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Automation systems and content marketing

Dominique Macartney

Yes, automation is a great timesaver. And, yes, that goes for automating aspects of your marketing and sales.

Automating what is repetitive, routine, even can enable you to spend more time out of the office while “the work” goes on.

Automated marketing usually refers to email and the capacity of email systems to respond appropriately to a host of triggers. It can be from greeting a potential customer to reminding one that it’s time to renew a subscription.

1. Content isn’t automatic

Before looking at the big advantages of automated email, one word of caution. You can automate lousy, ineffective content as easily as dynamic, high-impact content. The email system doesn’t care. If you load the program with stale, un-engaging communications, the email system will work hard turning off your potential customers.

You want to reach as many potential customers as possible, snag their attention, and nurture their interest. And then, motivate them to return and, at the right time, give them a great introduction to your product.

But all you have to work that magic – apart from some great timing and personalised responsiveness you can automate – is what you say or show. And how you say it or show it.

The old but reliable principle applies: Garbage in, garbage out. In the automation of email, it might be rephrased: Not much sent out, not much received back.

2. Your journey with the buyer

An automated email setup can be programmed to manage the entire buyer journey or sales funnel. It can take the potential customer from awareness of your product to purchase (and beyond, to customer and brand loyalty). The content you create for each stage must address the customer at that distinctive point in the journey.

So, what you write to create awareness of your product in the very initial “cold message” will be different from what you write when the customer is actively choosing between your product and other possibilities. Among many “tips” for guiding the journey, by the way, is that when it comes to selling, you need visuals, not just words.

At a minimum, any email setup should enable you to automate these generic steps:

  • greet a prospect
  • provide initial content (an introduction or first blog)
  • thank the prospect for being interested and suggest the next step
  • present a product in response to some sign of interest
  • and finally urge consideration of a purchase

 

3. Your marketing-campaign strategy

The available automation systems usually provide features that are free/basic, economical/advanced, or premium/all features. Costs differ significantly and so will the type of business that invests at each level: from the small family store to the big firm.

Creating your marketing campaign to manage the automated buyer’s journey is a genuine strategic effort.

You need content that is compelling and stage-appropriate. Once you have the campaign plan and content, the automated email system walks you through the programming and input at each step.

The system will provide you with massive data on all aspects of involvement and response by your customers. The information will be useful if you view your marketing campaign as a test and the data as your score.

 

4. Getting it right (eventually)

All professional marketing campaigns are endlessly iterative. Yes, the real steps are: try, analyse the results, reformulate the campaign… Try again, analyse again, etc.

Partly as a result of the low initial investment in email marketing (even if you splurge on “premium”), many users report that automated marketing rapidly pays for itself. And then, you can invest more and see if you achieve the same positive return.

Great things start that way, including even time away from the office.

At Oracle Tree we’d love to help with your next step automation! Remember that the most powerful steps in content marketing begin in your own thinking.