One-size-fits-all marketing strategies carried over from B2C seldom translate in the niche world of B2B. Therefore, pursuing communications tools shown to grow sales is an essential part of a cost-effective B2B marketing plan. One such tool is marketing automation. But leveraging this tool effectively takes know-how. Learn how your company can benefit from marketing automation in this six-part series.
Question 3: How Do I Create Efficiencies Through Marketing Automation?
There are many ways that email marketing platforms create efficiencies through automation, but maintaining good list maintenance practices is one of the best ways to make your list work for you. Here are four recommendations for creating a productive database of contacts.
1. Grow your email list through opt-ins.
When you are getting your email marketing list (or lists!) together, it is important to be as organized and meticulous as possible. You can promote signing up for your email list through direct mail (such as catalogs, direct mail order forms, newsletters, etc.), email sign-up boxes on your company’s websites, account registration forms, and customer requests and downloads (such as online price quotes, pamphlets, company information, etc.). In any case, you want to be sure that you give the customer a clear incentive for registering. Depending on how these users signed up, they can be grouped into tags, which we will get into in a bit.
2. Segment your contacts.
In order to create demand, you must first identify the customer’s needs. Gathering and documenting specific characteristics of individual customers is key to the most successful marketing automation efforts. This information is used to determine and trigger personalized content delivery as well as high potential marketing strategies and tactics.
Common segmentation strategies include, but are not limited to:
- Expressed interest in a certain product
- Level of engagement (Lead scoring)
- Audience/channel (End user, service provider, distributor)
Continuously gathering segmentation data offers valuable insights into needs of the marketplace. This data can be sourced in a number of ways, including:
- Strategically formatted web forms
- Incentivized VOC surveys (Self-segmentation)
- Sales team input
- Web activity monitoring
- Email clicks and engagement
3. Clean up your database of contacts.
You will be constantly adding new clients to your list. While that is great, you should also make sure you are cleaning your list periodically to remove contacts that are inactive, have bounced, etc. At DeanHouston we use a third-party application to verify email addresses prior to uploading new lists of contacts into our database. It’s fast, easy and results in a cleaner list with more productive engagement.
4. Invest time to carefully upload contacts into a database.
Devoting time to diligently edit spreadsheets of contacts prior to uploading them into a database pays off in the end. Uploading your list to your emailing platform is going to be different depending on the service you use, but universally, you will want to make sure you double-check that the data is aligned correctly. You should include clear column headers that map to the fields your marketing automation service uses. Taking care with this step reduces possible re-work later, or worse, creating an untidy database that prevents effective and efficient audience management.