After content marketing, marketing automation is probably the hottest topic in B2B marketing this year. But, while the concept of marketing with valuable content is fairly intuitive, the premise of marketing automation feels far from. Marketing is hard enough, why would I want to automate it? And, what does that even mean anyway? Jason Mlicki from US marketing agency Rattleback answers your questions here.
Automation drives insight from your valuable content
If you’re an avid reader of this site, presumably you’re already predisposed towards a marketing approach based largely on educating and informing your potential clients through the use of valuable content. And, if you’ve been doing this for some time maybe you’ve discovered a rather large and frustrating gap at the heart of this model.
So, you’re monitoring your site analytics closely – you can tell which content is driving the most site traffic, what your best sources of traffic are, and which social platforms are the best places to share your content. But, the growing gap you might be seeing takes the form of the questions you can’t answer.
- Specifically, who is consuming which content and when?
- Which types of content (both topics and delivery formats) are most likely to attract your ideal clients?
- Which valuable content is leading to the best opportunities and ultimately real revenue for your firm?
Marketing automation helps you answer all of these questions and more through user tracking.
Once a site visitor converts through a form or clicks through an email, user tracking gives you a linear view of which content they consumed and when. Unlike Google Analytics, automation gives you this information at a micro-level by connecting the data to each individual user. As a result, as a visitor moves through the buying process and eventually becomes a client, you can track that information back to the first point of entry and conversion – closing the loop on which content is most likely to lead to good opportunities and new business.
Automation helps you connect more effectively with potential clients
Have you been following Ian Brodie’s Project 10K – a very public goal of growing his email database to 10k registrants this year? It’s an interesting approach to client acquisition – let me show you first-hand how I’m growing my pool of opt-in subscribers. But, it creates an interesting question – when an email database grows to some meaningful scale, how are you managing this collection of followers?
When an opt-in database gets to this size, it very quickly becomes unwieldy to spend much, if any, time cultivating the people within it. Yet, in a perfect world, you’d like to wouldn’t you. You’d like to cultivate each and every one of these prospects personally. You’d like to share relevant content with them that’s helpful, useful and similar to the content they’ve already read. Smart marketing automation helps you do this through a combination of automated programs and lead scoring.
With automated programs you can deliver follow-on, timely content to a site visitor based on content they’ve previously consumed. Maybe you saw that a prospect downloaded a research study your firm conducted; with automated programs you can follow-up with similar content in a timely manner. And, these follow-ups can be scheduled and automated so that whether that visitor downloads your research today or 4 months from now they get additional, valuable content from you when it’s most relevant.
With lead scoring you can score site visitors based on who they are and the actions they take on your site. As a visitor accumulates points, you can establish triggers in your system to notify you when they reach a certain threshold. Over time you’ll see which content users are most likely to consume as they get closer to an inquiry. By applying points to those behaviours, you can timely identify the small group of people within your large database that warrant direct personal outreach.
Suggested Further Reading
To learn more about marketing automation, check out the following resources:
- The Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation by Marketo – A 100-page comprehensive guide with specific technology features and benefits, example case studies and future expectations of the technology.
- An Introduction to Marketing Automation by Rattleback – Our recent article on the subject details critical features and ideas on when automation might be right for you. Also, check out our 3-part summer webinar series on the topic.
About the Author
We’re grateful to our friend Jason Mlicki, Principal of U.S. based marketing agency Rattleback for this guest post. His agency consults firms on how to improve client acquisition through the use of valuable content and the development of integrated web systems. See: www.rattleback.com.
How about you? Are you thinking about automating your content marketing efforts? If you have any questions do leave them as a comment. Jason would be delighted to answer them here.