By: John Seroka
Despite the many advantages of utilizing marketing automation technology, if it’s not done right, your efforts will fail. So, take care not to rush right into automating everything marketing touches until you fully understand how to use your platform. Without understanding how it works, you are destined to make some common mistakes. Here are a 4 of them:
- Operating without a strategy – By design, marketing automation should help you execute your content marketing plan. So, before you invest in a platform, thoughtfully identify the goals and objectives you want to address.
- A lack of resources – If you find yourself spending countless hours trying to figure out how to populate your platform with compelling content that builds relationships, you are clearly lacking the resources you need to generate it. If you don’t have the luxury of dedicating an internal team to understand, operate and optimize your platform, consider getting some help from a marketing agency with experience in content creation and marketing automation systems for ongoing support and training to help you maximize your use.
- Under-utilizing segmentation and personalization – Automating your marketing efforts can only take you so far if you don’t understand your prospects and customers and what motivates them to respond. If an email doesn’t resonate with an audience, you’re either not targeting the right people or you are not speaking their language. To be effective with your targeting and personalization, begin by collecting data that will help you better understand your customers and create a content strategy for engaging with them throughout their customer journey.
- Using the wrong channel – Consumers use the channel that best fits the moment they are in or the task at hand. And, if you aren’t using that channel at that moment, you risk losing a meaningful exchange. It’s more than using as many channels as possible (though a cross-channel approach can be very effective); rather, it’s about learning how your buyers prefer to engage and using those channels to communicate with them. For example, millennials generally prefer to communicate via text, while seniors generally prefer to use email or snail mail. You must understand your target audience and communicate with them wherever they are.
How can you make marketing automation successful?
Given that a lack of strategy is one of the top reasons marketing automation fails, it stands to reason that developing a top-notch audience engagement and content strategy is the best way to start down the road to success. The days of throwing marketing tactics out there and seeing what sticks are long gone. You must set goals and objectives so you can measure your success against them.
An important component of content strategy development is identifying your target audiences. Who are you trying to reach? Your current customers? Borrowers? Prospects? All of the above? Once you have identified them, give some thought to how to best segment them. Use demographics, interests, product purchase history, contact history, etc.
Then you must determine the appropriate messages for each audience. Think about what you want to communicate to them. Are you trying to incent them to make a purchase? Do you want them to know more about your company? Are you cross-selling your services?
The next step is to outline “content tracks” – how are you going to reach each audience and how often? Set up tracks in your marketing automation system that include a variety of tactics, such as social media posts, emails, etc. and develop a contact calendar.
Creating impressionable content is the next, and probably the most challenging, step you must take. It’s about quality and quantity. First you must identify the kinds of content you want to create which may include:
- Text messages
- White papers
- Case studies
- Social media posts
And, then you must find the resources, whether they are internal or external, to get that content created. It goes without saying that whomever creates it should have the knowledge and background necessary to make your content both compelling and of high quality. At the same time, it must reflect your company’s brand and tone of voice.
The good news is, once your content is developed, you can easily repurpose it. In other words, you can use some of the same content but tweak a few words to personalize it for specific audiences. For example, baby boomers might want to take out a home equity loan to update their homes to enjoy retirement or take a vacation wherein a Gen Xer might want to use that money to send a child to college. So, the reasons why a person might want a particular loan could change based on the target audience, but the general features and benefits of the loan would not. After you have identified these differences and altered your content accordingly, you’re ready to add that content to your marketing automation platform and execute your campaigns.
The final step you must take to ensure your success is to test your strategy by measuring response rates and making adjustments where necessary. Measuring and adjusting is how you will improve and succeed over time. And, given the time, resources and effort you’ve put into your marketing automation platform, why wouldn’t you?
Marketing automation is not a fad that will disappear in the years to come. Rather, it is an evolving practice that will be sharpened and improved as technology advances. Nurturing relationships in the mortgage business is not optional. It’s necessary. Prudent marketers today understand this and are using marketing automation to create a more personal experience for prospective borrowers and customers ─ meaningful interactions that will lead them down the path to closing and beyond.
If you need help with content creation or strategy development, contact Seroka. We have the experience and talent to ensure the successful deployment of your marketing automation efforts.