Automation saves us from a lot of future busy-work by acting like a marketing assistant, as I covered in my previous blog post. The trade-off is that it takes a lot of planning upfront, as we want to lay a solid foundation. The foundation we create will make it easy to keep building upon it as we go.
Before starting with any automation, it’s good to get a baseline of our main goals. A common mistake is to jump straight in without a clear goal or plan. Without one, you will be unsure of what results you need to keep an eye on to confirm the systems are working properly. As things increase or decrease, you won’t know what to tweak or how to tweak pieces of the automation to improve the process as you go.
To avoid this, start by looking where you’re at with your marketing right now, and what you’re currently offering. Then start digging into what your goals are with automation:
- What are we trying to increase?
- What benchmarks are we trying to hit (i.e. loans closed, new applications)?
- Are these goals currently being measured?
Only once we have a clear idea of what should be accomplished, can we get started.
Mapping The User Journey
Once you have your main goals and vision laid out, it’s time to get into the meat of the project. Start by creating maps of how users will interact and travel through your automation tracks. This process will help visualize the journey before you begin using the software. Using free online tools, a whiteboard, or post it notes can help you discover any issues with the process and let you walk through, in detail, how the user will consume the content.
Mapping things physically can also lead to discoveries or paths you hadn’t yet considered when just thinking about the broader goals. What does the lead-up to filling out an application look like? What actions are they likely to take before getting there that signals that the user is interested? These are the moments where automation can help you strike while the iron is hot.
Once you have your data in place and journeys mapped that’s when the fun starts. Begin small with ideas that don’t involve a lot of different aspects of automation. Start with the basics and keep building on your success.
The first automation you build doesn’t have to be the most ambitious thing you’ve brainstormed so far. Start with something you know. It’s smart to walk before you run in systems like this.
Beginning with something simple gives you time and experience with the system. Having a simple automation running for a bit can help you to see exactly where it can feed into your team’s workflow and the best way to benefit your organization. This is where you may find some best practices that are specific to you and will help you to avoid issues when creating your larger-scale automations. As your automations grow and become more complicated, it will be harder to go back and to correct or revise them.
Content For Your Automation
As mentioned, automation takes some up-front work to get started. Once you have the general paths planned out for one of your tracks, you’ll need to create the content for each touchpoint throughout that journey.
To be successful, marketing automation takes a significant amount of engaging content. This is the area of automation that takes the most time but will be very rewarding in the end.
Asking subject matter experts at your bank or credit union to provide details about their specific departments can be beneficial. What are some different approaches you can take throughout the journey that might catch someone’s interest? Your content should try to utilize different tactics. You don’t want to be spamming your audience with generally the same email over and over. This should be a process that allows you to engage them in a variety of different ways and hopefully land on one that spikes their interest.
Acting on Data
Once you have automations running in the background, and some time passes, you’ll be able to start refining these customer journeys a bit more. It’s time to take what we’ve learned from our automations and make some adjustments. Start by asking some questions:
- Any data that stands out is usually a useful metric to key-in on. Are there specific emails or moments that are performing better than anything else in the track? For example, maybe an email has a subject line that is causing many more people to open it. This would be something you could try to recreate throughout the rest of our track.
- Is there a section of the automation where users stop interacting with it. This could mean the automation is too long. Or maybe you’re sending with too much frequency. You could up the interval between sendings to help alleviate this.
- Could the automation benefit from changes in our overall strategy? These are the kinds of questions to ask yourself as you review the results of this marketing. All the footwork of creating these emails is complete, but this is the kind of tweaking you can do with automation to start maximizing your benefits.
There is no limit to how marketing automation can be used. Especially if you have data that you can leverage throughout your campaigns. Connecting the right user to their data can often be the biggest challenge to overcome. There isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits all solution to data management. However, if you’re interested in using something like Active Campaign, please contact us! We can set up a meeting to review your situation and give advice on how we think you could best get things set up.
Did you like this blog post?
Get more posts just like this delivered twice a month to your inbox!