If you’re on a road trip, you started at point A with the goal of getting to Point B. If it’s a long road trip, you may make a few stops here and there, stay the night, and see some sights. Your stops break up the long drive and expose you to new (hopefully) educational experiences along the way. That is what makes a road trip fun, right?
But, before you start out on your adventure, you should probably map out your journey and all the stops in between. Mapping out your journey before you leave keeps you on track to your destination. In this way, a road trip is a lot like marketing automation. Marketing automation gets a lead and/or customer from point A to point B, using specific content pieces that act as stops along the journey – the customer journey that is.
Rules of the Road
Just like you don’t want to stray (too far) from your route in a car, you also don’t want your leads and customer to stray to one of your competitors. You want to make sure that your leads and customers stay consistently engaged with your brand. Marketing automation helps you get the right content in front of the right person at the right time.
Thankfully, marketing automation software exists to help you map out and manage your lead’s journey from the moment they first come in contact with your brand to the moment they become a paying customer and beyond.
So, let’s explore the different ways that you can start implementing marketing automation today.
#1: Visualize Your Customer
Not everyone wants to take the same road trip, or make the same stops. This is true, too, for your leads and customers. It is important to understand that your buyers want and need different things. This is where buyer personas come in handy.
By establishing buyer personas, you can get a better idea of the type of content they want and where they want it. Not every customer is going to want your newsletter; some may prefer to get their content via Twitter, Facebook, your blog, and so on. Leads are also at different stages of the buying cycle so the content they receive should reflect that as well.
Related Class: Demand Generation: Understanding Your Audience
Don’t just write out your buyer personas. Instead, illustrate who they are with images and descriptions. Having a visual representation of each persona also helps guide your content, so that you develop and publish content directed at each buyer. The more targeted content you create, the more likely the lead is to listen.
Check out my full blog post on creating buyer personas for more information.
- Think about what types of questions each persona would ask. What issues are they trying to solve? If you already have content that speaks to your different personas at each level of the buying process, then repurpose that in your automation. If not, start to develop content surrounding each persona and their respective questions.
- Develop an organizational chart that categorizes your content with your personas. This will make things a lot easier when mapping out your automation and the journey that each persona takes.
#2: Visualize Their Road Trip
Now, it’s time to actually visualize the trip your personas are taking. An example:
It isn’t just enough to say that one person skis, and the rest snowboard. Some of your friends are coming from LA and San Diego, while other are coming from across the country. This not only plays into who they are, but also makes a huge difference in how they get to the end destination, Mammoth.
So, how does this translate to marketing automation? Easy. There are a number of ways that a person comes into contact with your brand, but also a difference in how they receive your messaging. Just as I mentioned earlier, some may prefer email newsletters, while others want to engage with you socially. The point of the matter is that you need to make it easy for each of your leads to take the path they want towards conversion.
Related Class: Introductory Overview of Digital Marketing Channels
It’s at this point where you’ll want to draw out your map or your funnel and marketing automation strategy.
Things to think about:
- Signup forms and landing pages: The more landing pages the better. Each landing page should be relevant to what the lead clicked on to get there. If you promised a special promotion, do not send them to your homepage. Make each landing page contextual, so it gives them a reason to signup for more information. Landing pages can be used for PPC campaigns, specials, events, and pretty much any targeted message that triggers some sort of action.
- Drip campaigns and auto-responders: Drip campaigns can be triggered by clicks, signups, SMS campaigns, inbound phone calls, and much more, while auto-responders are specific to particular signup forms. The two can work simultaneously, but you have to make sure that you understand the difference first.
- Number of emails in your series: Think about what a new lead is going to want to read or view. Don’t make the series too long, nor too short. You want to keep them engaged, but not bore them to death. To optimize your drip campaigns, make sure each email has a focus, and answers a question or provides a solution to a problem.
- Amount and types of content needed: Just as I expressed before, your leads come in all different shapes and sizes, and so should your content. Whether it’s emails, webinars, blog posts, or social media updates, you should be utilizing each medium to ensure that you are touching people at every stage, and effectively guiding them towards their end destination…the sale!
Once you have decided where your leads come from, you can start to map out how they move through their respective customer journeys. This is where you actually draw out, perhaps like a web, the map of where your leads come from, where they are going, and how they are getting there. It is important to keep in mind all their different starting points. Because they all start out in different places, they will take different paths.