Research shows that 57% of the customer decision process is made prior to contacting a sales team. This means that unlike the old days (when people picked up the phone first), prospects who contact you have done enough research to have a short list, and they’re nearly ready to buy.
The point is this: they’ve already done a ton of research before you even know they’re looking. So if you’re not making the information they’re searching for available online, a competitor is. And you’re missing out on making an impression during the most critical part of the sales cycle.
This is why you need a lead nurturing campaign, but where do you begin? Businesses often make the mistake of starting backwards, by looking first at Marketing Automation (MA) tools instead of building their campaigns first. Because they buy a tool before they know how they’re going to use it, they risk ending up with the wrong fit for their programs.
First, set goals for your campaign. Then map out how you want to achieve it, and find a tool that does nothing less and nothing more than you need it to.
Next you need to figure out what people are searching for and give them the content they want in the format they’re receptive to.
Here are a few tips:
- Develop personas for your target audience and identify your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Why? You can figure out what information prospects will search for as they identify and evaluate products on their own.
- Build a lead gen plan. Get your sales and marketing teams together to define expectations. What types of leads will marketing deliver? How long does sales have to contact these leads?
- Get the right team. Hire a great writer, designer and tool-management expert… or find an agency that has a dream team for you.
Why? There’s no marketing automation tool that can make bad content perform better. Hire experts and pay to have it done right.
- Follow the KISS rule: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Why? Smaller programs will result in the big impact you’re shooting for over time. Go ahead, dream big. But get started with the most minimal project necessary for results.
- Accept that sometimes you’re going to fail. That’s okay.
Why? Because it isn’t really failure – it’s information. Identify what about your program didn’t work (e.g., your audience doesn’t read white papers on your website), and figure out the better route to take (… but they will look at an infographic on your Facebook page).
- Analyze and optimize.
Why? Good campaigns live and breathe. They grow, shrink and adjust to changes in the marketplace. Watch your results, keep it flexible and don’t be afraid to take a risk now and then.
Keep these marketing automation tips in mind, and you’ll be celebrating your first campaign wins in no time.
About the Author: Sam Oh is the Sr. Manager of Marketing Technology & Analytics at 90octane, a digital marketing agency inDenver. Sam guides clients to the right marketing technology solution for their goals, helps execute campaigns within a given marketing automation tool and analyzes data from campaigns to find more opportunities for growth. Sam is a Level 1 Certified Consultant for Eloqua and has experience in Pardot, Marketo, Acton, and NetResults. Sam has been in the Digital Marketing industry for over eight years and has experience in a broad range of online marketing tactics. Follow 90octane on LinkedIn or Twitter: @90octane.