Marketing automation is one of the fastest growing technology segments in business, and analysts predict it will grow to a $4.6 billion industry by 2016. But marketing automation can’t run without content.
More than three-quarters of those invested in marketing automation say that developing processes and content is instrumental to success with the technology. Without content, there’s nothing to send to potential and current buyers, nothing relevant to plug into specific nurture tracks, and nothing valuable to exchange for their contact information.
So how can marketers create optimal content for marketing automation — the kind of content that spurs action, moves potential buyers toward purchases, and gives your marketing and sales teams insight into your buyers?
Here are six ways to align content marketing and marketing automation:
1. Target Specific Segments and Personas
Personalization is one of the best ways to drive engagement with your brand and interest in your products. It’s even been shown to increase content consumption by 113%. Marketing automation software allows you to collect demographic and firmographic information about who your buyers are as they enter your database. The trick, then, is to use this information to identify people by persona, and create segments and nurture tracks that allow you to deliver highly relevant content to those people based on the information you’ve gathered.
With that in mind, every piece of content you create should target at least one persona or theme. Once you have the relevant content, you can deliver that content to the right people using marketing automation.
2. Align Content to Sales Stages
Using scoring and deep-dive analytics, marketers are able to track and monitor behavior as their customers move down the sales funnel. Similar to aligning content to the interests and needs of your personas, creating content for specific sales stages allows you to automate the delivery of timely information to buyers. And it works. The best content marketing companies are 25% more likely to have a process in place for aligning marketing content with marketing and sales funnel stages.
Combine sales-stage specific content with scoring, and you have a powerful way to move your buyers efficiently toward purchase.
3. Create Different Kinds of Content
Part of personalization is understanding buyer preferences – and understanding how these preferences change based on buying stage.
This means knowing which types of content work best for each buyer, and when they work best. Different types of content have different strengths. For example, webinars are great for explaining new product features or for covering in-depth topics. Infographics capture attention, and can be used to deliver data-heavy information in a compelling way.
And don’t be afraid to take risks when it comes to this stuff — there’s no hard-and-fast rule here. For example, infographics are normally considered great early-stage assets, but KISSmetrics used this format to deliver case study data. Testing different content types allows you to understand your buyers and how they like to consume information—invaluable knowledge for optimizing your marketing efforts.
4. Write Better Emails
On any given day, the average customer will be exposed to 2,904 media messages, will pay attention to 52, and will positively remember only four. If you’re not delivering well-written, compelling messaging to your buyers, they won’t engage with you or remember your product.
High-quality emails that compel buyers to take action are crucial to your success with this platform. Every email, after all, is content, and should be approached with the same standards as your blog posts, ebooks, and other assets. To create better emails, make sure you test subject lines, keep copy concise and punchy, and include focused calls-to-action.
5. Get Teams on the Same Page
If your demand generation team and your content-creation team aren’t on the same page, you’re going to have trouble implementing the tactics mentioned above. Make sure everyone understands exactly how personas and sales stages are defined — otherwise, the content won’t be relevant or useful.
Along these same lines, define your processes for incorporating new content assets into nurture campaigns and outreach efforts. Without them, your marketing team will be missing opportunities to engage users with fresh content.
6. Track What Matters
Analytics are the cornerstone of intelligent modern marketing; they are the quantifiable metrics that CMOs and CEOs want to see. Marketing automation and deep-dive analytics make it possible to understand how exactly your marketing initiatives drive new names and profits for your organization. This is no small thing — in fact, these tracking capabilities are the basis for modern marketing.
Make sure you’re tracking which content assets — emails, whitepapers, blog posts, landing pages, etc. – drive the results that matter to your organization. Unless you’re measuring your major successes and/ or your biggest failures, you won’t be able to optimize marketing automation technology or content strategy.
In the new ebook created by Kapost and Marketo, Marketing Automation Runs on Content, we outline the execution of these 6 strategies, step-by-step. Download your free copy, and get your marketing automation running smoothly with the help of relevant, quality, and targeted content!
By: Anne Murphy