8 tips for implementing seamless marketing automation
Last updated: November 16, 2023
Marketing automation helps you power campaigns and run your marketing more efficiently. But to successfully implement marketing automation, your marketing strategy and data quality both need to be in top shape. And that can be a tall order for marketers struggling with bloated tech stack and siloed data.
With the right strategy and tech, though, you can implement and execute marketing automation that drives results for your business.
Learn how to do it here:
Get ahead with innovative marketing automation! Unleash conversions & engage audiences:
What are the challenges of implementing marketing automation?
Complexity of implementation
Marketing automation is powerful technology that interacts with the rest of your tools and impacts all parts of your business. So successfully implementing it requires careful planning, easy integrations with your existing systems, and a clear understanding of your business processes.
Your marketing automation will live and die by your data. If you’re basing your outreach on inaccurate or outdated information, your messaging won’t be targeted enough to resonate. But maintaining quality data is difficult, especially if you’re managing data across many different solutions.
Marketing automation requires full buy-in from many teams, including your marketing, sales, customer success, and IT teams. It takes time, resources and manpower to help all these groups learn a complex new solution quickly enough to realize a positive ROI.
Segmentation and targeting
Your marketing automation strategy hinges on your ability to create accurate segments and deliver targeted content to each one. If you don’t have a clear understanding of your audience, or your data’s not up to date, you’ll have a hard time finding the right segmentation criteria and maintaining up-to-date marketing segments.
Your efforts will go to waste if your audience can’t see your emails. Maintaining deliverability is always important, but it’s even more crucial when you’re sending thousands of automated emails per day. To reach your audience’s inboxes, you’ll need to stay on top of Google’s bulk sending requirements and follow these deliverability best practices.
Marketing automation often involves collecting and using personal data. Complying with data protection laws (e.g., GDPR, CCPA) and regulations can be complex and require ongoing efforts to ensure compliance.
How to implement marketing automation
Create a team
As mentioned, marketing automation is a team sport. To successfully implement your solution, you’ll need everyone moving in the same direction.
So before selecting a solution, gather a group of key stakeholders that will drive your decision-making. This should include people who will use the solution day-to-day — like your marketing, sales and customer success teams — as well as analytics and technical experts to lead the implementation itself.
Your whole team should include:
- People from marketing who will use the data produced by your marketing automation to create segments and inform strategy
- Someone in marketing who will create content for each campaign
- Someone from sales
- Someone from customer success
- People from IT to manage the implementation and set up any integrations
- A C-suite leader to ensure strategic and financial alignment
Define your goals
Before you start shopping for solutions, get aligned on your goals. Ask yourself:
What business needs do we want to achieve through marketing automation? What do we want to achieve with marketing automation that we couldn’t previously? And what impact do we hope to have on the customer experience?
Maybe you want to:
- Reduce cart abandonments
- Improve customer experience by confirming payments immediately
- Strengthen your payment funnel by reminding customers of upcoming payments and recovering failed ones
- Generate and nurture leads through white papers and other gated content pieces
- Create multiple segmented newsletters and collateral for different groups of your audience
- Automate webinar registration and execution
- Help new customers master your product/subscription with a welcome email series
From there, you can set more concrete objectives, such as:
- We want to increase leads from content by 20%.
- We want to reduce cart abandonments by 15%.
- We want customer ratings of our onboarding experience to rise from 4.2/5 to 4.7/5.
- We want to improve customer retention by 10%.
Setting your priorities will help you clarify your strategy and identify key features you need in a marketing automation platform.
Choose the right marketing automation platform
In marketing automation, success or failure comes down to your tech. Choose well and you’ll execute successful campaigns with ease. Pick the wrong platform and you’ll be spending more time transferring data and troubleshooting than you do actually creating emails.
What’s best for your business will depend on your specific objectives, budget and team capacity. But the right marketing automation platform will include:
- Integrations with the systems you’re already using (or a workaround Zapier integration to connect apps without a direct integration). This will smooth the transfer of data between tools — and ultimately save you a lot of time and money.
- Customer journey management: Look for a tool that allows you to stop, start, and fine-tune your campaigns in response to user data and audience response.
