It’s well-known now that the difference between a successful marketing campaign that can be scaled and personalised and a marketing campaign that can’t keep up with its competitors is automation.
Automation unlocks the next phase of marketing but … what should you even do with automation? What does it actually look like, in real-world terms?
Let’s talk about some examples of campaigns I’ve seen that have been highly effective, and a few tricks to ensure your marketing strategies succeed.
3 examples of marketing automation campaigns
1. Welcome journeys
When customers first join you, a welcome journey educates them about your brand, and shows the different services and products that you offer that they might not be aware of. It’s also an opportunity to capture additional personal information over a series of touchpoints, so you aren’t asking for too much all at once.
A welcome journey not only provides a good brand experience, but can ensure you are making your campaign work by capturing that extra data that you might need to further personalise the experience.
What do we mean by personal information?
- Job title
- Date of birth
- Contact information
- Demographic or segment
- Any other relevant information
What might a welcome journey look like?
Email #1 welcomes the new customer to your brand after they sign up, purchase their first product, etc. This email can also offer very basic information or instructions, for example, tips on how to set up their account.
Email #2 comes a number of days later, and adds a new layer of information. Perhaps there is a service you want the customer to know about, or a feature of their product they might not have heard of (i.e. warranty information, how to get repairs). You could offer a guide of some sort that they can freely download, which you also advertise to them on social media through paid promotions.
Email #3 could offer a reminder that they have not yet set up their account, or else add a third layer of information – what to do with their new product, maintenance tips they can do at home, perhaps upcoming events they could be interested in. Again, SMS and social media can be used in conjunction to ensure the message reaches their eyes.
- Read more: “Why is everyone in love with marketing automation?”
2. Abandoned cart
Let’s say your customer browses your store, adds a product to their cart, but does not make the purchase. You can add them to an abandoned cart series that uses this event as an opportunity to communicate and urge a conversion.
What might an abandoned cart journey look like?
Email #1 contains an image of the product they were looking at and a reminder that it remains in their cart.
Assuming the customer still does not make the purchase, email #2 is a chance for you to offer some alternate suggested products based on the user’s personal preferences, perhaps with a discount thrown in that is just for them (to make them feel unique, special). Social media could also advertise these products.
This is a very simple campaign but it can be highly effective. If you know your customer’s date of birth, you can set up a special personalised birthday message to be sent out at the right time of year, offering some kind of special promotion. Perhaps they receive a voucher on their special day, or a discount, or temporary access to a new tier of membership. You can support the message with SMS and social media.
In any case, the customer will feel a little like you know them personally, you remembered, and this can help build loyalty – not to mention increase the chance of a conversion as they cash in their deal.
4 tips to help you find marketing automation success
1. Learn what works for you
I’ve talked about a few common automation journeys, but it’s important to note that they won’t work for every organisation. There are many factors that determine whether a particular type of marketing journey is right for a business, from their business and marketing goals to the quality of their data, their customers, the type of segmentation they have in their CRM, and so on.
My recommendation would be that, instead of focusing on a specific journey for the sake of it, always make sure that any campaign you run fits within your wider strategy, marketing funnel and unique customer lifecycle.
2. Avoid assumptions
In marketing automation, and digital marketing as a whole, a key thing to avoid is making assumptions. Of course, if you have very little evidence to work with then you will have to start with some small assumptions, but over time it’s vital that you move away from this model and start using data to guide your actions.
The great thing about marketing automation, of course, is that it provides that data. When you first set up all of your tools, focusing on getting your customer intelligence to flow into a central database where you can filter and search for results will allow you to test new campaign ideas and always proceed with those that are most effective, based on real evidence.
- Read more: “What are the elements of a good dashboard?”
3. Start simple
This is especially important for anyone just starting with marketing automation. You can come up with a monster of a campaign and plan highly complex, targeted activities – and this is a great goal – but if you don’t have the data to back those journeys up, most likely the monster will not provide great results.
So start simple. Start with something you know you can manage, then grow and optimise over time. This will give you the time and energy to test different experiments against each other, and ensure that you see the metrics you need.
4. Make sure you have the resources in place
Marketing automation requires resources. The technology comes at a cost, but it also requires time, energy and skill. It’s an investment. Some companies build these resources over time, purchasing new technology subscriptions and hiring the right people, while others turn to agencies and other partners to benefit from the resources they don’t have in-house.
One thing to remember: Marketing automation isn’t just an email sender platform. It’s much more. You can use automation to organise data, segment your customer base, build landing pages, forms, emails, and it can be integrated into social media and other platforms in order to run multi-channel campaigns. It then automates many of the time-consuming, menial tasks that would otherwise take a human hours so you can focus on value-adding activities while it runs in the background.
Starting simple works here too. You can build up over time as you learn what tools work best for you and acquire the skills your organisation needs.