most people to remain sitting on the fence.

Placement: Is the CTA buried near the bottom of a page or an email message? Is it distinguishable by colour or front from the rest of the creative? Where does your eye travel, and does it land on the CTA appropriately?

Alternatives: Are you giving a CTA that only offers one option for customers? Even if they’re not ready to convert into a lead, they might be interested in additional content. Make sure you use every opportunity to keep them engaged.

I Will . . . Tie Marketing Automation Activity To CRM Tasks

Marketing automation isn’t just about doing a post-mortem after a campaign has ended. It’s really a chance to let sales and marketing teams work better together by collaborating in real time. Imagine a customer who seemed quite engaged — maybe they not only opened an e-mail and clicked through but have watched some videos on your site or downloaded a white paper. If their activity comes to an unexpected halt, you can set up an alert within your CRM that informs a rep that it might be time to make a phone call or some other form of outreach before the opportunity is lost. The sales rep, meanwhile, will have considerable data at their disposal about what engaged the prospect that will help them steer the conversation in the right direction.

Making SMART goals doesn’t guarantee success with marketing automation, but like any New Year’s resolutions it at least sets you up to start doing the right things. Sticking with those goals and refining your approach from one month to the next—that’s even smarter.

Learn more about marketing automation and how Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud can help your business in our free eBook:

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