- Omnichannel campaign management: Limiting your campaigns to email costs you precious chances to engage your audience. Look for a tool that lets you reach people on email as well as display ads, social, and your website (via personalizations).
- Easy segmentation: Look for a tool that integrates with your database or CDP, so you can easily segment your audience based on demographic and behavioral characteristics.
- Personalization: Prioritize platforms that help you tailor content to individual preferences via dynamic content and personalized omni-channel campaigns.
- Extensive reporting covering not just open, click and click-through rates, but individual reports, opens by device, referral sources, A/B test results, individual link performance and more.
- Automatic bot removal from reports
- Deliverability services to ensure your recipients can always see your emails.
Clean your data
So you’ve chosen a marketing automation solution and you’re beyond ready to start messaging your audience. That’s all well and good. But if you build your campaigns on dirty data, your targeting will be off and you’ll miss chances to connect with your audience.
Before the implementation, make sure your data is clean. You can use a data cleaning tool or if your data set is small enough, clean your list manually. Fix the following issues before importing your data:
- Fix misspellings, as well as formatting and case issues.
- Verify that emails are still active using a service like AtData (formerly FreshAddress) and remove inactive accounts from your list.
- Remove outdated entries to lower costs and reduce complexity. This includes contacts that have bounced, unsubscribed or have not engaged for a long period of time.
- Standardize common form fields, like location or job title.
- De-duplicate entries.
If you’re managing thousands of records, this can be a time-consuming process. But if you use a customer data platform (CDP), you can maintain a high-quality database with less time and expense.
While CDPs like Omeda don’t always clean your data, they help prevent common mistakes that create bad data.
They do this by taking in data from every marketing touchpoint and centralizing it in one database, which prevents different teams from creating the non-standard naming conventions, formats and labels that create dirty data.
CDPs also standardize incoming data and dedupe your records, so you always have a single, complete view of everyone in your audience.
Load your data into your marketing automation solution
Next, add your data to your marketing automation solution. The process differs between providers, but typically you can do this using CSV files.
You’ll also need to combine your marketing automation solution with your website to ensure that you’re capturing everyone’s form submissions, website activity, etc. (although usually you’ll just need to install some code into your site header).
Create your first automated workflows
Once you’ve uploaded your data, you can start running your first campaigns. Start with these vital yet simple automations:
- Create a purchase confirmation email for anyone who buys a subscription.
- Send a welcome email to new subscribers.
- Send a reminder email to anyone whose payment information will expire within one month.
Segment your audience
But if you really want to drive results from marketing automation, you’re probably not satisfied with payment reminders and confirmation emails.
You need to reach people right at the moment they engage, whether it’s downloading your content, abandoning your checkout pages, registering for an event, etc.
To do this, you need a way to connect someone’s interactions with your brand with an appropriate email segment. The right email and marketing automation platform will make it easy for you to automate this process.
As an example: Because Omeda’s email and marketing automation platform is integrated with a customer data platform, every customer record is updated in real time and added to relevant marketing segments. So instead of manually transferring data from other systems to create new segments, and then standardizing the data, you can just query your audience for anyone that meets your segment criteria, then add them to your campaign.
This empowers you to reach out with the most relevant, impactful messaging — and do it quickly enough to make an impact.
Craft more targeted campaigns based on your segmentation
Now that you’ve automated your segmentation efforts, you can create more sophisticated and precise campaigns. That helps you reach your audience no matter where they are in your customer journey — and guide them to conversions at each point.
Say that your publication just held a summit. To capitalize on attendee interest, you want to send attendees an email promoting your paid subscriptions.
To do this, you would combine two pre-existing segments: “event attendees” and “non-subscribers.” (In Omeda, you can easily query your audience based on a combination of filters, then create a new segment for that group.)
Depending on your goals, you might also create sub-segments based on the specific sessions people attended — so if someone attended a session about audience growth, they’d receive a different promotional email than someone in the revenue session.
It’s a win-win situation: Every attendee gets the message that’s most likely to connect with them — and you maximize your chances of converting each one.
Multiply that across thousands of campaigns and you’ve got a scalable, successful way to business success.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up to get our latest articles sent directly to your inbox.