Marketing automation allows you to shift from random towards intentional marketing. Technology is crucial but even the most sophisticated software will fail unless you know exactly what you want to achieve. In other words, you need to set clear goals for your marketing automation program.
Whether you are about to start using marketing automation or you’ve already been automating your marketing, this article will help you answer the fundamental question behind each efficient marketing automation program – what am I trying to achieve with marketing automation?
Marketing automation allows you to set overall goals.
Marketing automation based on the if-then logic allows you to combine individual marketing activities (e.g. sending an email with a link to a landing page) with workflows that represent a whole communication pattern.
Seeing the big picture through marketing automation workflows, you can go beyond simple metrics like email opens or page visits, and tie your actions directly to revenue and cost. You can use small pieces of data collected at each touchpoint to influence the overall goal for the whole workflow, for example:
- Bring in more sales-qualified leads. You can collect more information by expanding subscription forms and content gates. But the workflow will show you how to control the balance between quantity and quality of leads by adding or reducing the number of required form fields.
A short sign-up form with two required fields.
- Increase sales. You can change the email subject line, landing page layout, or copy in order to see how they impact the conversion rate. But ultimately you’ll be able to generate traffic to your website and track sales.
- Improve customer retention. Track engagement to see if the content you offer is relevant to your audience. Build relationships through customer contact and make your customers stay longer.
As you can see, you can match individual metrics with your goals. But there’s even more you can do. Since marketing automation makes you goals measurable, you can get more precise.
Here’s what your goals look like when you get more specific and give them a deadline:
- bring in 20 more sales-qualified leads in June
- increase sales by 10% month over month
- improve customer retention by 15% this year
Set them this way and you’ll know exactly when you’ve achieved them.
Use goals to align marketing and sales.
It’s extremely important to collect meaningful data and use it to optimize conversion across marketing automation workflows. But it’s equally important to use the available data internally in the organization.
Don’t stop at sending the SQLs (sales qualified leads) to the sales team. Track the conversion further. How many people actually became customers? Stay in touch with the sales team and create a feedback loop.
Use your sales reps’ expertise to improve your workflow and increase the quality of leads. Show them you want to make their job easier and that your ultimate goal IS sales. Then it will be easier for both sales and marketing to agree that everyone is making money for the company.
Use marketing automation logic to create clear marketing processes.
Does your loyalty program provide great customer experience throughout the entire lifecycle? Are the loyalty rewards relevant to your customers? What happens when a customer adds products to the cart but doesn’t proceed to purchase?
These are just a few questions that marketing automation can help answer. You can use the simple yet powerful logic of the software to test and improve on your marketing processes.
An example of an abandoned cart workflow.
Take customer engagement for example. Most marketers try to engage customers with their brands. With features like tagging and scoring, you can easily come up with processes that identify engaged customers, create list segments, and reward them accordingly.
Know the meaning behind the metrics.
Tracking metrics is one thing, but making sense of the data is another. Let me give you an example. Everyone in email marketing wants to have a big email list. The more subscribers, the more revenue, right? Sure. Provided that the quality of your list remains high – that people on your list want to receive your emails.
If your goal is to increase your email list by 1000 addresses in the next three months, you’ll be looking at the opt-in and unsubscribe rates. Obviously, you want to have the highest possible opt-in rate, but what about the unsubscribe rate? Is higher unsubscribe rate always a bad thing? Why do people unsubscribe?
Higher unsubscribes might mean the following:
- your emails are not relevant to your audience
- you send too often (people are fed up)
- you send too rarely (they forget they signed up)
- your emails are repetitive
- people were tempted by your new incentive (20% discount), otherwise wouldn’t subscribe at all
- they moved to your competition
As you can see there are a few possible reasons behind a single metric. Each one will impact your overall goal in a completely different way. That’s why you should analyze the single elements of your workflows and look out for small changes that improve your performance.
Test, learn, and optimize.
Remember that running a marketing automation workflow is a process. It might take some time, but if you test individual elements, you’ll see exactly what works.
- Use marketing automation to create clear marketing processes offering great user experience.
- Track individual metrics and see how they impact the overall goal of a workflow.
- Test individual elements of a workflow to optimize performance of the whole program.
- Align with sales by reporting on revenue and cost.
What are your marketing automation goals?
What are you trying to achieve with marketing automation? How do you set your goals and measure success? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.