3 min read
Creating a Marketing Automation Plan: Where to Start
Whether you're just setting out with marketing automation or are looking to revamp your current automation strategies, it's important to have a plan in place so all your information and strategies are organized. Marketing automation is a great tool for streamlining your marketing and communications and having an organized plan only makes it better. Taking the time to set out your marketing automation plan ahead of time ensures everyone is on the same page and will make the process more streamlined as you go along.
But, what should you include in your marketing automation plan?
Write out all campaign ideas and descriptions
Think about the processes you'd like to automate; even the small items you don't think will be all that important. Make a list of all of these items and write a detailed description of what you want to have happen within the process. Doing this will:
- Give you a document to give to a marketing automation vendor to see if their platform can do it
- Provide you with a record of all your campaign ideas
- Allow you to easily share campaign ideas with co-workers
- Ensure you include all components of a campaign
The more detail you are able to include, the better it will be when you go into the platform to create your first campaign. If you've already selected a vendor, you can always incorporate their specific elements and capabilities into the descriptions. If you're stumped in creating your marketing automation plan, contact your vendor and see if they can help you sort through any issues and help build out your campaign.
Know where your data is and how to import it
Dollars to doughnuts, you have a contact database of some sort, whether it's an established CRM, a CSV file, or a hand-written ledger. These contacts, whether they're leads, customers, or interested parties, are the lifeblood of any organization so you always want to know where that data is.
Once you have located and centralized all your data, you're going to want to import it into your marketing automation platform, but always ensure you keep a hard copy you can refer to. Most platforms allow you to import your data from specific data types or other CRMs through an API. But, if you have a hand-written document, you may be in for some manual typing.
Keep written campaign ideas up to date
As you learn more about marketing automation and build and extrapolate on your campaigns, return to your written campaign ideas and descriptions from the first point. This should really be a living document that you can refer to at any time – or your colleagues can refer to in your absence should an error arise within a campaign.
By this stage, the campaign idea document would also be more of a plan as these are the campaigns currently in practice. Add steps you need to interject into the campaign, including details about where sources and contacts are coming from, and explain the steps and objectives of the campaign.
This living document is very important for your team to understand how the campaign works, how it connects to other campaigns, and what to do if something goes wrong.
See what value you can add for contacts
Marketing automation is designed to make your life easier. You can automate tasks, requests, and more — all of which make your day easier. However, when looking to see all the benefits of marketing automation, keep in mind how it could add value for your customers and leads.
After you have finished your initial automation planning, review it for the potential value it can provide your customer. Do you have a responsive form that answers questions for clients automatically? Do you have a personalized birthday campaign? Do you thank your customers after each purchase? Things like this add value to your contacts' interactions with your company and create brand loyalty and trust.
Ready to build your own marketing automation plan?
Are you ready to see how marketing automation can work for you? Sign up for a 14-day free trial of SimplyCast 360. Or, contact us to learn how we can use our Hands-Free managed service to help you develop your marketing automation plan!