If you are moving from an email marketing strategy to a marketing automation strategy, it can be overwhelming the first time you see how it all works.  Once someone sees the level of sophistication of a marketing automation tool, it can cause spontaneous paralysis and a quick retreat into the old way of doing things.  

Don’t give in!  Be ready to make a change…and…EVOLVE.

I speak with customers every day about how to get started with marketing automation and how to avoid getting lost in the details.  Marketing is not an exact science.  You have to test, try new things, learn what works and improve.  A solid foundation is the best starting point.  Here are 5 steps to get started:

  1. Make an Offer
  2. Capture Leads
  3. Engage your Audience
  4. Stay in Touch
  5. Keep customers up to date


Make an Offer

The best way to attract a new client? Offer something that you have that they don’t have and want to have.  Identify what that offer is and give them a taste of it.  Come up with an enticing incentive, or lead magnet, to offer people in exchange for their contact information:  Your offer could be something like:

  • White paper
  • Case study
  • Report
  • Free sample
  • Free 30 minute consultation

Leveraging existing content/expertise is the most efficient way to go. 

If you have multiple offerings, use them all.  Test out different offers to see what works best to attract the right audience.  

Protip:  Don’t give more than two offers on a single webpage, or more than one offer on a landing page.

Capture Leads

Putting a white paper on a website for instant download can limit perceived value.  Don’t give away valuable content for free; require information in exchange for the offer.  

Design and embed a lead capture form on your website or landing page.  The more value you offer, the more information you can request.  

For example, require an email address to sign-up for your blog, but request more information if you are offering someone 30 minutes of your time for a consultation.

Protip: Make sure the information you request matches the offer.  

Engage your Audience

Now that your contact has requested information, send them a little more information.  

An engagement campaign is a short term campaign that ultimately leads to a specific call to action, like request a meeting, signing-up, or downloading information.  This type of campaign can be 3-7 steps over a 2-3 week period (this can vary depending on content available). 

Emails within an engagement campaign can include, but are not limited to:

  • An introduction to your company
  • A case study
  • A testimonial
  • Educational material

The goal of the engagement campaign is to drive the contact into your sales process.  

Protip: A simple engagement campaign can have 2 emails and 1 phone call to follow up.

Stay in Touch

Not everyone is ready to buy right away, but it doesn’t mean that they never will.  Build out a long term nurturing campaign to stay in touch will all of your contacts on an ongoing basis.  A nurture campaign may include an email every 30 – 60 days.  The goal of a nurture campaign is to educate your audience, offer validation as to why they should do business with you (case studies, testimonials) and simply to stay top of mind. 

The nurture campaign may have calls to action or offers that can pull someone into an engagement campaign or directly into the sales process.  And, with marketing automation, you can track engagement activity; if someone starts to engage, a good marketing automation tool will trigger actions that can pull contacts into your sales process over time.  

One tip to help build out nurture campaigns is to use a resource like www.alltop.com, where you can leverage 3rd party articles and recommend them to your audience.

Protip: 1 email sent every 60 days means that you only have to build 6 emails to stay in touch with your contacts for a year!

Keep Customers Up to Date 

Don’t forget to share your blog, a newsletter or a deal of the month.  “Just in Time” communications offer you the freedom to communicate when the mood strikes you.  The objective here is the same as a nurture campaign but includes timely information; a new product offer, PR updates, recent newspaper articles, upcoming events.  “Just in Time” communications can also be influenced by the season or time of year.

Protip: Returning customers spend 20% more than first time buyers, so staying in touch with your customers is just as important as staying in touch with prospects.

Getting started with marketing automation can seem like an enormous task.  But, by taking a step-by-step approach, you can easily tackle attracting new leads, nurturing prospects, and staying in touch with customers.