Marketing Automation Discussion at SFAMA – Janet Fouts

Marketing Automation Discussion at SFAMA

Print automationLast night I moderated a very interesting panel for the San Francisco American Marketing Association on marketing automation. It was an great group for this kind of discussion and I wanted to share some of the takeaways with you. Anyone interested in digital marketing needs to understand these concepts, whether you use automation tools or not.

On the panel:
Jason Miller – Marketo
Kim Stieglitz – Vertical Response
Lindsay Mahoney – Silverpop
Sean Stoffstall – Ozone
David Mitroff – Piedmont Avenue Consulting

I’m not going to go in depth here, (you should have come to the panel, it was awewsome!) I’ll just list my favorite takeaways for you to ponder. Please do post questions or feedback on the panel and I’ll do my best to get you answers. Content Marketing

  • Overall everyone on the panel agreed that content is crucial to your automated marketing, but not just any content will do. The content must be relevant to the target market it’s intended for.
  • Content must have a high level of quality. If you can’t write it, find someone who can copy edit for you.
  • Services like and can bring you a talented writing team for custom work.
  • Make use of content curation tools to share great content written by others.
  • ALWAYS give credit to the original source of a piece of content.
  • Automation doesn’t mean you can “set it and forget it” with content marketing. You need to pay attention to what your prospects are telling you, either directly or by their actions.
  • That means you have to listen. What content generates the most interest? Do more of that.
  • Content must be continually fine tuned, updated and split tested with various channels to find a good fit.
  • The same content may appeal to multiple channels, either intact or slightly modified to fit the needs of that interest niche.
  • Collect an email address or just offer it up for free, gaining their interest and showing them a peek at what you have to offer is sufficient to start.
  • All of the content you offer doesn’t have to be unique. One piece of content can be re purposed in a multitude of ways.
  • Chunking up content–like a webinar for example–into short segments that demonstrate particular tools, techniques or strategies allows you to use that webinar for multiple audiences and extend it’s value considerably.

Segmentation and testing

  • Use a system to identify characteristics and buying patterns of your customers so you can fine tune content that fits their needs.
    What content is getting you the best results.
  • Each level of the campaign needs to have messaging relative to where the prospect is in the campaign.
  • Potential customers may enter at the top of the sales funnel, and at this point you want to give them something that will be useful to them and you don’t want to make them jump through too many hoops to get it.
  • As you see what actions people take you can guide them to richer offerings based on what they did.
  • A and B testing of emails and landing pages is crucial to success. What worked for one demographic may not work for another, and what fails for one group may be successful for another.
  • Test, test, test!
  • Great content can be found in places we take for granted. Look to your internal team for success stories a, tips and tricks or unique uses for the product and let them tell their stories.
  • The same goes for your customers. Listen to customer service and find out what the sore spots are for the customer, then speak to those issues in blogs, videos, FAQ’s they can use as a resource. Solve their problems in public so others can learn from them.
  • If your team doesn’t have a flair for writing find someone who does.have them interview the team and write the story. Do video instead. find out who your heroes are and show them off.

Tracking and measurement

  • Set goals to measure success or failure, but be prepared to adjust as times go by and you get to know your prospects better.
  • Assign values to various actions, such as visiting repeatedly, responding to an email, calling for more information or making a purchase.
  • The more information you can gather the better. If your automation system shows you even the most common statistics such as email views and opens, time on a landing page, repeat visitors or traffic through your website, you have more to work with.
  • If they follow up with giving you more information such as social media contacts by sharing your landing page, you can begin to learn more about this prospect and start to offer them customized information that hits home with them.

Email Marketing

  • With the advent of smart phones, tablets and smart email apps your email title and first sentence is crucial. Recipients may read the title and the “from” and even if they don’t click open, the association between the sender and the title remains in their mind. Make that title work for you.
  • The same is true with that first sentence. Try adding a link or a statement that there is something great if only they open it to read more.
  • Use an anchor link to link to content below the fold to draw readers to action.
  • Sending too many emails can be worse than sending not enough. Only send emails when it will be valuable to the reader.
  • Focus who you send emails to. Segment your lists as much as possible to get them just the information they want.
  • Personalization is huge, but don’t over-do it. One mention by name is sufficient. More than that can trigger spam filters.
  • Set up some filters for “off” names that people put into forms as a joke. It may not be so funny when you call them that.
  • Consider the timing of your emails. When do you get the best response? It may surprise you that one segment responds at one time and another is different.
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